Pavle Levi: Cinema by Other Means (2012)

15 January 2014, dusan

Cinema by Other Means explores avant-garde endeavors to practice the cinema by using the materials and the techniques different from those commonly associated with the cinematographic apparatus. Using examples from both the historical and the post-war avant-garde — Dada, Surrealism, Lettrism, “structural-materialist” film, and more — Pavle Levi reveals a range of peculiar and imaginative ways in which filmmakers, artists, and writers have pondered and created, performed and transformed, the “movies” with or without directly grounding their work in the materials of film. The study considers artists and theorists from all over Europe — France, Italy, Soviet Union, Germany, Hungary — but it particularly foregrounds the context of the Yugoslav avant-garde. Cinema by Other Means offers the English-language reader a thorough explication of an assortment of distinctly Yugoslav artistic phenomena, such as the Zenithist cine-writings of the 1920s, the proto-structural Antifilm movement of the early 1960s, and the “ortho-dialectical” film-poetry of the 1970s.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2012
ISBN 019984142X, 9780199841424
224 pages

Reviews: Matilde Nardelli (Oxford Art Journal, 2013), Greg DeCuir (Jump Cut, 2013), Bojan Jovic (Biblid, 2013, SR).


PDF, PDF (updated on 2018-7-27)

Paul Sharits, Józef Robakowski: Attention: Light!, catalogue (2004)

20 October 2012, dusan

“In the early 1980s, American artist Paul Sharits sent Józef Robakowski plans for a film entitled Attention: Light with the suggestion that Robakowski produce it in Poland. The film was to be a visual rendition of the Mazurka in F minor, Op. 68#4 by Frederick Chopin. Unfortunately, due to unmitigated circumstances including the imposition of martial law in Poland, Robakowski was unable to fulfill Sharits’ wish.

This unique project was eventually realised in 2004 and was the highlight of the program Attention: Light! held at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts, and which featured works by Paul Sharits (T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G; Piece Mandala/End War; Word Movie-Flux Film 39; Tails) and Józef Robakowski (Test 1; Proba II/An Attempt II; 1,2,3,4…; Impulsatory/Impulsators; Video Piesni/Video Songs; Katy Energetyczne/The Energy Angles).

A black and white booklet, published in conjunction with the screening, features forwards by Edmund Cardoni (Hallwalls Executive Director) and Fritzie Brown (CEC ArtsLink Executive Director), essays by Joanna Raczynska (“Four Short Films by Paul Sharits”), Lukasz Ronduda (“Attention: Light!: Józef Robakowski’s Light Based Films and Video Works”), Józef Robakowski (“‘Art’ Friend-A Memoir”), Wieslaw Michalak (“Attention: Light! Technical Description”), and a coda by Malgorzata Potocka. The catalogue also features photos, film scores, and film stills.

Attention: Light was curated by CEC Arts Link curator in residence Lukasz Ronduda, and by Joanna Raczynska, Hallwalls Media Arts Director.”

Edited by Łukasz Ronduda
Publisher Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY, 2004
Design Marianka Dobkowska and Krzysiek Bielecki
ISBN 8388277634
44 pages



Edward S. Small: Direct Theory: Experimental Film/Video as Major Genre (1994)

6 September 2011, dusan

“Undulating water patterns; designs etched directly into exposed film; computer- generated, pulsating, multihued light tapestries—the visual images that often constitute experimental film and video provide the basis for Edward S. Small’s argument for a new theory defining this often overlooked and misunderstood genre. In a radical revision of film theory incorporating a semiotic system, Small contends that experimental film/video constitutes a mode of theory that bypasses written or spoken words to directly connect Ferdinand de Saussure’s “signifier” and “signified,” the image and the viewer. This new theory leads Small to develop a case for the establishment of experimental film/video as a major genre.

Small contends that the aesthetic of experimental film/video would best be understood as a coordinate major genre separate from genres such as fictive narrative and documentary. He employs eight experimental technical/structural characteristics to demonstrate this thesis: the autonomy of the artist or a-collaborative construction; economic independence; brevity; an affinity for animation and special effects that embraces video technology and computer graphics; use of the phenomenology of mental imagery, including dreams, reveries, and hallucinations; an avoidance of verbal language as either dialogue or narration; an exploration of nonnarrative structure; and a pronounced reflexivity—drawing the audience’s attention to the art of the film through images rather than through the mediation of words.

Along with a theoretical approach, Small provides an overview of the historical development of experimental film as a genre. He covers seven decades beginning in France and Germany in the 1920s with European avant-garde and underground films and ends with a discussion of experimental videos of the 1990s. He highlights certain films and provides a sampling of frames from them to demonstrate the heightened reflexivity when images rather than words are the transmitters: for example, Ralph Steiner’s 1929 H2O, a twelve-minute, wordless, realistic study of water patterns, and Bruce Conner’s 1958 A Movie, which unites his themes of war-weapons-death and sexuality not by narrative digesis but by intellectual montage juxtapositions. Small also examines experimental video productions such as Stephen Beck’s 1977 Video Weavings, which has a simple musical score and abstract images recalling American Indian rugs and tapestries.

Small adds classic and contemporary film theory discussions to this historical survey to further develop his direct-theory argument and his presentation of experimental film/video as a separate major genre. He stresses that the function of experimental film/video is “neither to entertain nor persuade but rather to examine the quite omnipresent yet little understood pictos [semiotic symbols] that mark and measure our postmodern milieu.”

Publisher SIU Press, 1994
ISBN 0809319209, 9780809319206
122 pages


EPUB (updated on 2012-7-9)