Joost Rekveld Retrospective in Los Angeles Nov 8 - West Coast Premiere

From: C Keefer (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Oct 22 2009 - 10:38:05 PDT

Adam's recent list of upcoming Los Angeles A-G screenings did not include this event:


UCLA Film & TV Archive and Center for Visual Music are pleased to
present the first West Coast retrospective of films by celebrated
Dutch filmmaker and installation artist Joost Rekveld. Rekveld, who
will appear in person, started making abstract films in 1991 after he
invited Bill Moritz and Elfriede Fischinger to come to the Netherlands
to present a day-long survey of abstract cinema. Almost twenty years
later, Rekveld pursues his fascination with human perception and the
history of optics and perspective with the aim of creating a “music
for the eyes.” An important part of his filmmaking is to develop his
own tools, often inspired by the less frequented by-ways in the
history of science and technology. Program features:
#3 1994. 16mm, silent, color, 4 min.
#23.2, BOOK OF MIRRORS. 35mm, color, 12 min.
#7 1996. 16mm, silent, color, 32 min.
#11, MAREY <-> MOIRÉ 1999. 35mm, color, 21 min.
FIlm Notes (by Rekveld, written while making the films):
#3 1994. #3 is a film with pure light, in which the images were created by recording the movements of a small light source with extremely long exposures, so that it draws traces on the emulsion. The light is part of a simple mechanical system that exhibits chaotic behavior. I had long been fascinated by the fact that it is possible to construct a static image using movement, and that it is possible to recreate movement by showing several of these static images in succession. In this way, both the images, as well as the transformations of those images, are caused by the interference between the movement of one single light-germ and the movement of the film camera. The film was made according to an extensive score covering color, exposure, camera position, width of the light-trail and the direction and speed of movement of the mechanical system. The
 score consists of 13 sections in which I have tried at all costs to avoid repetition, symmetry and trivial developments. 16mm, silent, color, 4 min.
#23.2, Book of Mirrors deals with the multiplication of light beams through mirrors and kaleidoscopes. The structure of the film has been developed in close cooperation with composer Rozalie Hirs who wrote the music for it. The composition is based on symmetries and inversions of proportions and gestures. The film was inspired by concepts found in medieval and renaissance optics, and it was made with a set-up in which I use elementary optical principles to generate images. These images are caused by the interplay of light waves directly onto the emulsion, not using lenses as they are used normally to reproduce a scene outside of the camera. In that way, I try to explore alternative forms of spatiality not related to traditional pictorial perspective.
 #23.2 had its premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2002. It received honorary mentions at the Media City Festival in Windsor, Ontario in 2002, at the Black Maria Film Festival in 2003 and at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2003. A previous version was performed live at the Holland Festival 2001 and broadcast on Dutch television (NPS). 35mm, color, 12 min.
 #7 1996. #7 was made by stamping paint onto transparent film and using the result of this as a negative. All movements in the film are caused by the interference of the stamped grid patterns and the perforation of the film material. Working on the filmstrip directly is interesting because of its simplicity and because of the fact that the traditional perspective inherent in the optical system of the camera becomes irrelevant. Illusion of depth occurs because of the difference in size of particles of paint, illusion of movement occurs when these particles are in some way equally spaced on the film. The colors of #7 are based on the opposition of pigment and light. The color model of theoretician Harald Küppers reduces this opposition to a unity at a deeper level in our perceptual system. I used his color model to structure a slow evolution from black to white. This is an elaboration of an old idea, articulated by Aristotle, among others, that colors are located in the sh!
 adow between light and dark. When stamping grid patterns onto film the content of every film frame is in part determined by chance. In contrast with this, all parameters that allow for control are composed in an elaborate score. The time structure is built up from the separate film frame to 28 sections that group into five larger parts. Each of these sections has its own color scheme and its own choice from the 17 grid patterns used. 16mm, silent, color, 32 min.
 #11, MAREY <-> MOIRÉ 1999 . #11, Marey <-> Moiré is a film in which all images were generated by intermittently recording the movement of a line. It is a film about the discontinuity that lies at the heart of the film medium. After making films #3 and #5 I was thinking about other methods to generate images by distributing light across film frames. One idea that came to mind was to record a continuous movement with long exposures like I had been doing before, but to interrupt these exposures many times to generate visual patterns. This would create interesting interferences between the motions involved. This idea
 also came from an increasing interest in the technological history of film. I had been looking for a kind of “pure” film: images the film apparatus would come up with if left alone, as it were. While thinking about this, I started to look towards the historic origins of film and new media in general. This led to experiments with various mechanical installations using Nipkow discs or anorthoscopes. The principle on which the set-up for #11 is based, is the same as used by the French scientist Etienne-Jules Marey. His work marks a definite turn in the strategies to deal with processes, motions and flux. The isolation of phases in time and the conversion of time in graphic space, led to many powerful inventions such as the assembly line. The French philosopher Henri Bergson compared these principles to the very way the human problem-solving mind works: our mind can only think in discrete concepts and flux is always seen as a transition between fixed states. #11, Marey <-> !
 Moiré premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2000. It won the Grand Prix for non-narrative animation at the Holland Animation festival in Utrecht in 2000. Also I’ve been told it was the first ever Dutch film to be shown at Sundance (also in 2000). 35mm, color, 21 min.

TRT: 69 min.
In person: Joost Rekveld.
UCLA Film & TV Archive at Billy Wilder Theatre, Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA.

Ticketing through UCLA Film & Television Archive Box Office and online at

Tickets $10 online, $9 general, $8 student and seniors

This retrospective is presented following CVM's November 3 Lichtspiel show of Contemporary Animation and Visual Music at REDCAT, Los Angeles, where Rekveld will premiere his new film #37.

posted by:
C Keefer
Center for Visual Music
Los Angeles
Contact: cvmaccess (at)

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