Watch "A Brief History of Title Design" (2011) by Ian Albinson! Proprietor of Art of the Title, Albinson compiled this survey of film titles for the SXSW Festival's "Excellence in Title Design" Competition. The montage begins with the straight-foward text used at the dawn of cinema and closes with the complex optical work we have become so accustomed to in contemporary film, reinforcing title design as its own complex artform.
The UCLA Library's Preserved Silent Animation website offers a glimpse into the freely experimental early days of animated filmmaking. This collection of eleven films showcases a variety of techniques, from Vaudevillian "lighting sketches" to early exercises in stop-motion. Each film, which is available for free download, is accompanied by historical text and notes from UCLA's film preservationists.
A master of the optical printer, virtuosic experimental filmmaker Pat O'Neill has been producing visually stunning work since the 1960s. On April 21st, O'Neill will be screening his films, including his recently restored 35mm feature "Water and Power" (1989), at the Academy Archive's Linwood Dunn theater. Event information is available at the Academy Archive website.
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Founded in 2002, the Courtisane Film Festival in Belgium offers a "patchwork of recent and historical works that share an insatiable hunger for experimentation, a personal signature, and a sense of resistance." This year's festival, which runs from March 30th to April 3rd, promises an outstanding program of experimental films and artist presentations, including a retrospective screening of work by Robert Beavers and an exhibition of new works by Martin Arnold.
iotaCenter's print of Frank and Caroline Mouris' classic animated film "Impasse" (1978) will also be screening at Courtisane this year.
"Since its inception in 2004, the Double Negative Collective has become a major presence in today’s experimental cinema scene in Montreal. Its unique existence has had an undeniable impact on the shifting landscape of moving-image art and the notion of artist collectives. Self-financed, the Double Negative Collective has succeeded for over five years to maintain its own studio with a variety of analogue filmmaking equipment, as well as organize experimental film screenings, performances and artist talks that continue to inspire the artistic communities both at home and abroad." -Canadian Film Institute
Watch "Monarda" (2010)! "Monarda" (also called "Bee Balm") is an exploration through digital manipulation of clips recorded in filmmaker Walter Ungerer's garden of various plants, flowers, and birds. Abstract colors, shapes, and sounds are the key components of the film.
More information on Ungerer's film came be found here.
Recently created by Google, Art Project enables users to explore some of the world's most renowned museums using their streetview technology and offers an extensive collection of high-resolution, zoom-able images of famous artworks.
Person of the Week Sharon Louden
"Sharon M. Louden graduated with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Yale University, School of Art...Louden's animations continue to be screened and featured in many film festivals and museums all over the world, including an upcoming screening at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC on March 27th, 2011, where she will premiere a new animation entitled Carrier...Sharon currently teaches at the National Academy of Art in New York City, and Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. In addition, Louden is active on boards and committees of various not-for-profit art organizations and volunteers her time to artists to further their careers. Sharon Louden is a full-time practicing, professional artist who lives and works in New York City. "
This Sunday, March 27, Louden's work screens alongside films from iotaCenter's collection including Jules Engel's Silence at The National Gallery of Art's "Ciné-Concert: Art in Motion!" For more information about the screening and what films will be shown from iota's collection, please visit our event posting.
Watch "Doppelgänger" (2009)! Micheline Durocher is a Montreal-based artist currently working in the areas of photography and video. "Doppelgänger" is an experimental video inspired by the autobiography of Goethe, conveying the uncanny feeling of being confronted with your double. More information on Micheline Durocher and her work can be found on her website.
The Netherlands Media Arts Institute Catalogue is an extensive database of video and media art from the collection at the Netherlands Media Arts Institute (NIMk). This online archive features clips from over 1000 media artworks since 1978 and includes works by Dutch and international artists. In addition to video content, the Catalogue also contains unique documentation of events and project realized by NIMk.
Person of the Week Walter Ruttmann
Filmmaker Walter Ruttmann was an early practitioner of experimental film along with Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling. Ruttmann is probably most best known for directing the experimental documentary "Berlin: Symphony of a Great City" (1927), which is a rhythmic portrayal of the city's industry and daily life. His first abstract short films, "Opus I" (1921) and "Opus II" (1923), were experiments with new forms of film expression.
The History of the Discovery of Cinematography is an on-going internet catalog/timeline of the pre-cinematic devices which paved the way for modern filmmaking. Curated by film historian Paul Burns, the site offers an eclectic hopscotch across the countless ways our species has played with perception and attempted to create the illusion of life and motion.
Person of the Week Nancy Andrews
Filmmaker Nancy Andrews creates fascinating work that encompasses animation, live action, and puppetry. Andrews will be screening her films at REDCAT this week. Be sure to check it out!
“Nancy Andrews’s films are small treasures, finely crafted, exquisite in small details and as rare as they come. Her cinema is artisanal, beautiful in its homespuness, expressive in its miscellany of hand-made images, whether
drawn, animated or acted, and sly in its humor.”
Watch "The Bellows March" (2009) by Eric Dyer! Using a series of elaborate 3D printed zoetropes (which the filmmaker has dubbed "cinetropes"), "The Bellows March" investigates cycles of creation and destruction.
An amazing online resource, especially for those interested in found footage filmmaking, the Prelinger Archives site at archive.org offers over 2,000 ephemeral films for free dowloading and re-use.
From archive.org: "Prelinger Archives was founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City. Over the next twenty years, it grew into a collection of over 60,000 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Prelinger Archives remains in existence, holding approximately 4,000 titles on videotape and a smaller collection of film materials acquired subsequent to the Library of Congress transaction. Its goal remains to collect, preserve, and facilitate access to films of historic significance that haven't been collected elsewhere. Included are films produced by and for many hundreds of important US corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions. Getty Images represents the collection for stock footage sale, and over 2,000 key titles (soon to be 2,500) are available here. As a whole, the collection currently contains over 10% of the total production of ephemeral films between 1927 and 1987, and it may be the most complete and varied collection in existence of films from these poorly preserved genres."
