Shelley Green: Radical Juxtaposition: The Films of Yvonne Rainer (1994)

31 August 2015, dusan

“This volume examines the work of one of the central figures of the avant-garde from her first feature-length film in 1972, Lives of Performers, through Film About a Woman Who… (1974), Kristina Talking Pictures (1976), Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1980), The Man Who Envied Women (1985), to Privilege (1990). The comprehensive study surveys critical reaction and includes Rainer’s critical writings, photos, full biographical information, a complete filmography and bibliography.

The book also investigates dominant structural elements which enliven Rainer’s filmic texts: her complex and disjunctive use of language, speech, repetition, interpolated texts, fragmentation, self-conscious camera movement, autobiography and the formulation of alternative narrative codes. A focal point is the unique relationship established between the filmmaker and the spectator.

Rainer’s narrative strategies have been considered in a radical political context; the author specifically analyzes Rainer’s aggressive reexamination of form as it contributes to the politics of the personal and the political. Resonances created in complex construction of sound, image, editing, characterization, camera movement, and the obliteration and calculated reevaluation of these techniques often directly lead to a new construction of the female subject as well as the female spectator. By creating a cinema that may both construct and include its audience, Rainer’s work has vast implications. The author develops this significant aspect and addresses issues of race, age, and class, especially in later films.” (from the back cover)

Publisher Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, N.J., 1994
The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series, 41
ISBN 0810828634, 9780810828636
174 pages

Commentary: Strictly Film School (2005).


PDF (20 MB, no OCR)

See also Rainer’s films on UbuWeb.

Susanne Knaller (ed.): Realität und Wirklichkeit in der Moderne. Texte zu Literatur, Kunst, Fotografie und Film (2013) [German]

1 August 2015, dusan

An online anthology of 78 theoretical and philosophical texts from the last two centuries presenting a range of conceptions of the reality, in particular exploring the ambiguity of the German notions of Realität and Wirklichkeit. The website also allows reading of the texts through occurrences of 40 selected concepts.

Maintained by Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
Open Access

Texts (HTML)

Kristin Romberg: Aleksei Gan’s Constructivism, 1917-1928 (2010)

31 July 2015, dusan

“This is the first monograph about the Russian constructivist Aleksei Gan (1887-1942) and an experiment in the formal analysis of a materialist practice.

Best known as co-founder of the First Working Group of Constructivists and author of the group’s agitational and theoretical texts, Gan’s own oeuvre was comprised of amateur performances and mass-media objects (texts, books, journals, and films). This dissertation shows that the same qualities of ephemerality and dependency that make Gan’s work resistant to art-historical analysis were also what made it representative of constructivism’s ambitions for a materialist approach to art. In exploring these forms, Gan redefined the ‘work of art’ as a labor process through which the material world, human beings, and normative (common or social) frameworks simultaneously produced one another. The result was an alternative modernism, what I call an aesthetics of embeddedness, whose objects were extensive and responsive structures designed to permeate and shape their environment. Through close readings, the dissertation redefines art-historical concepts such as style and medium in ways specific to Gan’s historical moment, also examining them as manifestations of tensions in the early Soviet imagination. Most crucially these involve the cult of labor, the politics of group formation, and the power of the mass media to mold the normative frameworks governing social reality.

Chapter 1 reevaluates the origins of Russian constructivism by examining Gan’s early career in cultural and political enlightenment organizations, particularly his work in amateur theater and as a ‘constructor of mass action’. Chapter 2 focuses on the crystallization of constructivism as a movement and aesthetic theory in 1921. Chapter 3 looks closely at Gan’s book Constructivism (1922), developing an understanding of constructivism based on a typographic rather than sculptural model of material making. Chapters 4 and 5 examine Gan’s journal projects in terms of architecture and cinema, defining a set of constructive paradigms that run throughout Gan’s work. Finally, chapter 6 treats Gan’s work as a filmmaker in relation to contemporary efforts to rationalize artistic labor.” (Abstract)

Ph.D. Dissertation
Columbia University, New York, 2010
576 pages


PDF (24 MB, illustrations missing)

More on Gan, incl. translated extracts from his 1922 Konstruktivizm

Harun Farocki: Nachdruck / Imprint – Texte / Writings [DE/EN] (2001)

30 July 2015, dusan

“This book brings together a selection of writings produced by Harun Farocki between 1977 and 1999. They provide an insight into Farocki’s filmic work and its underlying querying of the status, production, and perception of images conveyed technically and through media. As a critical observer of political and cultural events, Farocki reveals the images’ hidden content in his films and writings, freeing them from the detritus of the encoding with which they have been covered in the course of their development, their use in various media and subsequent reception. Farocki’s deconstructive reflections establish new standards not only for the aesthetics of film but for visual art as well.”

Published on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition of Harun Farocki at the Westfälischer Kunstverein and Filmclub Münster, June-August 2001.

Edited by Susanne Gaensheimer and Nicolaus Schafhausen
Introduction by Volker Pantenburg
English translation by Laurent Faasch-Ibrahim
Publisher Lukas & Sternberg, New York, and Vorwerk 8, Berlin, 2001
ISBN 393091641X, 9783930916412
323 pages
via niccadena


PDF (45 MB)

More from/on Farocki

William C. Wees: Recycled Images: The Art and Politics of Found Footage Films (1993)

28 July 2015, dusan

An important film-theoretical work, especially significant for its attempt to delimit the phenomenon of found footage film.

Includes condensed commentary from author’s 1991 informal interviews with North American filmmakers who have made extensive use of found footage: Craig Baldwin, Abigail Child, Bruce Conner, David Rimmer, Keith Sanborn, Chick Strand, and Leslie Thornton.

Published in conjuction with the Anthology Film Archives’ May 1993 survey of found footage and collage films.

Publisher Anthology Film Archives, New York City, 1993
ISBN 0911689192, 9780911689198
117 pages
via Alex Costa

Commentary: Pierre Rannou (Esse, 2008).


PDF (32 MB)

Recent comments
Recent entries
More resources