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Which clippings match 'Cameraless Film' keyword pg.1 of 1
01 JANUARY 2011

Len Lye: an innovative explorer of cameraless filmmaking

"Cameraless film refers to a method of producing moving image where the artist or filmmaker bypasses the photographic process and directly manipulates film stock (either additively or subtractively) with methods such as drawing, collage and painting. Due to the inherent difficulties of generating handmade images on film, direct animation doesn't lend itself to pictorial illusion or linear narratives. The imagery tends to be atavistic, animistic, frenetic; and due in part to this visual proximity to pure abstraction, the conceptual content of this genre has been largely overlooked. Since they sit so ambivalently between fine art and cinema, both camps have historically positioned these films as being principally concerned with formalism and material experimentation. But revising this apprehension, Zelluloid: Filme Ohne Kamera brings together a selection of films, tracing the ideational threads which significantly inform and influence this manner of filmmaking.

In 1935, Len Lye's film A Colour Box was so different in its use of filmic language that the Brussels Film Festival had to invent a new prize for it to win. As vivid and enchanting today as they were visionary and challenging, Lye's animated shapes dancing to the percussion of popular Cuban and African music were a hit with audiences more accustomed to viewing cinema in its industrial, commercial capacity. The very act of painting abstract imagery on film was a conceptual leap in terms of severing film's indexical relationship with the world and using it to explore an abstract, synaesthetic experience."

(Genevieve Allison, 5 August 2010, EyeContact)

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TAGS

1935 • A Colour Box • abstraction • Aldo Tambellini • Amy GranatanimationAotearoa New Zealandart • Barbel Neubauer • Belgium • Brussels Film Festival • cameraless film • Cecile Fontaine • cinematic languagecolourcraftcreative practicedesign formalismDieter Rothdirect animationdirect filmdirect manipulationdrawing • Emmanuel Lefrant • experienceexperimental filmfilm making • film stock • filmmakerfine arthandmadeHarry Smith • Hy Hirsh • Ian Helliwell • imageryJennifer ReevesJennifer West • Jose Antonio Sistiaga • kiwi short filmsLen Lye • Luis Recoder • Marcelle Thirache • material experimentationmaterial practicematerialist cinemamethodmoving imageNew Zealand cultureNorman McLarenpaintingpattern • Pierre Rovere • pioneerpure abstraction • Schmelzdahin • scratch filmsequence designStan Brakhagesynaesthesia • Takahiko Iimura • Tony Conradvisual artsvisual culturevisual languagevisual spectacle

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 NOVEMBER 2008

Mothlight: Brakhage's celluloid flypaper

"Mothlight visualises a 'day in the life' of an insect from birth to death; however, it summons some of the more positive associations of lepidoptera, such as creativity and the soul (1). You could say Brakhage puts the 'anima' back into animation, reanimating the dead, painstakingly affixing the remains of dead insects, leaves and the like onto the film strip, and feeding it through the projector back to life. Of course, the principle of film projection is the illusion of life through light, with the audience gathering to watch like moths attracted to a lamp: the beauty of Mothlight is the way Brakhage evokes the moth not through cartoon mimicry, but by the fragile sensation of its movement, batting against the screen, hurtling in descent. The effect is exhilarating and terrifying.

Brakhage might be accused of playing God (or Dr Frankenstein), and it is no coincidence that Mothlight was assembled during the long production of his creationist epic Dog Star Man (1961–4). ... Its making is also a dismantling – imagine celluloid flypaper – and its examination of life's remains looks forward to The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971). Mothlight acknowledges the limitations of the screen, the way film traps subject matter in a box, suffocating the life out of it."
(Darragh O'Donoghue)

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TAGS

1963animationavant-garde cinemaavant-garde film makercameraless film • celluloid flypaper • cinemaexperimental filmfilm • film strip • Frankensteinindependent filminsectlightmaterial practicematerialist cinemamaterialitymoth • Mothlight • non-narrativeStan Brakhage

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 MARCH 2005

Free Radicals: implied space through rhythmical scratches

"In Free Radicals Len Lye put aside his interest in colour and concentrated on a stark, black and white use of the 'direct' method, by scratching on black leader. He has described the film as 'white ziggle–zag–splutter scratches ... in quite doodling fashion.' The film's title is a reference to modern physics –– 'free radicals' are particles of energy –– but the visual style is still reminiscent of tribal art."

(re:voir vidéo distribution)

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