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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the {abstract cinema} category

 

Heavy-Light, a film by Adam K. Beckett

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In the early 1990s the UK’s Channel 4 still operated as an avant-garde television channel, broadcasting films, dramas and documentaries that the other channels would be unlikely to show. Late nights were often filled out with resolutely uncommercial fare, as was the case when Abstract Cinema was shown in 1993, a 50-minute documentary by Keith […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {film}, {psychedelia}, {television} | 4 comments »

 


An Optical Poem by Oskar Fischinger

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Oskar Fischinger’s only successful collaboration with a Hollywood studio was this 7-minute animation made for MGM in 1937. As with some of Fischinger’s earlier films, a piece of classical music is illustrated with dancing shapes of cut-out paper. The music in this instance is Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody, and this short was one of the […]

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A History of the Sky, a film by Ken Murphy

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This is a year-long time-lapse study of the sky. A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent […]

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Battements solaires, a film by Patrick Bokanowski

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Actually a video piece rather than a film, Battements solaires (2008) is the last official release to date by Bokanowski. Silhouettes of people and animals are laid over more abstract imagery to create another of the director’s moving paintings. As usual with Bokanowski’s films, the music is by the director’s wife, composer Michèle Bokanowski. There’s […]

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Weekend links 283

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Behind by Lisa Wassmann. • “Without space art, nobody would know what Mars would look like.” Artist David A. Hardy talking to Nadja Sayej about a life spent painting the cosmos and—briefly—working for Hawkwind. Visions of Space, an exhibition of astronomical art, is at the Wells & Mendip Museum throughout November. • Mixes of the […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {animation}, {art}, {books}, {collage}, {cormac}, {electronica}, {events}, {film}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {lovecraft}, {music}, {photography}, {science fiction}, {science}, {surrealism}, {uncategorized} | Comments Off

 


Moon 69, a film by Scott Bartlett

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Scott Bartlett was the director of OffOn (1967), one of the key works of psychedelic cinema, and an earlier example of experimental film making use of video effects. Similar effects may be seen in Bartlett’s follow-up, Moon 69, which subjects footage from the NASA archives to a variety of processing techniques, especially solarisation. The copy […]

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Us Down By The Riverside, a film by Jud Yalkut

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More psychedelic freakery from American filmmaker Jud Yalkut. Us Down By The Riverside (1966) is short and sweet: three minutes of acid visuals accompanied by a muddy recording of The Beatles playing Tomorrow Never Knows. Groovy. For a very different take on John Lennon’s psych-out, see the penultimate episode of cartoon show, The Beatles. Previously […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {film}, {music}, {psychedelia} | 2 comments »

 


Turn, Turn, Turn, a film by Jud Yalkut

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I’m currently reading my way through Rob Chapman’s lysergic doorstop Psychedelia and Other Colours, a comprehensive study of a cultural phenomenon that’s well-represented on these pages. So expect more posts like this one which concerns another gem of abstract/psychedelic cinema. Turn, Turn, Turn (1966) is a collaboration between Jud Yalkut (visuals) and the Us Company […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {art}, {books}, {film}, {psychedelia}, {sculpture} | 1 comment »

 


Herbert Loebel’s crystals

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Given the year it was made, Crystals (1968) has unavoidable, if inadvertent, psychedelic connotations, especially when you see these iridescent forms blooming against vivid backdrops. The same can’t be said for the music that accompanies Herbert Loebel’s photography, however, so once again I’d recommend watching this with a soundtrack of your own choosing.

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Lichtspiel Schwarz-Weiss-Grau, a film by László Moholy-Nagy

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A beguiling short from 1930 made by the Hungarian artist to demonstrate the patterns of light and shade created by his Light-Space Modulator (aka Light Prop for an Electric Stage, 1922–1930), an early kinetic sculpture. The film could have worked well enough as a series of documentary shots but Moholy-Nagy compounds the effects with superimposition, […]

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Fu Liu, a film by Xiang Pu Zhu

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According to the notes for Xiang Pu Zhu’s short demo piece, all the shots here are computer generated. Some are more obvious than others but the combinations of liquid and particles are very impressive. The music is by Esther Garcia.

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White Hole, a film by Toshio Matsumoto

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Another short film by Matsumoto. This one was made in 1979, and seems to employ video effects, but the results are cosmic and psychedelic enough to have appeared ten years earlier. The electronic score is by Joji Yuasa. An entrancing 6-minute trip. Watch it here. Previously on { feuilleton } • Atman, a film by […]

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Mothlight, a film by Stan Brakhage

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One of the common methods of making a no-budget abstract film was to scratch or paint directly onto the film itself, a technique popularised by Len Lye in the 1930s. Mothlight (1963) by Stan Brakhage works a variation on the process by gluing broken moth wings, leaves and other bits of natural detritus to a […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {film} | 2 comments »

 


Metastasis, a film by Toshio Matsumoto

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Or Toshio’s Psychedelic Toilet. Toshio Matsumoto is known to cineastes for feature films such as Funeral Parade of Roses (which I’ve still not seen—sorry, Thom!), but he’s also responsible for a number of experimental films like this one. In Metastasis (1971) we watch a toilet bowl for 9 minutes while the colours and contrast shift […]

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Bridges-Go-Round, a film by Shirley Clarke

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Bridges-Go-Round (1958) is a short but beguiling film that makes New York’s bridges seem like huge pieces of kinetic sculpture. The version linked here is also unusual for being two films in one: the film repeats itself with identical visuals but a different soundtrack. The first version is scored by a jazz piece from composer […]

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Somnambulists, a film by Mieczyslaw Waskowski

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This 9-minute film by Polish actor and director Mieczyslaw Waskowski was made in 1958. At that time Waskowski’s swirling blobs of paint in oil or water would have seemed merely abstract; a decade on and they would have unavoidable psychedelic or even cosmic connotations. Stanley Kubrick used similar effects for some of the shots in […]

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NY, NY, a film by Francis Thompson

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In Heaven and Hell (1956) Aldous Huxley considers various forms of art that might be said to imitate or resemble the intense visuals generated by psychedelic agents. In past centuries this would include firework displays and the vivid hues of stained glass windows; when discussing the present, mention is made of NY, NY, a short […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {film}, {psychedelia} | 2 comments »

 


Walter Ruttmann’s abstract cinema

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Histories of abstract cinema often begin with Oskar Fischinger, a filmmaker and animator who was certainly a pioneer of the form. But these four silent shorts by Walter Ruttmann (1887–1941), Lichtspiel: Opus I, II, III & IV (1921–25) predate Fischinger’s work, and also prefigure Fischinger’s own animations of swooping shapes, blooming circles and stabbing triangles. […]

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Continu-discontinu 2010, a film by Piotr Kamler

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A recent film by Piotr Kamler that’s not on the DVD collection from aaa, Continu-discontinu 2010 is a short animation that’s a lot more abstract than Kamler’s earlier works although you might detect the director’s hand in the motion of some of its wandering particles. In place of the electronic scores that soundtrack many of […]

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7362, a film by Pat O’Neill

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This week is a psychedelic one for Londoners: on Monday Britain’s first Psychedelic Society was launched at Conway Hall (the Society uses my Psychedelic Alice artwork in some of its graphics); today (the 4th) there’s an evening of short psychedelic films at BFI Southbank: Jet Propelled Cinema: How Psychedelia Infected Hollywood Sci-Fi. A couple of […]

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