Experimental film

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Stan Brakhage, Metaphors on Vision, 1963. Download.
Sheldon Renan, An Introduction to the American Underground Film, 1967. View online.
Gene Youngblood, Expanded Cinema, 1970. Download.
Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art, 1974. Download.
Peter Gidal (ed.), Structural Film Anthology, 1976. Download.
Film as Film: Formal Experiment in Film, 1910-1975, 1979. Download.
R. Bruce Elder, Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century, 2008. Download.
P. Adams Sitney, Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers and the Heritage of Emerson, 2008. Download.

Journals and Magazines

Catalogues and Brochures

  • Birgit Hein, Wulf Herzogenrath, Film als Film: 1910 bis heute, Cologne, 1977. (in German)
  • Film as Film: Formal Experiment in Film, 1910-1975, London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1979, 152 pp.
  • Dominique Noguez, Trente ans de cinéma expérimental en France, 1950-1980, Paris: A.R.C.E.F., 1982, 117 pp. (in French) [1]
  • Eugeni Bonet, Manuel Palacio (eds.), Practica Filmica y Vanguardia Artistica en Espana / The Avant-garde Film in Spain: 1925-1981, Madrid: Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1983. (in Spanish)
  • Miklós Peternák (ed.), Film / Művészet: A magyar kísérleti film története. Budapest, 1983. (in Hungarian)
  • Prosper Hillairet, Christian Lebrat, Patrice Rollet, Paris vu par le cinéma d'avant-garde (1923-1983), Paris: Paris expérimental, 1985. (in French) [2]
  • Paul de Mol, Nelly Voorhuis (eds.), Het Experiment in de Nederlandse Film, Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1985. (in Dutch)
  • David Schwartz (ed.), Independent America: New Film 1978-1988, New York: American Museum of the Moving Image, 1988, 93 pp.
  • Gerald O’Grady, Bruce Posner (eds.), Articulated Light: The Emergence of Abstract Film in America, Boston: Harvard Film Archive & Anthology Film Archives, 1995, 16 pp.
  • Shoot Shoot Shoot: The First Decade of the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative and British Avant-Garde Film 1966-1976, London: Lux, 2002.
  • Gerda Cammaer (ed.), Placing spaces, spacing places: Canadian experimental films & videos of the 1990s, Halifax, N.S.: Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, 2003.
  • Esther Schlicht, Max Hollein (eds.), Zelluloid: Camera Less Film / Celluloid: Film ohne Kamera, Frankfurt: Schirn Kunsthalle, 2010. (in English/German)
  • Anna Abrahams, Claartje Opdam, Mariska Graveland, film3 [‘kju:bIk fIlm], Amsterdam: EYE Film Institute Netherlands & Amsterdam University Press, 2010, 390 pp. (in English/Dutch) [3]
  • Ana Janevski (ed.), As Soon as I Open My Eyes I See a Film: Experiment in the Art of Yugoslavia in the 1960s and 1970s, Warsaw: Museum of Modern Art, 2010.
  • Bojana Piškur, et al. (eds.), This Is All Film: Experimental Film in Yugoslavia 1951-1991 / Vse to je film: Eksperimentalni film v Jugoslaviji 1951-1991, catalogue, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, 2010, 154 pp.
  • Bruno Di Marino, Marco Meneguzzo, Andrea La Porta (eds.), Lo sguardo espanso. Cinema d'artista italiano 1912-2012, Silvana Editoriale, 2012. (in Italian)
  • Susanne Pfeffer (ed.), You Killed Me First: The Cinema of Transgression, Berlin: KW Institute of Contemporary Art, and Cologne: Walther Konig, 2012. (in English/German)


  • Peter Gidal (ed.), Structural Film Anthology, London: British Film Institute, 1976.
  • P. Adams Sitney (ed.), The Avant-garde Film: A Reader of Theory and Criticism, New York: New York University Press, 1978. Contains the often-hard-to-find theoretical writings of experimental filmmakers, beginning in France in the 1920s and continuing internationally through the 1970s.
  • Miklós Peternák (ed.), F:I.L.M. A magyar avantgarde film története és dokumentumai, Budapest: Jelenkor, 1991. (in Hungarian)
  • Wheeler Winston-Dixon, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster (eds.), Experimental Cinema: The Film Reader, London and New York: Routledge, 2002. Covers the field of experimental and avant-garde cinema from the 1920s onward, concentrating on movements and varied key figures, with a concentration on issues such as gender, sexuality, and race, as well as the impact of technological innovation.
  • Jackie Hatfield (ed.), Experimental Film and Video: An Anthology, Eastleigh: John Libbey Pub., 2006.


