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Deconstructing the Mainstream

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Western University
Visual Arts History
Visual Arts History 2284E

Deconstructing the Mainstream: Contemporary “Cinematic” Art, the Cinematic Apparatus, and Hollywood  Emergence of film as an art object in a gallery space Re-cap  Mainstream films make us forget we are watching a film and instead focus on the illusion it creates  Structural/Materialist films draw our attention to the fact that we are watching a film. They draw attention to the materials of the film. (Ex. Flicker films – draw attention to the movement on the screen being produced by a series of still slides moving through a projector)  Structural/Materialist artists all eventually began working with other ideas. Paracinema  Artists and filmmakers disillusioned with Strutrual/Materialist films  Paracinema identifies an array of phenomena that are considered “cinematic” but that are not embodied in the materials of film as traditionally defined” (Walley 18)  Artists and filmmakers working with paracinema suggest that the essence of cinema cannot be reduced to the materials of film  Importance to us: If cinema is defined by celluloid film then nothing made digitally is cinema  These filmmakers are able to access the conceptual dimensions of cinema without limiting themselves to the medium of film  Ex. Anthony McCall “Line Describing a Cone” (1973) - Consisted of a thin line that slowly draws a circle on the projection screen. But the circle was no the focus of the film. - As people would smoke in theatres the light beam from the projector was visible. In this film the beam began light and became thicker. - Interactive depth, sculptural cinema - Focus is the space between the projector and the screen, not the screen (The image on the screen is a byproduct) - The first dematerialization of film  Ex. Anthony McCall “Long Film for Ambient Light” (1975) - 24 hour event which took place in a NYC loft space - If film isn’t defined by its technology it can be boiled down into afew factors: space (space of the spectator) light, and time (duration) - Construction consisted of a light bulb in an empty loft space - Film is not in the celluloid it is in the concept  Paul Sharits “N.O.T.H.I.N.G” (1968) - Film is nothing but a series of slides moving through a projector  Tony Conard “Yellow Movies” (1972-74) - One night screenings - Large pieces of paper with an outline of a “screen” square with crude black paint - Painted with cheap white house paint (which yellows) - A film always in process, always yellowing – narrative comes from the yellowing of the film - Light, duration, audience – the light yellows it, it has an ongoing duration and the space is where the audience can view it from  Tony Conard “7360 Sukiyaki” (1973) - Combines film making process with cooking - Cooks strips of film with strips of beef and vegetables in soy sauce, shakes it in a film can, dips it in egg, cooks and throws it at the screen “manually projected”  Michael Snow “Two Sides to Every Story” (1974) - Two films projected at screens on opposite sides of a wall - Both films, though different, show a woman interacting with where the cameraman would be. - Viewer can only experience the whole piece by walking around t
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