Hollis Frampton Screening Series and Symposium in Chicago

From: Patrick Friel (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Oct 11 2009 - 22:30:11 PDT

Hi All,

Hope those of you in/near Chicago can attend some of these.



Critical Mass: Re-Viewing Hollis Frampton
A Screening Series and Symposium
October 2009 ­ February 2010

Presented by Conversations at the Edge (The Department of Film, Video, and
New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago); Block Cinema at
the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art (Northwestern University); Chicago
Filmmakers; White Light Cinema and The Nightingale; Doc Films (University of
Chicago); and the Film Studies Center at the University of Chicago
Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) has been widely recognized as a key figure in
the history of American avant-garde cinema, yet his reputation has
increasingly rested on only a small handful of his films (Lemon, Zorns
Lemma, (nostalgia), Poetic Justice). Few people have seen (or have had the
opportunity to see) the full extent of his work‹having to rely instead on
distant memories or descriptions in books or catalogs. For many, Frampton
has become a historical figure, associated with an earlier period. This is
ironic, since Frampton was a modernist, an innovator, and a profound thinker
who, more than many of his contemporaries, would likely have welcomed and
made fascinating use of new digital, computer, and online technologies. He
is someone whose work is possibly even more relevant today than it was when
it first appeared.
Times are catching up with Frampton, however. The past few years have
witnessed a mounting excitement and various attempts to come to terms with
his legacy: the preservation of his great seven-film series Hapax Legomena;
an important symposium at Princeton University in 2004; the publication of a
study on (nostalgia) by Rachel Moore; the publication of a new collection of
Framptonıs own writings edited by Bruce Jenkins; a massive volume on the
film program at SUNY Buffalo (where Frampton taught); an increase in
scholarly research on his work; and the inclusion of his film (nostalgia) on
the ³American Treasures IV² DVD set from the National Film Preservation
Foundation. Frampton has definitively re-emerged, 25 years after his death
in 1984.
The time is ripe for a re-evaluation of Framptonıs rich and influential film
legacy. In an unprecedented collaboration, six Chicago-area film
organizations and institutions have joined forces to present a near-complete
retrospective of Framptonıs films over a four-month period, concluding in a
symposium on his work at the University of Chicago in February of 2010.
FALL 2009:
Thursday, October 15 ­ 6:00pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center
Presented by Conversations at the Edge (The Department of Film, Video, and
New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
Frampton scholar Bruce Jenkins in person!
CATE presents a rare screening of three exquisite yet lesser-known works
from 1974: Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox, and Winter Solstice. Part of
Magellan, Framptonıs unfinished epic film cycle intended to screen over 369
days, these works take on the primordial rhythms and energies of life and
death within a pasture, slaughterhouse, and steel mill. Introduced by SAIC
professor and Frampton scholar Bruce Jenkins and followed by a book signing
of Jenkinsıs On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of
Hollis Frampton (MIT Press, 2009). (1974, ca. 95 min, 16mm)
Summer Solstice (Solariumagelani) (1974, 32 min, 16mm)
"...the operations that dislocate a film like SUMMER SOLSTICE‹I hope
irreparably‹from being a movie about the locomotion and eating habits of
cows, a dairy farm document, or what have you, are finally of a whole lot
less concern to me than the following things: how it looks, the sense that
probably it was done deliberately, the pleasure or displeasure‹the intrigue,
possibly‹of attempting to retrieve the manner in which it was done while one
is watching." (Hollis Frampton)
Autumnal Equinox (Solariumagelani) (1974, 27 min, 16mm)
"...filmed in a slaughterhouse in South St. Paul, MN...Frampton utilizes a
shooting strategy that flattens and pictorializes a palpable space of action
that includes not only cattle (now seen hanging from huge meathooks), but
even on occasion, figures. The abattoir is seen in the fleeting movements of
Frampton's hand-held camera. The shots generally begin and end with swift
panning movements, which effectively flatten and abstract the objects of
this work environment. And although a brief passage of green leader is used