  • Frank Stauffacher (ed.), Art in Cinema: A Symposium on the Avantgarde Film Together with Program Notes and References for Series one of Art in Cinema, San Francisco: Art in Cinema Society, 1947.
  • Roger Manvell, Experiment in the Film, London: Grey Walls Press, 1949.
  • Stan Brakhage, Metaphors on Vision, Film Culture, 1963. Edited with an Introduction by P. Adams Sitney.
  • Sheldon Renan, An Introduction to the American Underground Film, New York: Dutton, 1967.
  • Gene Youngblood, Expanded Cinema, New York: Dutton, 1970. With an introduction by R. Buckminster Fuller.
  • Parker Tyler, Underground Film: A Critical History New York: Grove Press, 1970.
  • Birgit Hein, Film im Underground. Von seinen Anfangen bis zum Unabhangigen Kino, Frankfurt/Berlin/Vienna: Ullstein, 1971. (in German)
  • David Curtis, Experimental Cinema: A Fifty Year Evolution, London, Studio Vista, 1971. [4]
  • Jonas Mekas, Movie Journal: The Rise of the New American Cinema, 1959-1971, New York: Macmillan, 1972, 434 pp. A collection of the columns written for the Village Voice beginning in 1958 under the title "Movie Journal" by a filmmaker who is also one of the founders of the journal Film Culture (1955–1996), the Film-Maker’s Co-op, and Anthology Film Archives.
  • Gottfried Schlemmer (ed.), Avantgardistischer Film 1951-1971, Theorie, Munich: Hanser, 1973. (in German)
  • Amos Vogel, Film as a Subversive Art, C. T. Editions, 1974. [5] [6]
  • Hans Scheugl, Ernst Schmidt jr., Eine Subgeschichte des Films. Lexikon des Avantgarde-, Experimental- und Undergroundfilms, Band 1 und 2, Frankurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1974. (in German)
  • Jean Mitry, Le Cinema Experimental: Histoire et Perspectives, Paris: Seghers, 1974. (in French)
    • Storia del cinema sperimentale, Clueb, 2006, 214 pp. (in Italian)
  • Stephen Dwoskin, Film is ...: The International Free Cinema, London: Owen, 1975.
  • P. Adams Sitney (ed.), The Essential Cinema: Essays on the Films in the Collection of Anthology Film Archives, New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1975. Essays by filmmakers and scholars of the avant-garde, written with a wide range of approaches ranging from the theoretical to the purely personal, intended to reinforce appreciation of the films chosen by the archive for inclusion in its Essential Cinema Collection.
  • Viktoria Hradská, Česká avantgarda a film, Prague: Čs. filmový ústav, 1976. (in Czech)
  • Malcolm Le Grice, Abstract Film and Beyond, MIT Press, 1977.
  • Dominique Noguez, Éloge du cinéma expérimental: Definitions, Jalons, Perspectives, Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1979; 3rd Edition, 2010. (in French) [7]
  • Ulrich Gregor (ed.), The German Experimental Film of the Seventies, Munich: Goethe-Institut, 1980.
  • P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film: the American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000, Oxford University Press, 1974; Third edition, 2002.
  • Martin Walsh, The Brechtian aspect of radical cinema, London: BFI Publishing, 1981.
  • Inez Hedges, Languages of Revolt: Dada and Surrealist Literature and Film, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1983.
  • Andere Avant Garde, Linz: Gutenberg, 1984. (in German)
  • Maureen Cheryn Turim, Abstraction in Avant-garde Films, Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1985.
  • Jairo Ferreira, Cinema de Invenção, Sao Paulo: Editora Max Limonad, 1986. (in Portuguese) [8]
  • Helge Krarup, Carl Norrested, Eksperimentalfilm i Danmark, Copenhagen: Borgen, 1986. (in Danish)
  • Fernao Ramos, Cinema Marginal, 1968-1973: A Representacao em seu Limite, Sao Paulo: Editora Brasiliense, 1987. (in Portuguese)
  • Stan Brakhage, Film at Wit's End: Eight Avant-garde Filmmakers, Kingston, N.Y.: Documentext, 1989.
  • Ingo Petzke (ed.), Das Experimentalfilm-Handbuch, Frankfurt am Main: Deutsches Filminstitut, 1989, 385 pp. (in German) [9]
  • Peter Gidal, Materialist Film, London and New York: Routledge, 1989. [10]
