From: Patricia R. Zimmermann (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Dec 06 2009 - 14:20:10 PST
I hesitate to dive into this "book" issue for film classes, but nonetheless,given the Web 2.0 zeitgeist, I must.
I totally agree with Tony about books. The undergraduates I teach at Ithaca College have actually often gone to our dean to complain that I actually USE books in my classes (for those who don't know me, I teach history/theory, not production). The norm for theory classes in liberal arts at most schools is 5-8 books--and all the students do in cinema studies courses is complain and then take action against this. The few overachievers who buy books are all focused on getting into graduate PHD programs.
The sad aspect of this anti intellectualism is that students are shooting themselves in the head and the foot by not reading. They are entering industries and arts cultures with highly education, liberal arts, humanistic thinkers with analytical edge. By not reading they are tracking themsevles into the hidden class system of the media ecology.
That said, I do think that the current contradictions of this moment in higher education offer all us new ways to imagine inviting students into a larger disciplinary based conversation that is both legacy and innovative. Here are some ideas I've culled from colleagues that I'm going to steal to propel more engagement:
1. Use websites on the syllabus and have students INTERACT with the website
2. use blogs and require blogging and require linking
3. require students to participate in and comment on smart blogs in our field (there are a lot, in fact, I have one myself)
4. Use blackboard and post your websites
5. Do webinars and conference calls (it's free, they dial in) with people in the field who have knowledge you want them to know. I taught a course a few years ago and we had Scott MacDonald as a "course listserv" guest. I taught a course in film festivals, online, this summer, and we did four conference calls withpeople in the field, requiring students to read the websites and bios BEFORE the networking call)
6. About ten years ago, our own Tony Conrad had me on a conference call with his class to discuss an article I had written. I think he had me call into a phone line he put on speaker phone. I had a blast. I didni't have to travel to Buffalo, and I enjoyed it and felt comraderie with Tony.
7. Use Wikis to engage dialogue
8. Use teleconferencing to bring in conversations with people around the world
9. If you can't find a book on a topic, that means your class it breaking new ground. Treat it like a film festival and bring people involved in those organizations or those films into your class via all of the above--see if your school can get them some minimal honoraria or trade them something.
10. Be optimistic, have fun, let go of old assumptions, invent new ways to invite students into the field through engagement.
All for now--good luck. Pedagogy is changing, and it's really been an eye opener for me. We no longer need to wait for books to be available, since most books now don't fit most film classes, they are monographs.
Thanks, Tony, for making me think.
Patricia R. Zimmermann, Ph.D.
Professor, Cinema, Photography and Media Arts
Roy H. Park School of Communications
Codirector, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies
953 Danby Road
Ithaca, New York 14850 USA
Office: +1 (607) 274 3431
FAX: +1 (607) 274 7078
---- Original message ----
>Date: Sun, 6 Dec 2009 16:35:17 -0500
>From: Experimental Film Discussion List <email suppressed>)
>Subject: Re: looking for good intro text
>To: email suppressed
>You will probably not like this message.
>But yesterday I received my copy of a new Taschen book, Art Cinema
>(9783822835944), that takes a swipe at the huge project of connecting cinema, in
>its origins and full sweep as art, with the contemporary art media. In it you
>will find Bresson, Pipilotti Rist, Aernout Mik, Len Lye, Muehl, Sharits, Arrabal,
>Tracey Moffatt, Dreyer, Greenaway, etc. etc. (but no community-based video at
>all). Of course this book is a failure, but it connects viscerally with things
>students are interested in (sex, surrealism, movies), and is loaded with pix and
>lite on text. In fact, I will consider it as a textbook for certain of my own
>That said, my experience has been that students don't buy books any more,
>especially big beautiful picture books--- however useful. I used Michael Rush's
>book Video Art as a text, and I felt that nobody in the class owned or really
>read it very much. The fact is that students will access a compilation of
>websites more readily than they will use reserve texts at the library, even when
>in the library itself. The only books that average students regularly acquire are
>"textbooks" they are required to swallow page by page, in business, science, and
>pre-med courses. Except among over-achievers, books are over.