to mark each cut, the smearing effect of the rapid camera movements tends to
elide the shots, to make the flattened color planes run together." (Bruce
Winter Solstice (Solariumagelani) (1974, 33 min, 16mm)
"Shot at U.S. Steel's Homestead Works in Pittsburgh...WINTER SOLSTICE is
full of outpourings of fire, of smoke, of sparks, of molten metal‹all
erupting against an otherwise black background in an activated pictorial
space. The complex abstract compositions that flash upon the screen in
full-scale explosions of white light or in the aftermath of effervescent
sparks reflect Frampton's painterly handling of the camera (hand-held and
fluid) and his rhythmic use of color (blue frames are used to mark each
cut). While WINTER SOLSTICE pays homage to the work of a number of New York
school painters, its steel mill setting represents, as Frampton noted, 'A
pretextual locus dearly beloved by our Soviet predecessors.'" (Bruce
Visit www.saic.edu/cateblog.
Friday, November 13 - 8pm at Block Cinema (Northwestern University)
Presented by Block Cinema
Introduced by School of the Art Institute Professor Bruce Jenkins
A program of films made in collaboration with or in homage to friends and
artists in Framptonıs circle.
A & B in Ontario (co-made with Joyce Wieland) (1984, 17 min, 16mm)
"...there is in A & B IN ONTARIO the reflexive presence of Frampton as a
contemporary 'man with a movie camera.' Eighteen years after the original
material was made, the film was assembled (during the summer after
Frampton's death) by Wieland into a cinematic dialogue in which the
collaborators (in the spirit of the sixties) shoot each other with cameras."
(Bruce Jenkins)
Manual of Arms (1966, 17 min, 16mm)
³Courtly dances with friends and lovers, in the form of a 14 part drill for
the camera, incorporating physiognomic & locomotor evidence related to the
lens by 13 artists and an historian, namely: C. Andre, B. Brown, R. Castoro,
L. Childs, B. Goldensohn, R. Huot, E. Lloyd, L. Lozano, L. Meyer, L. Poons,
M. Snow, M. Steinbrechner, T. Tharp, J. Wieland.² (Hollis Frampton)
Artificial Light (1969, 25 min, 16mm)
"ARTIFICIAL LIGHT repeats variations on a single filmic utterance twenty
times. The same phrase is a series of portrait shots of a group of young New
York artists talking, drinking wine, laughing, smoking, informally. The
individual portrait-shots follow each other with almost academic smoothness
in lap-dissolves ending in two shots of the entire group followed by a dolly
shot into a picture of the moon...There is a chasm between the phrase and
its formal inflections. That chasm is intellectual as well as formal.
Frampton loves an outrageous hypothesis; his films, all of them, take the
shape of logical formulae. Usually the logic he invokes is that of the
paradox...In a recent lecture at the Millennium in New York, Frampton
hypothesized an atemporal alternative to the history of cinema, illustrated
by a sequence of his works. With ARTIFICIAL LIGHT, which was not completed
in time for that lecture, he challenges the newest historical phase of the
formal cinema, the Structural film." (P. Adams Sitney, Film Culture Reader)
Snowblind (1968, 6 min, 16mm)
Homage to Michael Snow's environmental sculpture 'Blind.' The film proposes
analogies, in imitation of 3 historic montage styles, for three perceptual
modes mimed by that work.
Surface Tension (1968, 10 min, 16mm)
"The influence of minimal art (rather the aesthetic of minimal art) on the
avant-garde cinema is very great. Most of the important young filmmakers,
especially on the East Coast, might be considered minimalists. Certainly
Hollis Frampton's SURFACE TENSION is from that milieu. The film itself has
three parts: a comic static shot emphasizing the passage of time; a fast
motion tour through a city with fractured German commentary; and a slow
seascape with fish floating midscreen. In this last section phrases
translated from the German commentary are printed over the image. Of all the
films seen in this festival, SURFACE TENSION is technically and spiritually
the newest." (P. Adams Sitney, Program note, Maryland, 1969)
Visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.
Saturday, December 12 ­ 8:00pm at Chicago Filmmakers
Presented by Chicago Filmmakers
Hollis Frampton's unfinished Magellan Cycle was to be the crowning
achievement of the structuralist filmmaker's career but, in 1984, he died
before he could complete it. Planned to run 36 hours in length and to be
viewed over the course of 371 days, the cycle loosely follows Ferdinand
Magellan's five-year journey around the world. Instead of providing a linear
narrative, Frampton breaks down the voyage into a rediscovery of the tools
of perception and social integration.

