Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Reflective Response #3 (Image)

Read the following articles on image: Bachman, GreenCine, MacDonald, Miller, Sontag, Trachtenberg (please note that the article, "What is Alternative Cinema," does not count as a possibility for your Reflective Response)�. Links to the articles here.

Pick one, and write a three-paragraph statement answering the following three questions (one paragraph per question), as a comment to this post (please state your full name, since some of your Google identities are a bit vague).

1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.

2. What are the main points of the essay?

3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?


The deadline is Wednesday, March 12, 3 PM.

48 comments:

Jean Yang said...

The article I chose is “The Art of Instant Gratification” by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg because I found his article most interesting on the subject of imagery in the media. I find it more intriguing than the other articles because it explores specifically on the camera and how imagery has changed throughout the years. Trachtenberg captures attention in his article in that he puts a sense of history, humor, facts and truth in what it is like today with imagery.
The main points of his essay are the different forms of capturing imagery and how it as evolved to digital photography from the very beginning of time with the Brownie camera in 1900. It used to be more of an art taking photographs and giving yourself a name as a professional, but in this new age, Trachtenberg points out that anybody take pictures with a single click of their camera on the cell phone or whatever new improved gadget that has a camera encased within it. It doesn’t even matter if it is a professional or just a mere amateur taking photographs, this era has moved toward a direction where this art of imagery is open to all people with limited experience or an expert at it. He also talks about how the camera has updated throughout the years with new improvements to take better and faster pictures.
His ideas are relevant to my own practice as a media artist because it helps me review our sense of history through imagery as well as take in the knowledge that technology changes so fast within each passing year. From still photography to moving imagery in a camera, what will come up next? His article gives me a sense of how things are changing and how we keep up to date with it. It helps me to question where I stand with imagery. Do I go with new technology and leave the old tradition of photography behind or should I try to infuse both? His article provides not an answer to what I do with my work with photography but rather questions what I should do with my work as a media artist. It’s a realization of how things change and makes me think of what I can do as a media artist to come up with something that will keep, change, or infuse the different ways of presenting my works with new and old instruments used to capture life within my camera.

Jean Yang
Lab 5
Lilly Czarnecki

Who'sGot2Thumbs said...

1. I chose American Experimental Film by GreenCineStaff because it provided me with a lot of fascinating information, books and videos to look up on line. One video in particular that I viewed was Jack Smiths "Flaming Creatures" to which I can only say "Oh my".

2. The main point of this essay is to provide a brief historical summation and some helpful information on the early days of experimental film.  It also gives a little insight into why experimental film existed and how it flourished. 

3. As a media artist, it is important not to get caught up in a "film mold", working with the notion that there is only one or two correct ways to make film or to express oneself using the film medium.  It is also important to understand and remember that creating a film can be just as worthwhile whether or not it was produced in Hollywood. More often than not, films left untouched by the "professionals" of Hollywood are the ones that retain the most substance.

Kelly Pelot
LAB 2

Seth Warren-Crow

Chloe said...

1. I chose the article American Experimental Film by GreenCine. I chose it because I liked the history the avant-garde film and the reasoning behind it. In watching some of the films by the filmmakers listed (Lang, Melies, and Brakhage, for example) it can be hard to see that these films are based on anything, or have a linear history leading up to their creation. The appear frenetic and random with the process of creating more emphasized than the final product itself, especially Brakhage films. However, in reading this article, the history up to the creation of those films is well outlined.
2. The following quote best sums up GreeneCine’s point of the article: “Fundamentally, experimental films provide a new way of seeing the world that is free from the traditional sense of ‘storytelling’ and, instead, communicate in a purely visual manner.” This article discusses the history and background of the avant-garde film movement. It tells us readers how this movement changed the way that film is used as a medium, and use to see the world around us. It explains how conventional standards of filmmaking are/were defied in order to create this new genre.
Similarly, GreenCine explains the importance of avant-garde cinema. It is “…an attempt to record how we see images in our dreams; in essence…to put our subconscious on the screen.” This new way of thinking about cinema—less as a story and more as representations of the subconscious revolutionized film as a medium. By providing the precursors to many avant-garde filmmakers, we can see how this process of creating avant-garde films has developed to support this idea.
3. I think it is important for cinema to make a statement about the culture it was created in. I think the work of the filmmakers mentioned in the article has been extremely influential, especially in the film program at UWM. Often I think idle entertainment takes up cinema what could be used as a real way to reach people.
I also believe that the process of creating the film is just as vital, if not moreso as the finished product. I like the idea that “…the actual process of making the film becomes the message or meaning of the work. Simply deconstructing or re-editing an existing film made for a revolution in how we view and perceive the notion of cinema.” In another film class I’m in, we’re shooting and editing 16mm black &white film for the first time. I never realized the process that goes in to making a film like that; all of my experience has purely been digital. To shoot film, to splice it together and watch it through a monitor while hand-cranking the reel makes me (as a media artist) intimately aware of every frame of the film. This process of creation and how I choose to edit the shots together is just as important as the final product that I create.

Chloe Arbiture
Lab 4
Julie Murray

Joe Gilliland-Lloyd said...

Joe Gilliland-Lloyd

1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.

I chose the article written by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg called “The Art of Instant Gratification” because it’s trying to shed light on what the digital age has done to the art of photography. It seems interesting that Trachtenberg, although not saying outright, finds the new means of taking and developing pictures, a product of the laziness of Americans, is destroying the artistic aspects of photography because of it’s bypassing of the production stage. However, he approaches it from an emotional standpoint recalling past photos as memories or moments that will never be forgotten because of the value associated with the image.

2. What are the main points of the essay?

The main points in the article center around the destruction of photos as a sacred collection of memories through the instant gratification factor of newer forms of photography, such as the digital camera, as opposed to the Polaroid or developing Kodak film negatives in a studio. Stephen identifies the physical value of the image has gone down thus leaving all amateurs with a lost sense of purpose when capturing images, creating a world where only photographers specifically working as artists can reciprocate the original stimulus that was commonly associated with the practice while everyone else produces pictures of random quality because the importance has been lost.

3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?

The points in this article are extremely relevant to me as a media artist because most of my own practices are digitally based and rely on the new technology that’s constantly becoming available in our age. I’ve created most of my entire artistic work on the computer and am not very handy with traditional tools. However, because of the time I’m growing up in, it should be expected as everyone is adapting to the new means of access via technological improvement to things that would otherwise be lost to them. Even adolescence are evolving into this new networking age and probably understand certain aspects more thoroughly and involved than myself. Because of the exponential rate of technological advancement, we can’t expect generations to keep up with each other, however, this article is important because it reminds all of us who’ve grown up in this time that important aspects of media, such as emotion, technique, patience and passion should not be lost on us just because we don’t have to wait.

Danielle said...

I always seem to be interested in not necessarily the history of everything, but there are certain times when I'm using something or reading about someone and I want to know, how did it get here? What did others think? The Art of Instant Gratification was a good summary for me about the camera. Trachtenberg wrote many facts and was quick to the point of everything but wasn't boring. He made sure to cover the main points of the history of the camera but also added little quips and made it a sort of editorial to make it a little less boring. Throughout the article it made you appreciate film and how far its gone. He mentioned how you had to send in the whole camera, and now, it is so easy to get a picture, it doesn't even have to be developed and everything can be done in the comfort of your home. Its a little sad to know that Polaroid will no longer be making film, it makes you wonder if years from now the Polaroid will be considered archaic and if pictures themselves will be appreciated as much even though not as much work is put in.

As an artist, it allows me again, to appreciate where everything has come from. How much work was put in in the beginning to allow me to work on other things with film, if that makes sense. Trachtenberg mentions Andy Warhol's famous quote of 'fifteen minutes of fame.' I feel that phrase is rather unimportant now as reality shows and blogs and becoming more popular and mainstream, more common, that everyone thinks or actually is having there fifteen minutes of fame. Its slowly seeping into the film world. People post shorts and music videos on youtube all the time and then get 'discovered.' Is it unfair that they didn't have to work as hard to get there as past generations? It worries me but fascinates me because I don't want to take that route, expose myself and my work so easily, its not challenging and it seems like its belittling the art of filmmaking itself.

