Lecture 05: Structural Film and Expanded Screen

[Anthony McCall, Line Describing a Cone, 1973]

Beginning in this week’s lecture, we expand our exploration of the film medium into the cinematic experience. Once again exploring the rich history of alternative cinemas, our investigation takes us on journey through from structural film experiments, structuralist materialism practices, expanded cinema, television, video art to multiscreen installations. This trajectory shows the influences and lineages of these alternative practices, specifically in how they pave a way towards the multiscreen immersive experience we have today. We also ask: what are the implications the ubiquitous screen today on the future of cinema?

We begin this enquiry in this lecture with structural films and expanded cinema, and will continue to explore the video medium, installation and performances in the succeeding weeks.

Lecture04: Surrealist Cinema

[Man Ray, Emak-Bakia, 1926]

This lecture provides an overview of Surrealist Cinema. It focuses on how this significant art movement in the 20th century utilised cinema as an art form. Specifically, the lecture explores the central concerns of Surrealist films in their aims to break with conventional cinema. Through this survey, we examine its predecessors, historical contexts and legacy, analysing its relevance to contemporary media arts practice.

We ask: what constitutes Surrealist Cinema? What is their relevance to contemporary media arts practice today?

Download MEDA201_2018_Lecture04 slides.

Lecture 03: Found Footage Film

[Bill Morrison, Just Ancient Loops, 2012]

This lecture discusses various practices that make use of found footage as their primary materials. Central to these experiments is the principle of montage. We briefly revise the basics of editing techniques and montage styles before examining how editing is used to create new forms of screen practices. The quality of the filmic image – the physicality of film and its decay – is also explored as a critical material in the works of Bill Morrison. We ask: what significance does the filmic image carries in these experiments?

Download MEDA201_2018_Lecture03 slides.

Lecture 02: Abstract Film

[Len Lye, frames from Trade Tattoo, 1957]

This lecture examines early modernists’ approaches to film as a medium. Specifically, it discusses the conceptual areas tackled by abstract films and animation. The lecture tentatively follows Greenberg’s ‘medium specificity argument’ to explore these experiments in identifying the characteristics of film as a physical material. Looking through these examples, we ask: what are the material characteristics of film explored? How do abstract films and animation play on the medium specificities? How do they compel practitioners and audience question the film medium? What is their legacy today?

Download MEDA201_2018_Lecture02 slides.

Lecture 01: History of Alternative Cinema and Contemporary Experimental Screen

[Tacita Dean: Film. The Unilever Series, Tate Modern, London]

This introductory lecture provides essential information on how the subject’s aims and learning outcomes are achieved through its lecture series, workshops, and assessment tasks. It provides an overview of experimental practices in screen. Specifically, we ask: what is experimental practice? Why experimental practice? We approach these questions by exploring the role of experimentation in the context of avant-garde cinema and contemporary screen practices, and in particular, we will examine the idea of medium materiality.

Download lecture slides: MEDA201_2018_Lecture01 (please note that this contains some slides missing in the original presentation).