Re: collage film history

From: William Wees, Dr. (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 09:58:58 PDT

Hey, Jeanne, I didn't send the original query. If something from "Dr. Wees" appeared in this thread, I missed it (and it was probably sent by "Tony Conrad" in any case).

P. Adams Sitney, writing about Bruce Conner in Visionary Film) offers what I think is a good way to think about collage/montage: "The natural irony of the collage film, which calls attention to the fact that each element quoted in the new synthesis was once part of another whole, thereby underlining its presence as a piece of film, creates a distance between the image depicted and our experience of it. Montage is the mediator of collage."

The original query, if I remember correctly, concerned when the term "collage film" was first used and by whom. I don't know, but certainly it was in use in the 1960s when I first saw the collage films of Conner, Stan Vanderbeek, Arthur Lipsett and others. By the late 1980s, of course, "collage films" had been pretty well subsumed under the broader category of "found-footage films." I have no idea when that term was first used or by whom. Any guesses?


William C. Wees,

Emeritus Professor (McGill University)

Postal address:

Department of Art History and Communication Studies

McGill University

853 Sherbrooke St. West--Arts W225

Montreal, QC H3A 2T6

Phone: 514 398-4935 Fax: 514 398-7247

-----Original Message-----
From: Experimental Film Discussion List [mailto:email suppressed] On Behalf Of Jeanne LIOTTA
Sent: June 30, 2009 11:00 AM
To: email suppressed
Subject: Re: collage film history

I love this thread!

Agreed Esperanza, 'breed'. But re: the original query <Dr. Wees , on historical differences between cinematic montage and cinematic collage> it seems the ways in which the terms are different might be a richer vein to mine than the ways in which they are similar.

for ex: the excellent term 'montage' gets you higher, due to it's etymology already embedded with labor and furthering the revolutionary cause of artist-as-worker, re our good friend Eisenstein as beautifully cited by Esperanza.

Not that any of this fits the "solid academic reference" called for.

I for one am somewhat nervous about 'firsts' since I was properly admonished by Tom Gunning once after giving a talk on J.Cornell where I referred to Rose Hobart as the first intentional cinematic collage, and he gently suggested I amend that to, "perhaps among the first". Duly noted.

Am reminded of this by Bruce C's post in discussing the Hungarian artist heretofore unknown to me, it never ends...

I dont understand the part about how time is linear in film.
I really thought it was just the opposite--space is linear, time isn't.

your comrade and idiosyncratic scholar

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

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