Jonathan Lorbach said...

1) I chose the article "The art of instant gratification" by trachteberg. I chose this one because i feel he raises a lot of good points about the cameras and their effects on people. I also found it to be an easy read and he made everything he was saying very clear. I could evaluate what the message of his writing was and not stuck trying to figure out what his actual sentences meant.
2) The main points of his essay seem to be making a chronological order of all the different camera advances and their effects on the gratification of people as the new technologies came into being. He started with talking about the biblical qualities of the first cameras and the people believing it captured a piece of their soul. Then it moved onto the first hand held camera the kodak brownie. Then onto instant cameras and portable film, then finally onto digital cameras. All the while he measures the effects and seemingly declining value of pictures now that they are available everywhere.
3) I find this relevant as a media artist because it really makes me think about pursuing degrees in this field, because it seems that anybody these days can take a really stunning picture or shoot their own video story. And since Trachtenberg emphasized the declining personal value of pictures since they are everywhere, it makes it seem that much harder to break into the field because people ma see hundreds of pictures a day. The artists really have to stand out to recieve any attention from anyone.

Paige Klone said...

1). I chose "The Art of Instant Gratification" By Stephen. I chose this because it made me think of the movie Blue light district. When the woman comes in and gives these children a camera and lets them capture whatever they wanted, and let them expand their minds and think like an artist. I love this movie because tese children never even seen a camera before, but thye captured these amazing pictures with great angles and lights and they all told a story.

2). Stephen was trying to share that camera's give everyone the chance to capture a story and a time that meant something to them and be able to not keep it as a memory and a story, but keep it as something they can actaully see and view and remember. He talks about how cameras gives the average Joe the chance to be a artist and capture somthing that means something to them, and with our technology today, everyone has the chance to be able to create and capture what ever they wish.

3).This article made me think of this play that I've been working on (its still a sketch, so this might be hard to follow but this is the idea) Someone finds out someone close to them dies (a parent, a friend, an unle w/e) and their sitting in this persons room and find a photo album that has pictures that all tell a story about this persons relationship to this person who died, and they go on and talk about each picture invidualy and tell this story and all of a sudden the story is being played in back of this person while they are explaining the picture. Yeah... I still need to work on it

Shane Connolly said...

The article that I chose was "American Experimental Film" by GreenCineStaff. The reason that I chose this article is because I wanted to get a more expanded view on experimental films from America. Needless to say it provided me with tons of examples of films even though it really confused the the living hell out of me.
The main points of the article was to describe some artist from the early beginnings of experimental films in New York. It also described the course of evolution that the films took throughout the years.
I think that this article is very important to me because I dont quite understand the experimental film style. I really appreciated all the examples that the article provided for me to look up. To be completely honest the films really shocked me and confused me but for some reason I couldn't ever turn away.

Eric Wescott said...

Eric Wescott
Group 1

1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.
Stephen Joel Trachtenberg
The Art of Instant Gratification

I find myself very often deciding not to learn/use/play with something just because I'm aware of how much time it will take in order to acquire the skills needed to create the finished product I have already designed in my own mind. We are constantly being presented with new ways to spend our “free time” and are under more and more pressure to make sure this time is spent with a purpose other being satisfying to ourself.

2. What are the main points of the essay?

Stephen explains how technology has taken a highly technical and time consuming process and converted it into something anyone, anywhere, anytime can do and even distribute their works instantly to anyone else in the world.

The title of this article “The Art of Instant Gratification” has negative connotations. You often hear how “Patience is a virtue” and “All good things come to those who wait”. Some say it isn't art unless you sacrifice something (generally time) to produce it. Stephen takes the position that this is not the case and that great things can be produced with little time/effort.

3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?

As a Film major and having recently taken “Intro to Film” it has become crystal clear just how much videotape and computers have changed the industry. For my 2minute 16mm film I spent nearly 20 hours playing, cutting, and reattaching, and playing it again to edit the film into my final piece. On computers you can instantly move scenes around, duplicate them, layer content without spending an enormous amount of time physically cutting the footage together. Now that I've experienced digital editing I find myself never wanting to work with raw film footage again. It's just too time consuming.

The Internet, Digital Video, websites, free software have allowed anyone to be a film maker. You don't need to spend tons of money to buy equipment, film, and distribute your movie. Anyone can gain access to the tools to make a film.

Megan McCormick said...

1. I chose the article "The Art of Instant Gratification" by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg because I appreciated how he addressed the issue of digital photography phasing out other traditional processes. As technology continually progresses I find it interesting in what we eventually leave behind. I also enjoyed reading about his argument of emotional connection. He argues that printed pictures have an intimacy that is gone with digital images on the screen.

2. Trachtenberg begins his article by addressing the beginnings of photography. The process used to be seen as spiritual and "each time a person had a portrait made, a piece of that individual's soul was captured" (paragraph 1). As time went on the author mentions how Kodak developed the hand-held Brownie camera which enabled common people to capture their own images. Now, as digital photography has propelled to having immense popularity, images can bee seen on or in "flickr, facebook, shutterfly, ning, snapfish, picassa, smugmug, ringo, and others" (paragraph 8). The tangible photo is becoming rarer and the public is more interested in how fast an image can be seen rather than actually holding it in their hands.

3. I feel that as my use of digital photography continues, I shouldn't completely forget the impact of having a tangible image in front of me. Although the digital age produces speed, to me it lacks a personal connection when seeing it on a screen as opposed to on paper. I dont feel that older ways of photography should be completely phased out because there are always ways of seeing that havn't been displayed before. With that, I think it's important to be open to things that are coming in the future. As an artist I try to take the old with the new and integrate aspects of each.

jrstorf said...

I chose "Material Memories: Time and the Cinematic Image" by Paul D. Miller. I chose this essay because of the diverse ways that Miller portrays time and image. He doesn't side with just one theory of what time is related to culture and the world but he give a bunch of different aspects of what time is.

Miller talks about how time synchronizes things as everything that is created in a time period whether it is art or music has one perspective relative to the audience. Miller then introduces the aspect of time being asynchronized or multiplied. Instead of the aspect of a one track timeline Miller expresses time as an infinite feeling of the present.

Miller then brings image into the picture. He starts by saying that when an image is introduced that you immediately start to think of logical structures to create order from the image. The end result is all of the thoughts and actions that you think of while making sense of the image. This all takes place in fractions of a second.

I believe this article will help me in the future because it goes in to depth of certain aspects of time and image that I would have never considered. It give me new knowledge and ways to look at an capture my time and images and make the most of them. Also, I can view time in different ways and thus giving me many ways to manipulate my creations.


Jacob Rengstorf

TA - Seth Warren-Crow

Brandi Stone said...

The article I chose was "American Experimental Film" by GreenCine. I liked this article because it talked about the history of a cinema genre that I am not familiar with and I was able to learn more about the experimental genre. What I thought was most interesting about the experimental genre is how it can communicate using only visuals and deconstruction.
First point was that experimental cinema has two qualities that define it: a desire to deconstruct or ignore the Hollywood aesthetic and to communicate in a purely visual manner. The article then continued with some history behind the experimental genre starting with film critic Jonas Mekas and how he was one of the founders of the Anthology Film Archives which is an organization that helps distribute experimental films. Without distribution, experimental films would never be seen. The article continues by telling us about the kinds of topics experimental films can address such as social injustice and certain political wars such as Vietnam. Using visual image and found footage, these films are more able to communicate complicated topics than "normal films".
I love working with images and even though I'm more into "normal films", I would like to try to make a film with just images and try to tell a story without using the normal linear narrative that Hollywood would use. I see it as a personal challenge to tell a story without using the normal narrative technique.

Charles William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles William said...

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s ideas in “The Art of Instant Gratification” leave me pondering about imagery very much. The article dealt with both ideas of technology and ideologies of what the art of still imagery is, all together. This interests me because after reading this article, the idea that the evolution of technology is eroding artistic expression could be taken seriously and may be true. Before reading this article I rarely thought of the idea of still-imagery so intricately.

