Re: suggestions? : sensory overload

From: Warren Cockerham (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Dec 05 2009 - 09:51:57 PST

I'm not sure if we're steering too far off topic here since Mark's
original post called for films made in the past 10-15 years. But, now
that the conversation has turned toward the sublime and in some ways,
subjectivity. I can't help but think of Peter Rose's THE MAN WHO COULD
NOT SEE FAR particular, the hand-held ascension of the
Golden Gate Bridge -- no rapid-fire editing or pixilation here.


On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 11:00 AM, David Tetzlaff <email suppressed> wrote:
> Roger Wrote:
>> Not sure if the grandness of the Grand Canyon though is necessarily an
>> example of
>> "sensory overload" though
> I've never been to the Grand Canyon, but I think I've experienced sensory
> overload in physical settings both natural and man-made. And now that I
> think about it these experiences are not _necessarily_ sublime as the
> requisite element of terror is not necessarily present. Either way, in these
> cases no 'editing' is involved. There is just so much potentially
> interesting information available simultaneously or something that is just
> too big to fully take in.
> Roger's note about IMAX is right on point I think. I've only seen IMAX in
> the Omnimax variation which projects onto a spherical section surface that
> begins to wrap around the sides and top of the seating. This really
> stretches the visual field so you can't take it all in at once, and the hi
> resolution of the format creates enough detail that there are a multitude of
> things you might want to see in the image.
>> The question,  though, is still whether or not you could just make an
>> image of that that transmits that overload to a viewer.  Would a
>> representation of those spaces (in a film, in a painting, &c.) have the
>> power of the real experience or would it just become "about" sensory
>> overload?
> I was actually thinking about Jerry Mander and his argument that we
> substitute pale representations of nature for the real thing to the
> detriment of our human spirit while writing my previous post. Maybe a
> massive enough image, ala IMAX can transmit a sense of overload, but it
> can't have the power of the real thing. Too bad Herzog didn't shoot La
> Souffriere in IMAX, but watching a guy walking around a volcano that
> supposed to explode isn't the same thing as walking around a volcano that's
> supposed to explode.
>> thinking about ways of producing sensory overload that aren't just loud
>> noises & fast cuts
> Roger also mentions expanded cinema, which does something similar to IMAX.
> It expands the visual field and adds more simultaneous detail. But expanded
> cinema would seem to move us past the question of representation or
> transmission and get to subject of creating an 'original' sensory overload
> as a thing-in-itself. And what Roger's notes remind me again is the
> importance of projection and the viewing experience. We have this habit of
> discussing filmic texts of all types as fixed things: a film is what it is
> due to the ways the images are composed, created and arranged in sequence.
> In the wider culture, this is now taken to the reductio ad absurdam as
> people will say they have 'seen a film' whether they encountered it on a
> really big screen in a prestige theater or on their iPod. Posts to this list
> repeatedly invoke the difference between film and video playback as a bright
> dividing line. Which at least acknowledges that projection does matter --
> though the film/video polemics are ludicrously simplistic as the fact is
> that the experiential quality of different options within each category is
> as great or greater than any generic difference between the two overall.
> Size does matter. I'm old enough to remember Cinerama, which was a sort of
> attempt to add some form of more direct sensory experience to narrative
> film. My memory of the raft running the rapids in How The West Was Won
> suggests that this kind of worked, a little. I also remember that there was
> a conventional theater in downtown Minneapolis, The Skyway, where the screen
> was so big I couldn't sit anywhere in the lower 2/3 of the house without
> getting a bit of motion sickness.
> I'm thinking that if there are two paths to 'sensory overload' - one being a
> density or surplus of editing, and the other a simultaneous density of
> surplus of image - that for the most part experimental artists have not
> explored the latter due to both production expense and the inability of the
> experimental exhibition apparatus to handle it. That is, experimental
> filmmakers know they can expect their work to be shown in 16mm in venues and
> on screens within a certain range of sizes and work within those parameters
> whether they're conscious of them or not.
> On Roger's tours, he shows some things in Super 8, some in 16mm, some in
> video because that's how he made them. The two projector 'TB/TX Dance' tends
> to have a more visceral effect than "Strip Mall Trilogy" because the former
> is in 16mm and usually has a bigger brighter image, and the later's S8
> usually appears smaller and more dim by comparison. As a thought experiment
> (and of course I'm assuming you've all seen Roger's work ;-), lets imagine
> TB/TX Dance copied down to Super8 with its sound played through the built-in
> speakers in the S8 projectors, compared to the existing 16mm projected on
> dual Pageants with the removable speakers placed at the front of the hall,
> compared to a blow-up of dual 35mm prints side by side on that giant screen
> at the (now long gone) Skyway with the sound pumped through a good Dolby 5.1
> system with Klipsch LaScallas on the front left and right. Could we even
> call these the same film? I think the S8 version would be amusing, and the
> 35mm version, well, something like sublime.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

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