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Film Programme 4: Beyond Image

Film Programme 4: Beyond Image

The joy and the glory of colours and shapes.

Includes: a classic of innovative computer graphics, ex-pat Scot McLaren on form, a riotous psychedelic oil show with a Soft Machine accompaniment, subtle manipulation of data feedback, a colourful road movie and a reworking of a lost Paul Sharits film. A selection of clips from the films are below.

a1b2c3, Dir. Norbert Pfaffenbichler, Lotte Schreiber, Austria, 2006, 4 mins, DVD

The work is based on the idea of making a video with a minimum number of parameters. A uniform white grid on a blue background structures the picture. This grid moves orthogonally to the left, right, upward and downward at four different speeds. All of the audiovisual composition’s parameters are based on the ratio of the screen’s dimensions in digital video, 720 x 576. These figures or multiples or fractions of them define the speed and length of the animation. Bernhard Lang’s soundtrack follows the same logic: The frequencies of a synthetically generated square sound were modulated on the basis of the given numerical values. (Norbert Pfaffenbichler and Lotte Schreiber)

Matrix III, Dir. John Whitney, USA, 1972, 11 mins, 16mm

Lines Horizontal, Dir. Norman McLaren, Evelyn Lambart, Canada, 1962, 6 mins, 16mm

An experiment in pure design by film artists Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart. Lines, ruled directly on film, move with precision and grace against a background of changing colors, in response to music specially composed for the films. Lines Horizontal is accompanied by American folk musician Pete Seeger on wind and string instruments. (National Film Board of Canada)

Beyond Image, Dir. The Sensual Laboratory, UK, 1969, 17 mins, 16mm

Credited to the Sensual Laboratory – a collective including Mark Boyle, Joan Hills, Cameron Hills, John Claxton and Des Banner, which was responsible for psychedelic lightshows at various events in the late 1960s – the film uses coloured oils swirling and bubbling together, filmed through a series of filters to allow colours to slide and change. The film is completed by a pulsating soundtrack from Soft Machine, making for a far-out, mind-blowing feast of the senses. (Mark Duguid)

Kyldex Projections, Dir. Nicolas Schöffer, Hungary, 1973, 11 mins, 16mm

A film project, originally designed for the Kyldex 1 show at the Hamburg opera in 1973. Images of different sculptures and light effects created by Schöffer are manipulated through a 20-faceted optical diversification patented by the artist. The print has recently been rediscovered in the archive of the artist and one of his electronic musical pieces has been added to the film. (Lightcone)

FBCK/AV – Red Flag, Dir. Bas van Koolwijk, The Netherlands, 2005, 3 mins, Beta SP

FBCK/AV – Red Flag provokes the observer with a penetrating sound and a flickering red image that refuses to take on a recognizable form. In order to generate this image, Bas van Koolwijk developed software which, again and again, transforms the input of audio and video signals into unique abstractions. Small doses of these signals can poach on each other’s preserves, so that the computer converts sound information into image and image into sound – a matter of data feedback. The resulting interference looks a bit like flagging, a term and phenomenon from the times of video tapes. Flagging occurs when a video tape does not run smoothly through the recorder, and the phenomenon is usually visible in the upper part of the image. With this reference to the analogue era, the viewer’s thoughts are taken even further ‘back’, towards the capricious and chaotic nature of flags fluttering in the wind. But also to the Babel-like confusion that governs this digital era due to the fact that (with all the codecs and formats) much of the software available only provides for limited readability and exchangeability of data. (Netherlands Media Art Institute)

Hello Again, Dir. Michaela Grill, Austria, 2006, 5 mins, Beta SP

Hello Again is a colorful road movie, a “classic” music video, both in terms of its production (pictures set to an existing music track) and the intention behind it. (Michaela Grill)

Uwaga: Światło! (Attention: Light!), Dir. Józef Robakowski, Wieslaw Michalak, Poland, 2004, 5 mins, Beta SP

This video is a reworking of a film made by Paul Sharits in Robakowski’s apartment in 1982 which was lost without being developed. A few years after this event, Sharits sent detailed instructions on how to execute this work, which Robakowski only realised in 2004, in digital format, eleven years after Sharits’s death. (Index DVD – The Energy Manifesto)


4 videos