Trachtenberg’s article deals with the purity photography used to bestow. He juxtaposes the processes of creating still-images 100 years ago, and today. The slow process of earlier photography is described as much more intimate and satisfactory accomplishment. This idea is then put into opposition with contemporary still-imagery, which in his opinion offers little gratification. The author also explores the personal aspects photography used to have. He discusses the way photographs used to be cherished only by the owner and viewed by the outsider, and how today with global social networks millions of people can view these memories with the click of a button.

The ideas Trachtenberg gives us regarding the sacredness of film left me attentive to what he had to say. I was inspired by the emotional connection he felt in the art of photography, one that I can only hope to achieve being an artist myself. In regards to the slow emotional process that photographers once went through, I agree. In this day and age, with these global social networks, photographs overflow the Internet. If I was to speculate, many of these photos hold little emotional meaning towards the photographer, the audience, or the people photographed. I cannot begin to ponder how many photos I have seen involving to subjects blitzed out of their gourd, where the photographer simply blasted off multiple shots without truly trying to capture the moment. However, Trachtenberg is very narrow-minded with the change of film. Like everything, and especially in art, nothing is permanent; furthermore, this impermanence must be looked at through and understanding lens. Not all of the people using this technology are carelessly taking pictures, and although the process involving the development of pictures is becoming ephemeral, the glee in the eyes of the true artists will remain. Viewing each click of the button as the closest recollection of that moment you will ever have, will continue. I believe this article will help me to treat each picture I take in the future much more seriously. I am inspired by the intimacy photography has to offer now, with a much better understanding of how things used to be.

Charles Dickmeyer

Danny Michel said...

The article I chose to write about was “The Art of Instant Gratification” by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. After reading parts of each article, I found myself wanting to read the rest of it, compared to only a little bit of the other articles. I am most acquainted with digital photography and its precursors, and less with topics like experimental film/avant-garde. I took a couple of photography classes in high school that taught how to develop and print film, which was one of the reasons I liked this article from the beginning.
Trachtenberg makes several points throughout his brief article. One of the main points that he was trying to make was that taking photographs has always been gratifying to people throughout all of its changes, from “hand-held Brownie cameras” to polaroids and all the way to the digital age. The level of control people have with taking pictures adds to this gratification because it somehow makes them more involved in the photograph. The other main point I think Trachtenberg is making in the article is that people don’t value pictures as much as they used to. They aren’t valued because digital photographs can be taken by the hundreds and easily stored on computers, whereas when portable cameras first came out, you could pump out a roll and you would need to take it back to the company to get the film developed. People took time to take photographs and cared more for them, as Trachtenberg explains this sentiment when he states, “Most families considered their personal treasure troves of photographs to be sacred collections, something worth saving at almost all costs.”
The age of digital photography has a lot to do with myself as a media artist. I take photographs, as almost everyone does, and the amount of thought I put into each picture is a lot less when I’m using a digital camera in comparison to my old, SLR film camera. I am quite upset that the art of using a darkroom to develop pictures is kind of dying. As a media artist, this change in the medium is a constant reminder to keep looking forward to newer technology, but to always remember the older technology as well.
Danny Michel
Lab 5
Lilly Czarnecki

zbrudd said...

The article I have selected to discuss in this response is “The Art of Instant Gratification” by Stephen Joel Tratchenberg. I am film student and have always been interested in film/photography/cameras in general and so in starting off reading this article I couldn’t help but feel a slight bit of disgust for myself due to the fact that I didn’t really ever take the time to find out the evolution of film and the camera. Thankfully Tratchenberg summed it all up for me in his article with articulate and imaginative writing to keep it entertaining as well. Tratchenberg’s style of writing in delivering the knowledge about the device that makes up the art that I’m interested in; was more than enough of persuasion for me to choose this article.
Tratchenberg goes through the evolution of what I’m calling the “public camera” due to its availability for the mainstream, in terms of how the photographs have morphed into different Medias and mementoes throughout the years. Originally he explains that the photograph was something that was deeply cherished and in the event of that of a fire or some other freak-occurrence, the holder would do all to protect and keep it within their grasp like that of materials which belong in a safe. Not only was this due to the precious bond that the holder had of the memory displayed, but the photograph in the beginning was something that took time and science to create. Throughout his evolutionary discussion he goes on to explain that as time went on the desire for instant gratification from the camera continued to grow. Going from the Polaroid all the way to digital photography where the time-consuming task of shaking the captured image with ones hand could be omitted; the author discusses the movement of the photo-rapid-gratification-continuum that has developed through the years all the way up to the photos postings on the internet.
Not only are the topics and ideas of this article relevant to my practice as a filmmaker because of the evolution of the camera, but in all this is relevant to any college age facebook participant. Every time I go on the website I see several new photos posted from friends of mine from a party or gathering the previous night and scarily sometimes minutes after it happened. As a media artist interested in film, journalism, photography and many other forms the article was a wakeup call to the fortune that is “instant-gratification” within the camera. Journalist’s, filmmakers, and photographers alike everyday have the opportunity to post, publish, develop, etc. their work almost immeadeatly all the time nowadays and so in reading this I took a moment and allowed it all to sink in. We’re lucky to be in this position as media artist’s today because all of us basically have the world and its moments at our fingertips literally all the time.

Zachary Rudd
Lab 1
David Witzling

Carly112886 said...

1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.

I chose the article “American Experimental Film” by Greencine because that’s what my studies are as a film student. Throughout other classes we have talked about where experimental films started and it was always the German Expressionist Movement but we never talked about New York or San Francisco. This article showed me a different light and I even knew who some of the artists that they talked about and the films that they had so it was easier for me to connect and really understand this article.

2. What are the main points of the essay?

The main points in this essay deal with how experimental film started in New York and who where the ones to help it along. They stated, and what everyone should know, is that experimental films ignore Hollywood ways and explore different areas. Some of the people that helped experimental films come about in New York were Jonas Mekas, Amos Vegal and Jack Smith. They all played a part in believing in experimental film and helped it along so others could know about it.

3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?

This article relates to me a lot because as a filmmaker at this school, that is all we do. I make experimental films and I explore different areas of films that others wouldn’t think to do. In the long run, when I do start making Hollywood films, I will take what I learned here and put it into those films.

Clay M said...

I chose to reflect on the article "Introduction to Avant-Garde Film" by Scott MacDonald, because it spoke of the experience of first viewing avant-garde film, and how often it can be frustrating for a first time viewer. MacDonald speaks about how the typical American is programmed from childhood to simply enjoy and accept mass-market Hollywood films as the "correct" form of cinema. This way of thinking is what makes accepting, let alone enjoying avant-garde films difficult for many people. He talks about how an average moviegoer seeing avant-garde work for the first time has certain expectation of plot, time, and space. When these expectations are not met and instead they are confronted with shape, color, and very unconventional ways of viewing space, it is difficult for them to accept. This impacts me as a media artist in two ways. First, I will completely admit to having a similar reaction as the average moviegoer in MacDonald's essay at first. Also, it helps me to be aware of the audience. Not that it makes me want to shy away from anything I may want to try with media, but it reminds me that it can be a shock to peoples system even if the work itself isn't particularly shocking.

Ally said...

I read Introduction to “Avant-Garde Film” by Scott McDonald because I was very interested in how avant-garde films came about. I happened to be one of those people in which McDonald talks about, that thought avant-garde films were not real films. I thought that they were weird and that there was no real story. Not until I became a film student did I fully appreciate the making of avant-garde films.

The main points of this article were the reasons why people didn’t like avant-garde films. People were so used to Hollywood’s mass marketed commercial films, that some even got headaches from watching avant-garde films. Their idea of a movie was imprinted into their brain when they were children. They thought they understood what the experience of a movie was but realized that they couldn’t grasp the concept of the avant-garde film experience. Another point was how avant-garde films came to be. Avant-garde films were first made in the 1920’s in Western Europe. They were first used as a way for artists working in the fine arts to expand their repertoire and increase the amount of people who attended their galleries. Later on, 16mm cameras became inexpensive enough for the average filmmaker to buy one. This meant that anyone could make movies. These new films offered the audience a broader range of movies to choose from. Many influences of avant-garde film were music, art, and literature. By the 1960’s avant-garde films were becoming more aware of. Another important point was of how Eadweard Muybridge became to be known as one of the first discoverers of avant-garde film. He used still images together to create the illusion of moving objects. Mybridge’s ““motion studies” have been seen as an important stage in the move from the animation of drawings, …to the printing of photographs of stages of motions on strips of celluloid” (Introduction to “Avant-Garde”).

