who's entangled?

From: Chris Kennedy (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jan 25 2008 - 23:48:05 PST

> Another example: Lux: A Decade of Artists' Film and Video and The Sharpest
> Point: Animation at the End of Cinema are two collections published by YYZ
> Books, a Canadian publisher. In both cases, the filmmakers discussed are
> largely Canadian, though not exclusively. I haven't tallied numbers, but I
> would bet they are probably majority Canadian. So...do these books
> dangerously distort reality by implying, through their insidiously hegemonic
> titles, that the majority of notable artists' films and videos and
> contemporary animation are Canadian? So far, nobody I know has been rash
> enough to accuse these books of this crime.

Whoa! Careful there with your examples. :)

If you take Lux, the book was a celebratory book about the Pleasure Dome
screening collective in Toronto. Government granting agencies in Canada
usually encourage at least 50% Canadian content for exhibitors, which means
that places like Pleasure Dome and the Images Festival (co-publishers of Lux
and Sharpest Point, respectively (and former homes for me, for disclosure's
sake)), would tend to show JUST 50% Canadian content because they believed
in placing local/national filmmakers in dialogue with international work. If
a majority of the essays in the LUX book (don't have the other one on hand),
talk about Canadian artists, they usually talk about it in relation to the
outside world. Plus, the kicker is the appendix, which lists all the
programming for the decade in questions (the 90s): works from US, UK,
Australia, Switzerland, West/East Germany, Phillipines (Kidlat Tahimik!),
Yugoslavia, Finland, France share time with Canadian work (Japan didn't
really show-up in their programming until the 00s, out of the scope of the
book). So A Decade of Artists' film and video seems to hold up (although the
word Lux does confuse itself with a certain british organisation, I'll

While I tended to agree with your points, Ed, doing the tallying has made me
reconsider. It seems to me that books written outside of the US about
experimental cinema have a tendency to think of their histories in relation
to US cinema (even the ones that wear their national brand on their sleeve),
however US based books only rarely think outside the borders of their
country, and usually only when someone visits for a while (Wieland, Nelson,
Kubelka). Often when these things types of things are brought, whether in
the experimental film canon or other transnational discussion, US based
interests plead ignorance (the old, "It's not at Canyon Cinema" trick) or
point to the couple of tokens that mean it can't possibly be true. Or, blame
the publisher.

It would seem to me that it is valid to question whether a book that
questions certain types of subordination reinforces other types of
subordination. It's nice to see that page 7 does attempt to address this...
I look forward to reading the other 300 or so pages and the imminent
translation of the Japanese companion volume.


PS. Maybe its worth noting that the Pleasure Dome archives is now up online
(www.pdome.org). It's not complete, but it gives a good sense of the breadth
of the programming over the last two decades, plus a nice look at the
posters. Play count the Canadians!

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