Re: [Frameworks] Experimental Documentary

From: Jason Halprin (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Jul 19 2010 - 06:35:50 PDT

quoting Marilyn Brakhage

"Perhaps Christopher needs to tell us more about the intended purpose
of his class: a history of formal inventiveness in non-narrative
filmmaking? Unusual personal approaches to the the presentation of
some perceived aspects of "reality"? Self-reflexive documentaries
that are honest, also, about their subjectivity? Or simply any
strong individual works of a non-fiction sort. . . . But presumably
he is using the words, or "names," "experimental" and "documentary" to
define SOMETHING that he is trying to construct a course around."

I would second this! I've just been able to catch up to this thread, and the
whole time I am thinking about the numerous conversations I have had with
students about whether something is "Documentary," or "Experimental," or
"avant-garde," or even an "experimental Documentary" vs.

I by no means anti-genre, I think it can be a useful idea for both the audience
and the artist. If a course is being taught that offers students a definition of
what it is for a film to be an Experimenal-Documentary (and it seems many of us
have our own definition...supported or not, correct or not...if that's even
possible), and then provides them with the opportunity to view films that don't
quite fit the definition, IMO that would be best. Through that sort of endeavor
an engaged student would be forced to define the genre themselves, and have to
deal with the messy task of cataloging the world into neat bundles.

On of the things that continually excites me about media art is that a common
lexicon of expression exists throughout most works. but makers can construct a
message that is unintelligible by changing the structure and syntax. Clear
boundary lines do not exist between Narrative, Documentary, and Experimental
film. And teaching that to young artists should be a primary goal!

-Jason Halprin


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