Avant-garde is all about experimentation. I believe that as a filmmaker I need to experiment with many different ways of filming. I also believe that I should be aware of all types of films, whether they are classical Hollywood, film noir or avant-garde. They are all important and knowing information on them will help me to be a better filmmaker.

Alexandra Keck
Lab 4
Julie Murray

Jason Edwards said...

I chose to talk about GreenCine's article, "American Experimental Film". The main reason for this is due to my complete misunderstanding of what experimental film was really about before this semester when i finally got in to some experimental classes.

The authors go over a history of experimental film in the United States, from early shorts and experimental venues, to early experimental film connoisseurs and more. It seems that the main point of the essay is to sort of point out that even though experimental film is more popular now that ever, it needs more attention from the masses. Everyone is so used to the straight-forward viewing of Hollywood narratives. The authors seems to suggest that, in many cases, experimental work can portray messages to the audience in a much stronger fashion than a traditional narrative work.

This article relates to my experiences as a media artist in a few ways. As I mentioned earlier, I had no idea what to expect from experimental classes before this semester. As I read this, I tried to remember all of the different possibilities that I thought could come out of a an experimental class or work. Also this obviously relates to the classes because it is an experimental class, and even more so because we are pretty much not ALLOWED to use expensive programs. The article mentioned that many experimental artists ran on very low budgets, just like we do here.

Jason Edwards
Lab 4
Julie Murray

david j o said...

Hello readers! Welcome back to yet another edition of Reflective Response. For this discussion i will be examining a series of excerpts conducted by Gideon Bachmann from the New York radio station, WFUV-FM, on the nature and function of the experimental film. I have chosen this article for being successful in achieving profound realizations on the "purpose" of the avantgarde film, through a very natural and informal dialogue. With varying visual artists such as Parker Tyler, Ian Hugo, Amos Vogel and Lew Jacobs, many insights for the obscurity of the inner emotional world that experimental film tends to handle are revealed. Given that we as students are always learning and as artists, must be sensitive of new and old ideas alike, i was satisfied to read decisiveness, confusion, disagreement, and compromise from within the article. It proves that no matter how far along in our careers we've come, we're still students at heart, still yearning for constructive criticism and challenge.

The main points of this symposium are as follows: What exactly is experimental film? How has such a style of film progress in contemporary art? How can the "poetic" film be meaningful for its audience and most importantly, how does experimental film differ along side commercial film, when considering form, content and plot?
Simply put, avantgarde film is an investigation of internal conflict found either deep within an individual or society, hidden by mundane repetition. Because film is what the art industry considers to be the art of "cineplastics," it has inherited many artistic criticisms from that of painting, theater, literature, and music. To develop a sense of film as a standalone art, experimental film has been categorized into the abstract, handling shapes and objects, and dreams, handling the subconscious. While seemingly similar, the formal deals mostly with form and structure, while content and plot are throughly constructed in the latter. In either case the average movie goer can't stand too much due to the conditioning of traditional Hollywood cinema. We've been taught that every story needs a beginning, middle and end, with characters and a happy ending. You won't find that in your average experimental film, frankly because these film makers are more interested in the journey rather then where it began or ended. So basically all one can walk away with is an interactive experience, where you are provoke to think of deep issues, displayed poetically just as any and all art forms have done so from the beginning of time.

I feel that the ideas and arguments discussed in this article are extremely relevant, considering i have had many of the same questions, answered with similar responses at uwm. I find it extremely inspirational that older generations are passing down precious words of wisdom, in attempt to change and persevere the integrity of Hollywood and alternative film. As i see it, the two can work alone, but would be a much more powerful medium if the two styles were combined. Thats not to say that there aren't a handful of films which are, but its just that, a handful. When need to recondition the audience to reevaluate films critically on form, structure, content and plot and not on the bells and whistles. I gladly take on that responsibility, if it means society has finally moved on to a higher level of collective consciousness.


David J Ortiz
Lab 5
Lilly Czarnecki

zack said...

I decided to reflect on the article by Scott McDonald entitled, "Introduction to Avant Garde Film" because it expressed some of the same feelings aI have about American film and the social ideas here of what films or movies are. The way that the author describes the history or Avant Garde film in terms of how it has grown here versus the way Europe has embraced the style. It gives you a perspective of how the influences of culture and location can influence the way a critic could see a particular film.

Some of the main ideas of the writing focus on the ways Avant Garde film has developed from the beginnings of film techniques, and how the style of film breaks away from the Hollywood way of creating a film; reflecting upon some of the most authentic and original aspects of early film by expanding on those ideas. The article describes the ways in which Avant Garde film in America may sometimes get a negative response because of the way Hollywood media here has developed the idea of what a film is. People see ideas that don't follow the typical storyline approach,or don't use the same techniques for shooting the imagery that Hollywood film embraces. The abstractness throws them off and people tend to feel negatively about things they know little about. Aside from the way the media influences what a film is, it also affects the American view of film by oversaturating the markedt with all of the same styles and ideas. They choose what will get seen based upon what will be easily marketable and profitable. With this thick cloud of distraction there is little visibility for some of the artists that create some of the most innovative ideas out there.

This article reflects upon me as a media artist because it opens my eyes to looking for different ways to approach a project. There are many ways to start and to develop an idea, however a lot of those can go undiscovered by me and other artists if they don't realize and experience different styles to gahter ideas from. If all you know is what a Hollywood film constists of, then most of your ideas will probably reflect the things you know about these styles, and in gathering ideas you could be staring the most amazing idea ever right in the face and not know because what your looking for is so narrow focused.

tmarthur said...

1. My article of choice for reflective response 3 is Greencine's "American Experimental Film." The reason I chose to write on this article is mainly because I myself am a film major, and occasionally work on some short experimental films of my own.
2. The main points of this article include, the background of experimental cinema, and what experimental cinema does. It discusses that experimental film is simply going against "traditional" Hollywood cinema, with a non narrative and visually stimulating approach. The article then proceeds to talk about the history of experimental film, and it's creators.
3. This article is relevant to me as a media artist because I am currently and in the future going to be working of experimental short films. The idea that experimental films use more visual art instead of sound to get their point across really intrigues me, and I do so now and will continue to search for my own style of experimental film.

Tyler Arthur
Group 1?

brian shea said...

1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.
I chose Scott Macdonald’s introduction to “Avant Garde Film”. I chose this article not only because it was interesting but also for the purpose of discourse. Since I wholly disagree with some statements made by Scott Macdonald I wanted a chance to express my opinion on the matter in a healthy and constructive manner. I would only be able to illustrate my own viewpoints by choosing this article in particular. I also found many of the ideas that Macdonald portrayed to be intriguing. This intrigue I found elicits the need to delve into Macdonald’s argument and break it down piece by piece in order to better understand it.

2. What are the main points of the essay?

In the first paragraph Macdonald argues that the reason we reject avant garde film initially is because we have been nurtured in such a way as we mature that we consider mainstream Hollywood cinema to be the standard in the film making world. This is the reason he explains that we cast Avant Garde film to the fringes of the film world. This in my opinion is not true whatsoever. Maturation only plays half the role in our psychological and social development. The Hollywood narrative style and continuity were developed to not only feel natural but originate from the literary world. Stories have been around and told in such a matter for a long time; as far back as the bible. So in essence it is really literature that determined how we want to read a film. The argument that Macdonald makes assumes the audience does not know how to read a film, a mistake made all to often by individuals. Today’s audience is both intelligent, observant, and open minded. The reason that Avant Garde is rejected as a standard is simple; the audience cannot immerse themselves in it, or enjoy it. If our economy is based in capitalism, then the audience determines the standard based upon what they are willing to watch or spend their money to see. Since the audience feels comfortable with the current standard they will be willing to spend their money in order to produce more of that standard as opposed to radical cinema.

3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?

