Sunday, April 17, 2016

Film In Which There Appear Sprocket Holes, Edge Lettering, Dirt Particles, Etc. by Owen Land

Film In Which There Appear Sprocket Holes, Edge Lettering, Dirt Particles, Etc.

by Owen Land

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16mm film, USA, 1965-1966
5 minutes Colour, Silent
Available formats: 16mm

This film takes the view that certain defining characteristics of the medium, such as those mentioned in the title, are visually "worthy". For this reason it is especially recommended. - G.L.

"The richest frame I have seen in any film when you take into consideration all movements lines the beautiful whites, and reds and blacks... The kinetic and visual experienced produced by Landow's film is even more difficult to describe... There is humour in it (the blink); there is clear Mozart -(Mondrian)- like sense of form..." - Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice, July 1975.

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From Wikipedia 

Film in Which There Appear... is a six-minute loop of the double-printed image of a blinking woman; her image is off-centre, making visible the sprocket holes and edge lettering on the film. According to Land, there is some slight variation in the image onscreen, but "no development in the dramatic or musical sense." Land's intention was to focus attention on the components that film viewers are not supposed to, and do not usually, notice, such as scratches, dirt particles, edge lettering, and sprocket holes. For this reason, Land often scheduled the film first in screenings of his work.


Land created the film to mock the idea of watching a film that doesn't change.The film began life as a 16 mm loop film of "china girl" test leader of a woman blinking, originally used by the Kodak company to test colour reproduction. The loop was intended to be played continuously for 11 minutes, and then, following a commercial break, for another 11 minutes. However, its initial screening was stopped short by a hostile audience reaction. Land printed the loop optically to create Film in Which There Appear.... He has confessed to feeling "very silly" about passively watching the film in a dark cinema, and occasionally stands up to point out details to the film's audience. Land later created a 20-minute split-screen expansion of the same loop, which he claims "looks better because it's more of a horizontal film than a vertical film; you look across it, not into it."


Film in Which There Appear... is considered an important work in the structural film movement. Fred Camper described Film in Which There Appear... as "a kind of Duchampian found object, a looped test film that focuses attention on the medium and the viewer." J. Hoberman called the film "blandly presented." Juan A. Suárez noted the film's unique element of "indeterminacy and open-endedness," remarking that the more the film is projected, the more scratches and dust it will collect.

BLOGGER'S BLAH: This is, of course, a piece of shit. Or, at least. completely nonsensical. Some of the critics seemed to be on to this guy. Sitting through six minutes of "this" (and you will note, of course, that there are minute differences in the thing from one minute to the next - I giffed representative samples from Minute One, Three and Five) must have been an agony of boredom, and then - to have to say something intelligent about it! As with the Emporer's New Clothes, no one wanted to admit that the thing is useless and completely naked of meaning. Oh, no - it's Mozartian, even Mondrian (but this from a critic who spelled the filmmaker's name wrong!). Then again, it's also Duchampian (and I won't even try to guess what that means, nor will I waste time looking it up on Wikipedia), and a "found object". But that's just it, it ISN'T "found", it was MADE by someone who had nothing better to do. I only posted this because it's an interesting example of the phenomenon of the China Girl, rendered (I am sure) much more scratchy than she originally was. It looks like it's raining, for God's sake. The rest of it is - shall I say, Warholian? - except that if it were a Warhol film, it would last six HOURS rather than six minutes. And I've only subjected you to roughly thirty seconds (a sort of highlight reel). Aren't you glad I furthered your film education in only thirty seconds?


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