CONTENTS

 
   about
   MICHAEL BETANCOURT NEWS
   movies: AESTHETICS
   movies: NEWS & REVIEWS
   movies: SHOWS & SCREENINGS
   random art notes
   random how-tos
   research: AVANT-GARDE MOVIES
   research: MOTION GRAPHICS
   research: VISUAL MUSIC
   theory: CRITICAL OBSERVATIONS
   theory: DIGITAL CAPITALISM
   theory: GLITCH & POSTDIGITAL
   theory: working notes

 

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SEARCH ARCHIVES

archives begin in 1996

  

USC's iMAP Visiting Artist Lecture Series

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 24, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



movies: SHOWS & SCREENINGS

I will be doing a lecture/screening on my work at USC on February 4. Details here.






 
Kolchak: The Night Stalker

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 16, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



research: MOTION GRAPHICS

My article That Uncanny Moment: Jack Coles Design of the Kolchak: The Night Stalker Title Sequence is concerned with how it creates an uncanny effect for the audience.






 
Abstraction and Digital Production

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 8, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



theory: working notes

The reductive abstraction common to the twentieth century, from the form is function of reductive formalismboth Adolph Loos and Clement Greenbergmirrors the demands of early capitalism for efficiency and speed of manufacture by unskilled labor. The elimination of features dependent on personal training and their replacement by the industrial assembly line (by Andy Warhol as much as Donald Judd) demonstrates how abstraction embraced the deskilling common to capitalism first noted by historian John Ruskin in the nineteenth century. With the development of digital technology, and the shift from production to replication, the formal protocols of earlier abstraction (especially the geometric formalist work of the 1920s and 1930s) were embedded within the digital itself. The digital automation foregrounded in the more contemporary work of Roxy Paines Painting Manufacture Unit makes the link between contemporary industrial production and abstract art into a subject of the work: instead of challenging capitalist processes and demands, abstract art instead acts to affirm them through the adoption of forms that are deskilled (i.e. not requiring human agency); at the same time, digital technology collapses the assumed distinctions between the abstract and the not-abstract, a factor that becomes apparent in Wade Guytons digitally produced works. This elision of distinctions is a feature of digital capitalismvia the serial generation of commodity formswhere permutation ignores all differences, enabling the valorization of what were historically contradictory domains under the rubric of novelty; the elision of distinctions reflects this protocols dominance. Abstraction is thus simultaneously symptomatic and descriptive when confronting digital technology, a duality that is reflective of how both forms have historically emerged within capitalism. The problem both pose is therefore identical: engaging the contradictory demands of this historical foundation.






 
The Horror of Optical Illusions

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 22, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



research: MOTION GRAPHICS

Bright Lights Film Journal no 82 has my new article: The Horror of Origins in Ron Honthaner's The House on Skull Mountain examines the emergent form of a death's head that appears graphically on screen in a way that is both inherently a part of the action (emergent from the composition itself) and a presentation of what is not (cannot be) shown on screen: Lorena's thoughts her fear, signified by the voodoo drums, becoming manifest as the superimposed skull.






 
1935 Review of Oskar Fischinger

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 14, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



research: VISUAL MUSIC

The Last of the Mohicans: Oskar Fischingers Symphony in Blue

Rough translation of review originally published by FilmLiga, 15 November 1935, pp. 314-315

(314)​That the avant-garde as movement is dead no one will dare to doubt. They broke with confidence that a good-death are venturing with all sides the staff about her, and more or less officially has her first partisans agree with the grave of the filmmaker the deceased commemorated in FilmLiga. For us, that the avant-garde movement very dear have stood, falling from the contradiction of the judgments to ascertaining down two basic facts: first, that the movement within the limits of its experimental nature so useful and invaluable services has proven to aesthetics of the film that we miss only considering her labor at the stage of sound film. Second: that its continued existence, independently, was impossible purely due to reasons of the sound film at least, so it seemed. . . .




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