From: Arturo Menchaca (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Apr 07 2006 - 10:27:17 PDT
Yes! That was exactly the goal of this series: to expose wider
audiences to experimental film. It's one thing to have an experimental
screening and have all the people from the experimental film community
show up. (And don't get me wrong, it's great to see that kind of
community exist in any form). But it's a completely different, truly
exciting thing to have people who know very little to nothing about
experimental film show up, sincerely interested in learning about it
and experiencing it.
As I was telling another Frameworker off-list, I pitched the series to
the others on our student programming committee and they liked it,
despite the fact that most of them have seen very few experimental
films. (Some people even openly admitted being intimidated and
"weirded out" by the few experimental films they had seen.) They told
me the reason I was able to persuade them to support this series was
because of the way I organized the programs in a very straightforward,
thematic way, almost as if it were a class they could take to better
understand experimental film both aesthetically and scientifically.
And the physical and perceptual framework (i.e. looking at how a film
was physically constructed, how it operates physically, and how we
perceive it) is a really approachable premise for understanding these
films for those who aren't familiar with them. Since the series favors
"structural" films heavily (due to my own personal affinity for it),
this approach is very effective. It might not be so effective for work
by Kenneth Anger. That's not to say Anger's films (which I also love),
do not have interesting physical or perceptual elements (I think most
often of his use of film stock and color in this way, as well as the
scratching in Fireworks), but you would lose something fundamental
about his work by not also incorporating American popular culture,
mythology, and magick into your analysis of it.
Of course, this cuts both ways. Approaching "structural" films in a
way that only pays attention to the physics of their construction and
our perception of it might suggest there isn't any mystery or beauty to
them. This is ridiculous, obviously, because these films have immense
beauty and a profound sense of mystery and discovery to them. In fact,
it's so profound for me that I don't even think about mentioning it
when explaining or showing the films to other people. I think their
beauty is strong enough to simply make itself apparent.
After all, I rarely get questions like "What aesthetic tradition is
this filmmaker working in?" Instead, I get questions like "Why was
this made?" and "What's the point of a movie that doesn't tell a
story?" Then, after an explanation of some ideas behind "experimental
film" and "film as art," I start getting questions like "How did they
make it?" and statements like "That's really cool."
p.s. For all you Chicago people, the Frequencies/Flicker program is
TONIGHT at Block Cinema at 8 pm! Check it out:
Student Programming Committee Chairman
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Tel: (847) 491.5802
Fax: (847) 491.2261
On Apr 6, 2006, at 11:13 AM, alvamel wrote:
> Hi Arturo,
> Yes this helped.
> You confirmed my estimation of how you were able to put together such
> a great package of work and lecturers. I was curious is there was a
> slim chance that the films could be packaged as set of reels with
> supporting text - that would then tour to various schools. It seems
> like this is a perfect opportunity to create interest from departments
> other than film, (Liturature, biophysics, history & etc.) thus
> generating support from wider audiences.
> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Arturo Menchaca <email suppressed>
>> Sent: Apr 6, 2006 3:18 AM
>> To: email suppressed
>> Subject: Re: A Cinema of Physics and Perception -
>> Frequencies/Flicker: April 7, 2006 in Chicago
>> Hi Alva
>> Do you mean just the Frequencies/Flicker program or the entire series?
>> I guess either way, you can easily rent the films. We got our prints
>> from all the big name distributors: Canyon Cinema in San Francisco,
>> Film-makers' Coop in NY, LUX in London, and Light Cone in Paris. A
>> here and there we got directly from the filmmakers or from smaller
>> distributors, but most can be found from those sources.
>> If you also meant the speakers as part of the package, that's not
>> likely, as most of them are professors here at Northwestern University
>> who have agreed to speak largely because it's an intra-university
>> academic event. As for the other speakers, I've asked them to speak
>> because they have close connections either to Northwestern University
>> or to the Chicago experimental film scene. Of course I can't say
>> definitively whether any of the speakers would or would not be willing
>> to travel to speak at a similar program or series, but it's more
>> difficult than just renting prints of the films.
>> Hope that helped. Let me know if you have more questions!
>> Best wishes,
>> Arturo Menchaca
>> Student Programming Committee Chairman
>> Block Cinema
>> Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
>> Northwestern University
>> 40 Arts Circle Drive
>> Evanston, IL 60208
>> Tel: (847) 491.5802
>> Fax: (847) 491.2261
>> email suppressed
>> On Apr 5, 2006, at 2:49 PM, alvamel wrote:
>>> Hi Arturo,
>>> Any possibility that this program will make it to the West Coast? Or
>>> be available as a tour package that my film department could rent?
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Arturo Menchaca <email suppressed>
>>>> Sent: Apr 5, 2006 11:19 AM
>>>> To: email suppressed
>>>> Subject: A Cinema of Physics and Perception - Frequencies/Flicker:
>>>> April 7, 2006 in Chicago
>>>> Block Cinema presents
>>>> A Cinema of Physics and Perception
>>>> Week 2:
>>>> This Friday, April 7th, 2006
>>>> 8 pm
>>>> The Flicker (Tony Conrad, 1966, 30 min.)
>>>> Raindance (Standish Lawder, 1972, 16 min.)
>>>> Ray Gun Virus (Paul Sharits, 1966, 14 min.)
>>>> Focusing on the fixed internal boundaries of a filmstrip, these
>>>> films highlight the perceived collision of one frame with the next,
>>>> frequencies with which these collisions can occur, and their effect
>>>> our nervous system. Guest speaker: Professor Satoru Suzuki,
>>>> Northwestern University, Department of Psychology and Institute for
>>>> WARNING: These films contain flickering and strobing effects. People
>>>> afflicted with photosensitive epilepsy may be at risk. There will
>>>> 5 minute break between each film to allow the viewers to rest their
>>>> All screenings are at Block Cinema, located in the Pick-Laudati
>>>> Auditorium in the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern
>>>> University, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208.
>>>> Tickets are $6, or $4 for Block Museum members, students with ID,
>>>> senior citizens. $20 for a season pass.
>>>> For more information on this series, visit
>>>> Arturo Menchaca
>>>> Student Programming Committee Chairman
>>>> Block Cinema
>>>> Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
>>>> Northwestern University
>>>> 40 Arts Circle Drive
>>>> Evanston, IL 60208
>>>> Tel: (847) 491.5802
>>>> Fax: (847) 491.2261
>>>> email suppressed
>>>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
>>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.