Re: [Frameworks] media in the classroom, was UbuWeb...HACKED!

From: John Matturri (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Oct 16 2010 - 19:30:59 PDT

  Projection is as big a problem as budget (although once video and dvd
came in that totally disappeared). I teach in a college that had an
excellent film library with a reasonable representation of a-g films,
but as the school started to shift towards smart classrooms availability
of the library became questionable. I've made special arrangements to
have a special space where I could screen, for example, Wavelength (in a
print gone badly magenta) in the past but this has become increasingly
impossible. The school has in fact given away -- to a worthy institution
at least -- much of the collection. Teaching film through the philosophy
department is a special problem and in many semesters I've had to fight
to get the class moved to a classroom that can be made even minimally
dark. No way that I am going to buy, bring to campus and maintain a
projector and no way can I rent films from the Co-op or Canyon from my
own pocket. I've never shown anything from Ubu, although I have pointed
it out to students as a resource, but without dvds the presentation of
film history in my classes would be sadly distorted by the absence of
a-g film. In fact in many semesters films that really should be shown
can't be because of lack of availability.

It would be great if good prints could be well projected in classrooms
but it just isn't going to happen at this point. But if non-optimal
projection isn't accepted a-g film will end up with an even more
marginal audience and be largely be absent from the awareness of even
what seems to be an ever-decreasing number of students who are seriously
interested in any film.


