Re: Zorns Lemma (the wince)

From: Jonathan Walley (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Apr 16 2007 - 14:08:50 PDT

I think this was Fred's point: that although Frampton jokingly implied
that such "techie" questions had been "gotten beyond," he nonetheless
answered the question in detail and in a way that illuminated the
higher-level conceptual dimensions of the film. The exchange is in MFJ
16/17/18, 1986 (GREAT issue!).

While Frampton seemed to prefer discussing conceptual rather than craft
matters, I wonder to what extent this is the case among contemporary
self-identified experimental filmmakers. Given the ongoing barrage of
cameraless, hand-processed, homemade, stressed emulsion, and other
unusually produced films, things like film stock, cameras, processes,
chemicals, grain, etc. etc. seem very much back in vogue - if ever they
were really out. I have in mind films by folks like David Gatten, Greta
Snider (Flight and the collaboratively-produced Quarry Film), Scott
Stark (Satrapy and Sound of his Face), Peggy Ahwesh (Color of Love),
the list goes on and on.

In any case, these things were certainly of importance to Frampton, as
I think they have to be for any filmmaker, and I think Fred is
acknowledging this in his post. But, as for Frampton's wince, I wonder
if it had to do with the fact that, at the time of the discussion,
Structural Film and over-simplified "medium-specificity" readings of
same were still very close in the rearview mirror of avant-garde film
history. Many filmmakers expressed a sense of exhaustion with the
rhetoric of camera type, film grain, sprocket holes, and the like (see
Tony Conrad's essay in MFJ 43/44 on this point). In the contemporary
film historical context, I think filmmakers might be more inclined to
talk about these things WITHOUT wincing; indeed, what they are often
wincing at is the displacement of these things by digital video.


Jonathan Walley
Assistant Professor
Cinema Department
Denison University
Granville, Ohio 43203
email suppressed

On Apr 16, 2007, at 4:42 PM, Kevin John wrote:

> In a message dated 4/16/07 2:39:57 PM, email suppressed writes:
>> But could someone tell me why those kind of questions elicit those
>> kind of responses?
> Yeah I have the same question. Fred, I find your post quite
> off-putting. Since Frampton's response was of use to you in helping to
> marshal "evidence of someone deeply invested in the uniquely filmic
> qualities of his imagery," it was clearly worthwhile to ask him about
> his camera/film stock in the first place. Or am I missing something?
> Kevin John
> Austin
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