Friday, April 30, 2010

getting excited about our FILM SHOW next Wednesday at AstroLand!!!!!!

Curious about ASTROLAND? They might be Boulder's last hope, and by 'they' I mean YOU.

Our poster is coming soooon! Here is the talented Ryan working very hard on it in the projection room attended by his muses Anna and Tara. We are collaborating with C.Battle's Focus on the Frame class for this show, plus local punx Thee Gootchi Boiz --you know that golden haired drummer, right?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Ecstasy of Influence

image by Owen O'Toole from back in the day

OK so now READ THIS article by Jonathan Lethem called The Ecstasy of Influence: a plagiarism, originally published in Harpers Magazine in early 2007, essential reading for all of us recyclers/appropriationists/samplers/remixers/fair users/ supercutters/and masher-uppers out here. Author Lethem even has his own project called Promiscuous Materials that is very similar to Jay-Z's 2005 online Construction Set , where the tracks to his Black Album were made downloadable specifically for musical remix use. WE listened to a little bit of DangerMouse's The Grey Album (2004) that was a direct result of that project, which certainly shook the copyright laws up--check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation's reportage on the federal copyright exception called 'fair use' specifically surrounding Feb 24, 2004, the day of coordinated internet civil disobedience known as Grey Tuesday. George Harrison was probably rolling in his grave, after everything he went through with the My Sweet Lord/He's So Fine trial in 1976.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

perfect as is

left: PerfectFilm(1986), Ken Jacobs,
and above
: Beirut Outtakes (2007) by Peggy Ahwesh

We've spent some time on readymades and gave ourselves permission to think about found films as found objects. We watched Works and Days (1969) by Hollis Frampton, What Makes Day and Night (1998) by Yours Truly and of course Perfect Film by Ken Jacobs. But we didn't stop there -- we spent some time with 3 very recent and very short found footage works pointing to the African American experience from various archives as unearthed by Kevin Jerome Everson; check out his Ten Things About Vegas here. And finally we watched two of Peggy Ahwesh's films dealing with the found deterioration of film material to very differnt ends: the entertaining and political Beirut Outakes from 2007 and her outrageous 1994 fem/porn/tango piece The Color of Love .

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Busy day in class, what with a basic Introduction to concepts of 'detournment', which according to our friend wikipedia, "is a variation on a previous media work, in which the newly created one has a meaning that is antagonist to the original. The original media work that is détourned must be somewhat familiar to the target audience, so that it can appreciate the opposition of the new message."
Read this comic and this other comic for a funny unsparing introduction to their ideas!
This strategy of detournemnt was initially practiced by the Situationist International, and we read some excerpts from Situationist theorist and filmmaker Guy Debord, most famous for his text and film Society of the Spectacle, where he states " The spectacle is not a collection of images, rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images." He is often spoken of in the same breath as his contemporary Jean Baudrillard who used the term 'simulacra' rather than Debord's 'spectacle'.

We watched an excerpt of the classic 1973 SI film Can Dialectics Break Bricks? by Rene Vienet, which influenced many works such as the Bay Area's st01len collective's The Lord of the Rings of Free Trade (2001). See more of their activist remixes here.

Another work worth mentioning that we didn't quite have time for is an audio tape collage called Reagan Speaks for Himself (1981) made by sound artist Douglas Kahn. As you can see from the picture above it was distributed via a flexi-disc that btw was inserted inside Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly's comic-art magaizine RAW.

Up next: Duchamp's Readymades and Ken Jacobs Perfect Film (1985).

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Busy busy cutting at the Steenbecks and working with found film now, sharpening our scalpels and making precision cuts in bursts of three--in homage to Eisenstein, japanese haiku and the general round magic of the number 3 . I like to call them simple machines myself, which can later be assembled into larger more complex machines otherwise known as, um, films...
It would be lovely to her about everyone's edits on their individual blogs!
Here's John's:

Here's Hogan's:

Here's Michael's:

and here's Kevin Rice's (last years class)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Artists and amateurs

This week we studied the amazing amusing films of American artist Joseph Cornell, locating them at the intersection of his deep involvement with collage and his love for the cinema. "ROSE HOBART" (1936)is his infamous 16mm film-collage portrait of the actress Rose Hobart made from the 1931 jungle drama "East of Borneo" in which the artist essentially excises from the film all that is not the object of his devotion. Your fearless leader spent many years holed up at Anthology Film Archives studyng and cataloging his film collection, and wrote this monograph for the SFMOMA Cornell exhibition a few years back.

Looking further then into amateur film--home movies, family films and personal archives . Abigail Child's The Future is Behind You (2004) was one example of an artist using films from a family's collection and creating her own story around those images and people--if you liked that you might be interested in reading a short interview with her in the Wees book as well.

The first real history on that subject was Patricia Zimmerman's Reel Families: A Social History of the Amateur Film (1995), Here's an excerpt for you!

Friday, February 19, 2010

exquisite corpse

still from REMOVED (1999) by Naomi Uman

here is our exquisitely distressed destroyed corpse of a collaborative film project--we started with a movie called JUNKYARD and each person had a section to alter in any way they saw fit, a result of various experiments we have been making with the film material over the last month. I am so glad we can watch it again and again--there aer so many details I missed during the screening! Who did that contact printing?? Maybe each person can discuss their particular section and methods? Yay.
Oh, and here are a couple other class collaboratives, one from The New School in 2008 and one from Boulder 2009.

