Cinemavision. Masterpieces of Experimental Film, 1956-2000

Cinemavision. Masterpieces of Experimental Film, 1956-2000

in progress
Malcolm Le Grice "Berlin Horse", 1970 (fotograma)

Film series curated by Juan Bufill

The Cinemavision. Masterpieces of Experimental Film, 1956-2000 series sets out to describe and define exactly what conforms an appropriately specific vision of experimental cinema, distinct from the visions typical of previous mediums like photography and painting, and free from servitude towards the theatre, novels and the report or visual document that have made up what is usually understood as film without further qualification.

The series’ aim is to show that this particular art of cinema vision is, to a certain degree, abstract film – in the broadest sense of the term – under the name experimental. The selection highlights the significance of the contributions to cinema that have been made over the years by this essential, visionary, radical and free genre, in the shape of masterpieces by Michael Snow, Stan Brakhage, Paul Sharits and Werner Nekes, as well as by other artists who are less well known or recognised. A significance which is comparable to that held for the history of art and thought by such creators of modern abstract art as Vassily Kandinsky, Hans Arp and Paul Klee.

Cinemavision is presented to the public as an adventure in visual and audiovisual perception (the soundtracks contains music by the Velvet Underground, Brian Eno, Terry Riley and John Cale, among others, or alternatively sounds or silence – rarely words). It offers an experience (experimental comes from the word experience) which is both liberating and psychedelic in the original sense of the expression: an opening up of the mind and soul. They are works that facilitate the refinement and enrichment of perception, a deepening of the vision of reality and existence, and a transformation of active spectators’ awareness.

The unbiased viewing of these fundamental works of experimental film (33 films by 20 authors, with duration from a little over one minute to more than three hours) will provide viewers with a new vision, and not simply in the optical or technical sense. Through the experience of cinema vision, the pieces will enable audiences to discover, experience and understand precisely that which could not be discovered, experienced or understood through other mediums.

The time-space explorations of the best experimental film possess this inherent capability of liberating transformation. At the outset, they leave behind the burdens of ancient, bourgeoisie psychology, of greed for power and possession, and go on to bring together what material culture laid aside for practical reasons – ego and universe, subject and object, for example. They inaugurate a new type of film that differs from that of the historical avant-gardes in that its conception is originally in cinema rather than arising out of a version or derivation of methods invented in previous mediums. The genre presents structures and approaches closely related to those of poetry, music and the other plastic arts, but offers specific inputs that pre-date those of video-art and have only been bettered by the latter in terms of spectacular production and fetishist appreciation, never in the radicalness or intensity of its poetry and thought.

The best examples of cinema vision date not from the times of the historical avant-gardes but are to be found, above all, around the sixties and seventies. In those years, New York was the capital of experimental film, though powerful works also appeared in other places. And they continue appearing to this day; in the 21st century, however, all audiovisual supports tend to form part of the same art.

Juan Bufill

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4 October 2006 – 29 November 2006
1 session: 2 €Season ticket: 12 €Friends of the MACBA: free MACBA Auditorium. Limited space
Cinemavision. Masterpieces of Experimental Film, 1956-2000
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