I would have to say that in earnest these ideas are not relevant to my own practice as an artist considering that I plan to embrace the Hollywood style cinema later in my career. I would only say that this article made me aware of styles of film that do not work, when it comes to making a profit. It made me aware that there are still starving artists out there that enjoy creating pieces for the art rather than the monetary compensation, and I respect them for that however I would never emulate them. In whole I would say that this article in no way applies to my works of art as a film maker with the exception of the work I do in this class. The way in which this class limits my creative abilities as a film maker I would have to say it very much so applies to the work I do in that regard.

-Brian Shea

Jack Lawless said...

The article I read was “Material Memories: Time and the Cinematic Image” by Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky). I read it because I was intrigued by the fact that he makes music as a DJ. His writing still is very interesting and I enjoyed reading a musicians perceptions, being one myself.
“Material Memories” concentrated on the changing face/existence of time. DJ Spooky talked about time as it relates to society and society as it relates to time. He described time as being a script that we must follow and the Surrealist's idea of total freedom was, “walking into a crowd firing blindly, a psycho-social critique of the way that time and culture had been regimented in an industrial society.” DJ Spooky explained that the way time and information were structured, created a set mold or path that we must follow and encouraged the reader to examine their own “path”. He also talked about how information is a constant assault on the brain, a river of pixels that if changed slightly, can completely reverse one’s way of thinking. Lastly he talked about when people view an image they create a form in their head after heavily filtering and sorting the information they absorb, “the end-product of this palimpsest of perception is a composite of all the thoughts and actions you sift through over the last several micro-seconds ? a soundbite reflection of a process that's a new update of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.” DJ Spooky examined the relationship between time and information as it plays out in society. He also encouraged the reader to examine their own path as it relates to the constrictions of time.
These ideas are relevant to me as a media artist and as a person because it focuses on increasing your awareness of the world and realizing the unnecessary chains that hold you down. As an artist I want to do the same as well as encourage people to look at themselves. My work is not for me, it is for the people that take it as an experience and use it to enhance themselves and this can be done by examining the role of time in your life. We humans need each other and I want my work to strengthen the connection between us and that can be done be examining the similarities in our restrictions we have as citizens/men/women/children/people who have been loved/people who have been hurt/laughers/criers/lonely people/ hopeful people/disappointed people/people with big smiles on their faces/people who don’t sleep well sometimes…
Jack Lawless
Lab 4
Julie Murray

JonathanLindenberg said...

I chose the article “The Art of Instant Gratification” by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg because the main conflict of his article is the ever-increasing rise of digital technology and the effect that is having on the market place as far as that goes for media artists. I have and continue to use both digital and film when it comes to photography and I can understand the appeal of both of them, and I even prefer one in certain situations and the other at a different time. The difference in overall labor and man hours invested in projects between the two is without a question not even comparable and that is the one thing that is a little dissappointing because now eveybody is so bombarded with images, some diigtal some not, that many don't appeciate the technicality and precision that goes in to some really amazing work because people just assume its all done digitally. This article is totally relevant to me because it is one of the most difficult challenges that my peers and I will have to face as we approach the field of professinal media artists, and I do think it may be a struggle to convince people not go digital for everything.

Jonathan Lindenberg
Lab 5

Dave Myszewski said...

1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.

I chose "The Art of Instant Gratification" by Stephen Joel Trachtenburg because it discusses the art of photography possession a "magical quality." It intrigues me to think that unlike film or sound that basic photos capture the soul of the individual or scene.

2. What are the main points of the essay?

One point the author expresses is that even though technological aspects of photography have changed, the fundamentals haven't. People still use photos as a means of capturing memories which they can share with each other or themselves as longs as the photo exists. They are almost a visual storage device of memory, and are so important that people will go out of their way to protect them.

3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?

These ideas are relevant to being a media artist because, like the author suggests, photos capture a person's soul. They have the ability to convince the viewer of the mood of the situation. Photography is special in that the situation can almost be never fully reproduced, and it is the artist's to make sure that moment is preserved.

Max said...

Max Bouril
Film 116
1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.

I Chose Scott MacDonald’s Introduction to “Avant-Garde Film” because I did not know very much about Avant-Garde film. I fell into the category of moviegoer that MacDonald describes I had seen a Avant-Garde film until I was in my late teens and I had a response similar he expected, I was a little confused at first. After learning more about film and filmmaking, the history and everything that has gone into it, I have come to appreciate viewing something new from a fresh perspective. Also MacDonald gives a brief overview of some historical achievements in Avant-Garde film, which also interests me.

2. What are the main points of the essay?

Be that this is the Introduction of a much longer piece of work it seems that Macdonald is briefly touching on numerous subjects. It seems that in the chapters that follow the intro are movies that exemplify what Macdonald is trying to say about Avant-Garde film. The two subjects that he goes into the most detail about are surrealism and abstraction. The beginnings of which was first seen in France and Germany in the 1920’s. Although these films were not screened widely through out the west it influenced other filmmakers. By having something besides commercial film to be influenced by was the start of the expansion of Avant-Garde film. Macdonald discusses two filmmakers that introduced two ways of looking at Avant-Garde film the first being Eadweard Muybridge and the Lumiere brothers. Muybrigde was more interested in the study of motion and looked at like a science. Where as the Lumiere brothers developed a way to look at the beauty of everyday activities and life. Macdonald distinguishes the two in a sentence, “If Muybridge can be said to represent the analysis of reality so that it can be studied, the Lumieres can be said to represent the synthesis of reality so it can be compared.” I believe that this is just the start of what Macdonald is getting at in his book but is seems like a good base for learning about Avant-Garde Filmmaking.

3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?
I went into this article with just a few ideas of what Avant-Garde filmmaking meant but now it is almost seems that Avant-Garde filmmaking can be anything that breaks the rules of commercial filmmaking. I didn’t know about anybody else but it seems that the Hollywood style of filmmaking is getting extremely predictable so I been about of older film. After learning more about Avant-Garde film I believe this is a genre of film that I would like to explore more.

Kellen Kroening said...

1. I chose the article by Scott MacDonald, "An Introduction to Avant-Garde Film". I picked this article because I have always had an interest in Avant-Garde film but have never really persued that interest. I do have a respect for most things Avant-Garde, and I feel it is something I have a general understanding of.

2. The article starts off with the origin of Avant-Garde film. It also explains its place amoung commercial film, and the struggle it has ensued to be appreciated. It then discusses the work of the 15 most important creators of Avant-Garde film. The article places their work into sub-catagories of the Avant-Garde film movement and defends their relavancy in the genre.

3. Even though I was not familiar with any of the films; I was familir with many of the artists and I do know their work outside of film. Artist like Man Ray, Duchamp, Salvador Dali, Yoko Ono, Eadweard Muybridge all have influenced me as an artist and I would be very interested in seein their Film works. I also feel for those in the Avant-Garde field for the reason that it is such and unappreciated field of art. As a photographer I have chosen a path that disregards all that I know about a taking a "good photograph", and rely on my intuition and experimental nature. I believe this my be closely related to the field of Avant-Garde works, especially when you consider some of the content of my work.

Andrew Page said...

Introduction to the “Avant-Garde Film”
Scott MacDonald
I choose this article because I very much enjoy Avant-Garde film.

MacDonald makes a point in this article to ex plane how and why people reacted to Avant-Garde film.
Most people see an Avant-Garde film after seeing hundreds of main stream movies, and most have a preconceived notion of what a movie is and should be. Many are uncomfortable with Avant-Garde film because it uses a very familiar medium “cinema its on a screen, its motion picture” in an unfamiliar way that challenges preconceived notions of movies.
MacDonald mentions many common responses to Avant-Garde film “this isn't a movie” “you call this a movie.” We are taught to think of movies as structured linear narratives that are to be understood. Avant-Garde film doesn't abide by the rules of a movie, MacDonald compares Avant-Garde film to music, or painting. Art forms that are less structured, and more conceptual feeling.
I have ran across this sort of thing before when I watched the Fountain by Darren Aronofsky. Many people did not understand this major Hollywood picture because it did not have a linear narrative it really had more of a parallel narrative. People were frustrated by this because it was hard to understand but it came from Hollywood so that shouldn't happen.
Most don't understand the Avant-Garde, but I don't think Avant-Garde is meant to be understood by most.

