Re: who's entangled?

From: Bernard Roddy (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jan 27 2008 - 11:36:14 PST

I really enjoyed this thread. While the diagnosis
exonerates individuals, let's hope it doesn't deter
further misconduct. For my part the work by Ahwesh
offers a way out of this whole trap.


--- Chuck Kleinhans <email suppressed> wrote:

> On Jan 26, 2008, at 1:48 AM, Chris Kennedy wrote:
> > 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's not a matter of "blaming" the publisher. It is
> a matter of
> understanding how market forces shape the nature and
> possibilities of
> cultural production, including experimental films
> and writing about
> them in contemporary advanced capitalist countries
> with neoliberal
> policies. In the US university presses routinely
> ask reviewers of
> book proposals not only about the scholarly value
> and integrity of
> the proposed book, but also about its marketability:
> as a trade book
> and classroom adoption. There are many fine
> proposals that meet the
> first criterion, but have such a poor prospect for
> widespread use
> that they do not get a contract since the press is
> under an
> obligation to make a profit or break even in most
> cases. [Other
> factors operate here including historical
> developments and changes in
> tax laws that changed older patterns of maintaining
> inventory for
> many years--thus many books have short run and go
> out of print fairly
> soon; I couldn't use A. L. Rees' excellent history
> of experimental
> film and video last fall because my bookstore
> couldn't find enough
> copies, even used ones.]
> Because of this, any university press book on any
> area of film has to
> pass a test on how many libraries are likely to buy
> it (college;
> university; research university; school with a film
> program v. school
> without a film program; large urban public library;
> most public
> libraries) as well as its likelihood of classroom
> use (as a required
> text, as a suggested reading, as a supplemental
> text, as a book at
> the library for reference, term paper research,
> etc.) And, of
> course, individuals who might be interested in the
> subject and having
> their own copy.
> The key questions for a book on experimental film
> that might be used
> in courses would be how many classes are taught on
> the subject every
> year, and what's the projected enrollment? Thus
> it's pretty easy to
> see that there is a certain market in the US for the
> Blaetz
> anthology. But of course this depends on balancing
> likely adoption
> with contents. So, this favors filmmakers who are
> already known to
> the teacher, and whose work is relatively available
> to be screened in
> class. So the (relative) norm perpetuates itself,
> even when this
> book pushes the boundary in terms of women's work. A
> book discussing
> a lot of work that wasn't available for classroom
> screening would not
> be likely to be assigned as a textbook.
> [Thus, for example, a monograph on the films of
> Nicky Hamlyn would
> not be a likely course book in North America since
> most of his work
> is not easily available. Only two of his works are
> available in the
> NY Filmmakers Coop, and another from Canadian
> FIlmmakers
> Distribution. The situation for the UK is probably
> different.]
> I happen to know most of the contributors to the
> Blaetz volume, some
> personally, some professionally. Most of them teach
> courses on
> experimental film or include some in other courses
> they offer; they
> have a lively and sustained interest in women's
> filmmaking and want
> to promote awareness of it. That was up front and
> obvious when a
> group of them presented papers a few years ago at
> the Society for
> Cinema and Media Studies annual meeting that was the
> start of the
> project. So, the authors are people who will
> actually assign the
> book. The volume was published after my fall class
> on experimental
> film began, so I couldn't use it as a regular text,
> but I had it as
> one of several choices for additional required
> reading, and some
> students chose it when it appeared a few weeks after
> the class began.
> These contributors to the book don't seem, at least
> to me and with my
> knowledge of their work, to be willfully ignorant of
> or arrogant
> about international women's filmmaking either in
> person or in their
> own research work.
> On Jan 25, 2008, at 8:48 AM, Bryan McKay wrote:
> > The problem should lie within the systematic
> exclusion and
> > marginalization of all non-Western expression from
> the cinematic
> > canon. Let me stress that systematic bit. I'm
> not claiming that
> > this book is the problem, just a symptom of a huge
> disparity in
> > representation.
> Well, let's consider Nicky Hamlyn's writing:
> according to his info on
> his school's website, he has written on Stan
> Brakhage, Peter Kubelka,
> and John Smith. Hmm....Doesn't seem like a pioneer
> in considering
> women's film work. He also has a book out which
> "considers the work
> of Stan Brakhage, Malcolm Le Grice and Michael Snow,
> as well as
> younger artists such as Karen Mirza and Brad Butler,
> Jennifer
> Nightingale, and Colin Crockatt, among many others.
> " Somehow this
> doesn't impress me as a track record that gives him
> street cred for
> berating feminists for not recognizing "non-Western"
> cinema.
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at
> <email suppressed>.

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