Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Collage 1

Our first excursions into the world of collage included our magazine transfer film made in class from bits and pieces of the NYTimes and various film magazines, posted below.
Then we made a newspaper cut-up from instructions by William Burroughs of the front page of the NYTimes in the hopes of yielding a new answer to the bail-out problem --we got some strange poetry but nothing the feds would find too useful I'm afraid...
...meanwhile LOOK up at this lovely
slide image by Bradley Eros, in the spirit of our recent discussion about collage techniques regarding Stan Brakhage's classic film MOTHLIGHT .
OK, 2 film experiments with magazine transfers below, the one on the right has the compound interest of hair in the gate ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Found Footage and the Turkey Film Industry

In response to our discussion on found footage...

Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saves the World) [a.k.a. Turkish Star Wars]

From the Wikipedia entry...
Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saves the World) is a Turkish-made cult film commonly known as Turkish Star Wars because of its notorious bootlegging of Star Wars clips worked into the film.

Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam was released in 1982 in the midst of massive political upheaval. As a result, American-made films weren't easily acquired and were often remade with a Turkish cast and setting. The four most notable films to be so bootlegged are Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, The Exorcist and E.T., all of which have Turkish variations.

I haven't watched the whole thing yet, but I think the first twenty minutes may have an interesting relievance to the topic of collage, montage, and found footage...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paint by hand

, So after watching some inspirational films:
Fear of Blushing by Jenn Reeves,
Chartres Series by Stan Brakhage, and
What the Water Said by David Gatten,
we projected our own hand painted films .

Here's Sarah's colorful world:

and JayTee's cthonic BLUE HEAT (which looks blue on the filmstrip but doesn't look blue at all when projected--or you might hold a blue gel over your eyes to watch it?):

while Matthew discusses his process (& i love red) :

For more colorful information and resources check out the excellent Center for Visual Music's Online Library

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Following up on Scratch my Emulsion : this Tuesday we were treated to an in-class film performance by Brian (seen at left) --OK so he did scratch his name in upside-down, *erp*, but he quickly redeemed himself by doing some risky live augmentation to his loop, using a razor blade to carve into the moving strip which also resulted in some interesting new optical sounds-- creating the experience right before our eyes , and ears! In the clip below we see the room installation and film detail:

BTW, speaking of direct sound, here's an interesting example of optical soundtrack made by the image, in this cameraless film TBTX by filmmaker Roger Beebe , and his explanation here...

Stay tuned for new posts about paint and color---one place to look for inspiration is the great "RECIPES FOR DISASTER: a handmade film cookbooklet" an independently published collective project brainchild of and edited by the late filmmaker Helen Hill, rip.

Monday, September 15, 2008

early abstractions

im pretty sure this guy was on drugs while he was working/envisioning this piece. overall i liked most parts of this film. the soundtrack got a little old but i thought the visuals were enough to keep me attentive. it seemed as though he was just experimenting with different techniques in abstract film making and seeing what the potentials/limits of this form may be. i liked abstractions the most and as for the other two films neither of them really were that interesting however i did like the sound in Aberations.


This week we are watching everyone's scratch animations,
for one example check out KC 's peace out signature:

I'll post more examples soon...

...meanwhile we were talking in class about Anthony McCall's 1973 Line Describing a Cone which has recieved alot of renewed interest lately, and can be counted as a major influence in 21st century film intallations--for an extremely imperfect example see here

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Early Abstractions" Pt. 1 (1946-57)

I watched this scratch film and thought it was really incredible. I got it from a previous blogger. Is the work really during the 1940s through to the 50s? It's spectacular. In the beginning it looked like someone was using chopsticks to form a square. Then slowly it moved into an amazing picture that looked as thought it was being filmed. Around the four minute mark he uses a number of geometric styles with bright colors and it looks really amazing. The filmmaker really did an incredible job. 


Ah, yes, Meet the Beatles, that's almost 50 years ago! A controversial choice among many indeed and one which some purport to be a certain sort of 'folk music',...but for soundtrack variants, of which there were several, see these versions on youtube with score by Teji Ito (of 'Meshes' soundtrack fame)

EArly Abstractions part one
EArly Abstractionspart two
EArly Abstractionspart three

for more information on Harry Smith:

In The Wake of the Beatles 9/9/08

The first film we screened today in class was In the Wake by A. Curtis. This film consisted of found footage with animated text scratched into the emulsion of the film. Because this is a scratch film, it leaned on the short side, but for the tone and feel of the piece it was ideal. The words appeared as if they were scratched and then written over with some sort of marker or paint. It is unclear what specifically he used to achieve this effect. The words, originally written by James Joyce, supplimented the images upon which they were scratched. As far as scratch films go, this was not my favorite... it was somewhat like the hiaku of scratchfilmland; short, poingnant free, and over almost as soon as it starts.

Next we screened a series of films by Harry Smith. These consisted of animated geometric design and collage, depending on the film. Because all of the films have a Beatles song as it's soundtrack, all of them had the same feel for me. It seems as if he used a variety of techniques, from handpainting to live action shapes moving, to computer assisted image generation. Very entertaining, but little higher meaning or substance. Im sure all of these were very time consuming to complete.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

After Thought

I, personally, have nothing to say about these films...
Of all the three I enjoyed Early Abstractions the most. I thought that Smith's formal outlay of shapes and colors strung together beautifully, although at times I felt that he was still trying to figure out the material. I was more entranced with the painted films, than with the shapes and colors; aesthetically is appealed to me more. It was unfortunate that a soundtrack was just slapped on there for no apparent reason, other than to keep an onlooker from falling asleep.

