Re: Research question

From: Fred Camper (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 20 2010 - 13:03:10 PST

Quoting Roger Beebe <email suppressed>:

> ...That resistance in the material is one of the main reasons I've
> been so obstinate about working with (and presenting)
> celluloid-based work....the constraint is built into the materials...

Yes, and while "expanded cinema" had and has its own possibilities, I
was always a little suspicious of the idea that more images, bigger
screens, a dome full of images, was inherently "better." For me one
key limit is tjat pf the frameline itself, whereby the filmmaker (or
still photographer) makes a selection of what to include. and how to
compose it.

Jonas Mekas gave a GREAT talk a few decades ago that was a little
history of how technical problems in the filmmaking process led to
aesthetic advances. I wish I could remember most of his examples.
Someone should get him to restate it, if it's not already recorded
somewhere. One example, whether or not he included I don't know, was
Stan Brakhage's discovery while working on "23rd Psalm Branch" that
different standard-8 cameras and footage had framelines in different
position, something he was at first frustrated about and then began to
incorporate into the film's aesthetic. Warhol, of course, worked with
the limitations of whatever camera system he was using, which often
included "mistakes" like those Auricon sound on film "cuts." And
Mekas's final example was from his own practice: using a camera that
had malfunctioned so that it would only record short bursts, he
discovered that he liked those bursts better than what he had been
shooting, leading to his "mature" style.

There are many related examples in the sciences, in which the truly
brilliant scientist, noticing something that others had seen before
and regarded as a mistake, investigated this unexpected result.
Alexander Fleming's discovery of Penicillin is the most famous
example. The discoverers of the 3 degree K background radiation, the
cosmic glow from near the time of the Big Bang that still suffuses the
universe, struggled with this "noise" that was ruining their
measurements for over a year before finding out what it actually is.

Fred Camper

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