On 10/16/10 12:09 PM, Beth Capper wrote:
> And, on the same note.. I have advocated for a substantial budget for
> the graduate school film series - we've brought films in from Canyon
> et al, and even shipped some over from Vienna. In many ways the
> students have more power than the teachers in getting more money for
> such things from the administration, at least in a private
> institution, and an instructional tool for me in deciding what to
> show/where to rent from etc has been Ubuweb.
> On Sat, Oct 16, 2010 at 10:15 AM, email suppressed
> <mailto:email suppressed
> <mailto:email suppressed>> wrote:
> I agree with much of what Jeanne says.
> In the college where I teach (UCA, Maidstone, Kent, UK), I hire
> from LUX every year a handful of films that absolutely must be
> seen on film, or are otherwise unavailable in decent copies;
> Wavelength (or occasionally Central Region or So is This), Arnulf
> Rainer, Raygun Virus, Mothlight, Angles of Incidence by William
> Raban. We still have several 16mm projectors, including a xenon
> Elf Light, and the students still do a Bolex project, so they
> understand the difference between video and film. I supplement the
> films with DVDs, either personal copies or ones that the excellent
> library buys from the usual legitimate sources.
> This way around thirty students every year get to see some
> essential work, and understand, through direct comparison, that
> DVDs are not the films they are copies of. The LUX get some rental
> income (the films are not cheap to hire) and some filmmakers get
> some royalties. I agree, as below, that use of DVDs does not
> deprive filmmakers of potential royalties, because my department
> could not afford to hire all the films I'd like to show, so if I
> didn't show DVDs the students wouldn't see anything other than the
> few films I hire, at least not in my seminar.
> Re "2' below:
>> Schools don't own working 16mm projectors. If you ask
>> the Media Services department to provide one, they'll tell
>> you they
>> can't support a technology with so narrow a user base
>> (because it's
>> really just you).
> The unavailability of a 16mm projector should not be a barrier to
> showing films. Go out and buy one: they're cheap!
> Re "4", below:
> "The professors do not define their own jobs,
> create their own parameters of judgement. The institution does"
> I find this a spurious distinction: professors are the
> Institution, in part. I, for one, write courses which I teach, and
> for which, therefore, I decide the content. How could it be
> otherwise, unless you're teaching in a department where you've
> been hired on the basis of having certain expertise, but to which
> the "Institution" is hostile?
>> Believe me, if Young Film Professor goes
>> into a review with the Dean or the T&P committee, and they
>> ask, "and
>> what have you accomplished" and YFP says "well, I've helped
>> support
>> film artists by consistently renting films from Canyon and FMC!"
>> they're gonna say, "Uh, supporting artists is not your job.
>> You're
>> supposed to be getting the best learning results from your
>> students."
>> And of course, in that, they would be right.
> This is perverse! That's not what they say, surely! They ARE
> supporting students, first and foremost, and would say so, I
> imagine, unless they have a death wish. The benefits to renters
> and filmmakers is a happy by-product of that primary purpose.
> Nicky Hamlyn.
> On 16 Oct 2010, at 15:00, jeanne LIOTTA wrote:
>> wow that is a compelling narrative, erp!
>> I cant speak about how it was in the old days, as I've only been
>> teaching for just over a decade. But reading David's story led me
>> to consider my experience at each place I've taught and ways of
>> using and showing various media in the classroom. Sometimes
>> there's a budget, much not much of one. Sometimes there's a
>> library with film titles though it usually stops around 1979.
>> Sometimes there's an awesome local dvd-video store with a crazy
>> collection. There's one's own collection often acquired by trades
>> with other makers, and there's the internet with all its
>> multiplicity of media sproutings. Personally I use them all, in
>> more or less equal measures, and have to assume that is probably
>> true for everyone, right?.
>> I generally don't find it debilitating nor do I feel compromised;
>> I think its the way we work now in the present moment, as artists
>> as well as educators, it's part of what media literacy actually
>> means I think, and students, especially makers, seem to
>> appreciate all the discriminations between how something is made,
>> and how we are able to view it with all the twists in between,
>> from aesthetic traditions to financial histories. maybe this is
>> all very obvious though.
>> On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 9:30 PM, David Tetzlaff
>> <email suppressed>> wrote:
>> On Oct 15, 2010, at 12:43 PM, Steve Polta wrote:
>> > It is my understanding that the advent of exp. film on DVD
>> (e.g.
>> > Brakhage) has negatively impacted the film co-ops'
>> circulation of
>> > work, presumably due to schools' use of DVD in the classroom as
>> > opposed to renting films.
>> All I want for Christmas is for this cannard to die. At least
>> Steve
>> tempers his statement with the qualifiers "my understanding" and
>> "presumably," gaining some distance from Scott MacDonald's
>> screeds
>> about how the evil professors are destroying film art by not
>> renting
>> from the co-ops, not projecting real _film_, yada yada yada.
>> If only
>> the professoriat actually had the power to decide the fate of the
>> artform, for good or ill.
>> Let me explain one more time (please please please let it be
>> the last)
>> how this actually works.
>> The reason teachers use DVDs in the classroom is because film
>> projection has become impractical for all but the big
>> programs and the
>> superstar professors who get special treatment from the
>> powers that be.
>> 1. Most film faculty are on the low rung of the academic
>> totem pole.
>> They don't get budgets for film rentals, and they have too
>> many other
>> problems to spend what little political capital they have to
>> fight the
>> administration in an attempt to get a rental budget. Unless
>> they can
>> get the library to buy it, they can't show it. And the
>> library will
>> buy a video if you ask them nice.
>> 2. In the 'old days' every academic institution had extensive
>> support
>> for 16mm projection as a general educational tool. That
>> support is now
>> TOTALLY gone. Schools don't own working 16mm projectors. If
>> you ask
>> the Media Services department to provide one, they'll tell
>> you they
>> can't support a technology with so narrow a user base
>> (because it's
>> really just you). If you dig up an old projector, there's not
>> just no
>> one on campus who can do maintenance on it, there's no one on
>> campus
>> who has any idea where to go to get maintenance on it. On the
>> other
>> hand, you can get the school to spend a bucketload on a nice