After watching our project, we projected Naomi Uman's 1999 film REMOVED where she used nail polish and bleach selectively on a found piece of Italian soft-core. This film shows up on several DVD compilations, most importantly on the ILLEGAL ART dvd collection (a project related to STAYFREE magazine). You can buy the dvd or download/stream and watch here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

collage films? said bruce

That's right, we are still making, thinking, watching and breathing collage...

We took our first look at some found footage collage films by the recently departed SF artist Bruce Conner, notably A MOVIE ( 1958) and REPORT (1967), as we compare collage to montage. But first, here's Michael reading from his New York Times Burroughs-style CUT-UP poem--btw, I sure would love it if some people would post their cut-ups on their blogs since we unearthed some interesting poetic details about life on this planet IMHO--

Alot of people worked with the transfer method and so many collage films were heavily text based --we started with Michelle's awesome film of T.S. Eliot's J.Alfred Prufrock that she talked about on her blog--I was so transfixed that I totally forgot to shoot it (sorry Michelle).
Here are a few that I did manage to shoot :

Melissa's Cosmo Movie (materials list includes mascara)

Hogan's TAKE 1,2,3 ( movie trailer in shreds)

and Jeri's Who the F*ck Am I?--check out that keystone "cinemascope"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Papier colle

"The sensation of physically operating in the world is very strong in the medium of collage..." Robert Motherwell

George Braque, Violin and Pipe, 1913

Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1913

This week's workshop on Magazine Transfers was pretty great as you can see from our class film below made with a large variety of materials .
We also investigated William Burroughs Cut up techniques using the New York Times and revealed some pretty interesting information hidden on those pages.

But meanwhile how about some readings on COLLAGE: the first is in relationship to the visual arts and the second is in relationship to the literary arts.

The Synthetic Century: Collage from Cubism to PostModernism, by Elisabeth Hodermarsky
The Cut-Up Method, by William Burroughs

magazine transfer film:

Thursday, January 28, 2010


(frame enlargement from the hand painted Film #3, Interwoven, Harry Smith 1947-1949,
and inspirational Seminole Patchwork designs above that)

oh yes, it's all about color, pattern, and visual rhythm in hand painted film this week.
We watched Harry Smith's Early Abstractions (above), which you can peer at here in a very compressed version w/ Teiji Ito soundtrack = NOT Meet the Beatles. More Harry Smith links are here (grammy award) and here (his archives at the Getty). We also watched Stan Brakhage's stained glass-inspired Chartres Series (1994) and Richard Reeves Linear Dreams (1997), among other handpainted films.

This week's reading is VISUAL MUSIC , an essay by Jeremy Strick from the amazing catalog to a 2005 travelling exhibition called Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Music and Art since 1900.
And if you like that you might like to check out The Center for Visual Music in L.A where abstraction reigns king.

But back to the present--here are a few of our own hand-painted experiments !

Red Dot, Black Dot, by Christopher:

Mike's brand new bag:

Tara's acrylic determination:

Casa Bonita by Katie

Friday, January 22, 2010

Scratch My Emulsion

top: detail from Marco Breuer’s Untitled (C-498), 2004, made with scratched chromogenic paper, courtesy Von Lintel Gallery , NY
bottom: detail, frames from Stan Brakhage hand scratched titles

This week we watched everybody's first attempts at hand scratched films --this was our first assignment in direct animation! It's a fun though laborious method of making your own titles and credits, like the venerable filmmaker Stan Brakhage (1933-2003) famous for his hand-scratched titles.

Directly working on the film and photographic material has been around as long as the materials themselves, but there's been renewed interest in direct techniques in the art world recently.
In 2008, The Drawing Center in New York -- which only shows drawings--had an amazing exhibit called DRAWING ON FILM that featured artists works from the 30's till the 00's. And check out the photographer Marco Breur whose most recent body of work finds him scratching directly onto exposed photographic paper, as above. Aperture published an awesome book of this work called 'Early Recordings '--we have it here in the Norlin Library .

Ok so here is John's scratch film--looks like he's all set with his end titles and all he has to do now is make the rest of his film!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Before there was cinema...

Today was the first project on pre-cinematic devices:
(See Jeri and Ryan's tricky little thaumatropes below)

    We WATCHED some 16mm film prints :
'Free Radicals'(1958/79) by Len Lye, 'Gently Down the Stream' (1986) by Su Friedrich & 'Abrasions'(1991) by Joel Schlemowitz  for inspiration and research towards our next project in hand scratched and etched film--experiments to be posted very soon.

+CHECK out this very interesting article by Polly Ullrich,
originally printed in the New ARt Examiner out of Chicago, called
THE WORKMANSHIP OF RISK: the re-emergence of handcraft in the post-modern age.
Looking forward to your comments!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Semester! New Decade!!

Greetings from Boulder Colorado, The United States of America, and a special welcome to the new generation of Recycled Images students! We all just met today for the first time and watched a couple of films dealing with afterimages.  I really love this short magical ghost-film NADJA by Brian Frye.

Zoe Beloff has a great site devoted to pre-cinematic optical devices  'Philosophical Toy World"

And for future reference, here is the  RECIPES FOR DISASTER film cookbooklet , edited and organized by the late filmmaker Helen Hill-- .

Stay tuned for some unique cinema from our new Recyclers!