>On Sun 12/06/09 10:22 AM , Mark Webber email suppressed sent:
>> this sounds something like a book i've been working on for a few
>> years, and i'm afraid it is still a few years away.
>> my project is an oral history of the development of 'avant-garde' film
>> from the 50s to the 70s, predominantly covering the US situation,
>> which will be told in the words of those directly involved. it is more
>> of a social / cultural history of the ways in which the films were
>> made, shown, distributed and discussed rather than a study of the
>> films themselves.
>> i've conducted 70-80 new interviews to date. eventually, copies of the
>> complete interview transcripts and recordings (many of which are 3-4
>> hours long) will be deposited at archives in new york and london,
>> where they will be available for other researchers.
>> details below of a related (free) event in new york this evening. (not
>> sure if it's just me, but i didn't receive part 1 of the this weeks
>> UNDERGROUND NEW YORK
>> New York Gershwin Hotel
>> Sunday 6 December 2009, at 7:30pm
>> In the 1960s, filmmakers investigated new forms of production in
>> dialogue with radical shifts in art, music, performance and popular
>> culture. Following the example of the Beats, the counterculture was
>> alive with protest, freedom of expression and the breaking of taboos,
>> and from the Film-Makersâ�� Coop to Andy Warholâ��s Factory,
>> portable 16mm cameras were bringing a whole new way of seeing to the cinema
>> These heady days of â��underground filmâ�� were captured by
>> Gideon Bachmann in a spirited broadcast for German television. Rarely seen
>> today, it is one of the few surviving documents to show aspects of New
>> Yorkâ��s independent film community during this exhilarating
>> UNDERGROUND NEW YORK (PROTEST WOFÃ�R)
>> Gideon Bachmann, 1967, black & white, sound, 51 minutes
>> Shirley Clarke grows carrots on top of the Chelsea Hotel and meets
>> Jonas Mekas and Michelangelo Antonioni at the Film-Makersâ��
>> Distribution Center. Allen Ginsberg, Susan Sontag and Tuli Kupferberg
>> protest for peace before being shipped off to the Department of
>> Correction. USCO freak out in their intermedia church and Maurice Amar
>> stages a happening at the Movie Subscription Group. Gideon Bachmann
>> goes on location with Adolfas Mekas in New Jersey, George Kuchar in
>> the Bronx, and Carl Linder in his bedroom. Bruce Conner dances in a
>> diner, and Andy Warhol fakes it for television.
>> Presented by Mark Webber, the Gershwinâ��s outgoing artist in
>> residence, who is currently researching an oral history of avant-garde cinema
>> from the 1950s through the 1970s. Some of those interviewed for the
>> project will be present.
>> Free Admission.
>> Arrive 7:30pm. Screening 8pm.
>> The Gershwin Hotel
>> 7 East 27 Street (between 5th & Madison)
>> New York, NY 10016.
>> Subways: R, W, 6 at 28 St or F, V at 23 St.
>> On 4 Dec 2009, at 09:02, FRAMEWORKS automatic digest system wrote:
>> > Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 19:25:44
>> -0800> From: Bernard Roddy OO.COM>> Subject: looking for good intro text
>> > Greetings, frameworkers:
>> > Can anyone think of an introductory text that
>> combines a history of > experimental film and video IN THE U.S. with a
>> strong discussion of > the history of artists' organizing, writing, and
>> distribution IN THE > US?
>> > For Great Britain there's David Curtis' A
>> History of Artists' Film > and Video in Britain. This has the distinct
>> advantage of combining > film and video art criticism with strong (and
>> introductory) writing > about the social history behind production,
>> distribution, and > critical reception. It includes discussion of
>> "little magazines," > the "schooling" of film artists,
>> institutional support for artists' > work in film such as the Experimental
>> and the Arts > Council, as well as issues motivating and
>> confronting artists' > organizations like the London Filmmakers'
>> > I'd love to find something like this for the
>> U.S. It would include > a history of things like Canyon Cinema and the
>> Film-Makers' Co-op, > Cinema 16 and Anthology Film Archives, in
>> addition to offering a > critical context for student work.
>> > Thanks in advance.
>> > Bernie
>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at om>.
>For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.