Re: [Frameworks] Fluid Criticism (was Open Litter)

From: Steve Polta (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Aug 02 2010 - 11:01:28 PDT

"What is the prize in avant-garde film?"

Fred Camper's rhetorical question about the various perceptions of the critic's role reminds me of a recent piece by Kathryn Ramey, published in/on Jump Cut just recently on the "survival strategies" of avant-garde filmmakers. Citing Todd Bayma and Pierre Bourdieu, Ramey discusses "symbolic capital" (along with disavowal of "standard social criteria for success") as an important motivator to many contemporary filmmakers. In her piece, "symbolic capital" translates roughly as fame and/or recognition, specifically within the community in question.
If you care to, read it here:

I dunno. Maybe this influences some/maybe not. But interesting to read and think about...

Steve Polta

All of these arguments take on a particular coloring in our list's 
rather small world, in which, as far as I know, not one avant-garde 
filmmaker has ever been able to make a living from making films. This 
is not like the art world where, while most artists can't make a 
living at it, some can, and a few get wealthy. What is the prize in 
avant-garde film? Some festival shows? A tenured teaching post? I 
guess it's natural to crave recognition, but in my own professional 
life in this field, I have heard much more anger at lack of 
recognition (sometimes accompanied by absurd conspiracy theories) than 
the agonized wondering that I would like to think is more the mark of 
a genuine artist (albeit often only early on): "Is my work any good? 
Is my work getting better? Are these films adding something to the 
discourse? How can I break through to something grater?"

It's worth remembering that Hollis Frampton began making films in 
1962. The first film he would ever show was from 1966.

Fred Camper

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