Re: Stan Brakhage Copyrights _Experimental sound-art

From: Myron Ort (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Oct 21 2009 - 13:10:10 PDT

Lest it be misunderstood, my little mention of painters and
Renaissance perspective had to do with the link about sound that I
posted, which like so many many articles over the years quotes from
Stan Brakhage's "Metaphors on Vision", which I too read when it came
out as a dedicated volume of Film Culture magazine in the 60s. I
still have and treasure several beautiful copies of this original
volume. Even at the time when I first read and was inspired by it,
I took Stan's (hyperbolic) statement about Renaissance perspective
with a grain of salt, since I knew then from my studies of painting
at that time that in the world of painting "perspective" was an
ancient "tool" that had long ago been supplanted by various other
schemes for indicating three dimensionality on a two dimensional
surface, and thus took Stan's statement to be about how the film
industry, shackled to story telling and drama, and most people's way
of looking at the horizontal/vertical oriented world was indeed also
shackled to this perspective system, that the world of narrative film
from the beginnings and D.W.Griffiths etc. had for the most part
barely understood or utilized the many other discoveries of painters
besides perspective. This did not mean that painters and filmmaking
painters had not already investigated these alternatives from the
20s on and perhaps even earlier and that even many (Art) narrative
filmmakers who knew something about painting hadn't already utilized
visual ideas from the world of painting that departed from
perspective. Did not the sets for Caligari even already use
expressionist delineations of space inspired by developments in
painting that strayed from simple Renaissance perspective. What was
inspiring to me when I started making films in the 60s and still
today is how much of painting has yet to be used to inform
filmmaking, and yes, Stan explored a lot of this transferring to
cinema art, as I too have already done. In the 60s Abstract
Expressionism (hardly shackled to Renaissance perspective) was
already itself becoming ancient history.

"Stan Brakhage has left the world a legacy larger than we’ll ever be
likely to get a handle on. With a body of work as large as his, one
might find it difficult and ultimately pointless to try and reign it
all in beneath a single umbrella. But there is a sheltering concept
under which his vast array of films enjoys a bond: Brakhage wanted
the world to learn to see again. He wanted us to rid ourselves of the
shackles imposed on us by the rules of Renaissance perspective, to
abandon the search for ever greater levels of visual acuity,
definition, clarity and detail, and to re-embrace those parts of our
experience that we have learned to let go unnoticed, or consider to
be flawed by the standards of High Definition culture. As P. Adams
Sitney notes, “When [Brakhage] decided to become a filmmaker
he threw away his eyeglasses” (Sitney 1979:149). That about sums it up."

Here is an interesting article on the subject:

Myron Ort

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