Guest Lecture: E x p a n d e d C i n e m a

Lecture/Performance by Louise Curham and Dr. Lucas Ihlein

My beautiful picture

[Louise Curham & Lucas Ihlein ‘on set’ for (Wo)man with Mirror, 2009]

This week we will be welcoming Louise Curham and Dr. Lucas Ihlein to present an iconic work of Expanded Cinema. Louise and Lucas are engaged in an ongoing project of re-enactments from Expanded Cinema, carried out under Teaching and Learning Cinema (TLC), where they research and document each work, including primary source interviews with original artists.

Louise and Lucas will be discussing the work of TLC which is making an invaluable contribution to a contemporary understanding of Expanded Cinema. Please familiarise yourself with their work and processes on website in preparation of this guest lecture.

lucas_ihlein[Lucas Ihlein performing (Wo)man with Mirror]

In the 1960s and 70s, artists began to re-imagine cinematic form by expanding it beyond the bounds of the filmstrip, which up to that point had been one of cinemas’ defining elements. Further experimentation with the conditions of its presentation as well as an interrogation of the technological apparatus of projection saw the field merge with sculpture, theatre and performance art. In many cases the filmmaker and/or spectator became the protagonist in the films by intervening directly with the cinematic apparatus. The works then were more about the live ‘here and now’ experience and hence much more ephemeral and one off than traditional cinematic presentation.


Lecture 07: Structural Film and Expanded Screen

[Isaac Julien, Playtime, 2013]

In this week’s lecture, we explore what implications the ubiquitous screen today may have on the future of cinema. Our investigation takes us back in time to examine the influences and lineages that may have given us this form of multiscreen immersive experience. This journey will take us through from structural/ materialism films, expanded cinema, to the television medium, video art and video installations. We will continue this exploration in the succeeding weeks.

Lecture slides are here.

Lecture 05: American Post-war Avant-garde and the New York Underground

[Top row (from left to right): Stan Brakhage, Dog Star Man, 1960-4, Maya Deren and Alexander Hamid, Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943, Kenneth Anger, Puce Moment, 1949. Bottom row (from left to right): Yoko Ono, Four, 1967,  George Maciunas, Fluxfilm No. 20: ARTYPE, 1966, Andy Warhol, Empire, 1965]

A. L. Rees concludes in A History of Experimental Film and Video, that there are two avant-gardes: the film avant-garde that pursues the specificity of the film medium, and the artist films that pursues concepts and uses film as art medium. In this week’s lecture, we look at examples of primarily the second type in the period between 1940s and 1970s in North America, what is known as the ‘American Post-War Avant-garde’ and the ‘New York Underground’. What is the significance of these works? And what is the legacy of their experimentation?


Lecture04: Surrealist Cinema

[Man Ray, Emak-Bakia, 1926]

This lecture provides an overview of a significant art movement in the 20th century. It outlines the central concerns of Surrealist films, and their aims and strategies to break with conventional cinema. Through this survey, we examine its predecessors, historical contexts and legacy, analysing its  relevance to contemporary practice.

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

Lecture 03: Found Footage Film

[Bill Morrison, Light is Calling, 2004]

This lecture discusses various practices that make use of found footage film 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 looking at how these are used experimentally to create new forms of screen practices. The quality of the filmic image is also explored as a critical material in the works of Bill Morrison.

We ask: what do experiments that make use of editing mechanisms achieve? What significance does the filmic image carries in these experiments?

Due to technical issues, the lecture was not recorded this week. However the link to the presentation is here


Lecture 02: Abstract Film

[Len Lye, frames from Trade Tattoo, 1957]

This lecture outlines the contexts for exploring the materiality of film by examining early modernists’ approaches to film as a medium. Specifically, it discusses the conceptual areas tackled by abstract films and animation. It begins with the ‘medium specificity argument’ in examining how these experiments explore characteristics of film as a physical material. We ask:what are the material characteristics of film explored in these works? How do abstract films and animation play on the medium specificities? How do they compel practitioners and audience question the film medium?


Lecture 01: History of Alternative Cinema

[Tactia Dean, GDGDA, 2011]

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, by examining the idea of medium materiality.