Some Antecedents (of the screen based image)

Screening curated by Anthea Hamilton as part of the ‘Flatness: Cinema after the Internet’ thematic programme for Oberhausen Short Film Festival 2013.

According to an unverified online source medieval courtly love consisted in a Lady laying upon a bed and a Knight, without any physical contact, looking at the Lady all over – his eyes covering every eighth of an inch of her until she reached a state of rapture. To regard an image with such intensity is to rehearse it, manipulating it until it transubstantiates revealing it’s inner identity underneath a material skin - to become one with the image.

In consideration of flatness and post-internet production I turn to look at what could be the antecedents of the immaterial depth of the screen.  Taking Antonin Artaud’s call for a ‘physical knowledge of images’, the selection of films use theatricality for practical and mechanical reasons: to generate dialogue between characters, change a scene, create a geographical or historical location, to bring about hysteria - all are resolutely against realism.  

Play screening

Catalogue text

Adham Faramawy Total Flex, 2012, video, colour, sound, 9 minutes

The piece behaves as time-based painterly surfaces, using flat faces of technological substrates and illusionary shallow depth of field implies a painterly infinite. The use of screensavers invokes context and history, the banality of the screensaver belies aesthetic roots in experimental film making, expanded cinema and abstract painting. A.F.

Pablo Bronstein Constantinople Kaleidoscope, 2012, video, colour, sound, 10 minutes

A work made especially for the BMW Tate Live Performance Room streamed live on YouTube on 26 April 2012. Involving a group of dancers, Bronstein created a baroque trompe l’oeil stage set that exaggerates the perspective of the room with mirrored columns.

Unknown online source – YouTube Fans Screaming to the Beatles, 1964, video, colour, sound 1min

In this unknown source on Youtube the fans screams become a palpable field of noise between the girls and the objects of their desire; their craving overruns their vision.  These girls were pioneers: the first occurrence in modern history of the unlimited force of female desire. Hysteria, fully saturated.

Shuji Terayama Issun Bosi O Kijutsu Sura Kokoromi (An Attempt to Describe the Measure of a Man), 1977, video, colour, sound, 19 minutes

Before his untimely death in 1983 at the age of  47 Terayama displayed unprecedented innovation in theatre and film. He combined Western theatre with traditional Japanese themes deriding both with psychedelic effect. Often performing live to his films they became an exploration of the straightforwardly erotic quality of the screen.

Magali Reus Highly Liquid (extract), 2013, HD video, colour, silent, 2 minutes 53 seconds

Water runs down flesh like liquid mercury, wetness is transformed into the utter aridity of high-definition liquid crystal display. Reus is clinical in her execution: buff bodies and physical labour proxy sculptural conversations immaculately produced as though polished with the finest grade of glass paper.

Anthea Hamilton Venice (The Kabuki Version), 2013, video, colour, sound, 20 minutes

First version of Venice was highly-caffeinated ‘Espresso’, second: the coffee house languor of ‘Latte’, now the aestheticised slowness of the live ‘Kabuki’ version.

Jordan Wolfson Animation Masks, 2012, video, colour, sound, 12 minutes

The ultimate in compression.   How Wolfson took such a disparate array of material and created such a lowdown, sultry, epic, stylish, simple, sparse thing, I cannot understand.

Eric Rohmer Perceval le Gallois (extract), 1978, film, colour, sound, 3 minutes

Starring Fabrice Luchini and Arielle Dombasle, Rohmer’s whimsical interpretation of Chretien de Troyes Arthurian legend is played out at full, synthetic camp. Like eating according to appease the 4 humors in medieval cuisine it’s an acquired taste, not done solely for pleasure.