Re: collage film history

From: Myron Ort (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 11:37:52 PDT

Good info there David.

I was purposely defying the general usage of the terms in order to
get to the core of things, at least for myself, a process which often
then leads me to further understanding and creativity. Often the
common usage is misleading and inconsistent or even confusing.

My understanding of "Rose Hobart" is that it was a found film with
all the shots without Rose removed. The resulting "form" being the
chance operation resulting from this simple conceptual device.
Understanding this then leads me to a useful tool perhaps for another
similar film. Simply calling it a collage doesn't get me to the core
of this understanding, but I do see why people generally want to have
these sweeping categories for general conversation, however misleading.

By pointing out the Brakhage examples of actual 2-D collage of the
individual film frames made me realize how much more work along those
lines is yet to be done. Is "Mothlight" generally called a "collage
film"? I am curious.

To me the brilliance of Bruce Conner's work is his actual
understanding of montage techniques, not just that he "collaged"
together some "found footage". This distinguishes his work from the
mountain of mediocre work which imitates superficially without
understanding the depths.

Pointing out my understanding of Stan's comment about "renaissance
perspective" and that the world of painting was 500 years in advance
of the typical narrative film, visually speaking, both sheds light
on a world of new possibilities for cinema as well as defying almost
all of the art history and criticism as normally taught or written
which doesn't usually have a clue, at least regarding how artists
actually work and see things , which seems to be in reality something
mysterious, hidden, and unspeakable. (hmmm, looks like I have some
weird form of messianic art paranoia.....)

I have extensive involvement with 2-D collage as well. Here are some
images from a long series "Mambo Mecanique" which I may actually find
a way to incorporate into a collage animation at some point.

Myron Ort

On Jun 30, 2009, at 9:59 AM, David Tetzlaff wrote:

> Words don't have precise meanings. Different groups of people use
> the same term different ways, and different terms to refer to the
> same thing. Attempts to police this with prescriptive lexicography
> are useless practically, and intellectually questionable besides
> (snip diatribe about the Vienna circle...) At the same time, we do
> need to communicate, there are limits to all this flexibility and
> individuals can use terms in ways that may be considered flat out
> wrong. 'Best practices' might include identifying the context of
> discursive tradition in which one engages, or, when searching for
> the 'right' term, looking at the historical patterns of usage in
> the community within which one is attempting to speak (i.e. a
> critical descriptive lexicography). Herewith then, my understanding
> about how the meanings of 'collage' 'montage' and 'found footage'
> differ in terms of the dominant threads of their use in describing
> creative work
> Americans of my age most likely know what a collage is because we
> grew up in an era when public elementary schools had Art teachers,
> and a standard art assignment was to make a 'collage.' A collage
> was an assembly of stuff we did not create, the creativity coming
> in how we selected elements from our pile, trimmed them and shaped
> them, assembled them onto a larger blank sheet, and maybe added
> embellishing elements of our own design. Also, when the work was
> completed, while it hopefully had some new unity of purpose or
> effect, the traces of the original forms of the elements were
> apparent - that is, one could tell the parts came from somewhere
> else, and usually what sort of place they came from... Now, note
> that I have not made this definition medium specific really,
> because I don't think that was the point of the concept, and also
> because the dominant use of the word 'collage' in the arts is not
> medium specific.
> Thus when Myron suggests a 'collage film' must consist of
> individual frames created in the manner of a 2D 'non-time-based'
> grpahic art work, I think he misses the point of how the term has
> been most often used. Cornell's boxes are 3D collages, and Rose
> Hobart is a time-based collage.
> In cinema then, montage is a wider term, referring as Jeanne notes
> to the labor of putting things together in a way that completes
> something that then has some degree of unity and function not
> present in the individual pieces. So, Cornell used the art of
> montage to create his collage, but Eisenstein's montage is not
> collage because he created all the elements himself according to a
> pre-existing master plan.
> 'Found footage' refers to a (usually exclusive) source of material,
> not how it is put together. On one hand found footage films are not
> necessarily collages (Perfect Film, Color of Love) because they do
> not necessarily involve cutting and pasting. On the other hand, a
> found footage collage is also a specific type of collage because
> the term implies a kind of limitation in the selection of materials
> to be collaged. Just like I got to choose the color of paper on
> which to paste up my grade school collage and then had the option
> to do some finger painting on top of it, a collage film might
> include found footage, but also other stuff.
> For an academic reference, I would recommend the work of Rudolph
> Kuenzli, an expert in the use of collage in the early 20th century
> avant garde.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

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