The recent public multi-screen performance of formalist experimental animation by film artists such as Guy Sherwin, Bruce McLure and Greg Pope respond to the immediacy and speed of new digital technologies, the rise of Vilem Flusser’s ‘technical image’ and the consequent disappearance of reflective space identified by Prensky, Kroker, Virilio and Postman. Flusser’s ‘technical images’, benefiting from the digital’s painterly hyper-malleability structure and content, signifier and signified, so much the subject of Peter Gidal’s arguments in support of his concept of ‘materialist film’ in the 1970’s. In the digital those formal editing strategies used to create the ‘technical image’ within analogue image construction that traditionally took place in the artist’s studio within the camers and optical printer are now executed inside the computer, having migrated into the post-production process. Within the work of these artist’s recent multi-screen presentations these manipulations are now-elusively experienced in live ephemeral performance, re-forming and laying bare those processes that have been rendered invisible in digital technology. The significance of this work partly lies in its ability to communicate historical information a-historically. Guy Sherwin and Lynn Loo’s method in their play with 16mm film flashes and after-images and Sherwin’s mirror performance further reproduces Goethe’s method from his Theory of Colours (1840). Greg Pope’s scratch performances re-enact the operation of Konrad Zuse’s 1930’s computing machine. Affinities are drawn between Bruce McLure’s immersive overpowering sonic and flicker performances with Edwin Land’s 1960’s experiments on colour constancy on which Land’s Retinex Theory of colour is based.
Field of Research
190201 Cinema Studies
Socio Economic Objective
950204 The Media
HERDC Research category
E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
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