Re: [Frameworks] Film and video

From: Fred Camper <>
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2011 10:52:45 -0500

Anna, I appreciate that you just want to get along, want to discuss
film, etc. If so, though, you'll want to avoid personalizing the
discussion with phrases such as "Fred's fantasy life."

In my experience on FrameWorks, when debates devolve into issues of
personal misunderstandings, dictionary definitions, etc., almost no
one is interested anymore. If you think we don't disagree about
cinema, fine. I personally think the only reasonable reading of your
use of the word "ugly" in conjunction with super-8 projection as an
evaluation of my stated preference, for a particular film, for dimmer
super-8 over video. You don't think that's what you meant? Fine, but
it was written in immediate response, it seems, to my post, so trying
to be clearer in the future would help.

You wrote: "I know that some people do make such distinctions - that
clear is always better than blurry, beautiful is always better than
ugly, coherent is always better than incoherent, tonal music is better
than banging on a trash can, etc. But I'm certainly not one of them."
But your list already has biases in it with respect to the kinds of
distinctions we have been arguing, or so it seems to me. I didn't
introduce the word "ugly" into this discussion. I didn't object to
showing facial blemishes. My oppositions were not between "beautiful"
and "ugly," but sharp and less sharp, bright and less bright, showing
blemishes and not, and so on, and I don't value any of these over any
other. You, it seemed to me, translated those into "beautiful" and
"ugly." "Ugly" is generally understood as a strongly evaluative term.

Few would defend "incoherence" in film, stated that bluntly. I would
generally use it as a criticism: "As far as I could tell, your film
was incoherent." In avant-garde film, the operative oppositions for
great films might be between different kinds of coherence, such as
between rather obvious "coherence" and films that might seem
"incoherent" at first but really are deeply organized and expressiv;
between, say, films by Jordan Belson and Christopher Maclaine. And I
might suggest that a more interesting and also more obvious opposite
of tonal music than "banging on a trash can" (not, in your
nomenclature, I note, simply "banging on a can," which would echo the
title of a well known new music festival) is atonal music, as in
Schoenberg, Webern, Hauer, Babbitt, and many others, music that is
often called "incoherent," and that can seem that way on first
hearing, but is anything but.

Fred Camper

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Received on Sun Aug 28 2011 - 08:53:01 CDT