Andrew Page

jstilley said...

Justin Tilley

I chose "On the Nature and Function of the Experimental (Poetic) Film" for it seemed to be more of an overview of experimental film as opposed to being focused on one specific area thus easier to write about, or it would seem.
I believe the main points of this essay, or conversation, is to say that film is, or at least can be, more than just entertainment and it doesn’t necessarily need to have a coherent a to b type of structure. Film is an art form like music or painting but it seems at times that it isn’t allowed to be taken seriously like other art forms when in fact it has the ability to incorporate all forms of art, visual, audio and so on.
The ideas and arguments are relevant to me because I too believe that not all movies need to hold the hand of the viewer and manipulate their feelings and drag them in the direction that the filmmaker wants to go. I believe in allowing the audience to have a more personal attachment with a film by keeping it open allowing one to be pulled in but not know where to go, or not be told, following their own intuition and all that sort of thing. A lot of people think that experimental films are pretentious and some people are insulted by them because they fear that they do not get it. But in reality I think experimental films (the ones that aren’t pretentious) are not trying to insult their audience but are in fact taking their audience more seriously and treating them with much more respect than those who just want to distract and amuse them with some bland grey mush that goes down easy but has no taste.

Jordan Steffen said...

The article I have chosen to respond to is “The Art of Instant Gratification” by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. Watching how photography has progressed from 35 mm film to digital and the different rituals surrounding the two has interested me a lot in recent years. His article focusses on the differences between the two at a human feelings level, saying that digital on screen images don’t have the same “intimacy of touch,” (paragraph 9 of the article) that a tangible print would have. In my opinion, his thoughts on the topic were interesting, as my focus on the differences between the two formats has been mostly technical.

This article starts with a brief history of photography and the cameras themselves. In the beginning photographs were revered by some, as they thought the image captured a part of the persons soul and kept it forever. The whole process of taking a photo at which point the light was trapped inside the camera until it was developed inside a dark room, and then “miraculously [appeared] on a previously blank piece of paper,” (paragraph 2 of the article). Photography came to the average person with the advent of the Brownie camera from Kodak. Like today’s disposable cameras, where you take all the exposures then drop the whole camera off at a developing center, except the camera was not disposable. Instead the roll of film was replaced and you got the camera back. One didn’t bring them to a developing center either, they sent the camera in to Kodak, who were they only ones with the technology to develop the roll of film and replace it with a new one. This was one step closer to instant gratification photography, but it finally happened in the late 1940s with Polaroid’s instant camera. Now, with digital cameras, photography is “faster than instant,” (paragraph 7 of the article). One can instantly share a digital photo with the entire world, but the photos are rarely printed out, so having a tangible photo to hold in your hands and touch is getting rarer.

When I’ve considered the differences between digital and film, it’s always seemed to be about the technical differences. Some people are partial to film, and I’ve gotten in a few arguments over how much better digital is and how you can instantly tell if your shot was in focus and if the shutter speed and aperture size you chose worked. This article talked about other differences like not having a physical photograph to hold and touch in your hands. Also about how the boxes of photographs that were so special are quickly becoming a thing of the past. We now have the same thing, just in the digital form with our computers’ digital photo libraries. There must be some kind of connection with a paper print of a photo that’s not there on the screen though Although I've never consciously thought about why, I find myself still wanting to make prints of my favorite photos, so I can pass them around to guests, or display them in a frame. As far as instant gratification goes, I've noticed a peculiar phenomenon in the generation of children right now who have grown up with only digital cameras, and not had experience with film. The second a picture is taken the first thing that comes out of their mouth is, “let me see.” This is something that 10 years ago wouldn’t have been possible, but now happens without any thought at all.

Jordan Steffen
Group 1

Dusty Vollmer said...

1. Identify the article you have selected and why you chose it.

I chose, American Experimental Film by Tom Hyland & Jonathan Marlow, mostly because Experimental film is one of the reasons I chose Milwaukee. Exposure to these inventive ways of looking at “space” is what will shape the future of my expressions’.


2. What are the main points of the essay?

The article mostly gives a background to Experimental film. It documents a rise from the 1960’s, when the cost of film had been lowered. It also speaks on how some people’s paths through the medium of film brought them to or through New York.


3. How are the ideas or arguments in this article relevant to your own practice as a media artist?
I guess I could relate this to the growing feeling of wanting to break away from “cookie cutter” film. The mere thought of seeing something that slightly resembles something I have in post production would make me cancel it. It has now become a growing obsession towards originality. No matter how many things have been done, there is always a different way of doing it. There will always be an infinite number of combinations of variables that I control from different angles that will allow me to produce such original work. The extra time spent researching similar pieces will allow me to guarantee that my work is original. The creation of new Medias just opens the door for new genres of collaboration.
-Dusty Vollmer

Corey Finnigan said...

The article I have chosen is GreenCineStaffs' American Experimental Film. This article, although not insightful, is something I found expository. I have never known the roots of experimental film in America and here I'm given names of directors and films from the start of the movement until today. I'm sure I won't be able to see all these films, but it points me in a direction so I will at least know what to look for.

The writers at GreenCineStaff have constructed a summary of an experimental film database. From the early influences of German Expressionists, Soviet Constructivists and the French Trick filmmakers; American filmmakers found something striking: films could exist outside the mold of Hollywood. Jonas Mekas highlighted indepented underground films with Anthology Film Archives and Film Culture, the staff see him to be a significant turning point in experimental film. The article links each person or organization to their contribution to the movement, which heavily resided in NYC and San Francisco. It turns into a sort of family tree, despite some of the filmmakers never crossing paths, but the advancement of experimental film itself, from protest oriented films to the film process or "pure film". Essentially, the GreenCineStaff has presented a history report on American experimental films. They do not only boast the filmmakers but stress their work and affect on the present state of the movement.

This article does not quite make any true arguments for experimental film. I'm sure someone could debate who was more significant in the underground movement of film, but it's not me. Instead, I use it as a guide for films that will either have something to say or be striking and original. I find that the community built around these films is important due to the fact that these are small independent films. Even more important is the idea of these artists as a collective, sharing and exploring each others works and ideas. In the article, James Benning was mentioned and last semester I watched his film "11x14". I hope among the works cited here I can find others like his to inspire me or at the very least get me thinking in a different direction of cinema.

Jon Agen said...

1. I choose the Gideon Bachmann article because I always found it difficult to describe what experimental film really is, and how it is different than commercial film. It is very easy to watch an experimental film and know it is different, but expressing it in words is a more challenging process. In reading what other artists said about the aspects of experimental film, it became easier to understand what experimental film is all about.

2. The article focus's on the goal's or challenges of experimental film. Experimental film deals with life in the now, contemporary issues that inescapably affect the world over. Experimental film uses the same tools as commercial film however, it strives to use techniques of the present and future. This in turn can sometimes have a negative effect losing focus on content, form and personal connections, leaving only the creation of new techniques to be desired. However, those that succeed in the balance of mixing technical and form, leave the audience in a state of mental participation in order to take meaning from the film. This is sometimes to much of a jolt for the audience member who has not been exposed to this type of media before.

3. This article is exceptional relevant to a media artist. It is a wonderful outline to follow in attempts to make a successful experimental project, which strives for exploration but not at the expense of the meaning or personal message of the peace. This is exactly what we are trying to do. A drift is an exploration to present new meaning in the way we look at our surroundings. As it says in the article film is linear and should flow from one frame to the next. A drift is no different, we explore new surroundings on our walk but in the process of editing we take these surroundings to create a linear mapping for others to follow.

nreindl said...

1. The article I chose was "American Experimental Film" because I thought that out of the other articles, I found myself really interested in the time line style of how Experimental Film was introduced to America. I also liked learning more about Jonas Mekas because I have seen a couple of his works in other classes and have been to his web site where he has other users submit their own videos and I discovered that Mekas was one of the key pioneers of experimental film-making in America.

