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   avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory

'Video Art' - A Definition

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 19, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Avant-GardeMovies

The definition of video art as a distinct medium, apart from both experimental film and television was a central topic of theoretical and critical concern during the early years of video arts existence; of greatest importance to these first writers on video was the ways it differed from televisionmuch more than the relationship it had with the avant-garde film community, many of whom had shifted from film to video as lower cost cameras and video tape recorders became readily available.




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Mongrel Materialisms

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 15, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Aesthetics

The connection of formalism to specific technological particulars of a specific historical moment has killed it. (Greenbergian formalism is a dead end.)




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Creating American Modernism

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 12, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Motion Graphics

The historical avant-garde in Europe had two sets of detractors, distinct from one another: the academicians and the bourgeois. In responding to these groups, they have been combined and attacked collectively, as in Baudellaires essay To the Bourgeois that attacks both groups for their incomprehension of Impressionism and rejection of modern subjects. In the United States, both groups in this cultural conflict would be combined, as would the division between avant-garde and Modernist, creating a different dynamic in the evolution of Modernism.




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Why It's Called 'Experimental' Film

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 5, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Avant-GardeMovies

The origins of the idea that films made by artists are "experimental" can be traced to a magazine from the 1930s, and an exhibition in the 1940s.




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Cats, Mice and Digital Sampling

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 29, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Digital Capitalism

I have a new essay published on Vague Terrain about the cat organ, the mouse organ, the Jingle Cats albums, and the development of sampling. It's an interesting piece of theory suggesting where the idea of semiotic reassembly may have come from and what that means....






 

Cognitive Dissonance = Design Fail

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 24, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Aesthetics

Here is an example of pure cognitive dissonance: you push the lock button up to lock and down to unlock.




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The First Computer Animated Film

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 15, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Motion Graphics

Edward E. Zajac (1926-2011) created the first computer film as a way to visualize the modeling of the astrophysics work he was doing that was concerned with the orbital dynamics of communications satellites. It is the ability to use digital software to model, and then generate, visual imagery depicting complex, labor-intensive subjects for traditional animation that is the initial reason for the development of computer animation in the 1960s at Bell Labs in New Jersey.




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The Titles for Twin Peaks

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 8, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Motion Graphics

Twin Peaks (1989) employed a title sequence unlike anything produced for an on-going, broadcast television program before it. The theatrical feature length title sequences designed by Wayne Fitzgerald for the premiere episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers, while longer than the titles in other television programs, were also special title sequences that were not used again during the course of the programs run; instead shorter, more typical titles for television programs replaced them for the remaining episodes in the series; this was not the case with Twin Peaks.




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On Len Lye's Kinetic Film Theory

story © Michael Betancourt | published May 1, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Avant-GardeMovies

Len Lye (1901 1980) worked as an animator, then as a director of newsreels for the March of Time from 1946 to 51, and finally as a kinetic artist; within the history of motion graphics he occupies an unusual position: even though he had informal training as a painter and worked with various types of sound-image synchronization in abstract film, these works exhibit a distinct conception of abstraction as a kinetic art, rather than an art constructed upon a musical analogy as was typical for the other artists drawn to create abstract motion pictures during the first phase of their history. This emphasis appears in his theorizing shortly after his first hand painted film had achieved a wide-spread critical success in Europe. Writing with a collaborator, Laura Riding, in 1935 for the essay Film-making, Lye proposes a tentative framework to think about motion as form:




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The Typography of Dr. Caligari

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 24, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Motion Graphics

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) presents one of the earliest examples of kinetic typography integrated into the dramatic action, functioning within the narrative space of a fiction film in a way that is clearly distinct from the more prosaic applicationssuch as a character reading a letter where the letter itself is shown to the audienceCaligaris reaction to the appearance of the typography within the visual space of the climactic scene is a highly unusual moment in an already unusually experimental feature. The use of diegetic and non-diegetic type is extremely common in the silent era film precisely because it did not have the technical capacity for synchronous sound; however, the typography in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is of a different character entirely than those commonly used. It appears in the film not in the form of a letter or book, but as a visualization of madnessas the dramatization of the films climax.




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