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Experimental Film and Abstraction

Week 7

(PDF Document) Lecture presentation


- Jean Epstein, ‘On Certain Characteristics of Photogénie’ in Sarah Keller and Jason N. Paul (eds.), Jean Epstein: Critical Essays and New Translations (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press: 2012), pp. 292 – 296. Full Text available here.

- Hans Richter, ‘The Film as an Original Art Form’ in College Art Journal, Vol. 10 No. 2 (Winter 1951). Full Text available here.

Anémic Cinéma (Marcel Duchamp, 1926)
Le Retour à la Raison (Man Ray, 1923)
Emak-Bakia (Man Ray,1926, 16 mins)
Symphonie diagonale (Viking Eggeling, 1924, 5 mins)
Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, 1921, 3 mins)
Ballet Mecanique (Fernand Léger, 10 mins)
All of the above are available on Avant-garde: Experimental Cinema of the 1920s and '30s in library (DVD 941)
Hyas and Stenorhynchus (Jean Painlevé, 1927, 10 mins) – available on Science is Fiction: 23 films by Jean Painlevé (DVD 1446)

Additional material:

Article on translating the discs in Anemic Cinema.

Week 8

(PDF Document) Lecture presentation


- Scott Bukatman, Matters of Gravity (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2003), Chapter 5 - The Ultimate Trip: Special Effects and Kaleidoscopic Perception, pp. 111 - 130

Wax Experiments (Fischinger,1921-26)
Walking from Munich to Berlin (Fischinger, 1927)
Studie Nr. 6 (Fischinger, 1930)
Allegreto (Fischinger, 1936-43) ---------- all available on Oskar Fischinger: Ten Films DVD4018 in the library.
Samadhi (Belson, 1967) and Light (Belson, 1973), both available on Jordan Belson: 5 Essential Films DVD4019 in the library.
An Optical Poem (Fischinger, 1938). Available HERE.
The Time Travellers (Melchior, 1964)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
Demon Seed (Cammell, 1977)
Time After Time (Meyer, 1979)
The Right Stuff (Kaufman, 1983)

Further Reading
William Moritz, Optical poetry : the life and work of Oskar Fischinger (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004)

Week 9

(PDF Document) Lecture presentation

- Peter Gidal, ‘Theory and Definition of Structural/Materialist Film’ in Peter Gidal (ed.), Structural Film Anthology (London: BFI, 1976), available online here.

Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963) - viewable HERE
The Garden of Earthly Delights (Stan Brakhage, 1981) - viewable HERE
The Dante Quartet (Stan Brakhage, 1987) - viewable HERE
Glaze of Cathexis (Stan Brakhage, 1990) - viewable HERE
Berlin Horse (Malcolm Le Grice, 1970) - viewable here
Threshold (Malcolm Le Grice, 1972) - viewable HERE
Phase Loop (Guy Sherwin, 1971, 1 min)
Soundtrack (Guy Sherwin, 1977, 8 mins)
Railings (Guy Sherwin, 1977) -------- all Sherwin films are available on Optical Sound Films, 1971-2007 DVD4021 in library.

Further Reading
David E. James (ed.), Stan Brakhage: Filmmaker (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005).

Week 10

Monster Movie (Takeshi Murata, 2005) - viewable here
Seeking the Monkey King (Ken Jacobs, 2011)
Documentation of a Ryoji Ikeda Test Pattern performance at Sonar Festival 2010, Barcelona - viewable here

Selection of critical responses to Seeking the Monkey King.

(PDF Document) Revision Session presentation