2. Mekas and other experimental film-makers didn’t want to be pinned to the labels of "avant-garde," "underground" or "non-narrative" film, but the "experimental" genre has two qualities that separates it from other forms of filmmaking; its desire to deconstruct or entirely ignore the “Hollywood” aesthetic. Mekas became one of the innovators of experimental film-making because of the voice that he created within his films. He had tendencies to produce statements that seemed fit for political rallies. He described his style as an attempt to record how we see images in our dreams, and to put our subconscious on the screen. Thematically and symbolically, contemporary subjects were occasionally addressed in experimental films. Protests of social injustice and issues that were significant in popular culture of the time were often addressed within experimental media. Gradually, experimental techniques influenced the rest of the film world. Experimental work is still flourishing, and the influence of experimental film can easily be seen within fast-paced, rapid editing techniques found in television commercials and numerous motion pictures. “More importantly, experimental filmmakers continue to take advantage of every possible use of camera and projector, image and sound, to innovate in the under-appreciated art form.”

3. The information and ideas within this article really gave me a better understanding of what it means to be an experimental film-maker. I find it really interesting how Hollywood cinema, and even more substantial popular culture loves to embrace the people who defy them in an attempt to become “the in-crowd” even for those who don’t want to be apart of it. This is a reoccurring trend that exists within our American culture through the popularization of graffiti, hip-hop, and other forms of expression that fight against these industries and ultimately become a commercialized item to be marketed and sold. I think that the ideas from this article will have an influence on me as a media artist because I have a drive to address contemporary subjects to expose them, and to hopefully give the viewer a new sense of the topic in future work. Also, within experimental film-making, you are not limited by any genre restraints, but they have a desire to deconstruct and simultaneously ignore the conventional Hollywood narrative composition. I think that through image-sound relationships and using the camera in new ways, innovations to film-making as an art form will have infinite possibilities because of the various or slight differences that a media artist can do to create a unique piece. I also hope that experimental media could alter our perceptions of main stream media and become a more integral part, rather than the watered-down nature that you typically find when you go to a movie theatre.

--Nick Reindl, LAB 3

William Olsen said...

I chose to read the article "The Art of Instant Gratification" by Stephen Trachtenberg because it dealt with a rather interesting subject. The concept of giving a camera to a young group of people and letting them freely explore the world around them is very intriguing. The children who havent really seen or played with a camera before took pictures from various angles and of random things in a way we might not think to think about.

The point of the article was to show that everyone can be an artist with a camera if given the opportunity. Everyone has a story to tell, how they tell it is simply a choice that each individual decides for themselves. With the technology today, everyone has a chance to get their vision and story across by some means.

These concepts are very relevant to our drifts because we, much like the children, our projects are about creating a story through our own unique view. We have a story to tell and we must do it through the technology we have available to us. The article tries to get us to think about what we are able to do with our media, and thinking like this is what is necessary to get an interesting story across.

Will Olsen
Group 2
Steve

D_Carter said...

Derrek Carter Jr.

I have selected the articled entitled "The Art of Instant Gratification" by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. i chose it because it was the most interesting to me. I use Facebook alot and I take alot of pictures so it was relevant to me.

The article went through a very brief history of photography. it started off in the days of old when a photographer had to use darkrooms and when development took a long time. The article showed the evolution that photography has gone through and how much easier it is to get our images quickly now.

They are relevant to me because photography is sometimes the best way to remember a great idea you had or just to inspire others. The article talked about hoe easy it is to throw out pictures these days. Maybe as an artist I can practice valuing every shot like it used to be necessary to do.

tshuen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alec Beaird said...

I chose the article "American Experimental Film" by the GreenCine Staff. I chose this article based on my desire to learn more about experimental film. I had little interest in reading about photography, and avant-garde film seemed to me less relevant of a topic to my own practices than experimental film. Also I chose it over the Gideon Bachmann piece because that was an interview which meant that I would mostly be reading opinion. I wanted something less biased and more factual. And while I found that the GreenCine article still had its own bias (in their defense it is difficult not to) it still related a lot of interesting factual information.
The article serves mainly as a general overview of American experimental film history. It starts by stating the birthplace of American experimental film (it claims New York, but also mentions San Francisco) and quickly goes on to name some of the precursors such as German expressionist cinema. The article then goes on to discuss many of the bigger "players" in the movement and mentions their more well known works on many occasions describing them. The article gives credit where credit is due and mentions that many of the players came out of a visual art background and looked at film as simply another medium or canvas. The problem seems to have been less the amount of work coming out of the experimental film movement and more the distribution of said work. Very few people would ever see any of these films. So to correct the problem "Amos Vogel founded the influential Cinema in 1947." By the early sixties other distributors of independent experimental work began showing up as well. The article closes its history in the nineties when Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage's work (among others) were accepted into the National Film Registry of Archived Films.
While I don't consider myself an experimental filmmaker, or a media artist, all of film history is important knowledge to me. Sometimes I wish more was written about the thousands of failed, or simply just not beloved feature films and experimental films. A history of any art by looking at the mediums failures would perhaps be more useful than any of the histories of successes that exist. More notably however, this article relates to me and my work in one critical way mentioned in the seventh paragraph. The article states "Clearly, although experimental films are largely free of conventional narrative, they are certainly able to communicate complicated topics in ways that "normal" films still find impossible." You see, even if my desire is to create what GreenCine calls "normal" films, there is still much to be learned from experimental films way of communicating. Experimental film uses specific techniques much different from narrative films to convey meaning. Many of these techniques are very powerful and by learning them they could very well be incorporated into a more "normal" film to startling effect. So, like I said, all film history is important, and it can all relate if you incorporate it into your own work.

Alec Beaird
Lab 2
Seth Warren-Crow

Eriks Pukite said...

1.) I choose to select the article: American Experimental Film. It is about the beginning and rise of experimental or “underground” style of film making in American, starting in the mid 1900s (1950’s). I choose this article because it really helps define and describe how experimental film took off and grew within American. Also I have always been intrigued by the older and timeless short films.

2.)There are many main points of this article. The first is when and why experimental films started to be created in American. That was because of the artists wanted to expand beyond the normal conventional rules of film. Eventually artists started too created even there own styles of experimental film. Second is that a lot of the artists choose to have the subjects of there films reflect the things that were going on in history. Like the Vietnam War and or the assignation of JFK. Lastly, the article likes to show how experimental film is now more accepted as works of art as time progresses. One short film has even been accepted into the National Film Registry of Archived Films.

3.)This article is relevant to my own practice as a media artist because of one main reason. That would be the first true experimental film artists back in the 1950’s truly pushed the limits of art and took the chance of braking out of the normal rules of film. Despite the beginning lack of interest it got. This relates to me as an artist because I have always liked to break out of the normal conventional rules of society than follow the normal “trend”. Also I have always been interested and found great respect for artists that create new and fresh ideas to express themselves in an artistic manner.

Eriks Pukite
Lab 5
Lilly Czarnecki

collinsd said...

1. I chose the article “American Experimental Film” by Tom Hyland & Jonathan Marlow. As someone who hasn’t viewed a great deal of experimental films, this article (though brief) was a welcome insight into the history and evolution of experimental film in America. Seeing that my interest in this field is limited (my area of study is music based), I found this article more appropriate for me than the more analytical/technical, “On the nature and function of the experimental film”.

2. The article focused itself on the primary cultural centers of this country, New York City and San Francisco, in the 20th century and the films made there that fall outside of the narrative story telling associated with Hollywood films. References to important European filmmakers and their influence on American 20th century film initiated a deeper look into the role of these American and the inter-connectivity between themselves and other art forms. The article goes on to state that institutions like Cinema 16, Anthology Film Archive and the Filmmaker’s Cooperative were rare opportunities for artists to share their creations with a greater community; taking them out of complete obscurity. The importance of organizations like Anthology Film Archives is one that cannot be measured in a world dominated by Hollywood films. Through a series of introspective analysis, the article describes a few artist approaches to bringing their audience out of the typical narrative and into an altered perspective of the given subject matter; regardless how abstract that matter was.

3. The fact that all experimental arts are pretty low on the totem pole is very relevant to the work I’m interested in creating. Living in a smaller metropolitan area creates unique challenges to having ones more experimental art represented. I feel that anytime like-minded (as close as possible) artists can find organization within themselves, or outside organizations for that matter, they will help create a cultural outlet for experimental works. It is in my opinion that group effort and organization are vital to an effective community of experimental artists. Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen some of the ebb and flow of this process in our own Milwaukee.

