Guy's shirt

From: David Woods (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Jan 23 2010 - 05:05:51 PST

 I'm looking forward to catching Guy's SHIRT FILM SERIES, lovely 100' Bolex
cloth studies, on the coat-tails of which many a good film has been


Dr. Woods


-----Original Message-----

From: email suppressed] On
Behalf Of Secret Cinema

Sent: 23 January 2010 09:54

To: Secret Cinema

Subject: [secretcinema] Histories of the Avant-Garde 3, 26 January 2010



London Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

Tuesday 26 January 2010, at 8pm




Close-Up and The Dog Movement present a chance to see one of Brakhage’s most
important sound films for the first time in London alongside Guy Sherwin’s
‘optical sound’ film MUSICAL STAIRS.


Parts 1 and 2 of "Histories of the Avant-Garde" looked at the resolutely,
intensely silent Brakhage film RIDDLE OF LUMEN and Guy Sherwin’s SHIRT FILM
SERIES. Part 3 enters the world of sound with these two filmmakers and also
looks forward to Part 4 in February, which will be examining music’s
manifold relationship to film with five American masters.


Brakhage’s relationship to sound was complex. It took an almost indirect
collaboration with the composer Phillip Corner to fulfill Brakhage’s desire
for a way of giving equal importance to music and image whilst keeping them
parallel, distinct experiences. Long passages of black with Corner’s music
are cut with silent flashes of colour photography culled from Brakhage’s
‘rejected’ footage.

Meditative and demanding but ultimately one of Brakhage’s most rewarding


Sherwin’s MUSICAL STAIRS has a method of production and structure that could
be seen in opposition to PASSAGE THROUGH: A RITUAL. Image is physically
printed on to the optical sound track to create an seemingly absolute
synthesis of sound and image.



Stan Brakhage, USA, 1990, 16mm, colour, sound, 50 min


"In his development of myriad radical cinematic languages over his long
filmmaking career, Stan Brakhage frequently promoted a profound aesthetics
which often positioned intense silences as ground for his complex and subtle
visual compositions. In his interest in non-verbal expression, he was
greatly inspired by music and his rare forays into sound filmmaking stand as
some of the most unique sound/image statements in the history of cinema."
(Steve Polta of the San Francisco Cinematheque)


"When I received the tape of Phillip Corner’s "Through the Mysterious
Barricade, Lumen I (after F. Couperin)" he included a note that thanked me
for my film THE RIDDLE OF LUMEN he’d just seen and which had in some way
inspired this music. I, in turn, was so moved by the tape he sent I
immediately asked his permission to 'set it to film'.

It required the most exacting editing process ever, and in the course of
that work it occurred to me that I’d originally made THE RIDDLE OF LUMEN
hoping someone would make an ‘answering’ film and entertain my visual riddle
in the manner of the riddling poets of yore. I most expected Hollis Frampton
(because of ZORN'S LEMMA) to pick up the challenge, but he never did. In
some sense I think composer Corner has, and now we have this dance of
riddles as music and film combine to make ‘passage’, in every sense of the
word, further possible. (To be absolutely ‘true to’ the ritual of this
passage, the two reels of the film should be shown on one projector, taking
the normal amount of time, without rewinding reel 1 or showing the finish or
start leaders of either - especially without changing the sound dials -
between reels.)" (Stan Brakhage)



Guy Sherwin, UK, 1977, 16mm, b/w, sound, 9 min


"One of a series of films that uses soundtracks generated directly from
their own imagery. I shot the images of a staircase specifically for the
range of sounds they would produce. I used a fixed lens to film from a fixed
position at the bottom of the stairs. Tilting the camera up increases the
number of steps that are included in the frame. The more steps that are
included the higher the pitch of sound.

A simple procedure gave rise to a musical scale (in eleven steps which is
based on the laws of visual perspective. A range of volume is introduced by
varying the exposure. The darker the image the louder the sound (it can be
the other way round, but MUSICAL STAIRS uses a soundtrack made from the
negative of the image.) The fact that the staircase is neither a synthetic
image, nor a particularly clean one (there happened to be leaves on the
stairs when I shot the film) means that the sound is not pure, but dense
with strange harmonics." (Guy






Bethnal Green Working Men's Club

44-46 Pollard Row, London, E2 6NB

Nearest Tube / Train: Bethnal Green


Tickets: £5 / £3 Close-Up members

Telephone: 020 7739 7170






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