>> video
>> projector for the auditorium because it's 'sexy' new
>> technology that
>> will impress everybody and lots of people will want to use.
>> 3. At the risk of stating the obvious, film professors are in the
>> business of having students study moving-image art works,
>> their duty
>> is to maximize learning, get the students to write better
>> papers. And
>> the majority of things the majority of professors want
>> students to
>> think about are a) as much present in a decent video copy as
>> in a film
>> print b) easier to unpack and yield to inquiry with repeated
>> viewing
>> of key segments -- which, of course, can be easily done with
>> videos
>> but not with film prints.
>> 4. To be blunt, film faculty are mostly academic grunts,
>> proles in
>> masquerade, with more independence than workers on an auto
>> assembly
>> line perhaps, but still relatively powerless and subject to the
>> dictates of their bosses. The professors do not define their
>> own jobs,
>> create their own parameters of judgement. The institution
>> does. Like
>> any worker, when faculty deviate from the prevailing dictates
>> they put
>> their livelihoods in peril. Believe me, if Young Film
>> Professor goes
>> into a review with the Dean or the T&P committee, and they
>> ask, "and
>> what have you accomplished" and YFP says "well, I've helped
>> support
>> film artists by consistently renting films from Canyon and FMC!"
>> they're gonna say, "Uh, supporting artists is not your job.
>> You're
>> supposed to be getting the best learning results from your
>> students."
>> And of course, in that, they would be right.
>> So if you want to show real films, first you have to scrape
>> up some
>> money for rentals, which, if even possible, means you
>> probably have to
>> sacrifice something else really important. Then you have to
>> find a
>> projector - which you'll probably have to buy on eBay with
>> your own
>> money, not that that's a big deal. Then you have to figure
>> out to work
>> the projector, since no one else on campus knows hows and as
>> a YFP you
>> saw lots of real films in grad school but you never actually
>> touched a
>> projector. So then you thread up that print from FMC on your
>> second-
>> hand Eiki that isn't really lubed and adjusted quite right,
>> and you
>> discover the print is pretty much of a mess, with
>> half-a-dozen tape
>> splices that are pulling apart (and were made sloppily to
>> begin with).
>> So the film breaks and/or jumps out of the path, and starts
>> piling up
>> on the not very clean floor. And you have no idea where
>> you're going
>> to get the funds to replace the print without your department
>> chair or
>> the Dean catching on.
>> Now I'm not a YFP. I'm an old geezer, I come out of a production
>> background from back in the day when we shot film and
>> projected it
>> ourselves all the time. I even had a campus job as a classroom
>> projectionist when I was a freshman. And I'm a gearhead,
>> tinkerer, DIY
>> kinda guy besides. I can disassemble a Filmo and put it back
>> together.
>> I've made hundreds and hundreds of tape splices in my day,
>> and I know
>> how to fix a bad one. And I've still gone through pretty much the
>> exact scenario described in the last paragraph. And it
>> totally freaked
>> me out. And since i know more about what I'm doing with film
>> equipment
>> than even most old geezer faculty, I have no clue how any YFP
>> could be
>> expected to handle something like that.
>> So basically, unless you were hired explicitly with teaching and
>> writing about experimental film as a central aspect of your
>> brief,
>> making the expenditures involved in showing real films, in
>> terms of
>> its consumption of your operating budget, in terms of its
>> demands on
>> your time, in terms of its threat to your fragile sanity --
>> amounts
>> not just to impracticality but a dereliction of your duties
>> to your
>> students and the intellectual substance of your field.
>> Now, this is a relatively recent development, a corollary of
>> the death
>> of 16mm as an 'AV' staple used to deliver educational
>> materials. Not
>> that long ago, things were very different. We are talking about a
>> major technological shift here, against which the mere wills of
>> faculty one way or the other are essentially trivial. The
>> coops will
>> change or die, because their operating model is dependent on the
>> existence of a customer base of a certain size being capable of
>> projecting 16mm as a matter of routine. That particular
>> critical mass
>> is gone, and what is left will only continue to shrink. They
>> don't
>> make projectors anymore. It's hard to get parts. People aren't
>> training to become projector techs, because it's not exactly
>> a good
>> career move.
>> Am I happy about any of this? Not at all. You can take my
>> Pageant when
>> you pry it out of my cold dead fingers (not that I have
>> anything to
>> show on it...but...) In case anyone is wondering what I did in my
>> experimental film class... I did not do the prudent thing,
>> which would
>> have been to schedule all of our screenings out of titles
>> available on
>> video, and add something like an excursion to Anthology to
>> provide at
>> least one 'genuine film' experience for the students. Instead, I
>> decided to show what I really wanted to show, and I used
>> video if a
>> good copy was available (the Fantoma Anger discs, for
>> example), and
>> rented prints if not ('Chronic' for example, and of course
>> 'Christmas
>> on Earth'). This amounted to maybe 60-40. I had the luxury of
>> having a
>> pretty healthy budget for the production side of the program that
>> allowed me to scrimp enough to fund the print rentals, and
>> also the
>> 'luxury' of not having to worry about the Dean, since he
>> already had
>> no use for me or the Film Program anyway. So I busted my ass
>> to keep
>> the projectors running, upgrade the projection, do all the
>> paperwork
>> for the rentals (no secretarial support, nada), arrange to
>> bring in
>> some guest makers... I put twice he effort into that class
>> than any of
>> my other courses, not that I cut corners there. I just worked
>> harder,
>> at the expense of increasing stress on my out-of-school
>> existence.
>> Which contributed to the burnout/breakdown that ultimately
>> led to the
>> loss of my position and what is most likely the end of my
>> career. So
>> if you wanna get into pious blame-the-professors crap with
>> me, you had
>> better have an asbestos cover for your tuchus.
>> _______________________________________________
>> FrameWorks mailing list
>> email suppressed
>> <mailto:email suppressed>
>> --
>> <>
>> _______________________________________________
>> FrameWorks mailing list
>> email suppressed
>> <mailto:email suppressed>
> email suppressed>
> _______________________________________________
> FrameWorks mailing list
> email suppressed>
> _______________________________________________
> FrameWorks mailing list
> email suppressed

FrameWorks mailing list
email suppressed