David Orawiec said...

The article I chose is "American Experimental Film" by Greencine. I chose this article because I found it interesting that American avant-garde film started in New York. I have always thought that Hollywood was the place for film, but this article opened my eyes a little wider. I also chose this article because it mentions the beginnings of some of the best experimental work that I have have seen. In experimental film screenings, I have seen work by Brackhage, Derren, Mekas, and many other and respect there work; now i know where they got their start of their work.

As hinted above, the article dealt with the rise of avant-garde film in New York in the 1950's and 60's. The article includes film artists from German expressionism that influenced artists here to shape experimental films. "Experimental work in the 1950s and 1960s grew out of a desire to expand beyond the rules of conventional narrative and invent a new language for film." The article continues to go over many artists and venues that influence avant-garde cinema that sprung out of New York. This includes Cinema 16's role in distribution of experimental films until it was closed and some of the other companies formed. The article gratifies experimental film being a style where complicated topics can be communicated in a way normal films cannot. Finally, the article ends with the known exposiers of avant-garde films that included the acceptance of Derren's "Meshes in the Afternoon."

The ideas that this article produces that can be helpful to me are ones of voyeurism. This article has so many great artists as references that to experience the full effect of the genre, one need to watch films by these artists. "Wavelength" is just as nerve racking as the article states. Derren's films are wonderful and definitely reflect the genre's best. The more films a person views and the more history a person can know greatly influences the work produced by that person. In this case, that person/media artist, is me.

David Orawiec

tshuen said...

I chose the article American Experimental Film by Tome Hyland& Jonathan Marlow . The article introduces the art revolution/movement experimental film, with defining its meaning, its desires and the history along with transformation. I find the writers’ attitude to introduce experimental film, unlike some critiques thoroughly fall to publishing the greatness of it, but very apropos. Some of the points about the essential purpose of doing experimentation could be used as a reference to my own practice.
>
> The main point of the essay is to reawaken the value of experimental film. It first depicts the rise of this new cinema form: influenced by some European art movement, the pioneers grouped the idea of “to expand beyond the rules of conventional narrative.” It states the point of “provide a new way of seeing the world that is free from the traditional sense of storytelling and, instead communicate in a purely visual manner.” In brief, the word experimentation represents a free to conventional restriction. The rest of the article introduces examples of the trailblazers exercised the idea and how did the movement grow and transform. Such as the more involvement of the actual process of making the film, created the “Structural Film” form. In the end, although the writes state the experimental film has influenced by academic institution and identified as an under-appreciated art form, they still do not ignore the unknown possibility of experimental film in the further.
> I think the most relevant idea I should remember to practice from this article is to drop the awareness of the identified object, equipment rules and acknowledge as much as possible. In front of an scene, the objects I recognized are all under identified, and thus the second when I take out my camera or video to capture them down, I am able to purely communicate with the images.

cjkaegi said...

1. I chose to read and write about Write and Sites " A Manifesto For A New Walking Culture". I chose this article because I thought the layout and use of imagery to help explain the concepts in the article to be extremely interesting. The imagery also helped me get an idea of what the authors were trying to say.

2. The main points of the essay follow four different criteria. The first point explains the walker as an artist. They use pictures of signs saying not a play area, which has a deeper meaning to it. The second criteria is the walker must be a writer, which means we must change the way in which we portray and read the city. The third point is the walker as a playful performer, which means the walker must engage with the city not just observe. The fourth criteria is the walker must disrupt his habitual walking patterns and try new routes, which allows one to see new and interesting sites.

3. I found this article to be relevant to my practice as an artist because one of the ideas that I walked away from this article was that one must open their eyes and see the irony and humor in our urban landscapes. Whether it be, the sign of a man walking safely to the hospital. If one looks for humor and insight in the sights of one's walk, you will find it

Jon Elliott said...

The article that I have chosen was American Experimental Film by GreenCine. There were many reasons why I chose this article, the first is because it used terms I was famillar with such as German Expressionism, and Soviet constructivism. This article also included theorist that I have read works on such as Eisenstin, Wein, and Lang. In fact I watched Lang’s movie M last week. Another reason why I chose this article was because I liked the idea of expanding beyond the covenantal narrative and experimenting with new ideas and conventions.

As I was reading there were many main points that stood out at me, the first being that “Topical subjects were occasionally addressed in experimental films” such as protest in Vietnam in the 60’s or the murders of John F. and Bobby Kennedy. This lets experimental films still be in the conventional narrative but still communicate sensitive topics. Another point that I found interesting was the actual process of making film becomes a meaning of work. . “Simply deconstructing or re-editing an existing film made for a revolution in how we view and perceive the notion of cinema.”


This article is relevant to my own practice as a media artist because as a filmmaker I try to experiment with new ways of editing and filming. I expand beyond the covenantal narrative, and by doing this it allows me to explore new possibilities that I had never thought of before. Especially in this class, I have to experiment with things that go outside of my comfort zone, the rule of thirds, I had no idea what that was until I read about it and now, it is behind one of my rough sketches in my drift 2 assignment.

Jon Elliott
Lab 1
David

Danny Dillig said...

1. I chose the American Experimental Film article because I find experimental film to be an incredibly in depth study full of some of the greatest thinkers of the past century. Its interesting to learn of all of the sub-genres of experimental film and the key influences behind them, especially because I can recognize a lot of them or was unaware that they were part of the movement.

2. The article makes note of the various influences from Hollywood like German expressionism, Soviet Constructivists, and French Trick Film-makers, arguing that the movement could have actually started on the East coast right outside of Hollywood. The article defines the experimental aspect as non-traditional visual storytelling or anything out of place in traditional Hollywood films. The articles identify New-York's avant-garde movements with a number of popular artists, designers, and musicians, most theorists in their field as far back as the 40s. Experimental film styles have sprung out of the editing of existing footage or controversial subjects from artistically sexual explicit scenes, homoeroticism, to the JFK assassination. The idea of a medium defining the message of a work is also a product of experimental film. Finally the article goes on to explain how American underground, avant-garde movements have spread internationally affecting international film as much as Hollywood is able to.

3. As a media artist, I find it important to constantly be redefining the idea of film, just as experimental film attempts to do. It was interesting to learn of Charles and Ray Eames and John Cages direct involvement in the movement, proving that design and music are just as plausible backgrounds for film as any other. Experimental film seems to be a great alternative form of art for any artist as a film can easily incorporate photography, music, design, and poetry. It’s like a gateway between the art world and one that should be used to its full potential.

Daniel Dillig
Seth Warren - Crow

Michael C. said...

Summary and Thoughts from
On the Nature and Function of the Experimental (Poetic) Film
by Gideon Bachmann

1. The article I selected was Bachmann’s “On the Nature and Function of the Experimental (Poetic) Film.” I really liked how this reading was in the form of a discussion just like what you would see on online forums. I think forums are the future and so I mainly choose this article because I wanted to voice my opinion on that. Bachmann, Tyler, Hugo, Vogel, and Jacobs discuss the matters of experimental film in a step by step analysis of what Experimental Film is all about.

2. To explain the main points of the article I’ve decided to take a bunch of quotes, not cite them, and mix them around to explain how my mind enjoyed it:

“I play with images.” “What happens between A and B.” “There has been insufficient emphasis on form and too much on content.” “Imagination is what makes the world go round”. “Films that in various ways attempt to deal with the whole question of war or that deal with problems of emotional or sexual adjustment”.

3. Before reading this article I never really thought about how structured non-experimental films are. At the beginning of this class we watched some of last year’s students’ final short experimental films and I had the idea “this is weird” in my head. In general, the generality of experimental films according to Bachmann and Friends is what makes it so unique. Narrative is still within these films yet possibilities of how to present your narrative, your imagination, are endless beyond comprehension. This article, I feel, has helped loosen my mind up, changing my original idea of “this is weird.” For my Drift 3, I hope to get as “weird” as possible with some narrative I see forming as my footage continues to shape.

Michael Curtis
4