"By the time we have got out of school, we have learned to punch in by 8:15
in the morning, we have learned to read 'no right turn,' we have also on our
own looked at 15,000 hours of unregulated, ungoverned, undecoded images that
constitute our real education. I grew up like that - everyone grows up like
that, Magellan is a film that, like all things (since I have not had the
luxury of perfect alienation, but only the partial luxury of imperfect
alienation) comes out of an imperfect understanding of my culture. It is
probably easiest to imagine it as a project if it is understood not as a
project in drama, or in literature, nor as a project in sculpture, but as
one that subsists as a work of sculpture in time rather than space." (Hollis

Matrix (1977, 28 min, 16mm)
"This is a work that is central to the Magellan voyage. There are multiple
layers of imagery (slaughterhouse footage, steel mill footage, imagery of
cows in a field, hexagonal shapes apparently punched into the film material)
which are all presented simultaneously. The superimposition of what are, I
assume, variously filtered layers of colour material which creates a
glorious flow of shapes." (Scott MacDonald)
Mindfall I & VII (1977-80, 36 min, 16mm)
"Frampton was especially fascinated by Eisenstein's theory of 'vertical
montage,' the notion that filmic structure could be built not only
horizontally (sequentially), like a melody, but vertically, like a chord. In
the MINDFALL sections of "Magellan" Frampton used desynchronized sound,
along with super-imposition and a complex editing structure, to approach the
possibility of vertical montage." (Harvey Nosowitz)
Cadenzas I & XIV (1980, 11 min, 16mm)
"CADENZA I offers up multi-layered references to the primordial, to birth,
and to Creation. CADENZA XIV: the laugh track...variously suggests a
partially displaced relation to the silent comedy in CADENZA I, a reaction
to the blatancy of the sexual symbolism and perhaps even an irreverent
reflection on the emotion-laden symbological practice of the poetic
tradition of personal filmmaking." (Bruce Jenkins)
Visit www.chicagofilmmakers.org.
WINTER 2010 [the information below is tentative at the moment; full details
will be available late December or early January at
Friday or Saturday, January 16 or 17 ­ 8:00pm at The Nightingale
Presented by White Light Cinema
(Zorns Lemma + possible shorts)
Visit www.whitelightcinema.com.
January 22 and 23 at Doc Films (University of Chicago)
Presented by Doc Films
Friday, January 22
Hapax Legomena (complete series) (1971-73, 202 min. total)
Nostalgia (1973)
Poetic Justice (1972)
Critical Mass (1971)
Traveling Matte (1971)
Ordinary Matter (1972)
Remote Control (1972)
Special Effects (1972)
Saturday, January 23
"Fragments from Magellan"
Yellow Springs (Vanishing Point: #1) (1972, 5 min.)
Straits of Magellan: Drafts & Fragments (1974, 51 min.)
Pas de Trois (1975, 4 min.)
Otherwise Unexplained Fires (1976, 14 min.)
Not the First Time (1976, 6 min.)
For Georgia O'Keeffe (1976, 4 min.)
Quaternion (1976, 5 min.)
Procession (1976, 4 min.)
More Than Meets the Eye (1979, 8 min.)
Gloria! (1979, 10 min.)
Visit www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.
Weekend of February 5-7 at the Film Studies Center (University of Chicago)
Presented by the Film Studies Center
FRAMPTON SYMPOSIUM (currently untitled)
Organized by University of Chicago Professor Tom Gunning (Edwin A. and Betty
L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History,
Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, and the College)
Visit http://filmstudiescenter.uchicago.edu.

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