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   avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory

Exceptionally Early (1906) Animated Title Sequence

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 18, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Motion Graphics

The 1906 Vitagraph Company film "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" produced and animated by J. Stuart Blackton also includes an exceptional animated title sequence, striking for both its complexity and early date. It is taken from a paper print preserved at the Library of Congress.




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Chapter from Walls, Diaries and Paintings

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 17, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Art

The text to the chapter I wrote for Jose Parla: Walls, Diaries, Paintings is posted on my website.






 

On Sergei Eisenstein's Audio-Visual Montage

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 10, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Avant-GardeMovies

Sergei Eisenstein (1898 1948) proposed a series of techniques in his montage theory that provide a complete system for motion pictures. As optical sound became the dominant technology, his theories became concerned with the organization and relationship between sound and image. Concerned more with the editing of sequences than the graphic animation of imagery, montage nevertheless does have a direct relevance to the synchronization of sound and image. Eisenstein proposed a special type of montage form, chromo-phonic montage. This conception emerges from his critical engagement with the color-sound relationships surveyed in his article The Synchronization of the Senses, a fact that reflects the pervasive influence of synaesthesia on art before World War II.




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Immaterial Justice?

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 4, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Digital Capitalism

In William Greider's article for Nation he makes the immaterial bias of the contemporary capitalist system explicitly clear:




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Anmic Cinma by Marcel Duchamp

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 3, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Avant-GardeMovies

Marcel Duchamp (1887 1968) produced only one film, Anmic Cinma (1926). It shares some of the concerns with creating an abstract visual language, but stands apart from the translation of the implied movement shown in abstract painting to the apparent motion of cinema. This film, shot by Man Ray, creates a visual comparison between a series of risqu French puns and a number of kinetic optical illusions that oscillate between convex and concave when spun. The relationship between the visual and verbal elements of this film is intricate; the complexity of meaning contained by this formulation is belied by the simplicity of the film itself. Understanding it requires a consideration of how this film and its subjects can be related to the rest of Duchamps oeuvre. This process reveals the abstract language Duchamp proposed in this film and his other works.




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Internet Radio Interview

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



Betancourt

On The Money with Peter Hebert features an interview with critical theorist Michael Betancourt. The discussion focuses on the development of capitalism and its many discontents. Ideal program for anyone with an interest in learning more about fiat currency, financialization of the economy, and the Federal Reserve. The title is: "Hebert Interviews Michael Betancourt, A Critical Theorist Takes on Capitalism (Part 1)"






 

The Rentier Illusion

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 28, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Digital Capitalism

Rentier currencymoney that comes into existence not as a representation of past productive value, but by as a debt (loaned or borrowed)enjoys an illusory foundation precisely in that within capitalist economies the demand for escalating value masks the rentier paradox: that the debt posed by the rentier claim inherently always corresponds to a larger value than there are values for (re)payment.




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Hans Richter's Abstract Rhythms

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 27, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Avant-GardeMovies

Hans Richter (1888 1976) and Viking Eggelings collaboration was predicated on similar interests, and developed, at least initially, from Richters desire to work together. In the summer of 1919, he invited Eggeling to visit his familys estate in Klein-Klzig, Nieder Laustiz, Brandenburg in Germany. This marks the beginning of their formal collaboration, and art historian Martin Norden has noted the parallels and connections between the abstract language Eggeling and Richter produced, and similar attempt to create a formal language by other artists. After 1920, Richter worked to promote their Universelle Sprache using his relationships with other abstract artists: the De Stijl artists in the Netherlands, the Dada/Constructivists in Berlin and the Russian artist Kasimir Malevichs Suprematism. Nordens recognition of the formal relationship between Suprematism, the geometric painting of De Stijl artists Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesberg, and the Universelle Sprache created by Eggeling and Richter is not simply a coincidence. Their collaboration developed because of Richters associations with these groups and mutual friends they shared in them.




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The Grid (a new sketch of The Digital)

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 25, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



Digital Capitalism

The paradigm of digitality isespecially at a technological levela reification of the modernist grid. Fundamentally a process of segmentation of ordering, its contents are essentially identical, divorced from the physical variability inherent to other material constructs by the unrelenting opperations of binary code. Once it has been rendered into a human-readable form, the meaning of these codes stands apart from the digital workan example of the aura of information acting within our encounter. It is the transcendent dimensions of early abstraction that finds itself mirrored by encoding of physicality in data samples, paradoxically both literal in its insistence on the measurement of the discrete physical features of the world, and immaterial in how this meaning is held apart from the electro-magnetic switching of microtransistors within blocks of matter (the aura of the digital in action).




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Homeless Vermin?

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 22, 2011 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



CultureCrit

This billboard is planted next to a major intersection here in Savannah, Georgia. What I find disturbing about it is the close relationship it has to a nearby (1 block away) highway on ramp/overpass where you can see people holding up very similar signs to what we see in this ad.




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