Photo: The Eye and the Ear, Dir. Franciska & Stefan Themerson, UK, 1944-45, 10 mins, 16mm

Guy Sherwin & Various Artists

Film Programme 6: Contrast

Black vs. White. Chaos vs. Order.

Includes: tamed TV snow, video feedback of racing particles, a remake of a polish photogram film destroyed in WWII, a visual and aural representation of Gestalt theory, hole-punched film and Guy Sherwin’s Cycles 3 double-projection. Some clips of the films screened are linked below for reference viewing.

 

Tile 11 of 16: "Trial and Error In Urban Development", Dir. Lori Felker, USA, 2005, 2 mins, Mini DV (Part of larger DVD project)

Two-minute sound pieces were solicited from 16 artists with no qualifications aside from that of duration. Using the images that immediately came to mind upon first listen, the Mike Shiflet piece conjured something that could only be captured using the magic combination of water, a glass bowl, TV snow and super 8. (Lori Felker)

 

Ersaz Titel, Dir. Jens Rudolph, Germany, 2005, 7 mins 3 secs, Beta SP

The moving picture itself is the raw material of film and videos. In Ersaz Titel this is not the case. The raw material is Jan Jelinek’s “Moire (Strings)” Therefore the audio document was divided 25 times per second. Afterwards the short pieces were converted into pictures interpreted by pictures. The result of the conversion is shown in Ersaz Titel. At the beginning, parts. Later, everything. They show the vibration. The vibration of monotony. (Jens Rudolph)

 

ORDER-RE-ORDER, Dir. Barbara Doser, Hofstetter Kurt, Austria, 2006, 7 mins ,Beta SP

Their latest work, ORDER-RE-ORDER, complies with one of Einstein’s theories, that “nothing can exist without order, and nothing can be created without chaos.” The visual starting point is video feedback which forms a ring of rotating points of light. This is repeatedly filmed from a monitor on which the scrolling speed is manipulated, thereby animating and accelerating the light cells, which plunge into chaos several times.Because of the sluggishness of human perception, they lose their form and “color,” racing through the black cosmos of the projection screen in the form of particles.

The acoustic-musical level - based on the topological model of a Möbius strip, which permits uninterrupted, never-ending movement from the inside out and back inside - proves to be anything but a parallel universe. On the contrary, the sound, the insistent echoed signal, the spherical clouds and the many-voiced humming which dominates in the latter part, represent a kind of pulse generator that apparently steers the directions in which the light cells move. And while at times visual patterns seem to appear for brief moments in the swirl of the white and gray circular areas, the intended new order which could be created from the chaos turns out to be uncertain and is left to the flow of kinetic energy. (Gerald Weber) A clip of the film can be viewed here.

 

void.seqz 3, Dir. n:ja,  Dariusz Kowalski (Krzeczek), Austria, 2005, 4 mins, Beta SP

”A pictorial element has no other significance than ‘itself,’” stated Theo van Doesburg in 1930 in his call for a form of abstract art. On the visual level void.seqz 3 seems to satisfy this demand: The creation process makes use of a computer-generated, automatic process, which is rational and objective. The sound level on the other hand thwarts this effort: Greatly reduced at the beginning, it condenses into soundscapes that shed their dependence on the picture’s structure and rhythm. (Claudia Slanar)

 

Moment Musical, Dir. Bruce Checefsky, UK, 2006, 6 mins, Beta SP

Remake of Stefan and Franciszka Themerson’s first sound film, Moment Musical (1933), a three-minute commercial in which photograms of light-pierced jewelry, porcelain and glass were animated to music by Ravel which was destroyed during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw. Checefsky's Moment Musical is based on published reviews from the 1930s Polish press, original film stills, and notes from Stefan and Franciszka Themerson. The film was shot with American experimental filmmaker Robert C. Banks, Jr. (Lux)

 

modal.patterns_txt/anagram 0.02, Dir. Andrés Ramírez Gaviria, Switzerland, 2006,11 minutes 30 seconds, Beta SP

The text used as source material for the visualisation and sonification process is composed of two phrases. The first is taken from Roy Behrens’ book Design in the Visual Arts (1984) which discusses Gestalt theory’s influence on modern art and design. The second phrase is an anagram of the first phrase. Together they read: “more than the sum of its parts./a misshape of truth toments.”  The encoding of the visual data is realised through a cryptographic model which ascribes animation sequences with progressive running times to each symbol of the alphabet plus the most common special characters. The audio component is created by running the animations through different image recognition algorithms whose output is a sonic translation of its visual counterpart. (AndrésRamírez Gaviria)

 

The Eye and the Ear, Dir. Franciska & StefanThemerson, UK, 1944-45,10 mins, 16mm

Rhythm is not the only sort of structural pattern common both to visual and to musical phenomena. It is perhaps significant that some notes are called high(which is a 'visual' term) and some others low. We say light, clear, limpidsound, and we say dark, thick, turgid. We often speak about melodic line, a gentle, undulating line, or a violent and angular; it may be a lineof simple design, or decorated with an arabesqueof notes. (Stefan Themerson, quoted in PIX No 1, 1993/4)

Music: four songs by Karol Szymanowski to Julian Tuwim's Słopiewnie translated by Jan Śliwiński and sung by Sophie Wyss, orchestra conducted by Ronald Biggs. (Lux)

 

Test 1, Dir. Józef Robakowski, Poland, 1971 ,2 mins, Beta SP

This film was made without a camera. The holes cut out of the film at various distances determine the rhythm of the flow of light that emanates from the cinema projector and is projected on the screen, creating an afterimage effect. The intensity of the light energy is enhanced by the sound points scratched in the film (Index DVD – The Energy Manifesto)

 

Cycles #3, Dir. Guy Sherwin, UK, 2003/1972, 9 mins, 2x16mm

A two-projector film performance using images and sounds made directly by hand. The film is a re-working of the single-screen film Cycles #1 in which paper dots were stuck onto the surface of the film and optical soundtrack. When projected the dots appear to fuse together as the gaps between them decrease; the separate image-moments become a single ball of light, and the separate sound-moments make a rising drone.

The projector performance includes subtle shifts of focus with changes in volume and tone. “A white circle of light pulsates against a backdrop of varying greyscale, to a rhythmic engine-like hum. The whole experience is perceptual - the circle is in fact a white dot placed directly onto the film, the distance between each frame gradually decreasing and optically merging thanks to the 12 fps mind process-rate”. (anon internet review) (Guy Sherwin)

 

Below are online links which you can use for reference. To see the films in their original glory, check with the distributor of the film for their terms and conditions.