Over at the Invisible Cinema blog, Jennifer MacMillan starts the new year with a list challenging the binary oppositions that too often inappropriately frame the relationship between narrative film and experimental film. And, um, I guess with that last sentence I fell into the sloppy thinking she critiques. Witness point number four: “To say that an experimental video is ‘non-narrative’ is like saying that Henry Ford’s invention of the T-model automobile was a non-horse & carriage buggy! Or it’s like saying that Rimbaud wrote non-novels. Grouping all short films together is misunderstanding cinema.”
And here’s #2, on the year-phenomenon of “10 Best” lists:
2. form and content
Your top ten lists? Go ahead with placing the mystery of cinema into a concise numerical form if it makes you happy. Seriously, I love awesome writers, and I do not care how you label yourselves. But let’s look a bit closer. Your IndieWire list for example, that’s all narrative cinema. Cinema differentiated ONLY by CONTENT. Experimental cinema radically changes FORM. Experimental cinema has exquisitely evolved into a complex system of formats! Here are a few highlights:
live video performance, enhanced by the invention of new softwares, i.e. Module8 and Jitter, used by artists such as Luke Dubois, Chika, Nisi Jacobs, Zach Layton, Andy Graydon, and Zach Layton.
applied materials: hand painting, collage, sewing on the film strip, polarized light experiments used by Courtney Hoskins, Jennifer Reeves, Lewis Klahr . . .
animation: Martha Colburn, Tim Reardon, Xander Marrow
single frame films: Joel Schlemowitz
pioneering video inventions: Cori Archangel, Ken Jacobs
experimentation with film loops and non-camera filmmaking: Bruce McClure, Luis Recorder, and Sandra Gibson