  • Marcin Giżycki, Walka o film artystyczny w miedzynarodowej Polsce. Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warsaw, 1989. (in Polish)
  • Eduard Ditschek, Politisches Engagement und Medienexperiment: Theater und Film der Russischen und Deutschen Avantgarde der Zwanziger Jahre, Tübingen: Narr, 1989, 306 pp. (in German) Contents.
  • P. Adams Sitney, Modernist Montage: The Obscurity of Vision in Cinema and Literature, New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.
  • Patricia Mellencamp, Indiscretions: Avant-garde Film, Video & Feminism, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.
  • Lauren Rabinovitz, Points of Resistance: Women, Power & Politics in the New York Avant-garde Cinema, 1943-71, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991; 2nd Edition, 2003. [11]
  • Stanislav Ulver, Západní filmová avantgarda, Prague: ČFÚ, 1991. (in Czech)
  • William C. Wees, Light Moving in Time: Studies in the Visual Aesthetics of Avant-Garde Film, University of California Press, 1992.
  • Frederique Devaux, Le cinéma Lettriste: 1951-1991, Paris: Paris expérimental, 1992. (in French) [12]
  • Scott MacDonald, Avant-garde Film: Motion Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Edward S. Small, Direct Theory: Experimental Film/Video as Major Genre, SIU Press, 1994, 122 pp.
  • James Peterson, Dreams of Chaos, Visions of Order: Understanding the American Avante-garde Cinema, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994.
  • Jan-Christopher Horak (ed.), Lovers of Cinema: The First American Film Avant-garde, 1919-1945, Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. [13]
  • Peter Weiss, Avantgarde Film, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1995. (in German)
  • Rudolf E. Kuenzli (ed.), Dada and Surrealist Film, MIT Press, 1996.
  • Marcin Giżycki, Awangarda wobec kina. Film w kręgu polskiej awangardy artystycznej dwudziestolecia międzywojennego, Wydawnictwo male, Warsaw, 1996. (in Polish) [14] [15]
  • Karin Fritsche, Claus Löser (eds.), Gegenbilder - Filmische Subversion in der DDR 1976-1989, Berlin: Janus Press, 1996. [16], Review. (in German)
  • Il cinema d'avanguardia: 1910-1930, Venezia: Marsilio, 1997. (in Italian)
  • Wheeler W. Dixon, The Exploding Eye: A Re-Visionary History of 1960s American Experimental Cinema, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.
  • Robert A. Haller (ed.), First Light, New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1998, 108 pp.
  • Beatriz Sarlo Sabajanes, La maquina cultural: maestras, traductores y vanguardistas, Buenos Aires: Ariel, 1998. (in Spanish)
  • Scott MacDonald, A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers, 5 vols, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988–2005. Five volumes of in-depth, perceptive, enlightening interviews with a multitude of filmmakers offer a veritable history of the field. The author’s overriding concern is with experimental cinema as a form of critique of conventional media.
  • A. L. Rees, A History of Experimental Film and Video: From Canonical Avant-garde to Contemporary British Practice, London: British Film Institute, 1999.
  • Emanuel Levy, Cinema of outsiders: the rise of American independent film, New York: New York University Press, 1999.
  • Bruno Di Marino, Sguardo inconscio azione: cinema sperimentale e underground a Roma: 1965-1975, Rome: Lithos, 1999. (in Italian)
  • Joan M Minguet Batllori, Cinema, modernitat i avantguarda (1920-1936), Valencia: E. Climent, 2000. (in Spanish)
  • Barbara Wilinsky, Sure Seaters: the emergence of art house cinema, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
  • Hans Scheugl, Erweitertes Kino. Die Wiener Filme der 60er Jahre, Vienna, 2002. (in German)
  • Nina Danino, Michael Maziere (eds.), The Undercut reader: critical writings on artists' film and video, London/New York: Wallflower, 2003.
  • Maurice Lemaitre, 1967-1969, le cafe-cinema Lemaitre : suivi de Huit filmes lettristes, Paris: Paris expérimental, 2003. (in French)
