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Maya Deren, Film Medium as Muse and Means. Maya Deren, Film Medium as Muse and Means ... Film Medium as Muse and Means, Deren ' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Announcements

  • View on your own Rear Window by Hitchcock at
    film reserves or linked to course reserves
    online. To access this you need to be on campus
    or using web proxy and use course password

Experimental / Avant Garde Cinemas
  • engaging with the medium challenging the form

Experimental / Avant Garde Cinemas
  • Filmaker as artist / auteur - the central voice
    to the work.
  • Not studio driven / made independently--TRULY
  • Experimentation with the medium / engagement with
    the form / challenging conventions / dialog with
    a community of other artists and critics
  • Liberated from institutional constraints
    standardized duration, breadth of audience
    (engages intellectual or aesthetic niches), etc

Un Chien Andalou (Andalousian Dog), Salvador Dali
and Luis Bunuel, 1928
  • Narrative causality
  • Mismatched cuts fracture space and time
  • Absurdity of inner titles

Un Chien Andalou (Andalousian Dog), Salvador Dali
and Luis Bunuel, 1928
  • Surrealist film
  • Employing montage editing but subverting it
  • Disjointed, not structured by a rational plot.
  • Free association, dream logic, the unconscious
  • Disrupted vision (effects, editing)

Un Chien Andalou (Andalousian Dog), Salvador Dali
and Luis Bunuel, 1928
  • Elements of narrative relate to psychology of the
    spectator - participation
  • Distanciation created through the breaks in
    meaning and closure.

Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren, 1943
  • Post World War II, new narrative, age of anxiety
  • Domestic space
  • Actions interrupted
  • Fantasy of suicide

Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren with
Alexander Hammid , 1943
  • Spiral structure
  • Protagonist and spectator search for connecting
  • Psychological imagery

Maya Deren, Film Medium as Muse and Means
Maya Deren, Film Medium as Muse and Means
  • Freedom in being an amateur
  • Accidents within limits photography is the art
    of the controlled accident

Film Medium as Muse and Means, Deren
  • You hold in your hands the point of departure
    for an exciting adventure and regardless of how
    little, or how you pursue it, the time you spend,
    and the filming you do as you go along, will be
    far more satisfying and rewarding for you
    yourself, if you approach it as an exploration.

Film Medium as Muse and Means, Deren
  • Explore the medium itself - the camera, the
    motor, the projector, the editing process.
  • Portability of the camera - woman steps from sea
    to sand, use bounced light, dolly the camera by
  • you will find that putting the camera on a
    tripod will feel like putting on a straight
  • Lenses - the zoom lens - dont see it as an
    easier way of doing something you did before. It
    is a way of doing new and marvelous things.

Film Medium as Muse and Means, Deren
  • Changing space and time
  • Part of filmmaking - an art which makes its
    statement in terms of time and movement.
  • Motor - slows down action, speeds it up
  • Allows for a mind state to be projected on screen
  • To study the nature and structure of movement
  • Editing - adjusts space and time. Creative
    manipulation but such decisions should be the
    first process, for only by planning, in advance,
    how the shot is to relate to the one preceding
    and the one following it, and how this group will
    sit in the whole, can you know how best to film
    each shot.

Experimental / Avant Garde Cinemas
  • Experimentation of genre - Far From Heaven (Todd
  • Experimentation with documentary modes - Coffee
    colored Children and The Body Beautiful (N.
    Onwurah), Smell of Burning Ants (J. Rosenblatt)
  • Experimentation with narrative modes
    -Bunuel/Dali, Deren, Brakhage
  • Experimentation with basic formal structure or
    medium - Stan Brakhage, Hollis Frampton

Stan Brakhage
  • First person filmmaking
  • Window Water Baby Moving (1959)
  • Intimate, fragmented documents. Subjective sense
    of time and orientation. Not intended to
    reproduce space/time through realist conventions.
  • Camera-less works
  • Mothlight (1963)
  • Film as material object that interacts with light
    and the mechanisms and artifacts of projection.
    Deterioration and aging.

Camera-less Filmmaking
  • Drawing, painting or collage directly on film
  • Exposing film emulsion with stencils or shadows
  • Scratching into film emulsion
  • Use of optical printer to copy frames / create
    multiple exposures
  • Use of found footage
  • Often individual frames are distinct from those
    adjacent creating abrupt change--strobe or
    flicker effects.

Camera-less Filmmaking
  • Dates from the period of silent cinema to
    present. Early abstract animations were presented
    as symphonies of light and color.
  • Oskar Fischinger
  • Hans Richter
  • Viking Eggling
  • Len Lye
  • Mary Ellen Bute
  • Robert Breer

Fireworks, Kenneth Anger (1947)
  • Film shot at home when Anger was 17
  • Director stars in the film
  • Silent
  • Underground film presenting the occult and
  • Experimental narrative subverts expectations
  • Innovative approach to visual storytelling
  • Construction of the gaze unique, a new language

Structuralist Film of the 1960s-70s
  • Minimalist, almost abstract
  • Form takes precedent over subject
  • Highly reflexive--engages audience with
    fundamental aspects of the medium How it
    structures experience and meaning through time,
    light, fragmentation, movement
  • Example Critical Mass, Hollis Frampton, 1971

Recent Experimental Work
  • Example Not a Matter of If But When (brief
    records of a time in which expectations were
    repeatedly raised and lowered and people grew
    exhausted from never knowing if the moment was at
    hand or was still to come), Julia Melzter and
    David Thorne w/ Rami Farah, 2006
  • Engages gaps in intercultural and transnational
  • Limits of translating experience.

Digital Media and the proliferation of
Non-commercial Media
  • Increasing fluidity between commercial,
    independent, and amateur production (DIY Do it
    yourself tools and culture)
  • Circulation of media in a variety of forms and
  • Appropriation of media and contesting
    intellectual property law.
  • Example Gimme the Mermaid, Negativeland and Tim
    Molone (2002)
  • Disney animator Tim Maloney created this short
    for Negativland using employer's equipment after