Person of the Week Stephanie Barber
Baltimore-based filmmaker and multi-media artist Stephanie Barber creates unique and compelling experimental films which have screened at Anthology Film Archive, MoMA, and at various galleries around the world. In addition to filmmaking, Barber is a poet and her work been published by Bronze Skull Press and Publishing Genius.
Watch "Fruit Flies" by Christine Lucy Latimer! Created with 16mm splicing tape, this film is a document of all the fruit flies that drowned in the vinegar trap on the filmmaker's kitchen counter last summer.
Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada has earned a reputation for supporting innovative filmmakers, especially within its animation unit. Over the past few years, the NFB has made hundreds of their funded works available online, including films by Normal McLaren, Caroline Leaf, and other influential animators. Visit the NFB's online screening room and spend some time viewing both new and classic short films!
Persons of the Week Moebius Animacion Artists: Colombian Avant-Garde Animation
This eclectic and daring group of Colombian animators has been working towards creating a hub for experimental animation in Latin America. Much of the collective's work, which recently screened at the University of Southern California, can be viewed on their website.
Created through the careful arrangement of photographic paper exposed to high voltage electrical discharges, "Energie!" (2007) by Thorsten Fleisch simultaneously portrays a sense of deep space and the origins of energy and matter.
More of Thorsten Fleisch's experimental animated films can be seen at his website.
"Founded in 1976 at the inception of the media arts movement, the Video Data Bank is the leading resource in the United States for videotapes by and about contemporary artists. The VDB collections feature innovative video work made by artists from an aesthetic, political or personal point of view. The collections include seminal works that, seen as a whole, describe the development of video as an art form originating in the late 1960's and continuing to the present. The videos in our collections employ innovative uses of form and technology mixed with original visual style to address contemporary art and cultural themes."
Person of the Week Harry Smith
Painter, anthropologist, filmmaker, and musicologist, Harry Smith was a leading figure of the mid-twentieth century American avant-garde movement. Known largely for his work with direct techniques and idiosyncratic paper cut-out collage, Smith's films portray his love of pattern and persistent interest in the invocation of other-worldly realms.
Efforts to preserve the rich and varied body of work he left behind--including his unusual collections of string figures, paper airplanes, and Ukrainian Easter eggs--are currently being undertaken by Smith's former assistant and curator of his archive, Rani Singh at the Getty Research Institute. The first comprehensive book of essays on Smith's work, Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular, was published by the Getty last year.
Watch "un albor (Dawn)" (1999) by Ying Tan, an experimental animation created to accompany a music score by American composer Jeffrey Stolet. The animation employs abstract visual forms to visualize the magnificent external landscape at the time of dawn in contrast with the dark night of a human soul. The singing text is from a poem by Spanish poet Gustava Adolfo Becquer.
"un albor (Dawn)" was featured in iotaCenter's touring festival KINETICA 4 from December 2002-April 2003. In September 2010, "un albor" was also shown alongside other selections from iotaCenter's collection at the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk as part of DigitalArt.LA, iotaCenter's collaboration with the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.
Visit The National Center for Experiments in Television page at Electronic Arts Intermix! Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is a nonprofit arts organization that is a leading international resource for video and media art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical video works by artists. For 39 years, EAI has fostered the creation, exhibition, distribution and preservation of video art, and more recently, digital art projects.
The National Center for Experiments in Television (NCET) grew out of a project initiated at San Francisco's public television station KQED in 1969. NCET was the most overtly experimental and process-oriented of the public television art projects of the late 1960s and early '70's.
"Jean Detheux was born in Belgium, where he received his academic training (Académie royale des beaux-arts de Liège et Institut supérieur d'architecture de Liège). He immigrated to Canada in 1972 and until 1984 taught at various art schools in Canada and the U.S. (Alberta College of Art, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Concordia University in Montreal, Algonquin College in Ottawa, New York University, Parson School of Design in New York and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture). Since then, he has devoted himself primarily to his own work.
Since the 1960s he has exhibited his work in solo and in group shows, in both Belgium and North America. He has a passionate interest in philosophy, and in 1981 he was chosen to be a member of the Husserl Circle at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He has given numerous talks about the phenomenology of vision and the process of creation. In 1996, as a result of serious allergies from his use of painting materials, he gave up painting for digital technology. This shift brought on an intense period of creativity that has led him to animated film."
Check out Artists' Television Access, San Francisco, California's nonprofit, all-volunteer, artist-run, experimental media arts gallery that has been in operation since 1984. ATA hosts a series of film and video screenings, exhibitions and performances by emerging and established artists and a weekly cable access television program.
Persons of the Week Cloud Eye Control
"Cloud Eye Control is a collaborative performance group from Los Angeles comprised of three members: Chi-wang Yang, Miwa Matreyek, and Anna Oxygen. We create original works that uniquely combine interactive media with live performance. Since our inception in 2004 we have created three original works that have been presented both nationally and internationally.
Whether through a re-imagining of Charles Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight, the discovery of powerful crystals underground, or one woman's interstellar search for a new home, a common theme in our stories is human adaptation in a technological world. To realize these stories, we project pre-rendered animation and live camera imagery onto various surfaces on the stage, and this imagery functions as scenery and virtual actor. Both high and low tech methods are used to allow the live actor to interact with the media. These methods range from custom-built interactive video software to the physical manipulation of video puppets."
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