  • Michael O'Pray, Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions, London/New York: Wallflower, 2003.
  • Anna Abrahams, Mariska Graveland, Erwin van 't Hart, Peter van Hoof, MM2. Experimental film in the Netherlands since 1960, Amsterdam: Filmbank & De Balie, 2004, 286 pp. [17]
  • Jeffrey Skoller, Shadows, Specters, Shards. Making History in Avant-Garde Film, University of Minnesota Press, 2005, 233 pp.
  • Paul Arthur, A line of sight: American avant-garde film since 1965, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
  • Jean Petrolle, Virginia Wright Wexman (eds.), Women and Experimental Filmmaking, Urbana: University of Illinois, 2005. [18]
  • Paul G. Pickowicz, Yingjin Zhang (eds.), From underground to independent: alternative film culture in contemporary China, Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.
  • Robin Blaetz (ed.), Women's Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks, Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. [19]
  • Malte Hagener, Moving Forward, Looking Back: The European Avant-garde and the Invention of Film Culture, 1919-1939, Amsterdam University Press, 2007, 376 pp.
  • Alexander Graf, Dietrich Scheunemann (eds.), Avant-garde Film, Rodopi, 2007. Result of a research project at the University of Edinburgh that aims to connect the history of avant-garde film to the wider avant-garde in literature and art. It establishes a continuum between the contemporary moving image and the classical experimental film that preceded it from the 1920s onward.
  • Łukasz Ronduda, Florian Zeyfang (eds.), 1,2,3... Avant-Gardes: Film/Art between Experiment and Archive, Warsaw: Centre for Contemporary Art, and Berlin/New York: Sternberg, 2007. (in English/German) [20]
  • Duncan Reekie, Subversion: The Definitive History of Underground Cinema, London: Wallflower Press 2007.
  • P. Adams Sitney, Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers and the Heritage of Emerson, 2008.
  • Randall Halle, Reinhild Steingröver (eds.), After the avant-garde : contemporary German and Austrian experimental film, Rochester, N.Y.: Camden House, 2008.
  • R. Bruce Elder, Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century, Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008.
  • Daniel Barnett, Movement as Meaning: In Experimental Film, Rodopi, 2008, 240 pp.
  • Randall Halle, Reinhild Steingroever (eds.), After the Avant-Garde: German and Austrian Experimental Film, Camden House, 2008.
  • Jean-Paul Aubert, L'école de Barcelone : un cinéma d'avant-garde en Espagne sous le franquisme, Paris: Harmattan, 2009. (in French)
  • Lars Gustaf Andersson, John Sundholm, Astrid Söderbergh Widding, A History of Swedish Experimental Film Culture: From Early Animation to Video Art, Stockholm: Mediehistoriskt arkiv, 2010. [21]
  • Malcolm Turvey, The Filming of Modern Life: European Avant-Garde Film of the 1920s, MIT Press, 2011.
  • Pavle Levi, Cinema by Other Means, Oxford University Press, 2012, 224 pp. [22]
  • Adriano Aprà (ed.), Fuori norma. La via sperimentale del cinema italiano, Marsilio, 2013, 208 pp. (in Italian)

Journal issues

Documentary films

  • Die kritische Masse – Film im Underground, Hamburg '68, dir. Christian Bau, 110 min, 1998. [24]
  • Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film, dir. Pip Chodorov, 82 min, 2012. [25]



See also

Art and Culture

Avant-garde and modernist magazines, Artists' publishing, Graphic design, Photography, Typewriter art, Multimedia environments, Design research, Video activism, Urban practices, Zine culture, Demoscene, VJing, Live cinema, Media labs, Cyberfeminism, Community television, Hacktivism, Art servers, Hackerspaces, CD-ROM art, Circuit bending, Pure Data, Media archives, VVVV, Maker culture, Glitch art, Live coding, Locative media, Libre graphics, Electromagnetism, Surf clubs, DIY biology, Post-digital, Neural aesthetics.
See also Art styles and movements.