American animator Robert Breer has been credited in introducing the first visual bomb to cinema in his loop film Image by Images I (1954), Two abstract animated films by Robert Breer are examined: 69 (1968 5 minutes) and Fuji (1974 10 minutes). Using Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological perspective, though these films are not representational or photographic in the traditional sense it is argued that they are still able to talk to us about real experiences because ‘the lived perspective, that which we actually perceive, is not a geometric or photographic one.’(Merleau-Ponty, 1964b: 14) 69 provides a metaphor for a system that collapses and Fuji as an articulation of that embodied seeing required for train travel. It is argued that Breer’s work in its explorations of style ahead of content is research into an act of viewing that offers a contemporary simulation of the impact of a traumatic experience on the body. Just as one cannot grab each object in the landscape at the speed of train travel nor can one grab or understand each frame that is presented to the retina of a Robert Breer film. What is required to attain “stillness” is a more dissociated way of looking that allows the images to wash over you. Such a “stillness” may be more about suppression than contemplation and could involve a process of metamorphosis.
Field of Research
190299 Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified
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