Re: [Frameworks] Research into Experimental Film and Video

From: Kevin Timmins <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 02:42:58 +0100

Thanks, all this is very, very useful indeed!
I completely agree with the need to see as many films/videos as possible. As with any other type of visual art, first hand experience of material is much better than relying on here-say and other writers opinions alone. This approach is itself a method, possibly the most important method to any art historian. However I have to say with such a fractured field I am at this point looking to a few key texts that will give me a good bearing on which to expand (and I welcome the brilliant suggestions so far). I think it would also be a little foolish of me to 'blindly' watch experimental films willy nilly and expect to understand them. After all I am somewhat distanced from these films culturally and historically and some light reading might help contextualize things a bit :) Of course one approach could never tackle this vast field, It spreads itself over different avant-gardes and modernism's through different national contexts. Experimental film is and always will be ungraspable in the wider sense. It just a mess and trying to impose an approach on such a field to order it is really quite silly.
Please keep the suggestions rolling in, I have fond a copy of 'A History of Experimental Film and Video' on my old bookshelf which I will begin with!
Thanks againKevin
> Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 19:32:04 -0500
> From:
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Frameworks] Research into Experimental Film and Video
> I know you asked about books, but in my view any understanding of film
> must start with viewing many key films, many times, and on film if at
> all possible. Perhaps you have already done this, but I know of many
> students who spend more time reading about cinema than viewing it.
> There's a lot to be said for seeing key films three or six or ten
> times. There's a lot to be said for seeing everything you can by key
> filmmakers. The too-often-used approach of developing a sophisticated
> "methodology" and then applying it to films not seen very many times
> strikes me as highly dubious.
> I endorse all of Chucks' and David's suggestions, or at least, all of
> the ones that I know. The "Critical Cinema" volumes are especially
> useful because they are interviews with filmmakers. And, do not
> neglect other writings by filmmakers about their own filmmaking.
> Specifically: "Brakhage Scrapbook," with its very good selections, and
> all of "Metaphors on Vision" if you can get it; Kubelka's talks in the
> Avant-Garde Film Reader of Theory and Criticism (which Chuck mentions)
> and his interview in Film Culture (there's also one in one of the
> Critical Cinema volumes that's quite good); all of Robert Breer's
> "Film Culture" interviews, the great Film Culture interview with Ernie
> Gehr, Maya Deren's essays (and her statements in the "Poetry in Film"
> symposium published in "Film Culture").
> Each great filmmakers defines and uses cinema in a different way, so I
> don't think there's any one approach that works for all.
> Fred Camper
> Chicago
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Received on Tue Jul 19 2011 - 18:43:03 CDT