Re: labels/original intent of post

From: shelly silver (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jul 04 2006 - 08:07:15 PDT

dear michael:
have not been following this discussion e-mail by e-mail, but like
what you write quite a bit.

a few scattered thoughts that this thread has brought up for me....
if we can get away from medium for a second, words like 'video,'
'film' and 'movie' also have genre and even class connotations. a
moving image maker can also use these terms to signal a certain
choice/expectation to their audience. a use like this is non-medium

for most of my life making moving image work, film was privileged
over video - video has been often treated as film's low rent cousin.
one of my attractions to video was it's relationship to the
culturally significant but much maligned television, it's immediacy
(or the 'feeling/look' of immediacy) and, for ever so many years,
it's lack of cool/pretension. a great playground to do....whatever.
now the position of video/film/television/etc is shifting, and i hope
to continue to find other, equally interesting tensions to play with.
i've mostly called my work 'video' although at times i have caught
myself calling certain works 'films' in front of an audience when i
wanted to signal them to 'prepare yourself for an experience of
watching a film.'

my personal confession - showing my own conservative 'holding on
to the past' bent - i have to confess to finding the use of the
word 'digital' as opposed to 'video' strange - a way of cleaning
up/elevating the status of a medium.
tube/chip/analog/digital/various formats/sizes - none of these seem
like huge name-changing shifts to me. i first noticed the change of
word from filmmakers who in the past swore they would never pick up a
video camera - i thought using the word 'digital' took the bite out
of shooting with a panasonic or sony.... but for these filmmakers
the change of resolution/etc made shooting in video a viable
alternative. and the change to the word 'digital,' though not for me
truly medium-based, may be perfectly appropriate, as it marks a
difference in use, respectability, etc. thus making the change of
name linguistically called for.


ps: in terms of this question of miranda july's last ______ (your
word here), july calls her earlier work 'movies.' nest of tens (i'm
pretty sure) was shot on dv, and the amateurist was shot (very
beautifully) on what i'm guessing was non-digital video. both of
these works seem quite 'medium' appropriate, and i find them in some
ways more interesting/edgy than the undeniably higher-resolution 'you
and me...' (though i enjoyed this too). this is just to say that i
don't think the value of these works is connected to the amount of
resolution/depth/gamma of her original shooting medium. and
miranda july's recent film, from a genre point of view, was just
that. a film. i'd imagine that distributors and makers would want
to call works going into theatrical distribution 'films,' they'd be
crazy at this point not to. and most audiences will not, consciously
anyway, be able to tell the difference between something shot on hd
or film. back when the transfers from video to film were
quite...rudimentary, i was amazed at how few members of the audience
or even critics noted the difference.

>Personally, I can understand why the specific medium of production
>might have impact on some interpretations--but not all of them.
>Consider this debate this way: try taking this argument and
>replacing the "film" vs "DV/HDV/etc" arguments with say, "oil paint"
>vs "watercolor" and it will just start seeming silly--while they are
>also different materials with some different potentials, the kind of
>argument we're having isn't something of great significance in the
>larger realm of visual art (or even painting itself).
>Mediumistic arguments of the type happening right now seem to happen
>only at two times--when a new technology appears and needs to claim
>itself a space as "art" (as with early video manifestations of the
>1970s for example) or when an older established medium seeks to
>maintain its position in relation to a new, disruptive medium that
>seems to be "stealing" its position as DV is doing to film. This
>second type of argument is, fundamentally, motivated by the same
>fight against disruptive technology that leads entrenched
>organizations and companies to try ans squelch threats to their
>business model (think Napster/RIAA or bittorrent/MPAA).
>So.... To be in a parallel position to the RIAA doesn't sound
>"experimental" or "avant-garde" imho.
>Michael Betancourt
>Des Moines, IA USA
>the avant-garde film & video blog
>For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.