From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Dec 17 2008 - 09:09:46 PST

> Maybe you can explain what you mean with this last aside? I don't
> really see
> how The Flicker, Arnulf Rainer, Serene Velocity or Paul Sharit's
> films are
> related in any way to what you're saying...

Well, I was dissing ravers for using films as mere random
stimulation, and came up with the phrase "a substitute for a strobe
light" since they often seem to flasj strobes at these kind of
affairs (not that I have a lot of personal experience... I've just
seen it on TV). It then occured to me that that my attempt to draw
this bright line between art and not-art could be undermined by
someone defending strobe lights (if only in a devils advocate kind of
way) by invoking the experimental films that are based on strobing
phenomenon. And I just didn't have the energy to take the argument
that far, so i tossed in the aside, more or less jokingly.

When they use those strobes at dances or concerts, they have to post
warnings because flashing lights can cause epileptic seizures. I
don't know if the flicker frequencies of any of the films mentioned
fall outside the range that can induce this effect, but this can
occur with films as well. (There's a fairly long section of fairly
slow flicker in Conner's Report, and i've have to remember to to do
the epileptic check before I show that to students). The larger
point, I guess is that flicker films, among other things, act
directly on the brain. Certainly both The Flicker and Serene Velocity
came out of cultural milleaus that favored explorations of altered
states of consciousness, and may be thought of as 'trip' films. I
know there's still a sub-genre of underground film that attempts to
induce something like a psychedelic experience visually through rapid
edits and bold visual (I forget what its called, but I remember Craig
Baldwin was screening some of this stuff at Other Cinema back in the

I guess when all is said and done there's more of a gray area between
'real experimental film' and 'VJ video wallpaper' than I want there
to be.

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