Re: Experimental films showing at various Universities

From: Myron Ort (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Dec 03 2008 - 10:11:26 PST

In my decade of teaching filmmaking and film history at Sonoma State
University my approach to giving substance came through my own teacher
(s) who had been students of Professor Hoyt L. Sherman. My belief
was that art and aesthetics had a development and evolution of
discoveries which needed to be studied, known, and experienced much
the same as one would do for the sciences. My students who had other
classes in the same art department were thrilled to actually get some
teaching. When other professors in the department found out I was
actually professing to know something about art and its teaching
they took me aside and read me the riot act. I call their approach
"teaching by osmosis" and their students were led to believe it had
mostly to do with their "expressing themselves". I am not saying here
that I believe you can teach someone to be an artist, but I got a lot
further with my approach in my opinion, especially in regards to the
students gaining a better understanding of what they were looking at
and its aesthetic significance. Now that I think of it, my Masters
thesis was on the teaching of filmmaking at the University level. I
guess I was on a mission. As time has gone on I have phased out this
"gestalt" terminology when discussing art and filmmaking unless I am
communicating on a shop talk level with just a handful of similarly
trained colleagues or artist friends, as did my mentor Dr.Harold
Gregor (also a student of Sherman), and one of the very few painters
who hold a Phd in Painting, and a damn good painter, yes!. My role
was from the beginning (mid 60s) to apply this set of ideas and
weltanshauung to experimental filmmaking. And yes, I used to rent a
lot of Brakhage films among others.
I did make some use of Arnheim's "Art and Visual Perception" both in
the teaching of drawing and filmmaking, and explained to filmmaking
students how those ideas could be applied.

Myron Ort

On Nov 27, 2008, at 7:26 AM, Beth Capper wrote:

> The main problem, in my humble opinion (as a student at the Art
> Institute of Chicago) is that art schools don't require that
> students be intellectually challenged. They let them tinker about
> in studios, often with no guidance or real teaching, and there is
> no suggestion that these students read theory, or get a wider
> education, outside of making things in a vacuum. Coming from an
> academic school in the UK into an MA program at an art school like
> the art institute, I am shocked how lacking most students are in
> even the most basic writing skills. You might say that students
> want positive results, but they are unlikely to get them from art
> schools that don't prepare them for the fact that they'll need to
> know how to write grant applications, treatments and press releases
> - they'll need to be able to intelligently articulate their work.
> They have some classes like this at the school, of course, but
> there are no requirements.
> I wouldn't want to blame the teachers for this - I think they are
> just as caught up in this as the students, but in my experience
> there is an equal amount of students who wish that their teachers
> would challenge them intellectually too.
> The problem is the school, and the fact that its main focus is on
> profit turning, not on education.
> On Thu, Nov 27, 2008 at 4:51 AM, Jack Sargeant <email suppressed>
> wrote:
> education is a commodity now, students are customers, they want
> positive results leading to careers, not to be intellectually
> challenged.
> often young teachers have to jump through hoops and satisfy the
> various people above them and the students who are getting into
> debt just by being there
> jack
> On 27 Nov 2008, at 14:37, Jim Carlile wrote:
>> In a message dated 11/26/2008 9:56:24 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
>> email suppressed writes:
>> The
>> > unfortunate situation appears that a lot of experiment film
>> classes or
>> > programs are mostly one person driven. Once that person retires the
>> > replacement is no longer interested in experimental cinema. I first
>> > noticed this when Dick Myers retired from Kent State. He use to
>> rent at
>> > least $1500 a year for film screenings. Canyon has not received one
>> > film rental request since he left. The same is true for Occidental
>> > College when Chick Strand left, all rentals stopped. Stan
>> Brakhage use
>> > to rental at least $5000 worth of experimental films from Canyon a
>> > the requests from UCB have dwindled down
>> considerably. This
>> > is the same for the San Francisco Art Institute, School of the
>> Art of
>> > Chicago, University of Oklahoma and many more places too
>> numerous to
>> > list here.
>> >
>> I find this really sad and shocking-- what is it, money? Are
>> younger teachers just uninterested in either experimental films or
>> 16mm prints? It makes no sense to me, but maybe I'm naive. I mean,
>> it's FILM !!!
>> Life should be easier. So should your homepage. Try the NEW
>> __________________________________________________________________
>> 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>.