I could not grasp In the Wake at all. Everything was fairly fleeting, especially the words that would appear for either side of the frame or from no where. James Joyce's words seemed to hit the film with less integrity that if it were on paper. His language may be fleeting, but the film is too dependent on just copying the style.

In The Wake..., Early Abstractions, Abrasions

Of the three I was most drawn to the animated nature of Early Abstractions the most, although, myself not being a massive fan of insects, especially those from across any ponds, I was kind of more put into a trance watching a kaleidoscope or standing in the middle of a lightshow than oulled into any deeper thinking. This was fine--the colors, man, the colors! And I was jazzed by the dancing on the moon sequence, but all in all they seemed more like excercises in color and shape than an attempt at anything with depth, although, still, that may have been the pop music. I did enjoy it, though.

Abrasions, again, was cool, though it very much embodies the title and I really don't like the anticipation of when the next bulleted sounds and white smodge would appear. It's like watching a horror movie for the second time--you know it's coming, and for some reason that just makes it worse.

I am not so sure what I feel about In The Wake....I was equally torn between a funeral wake, and imagining myself water skiing. The words were very well formatted. They hardly jumped around at all. By the use of the peaceful words of James Joyce, I'm think this is intended, but the effect was to lull me a bit into sleepiness. I guess I just wish he'd done something more.

In the Wake of early Absractions with Abrasions

The sound of the boys from liverpool infects my head at the moment, but even though the soundtrack of Early Abstractions could have been....better...the images were amazing.  Moving through different works by Harry Smith we can see an advance in style and complication; from paint and ink, to very interesting collage, including images of which I remember; tarot cards and Buddhist symbols and a very cool skeleton.  Can you say mind altering substances?  And I can't forget to mention the excitement of S&M in Abrasions--who knows what's going on behind that black screen and flickering noise...In the Wake seems to fall a little short in deviance, but I was never one for poetry.

Wake, Abstractions & Abrasions

I found Curtis' In The Wake to be somewhat calming. Images such as sunbathing ladies, men and women chatting and laughing with one another gives an easy-going feel. I found these images distracting in that I hardly paid attention to the text and was mroe captivated by the found footage. The "voice" I heard that was narating was feminine; something about this film gives off a feminine feeling. The shots of nature and the poetry combined to form this sense of fragility and seems delicate.
Early Abstractions is a delightful experience for the eyes. However I thought the pop music took away from that experience. I believe that the soundtrack worked at certain points, however for the most part the music severely took away from the wonderful images. What is the significance of using traditional pop love songs? "Til There Was You," "Take a Chance With Me" and so on.. Very similar to Anger's Scorpio Rising and Rabbit's Moon, where old pop tunes make up the soundtrack. Toward the end of Early Abstractions, some strange themes are presented: snakes, eyeballs, skeletons and then a baby doll- to the song "Til There Was You." Bizarre.
The soundtrack to Abrasions creates tension and discomfort. Altogether, picture with image produces a sci-fi type of feel for me. There is something non-human about this film, sort of like "creating the monster" type of feeling, as if we are looking in on a scientist, whether that be Joel or perhaps Joel is the "monster."

Visions on substance

"Early Abstractions" seems to be a cinematic representation of an LSD trip. Upon reading a little history on Harry Smith it seems his artistic path began upon meeting San Francisco bohemians and smoking pot at a Woody Guthrie concert. It seems appropriate that in his early work there is a looming feeling of drug induced visions. The use of layering is prominent throughout the different styles of abstraction. HIs films incorporate surrealist images as well as basic collage of colors. It is a beautiful piece. I find it interesting that he seems to play with the word "end." He uses it often to end an image while the soundtrack continues which I suppose suggests the soundtrack was added in later. It fit well, but as was said in class, it distracts a little bit too much from the images.

Early Abstractions, Abrasions, and In The Wake

i am enjoying the simplicity and flow of abrasions, and in the wake very much in contrast to harry smith's piece. i think a simple idea can have better luck at being cohesively enjoyable. lots of the early abstract animation films just seem like a showcase of techniques that the artist has learned. in this way they remind me of student work. when i watch an abstract animation such as early abstractions, i just slip into the mode of looking for technique and figuring out, how things were done, and how i could incorporate the better ideas into my own work. the work and my mind become very concerned with surface, and some of what makes many films so powerful is lost. the sound track just furthered my pull to surface only. it seemed as a hook to draw in others that would not usually care to sit through the film. like explosions and sex might do in a hollywood movie.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"o brave new world" RECYCLED IMAGES AT UC BOULDER!!


(pictured at left is Anne's magical dragon phenakistoscope)

Greetings from Boulder Colorado, it's a brand new semester and this is the very first post!
All the filmmakers are getting down and dirty with their investigation and construction of various pre-cinematic devices . Stay tuned for lots more film projects and posts from this talented crew.

Here's a start:
Matthew 's color-blending thaumotrope:

Sam's thinking about bears:

& Kevin's thinking about psychedelic birds, but in phenakistoscope format (apologies for my poor shooting here--I'll do better next time):

oh! for more inspiration (and better phenakistoscope movies) see this page by Kevin T Allen