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   avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory


Morphology and Structure

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 14, 1998 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  



Avant-GardeMovies
(1)
	a priori expressions are limited to the physical materials*; in extreme forms it is 
	hoped to produce a phenomenological experience of the physical presence of the 
	material as a material
				(*note link to Marxist theory, Greenbergian modernism)


	technological potentials			IMAGE
	of moving images				CAMERA
	(movies) describing				BASE
	areas of technological				EDITING
	advancement					PROJECTION
							SCREEN
							SOUND

		technological potentials always determine aesthetics
		in materials-oriented formalism; this is why development
		and expansion of materials is so important to that formalism
		understanding this formalism is a necessary condition for
		escaping from it

[this list of seven categories is sufficient to cover all formal
development of movies and statics in any support system, 
whether film, television, computer or any other medium as
yet undeveloped.]
(2)

	The connection of formalism to specific technological particulars of a specific 
historical moment has killed it. (Greenbergian formalism is a dead end.)
	What is needed is a formalism of ideas drawing together all that has gone before: 
a hybrid, mongrel, impure formalism

	We need to make movies, not films, videos, etc.
	We need to make statics, not paintings, photographs, etc.
	We need to make Art, not money, fashion or fame

(to paraphrase Cage)
	We need the right goals to make the next thing
	When we work to be famous, to be successful (money), etc.
	We do not do what is needed.

	We no not need just any artwork, but the right sort
	We do not need just any aesthetic, but the right sort
	We do not need something else than what we are doing

	We need to begin by saying "no" so that we can say "yes"

	What is it that we need?
 

(3)

previous formalisms privilege the materials above the cognitive-material-formal relationship.
	this tends to become reductive: the physical properties of the materials become
 	much more important than the above relationship where the materials are the
 	intersection of the cognitive processes and the formal properties of a specific
 	work revealed in the materials (through the shaped materials). thus physical
 	material is itself less important than the shape those materials are in, and the
 	cognitive* experience of a living person interacting with it.

* cognitive, in this sense, means all thoughts, emotions, responses of the individual in 
experiencing the work. (the work appears through the material-formal relationship)

	In effect, meaning and experience are more important than the physical materials,
 	but are only considered as revealed in and through the audience's interaction with
	the work. Meaning is a function of the probability of the interpretation.  Intentions, 
	beliefs, etc. of the artist are of no relevance to this formalism (they must be visible
	within the work to matter).

	biological rather than materials-oriented formalism
		cognitive/perceptual -- understanding or thinking process

previous formalisms, because of their privileging of materials ignore the possibilities of 
anything which does not further this arid 'purity.'
	historically,  formalism is a matter of purity, thus exclusion rather than one of
 	synthesis, hence: combination. The formalism I am discussing is not the romantic
 	total work of art, but rather one where specific experiences are designed within a
 	array of potentials (all works are a selection from these potentials anyway)

	the need is for a formalism based on the relation-response to the materials, not the
 	materials in themselves (not Greenberg). this would be a formalism of emotions
 	than meanings (always plural) rather than a formalism dedicated to
 	phenomenological presence and purity -- both lead to aesthetic boredom quickly.

previous formalisms lead no where: they contain their own failure (formal exhaustion) within 
their limitations and exclusions.
	a new formalism must be based on inclusion rather than exclusion -- "more" rather 
	than "less"
 

(4)

		self-referential: refers to itself within the context of the work itself

		auto-referential: refers to itself, not within the context of the work, but
 			through the materials. i.e. the 'noise' level of the work makes one aware of
 			the materials, thus of the work through (within) those materials.
 				[unconscious reference, reference without attempting it or "being aware" it]

self-reference is a typically Modern technique while auto-reference tends to be the result
of naive attempts (without technique or materials) at what is produced by master craftsmen. 
while this is often the case, simply leaving 'in' the flaws of production 
(dirt, fingerprints, hairs, scratches, etc.) can result in an auto-referential work. The 
photographs of Brancusi, and the early films of Warhol are prime examples of the auto-
referential technique in action, although in the case of Warhol this is coupled with a
very calculating self-referentiality as well. (home movies)

we speak of self- and auto-reference as formal elements of the object as interpreted to 
refer to the physical reality of the object itself. self-reference is a function of
interpreting content, while auto-reference is a function of interpreting materials





 
 

 
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