Week 11: Alternative and Experimental Cinema


This lecture provides an introduction to the experimental and avant-garde cinema beginning with the works of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Fernand Leger, and Walter Ruttmann of the 1920s and 30s. It presents a brief overview of the trajectory of art cinema as a significant part in developing how the moving image has been and continues to be employed as a form of expressions. We look at the legacy of these experimentation in both conventional mainstream works as well as contemporary screen art.

Lecture links: www.aaronlburton.com/uowmeda101w11.html


This workshop:

  • provides instructions on how to craft a project statement
  • allows student to develop their project work
  • provides students the opportunity to consult with their tutors on their projects

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Week 10: Experimental Documentary

10000 Waves

Isaac Julien, 10000 Waves (2010)


In this lecture, we pick up on the thread of screen as an intermedia form that harbour the potential to expanding conventional documentary forms. We propose that the notion of ‘documentary’ can be re-conceptualised through the expanded screen mode. We speculate how expanded audiovisual experiences can pave the way for truth to emerge.

There is no recording for this weeks lecture. The presentation can be accessed here:


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 11: Artist’s Cinema

We begin to draw this subject’s lecture series to a close by focusing our inquiry on the artist’s cinema. This exploration takes us to the space between cinema and art. How does the moving image shape our experience of the personal?

In this lecture, based on the premise that wider accessibility of media technologies and screen has become an intermedia form, we argue that screen media has the potential to open up conventional cinematic forms and introduces different possibilities.

We will examine the return to the cinematic by looking ‘the place of artist’s cinema’ and the role of the cinematic/ screen image within. We ask: what kind of power does the image still possess?

Presentation of today’s lecture can be found here

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.

Presentation here

Week 9: Video Art & Screen Installation

Doug Aitken
[Doug Aitken, Electric Earth, 1999]

This lecture continues our trajectory: tracing the historical development of structural films, structural/ materialist films, and expanded cinema, and drawing a line that connects to video art and installation works from 1970s to late 1990s/ early 2000s. In this period, we see the emergent of video as a medium platform: this move from the relatively more costly processes of film to the dissimilar medium of video underlines the impact of technological shift on art and expression. By comparing the approaches of expanded cinema with those of video installation art in particular presents (once again) a contrast between investigation of the medium’s boundaries and use of a medium of conceptual exploration.

There is no recording this week. The presentation can be found here:


and the 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?

The presentation to today’s lecture can be found here

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?


The presentation to today’s lecture can be found here

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?

The presentation to this lecture can be found here