The screening and funding opportunities for Experimental film in Australia has always had a problematic and underground history since the 1960s, moving through 16mm, super 8 and now digital moving image forms. One source of that history was Cantrills Filmnotes which expressed the rhetoric of a founding generation who experience the promise of a new Australian National Cinema and new film culture in the 70s, but whose mainstream product eventually left it behind. Experimental film inherited a marginal position through a lack of critical debate and because funding shifts left its identity somewhere between the fine arts and commercial cinema. It was consequently viewed as marginal to both. The general visual quality of this work meant it was perceived as apolitical, although it implicitly expressed and performed the denials and negations experienced directly by the migrant and working classes.
Through several cycles of emerging generations of artists (through such organizations as Fringe Network, MIMA and Experimenta), such artists knew more of the histories of work emanating from Europe and North America than their own, a general problem for Australian history. New underground opportunities are now arising to connect with the emerging and aspirant cultures coming out of Asia that reflect the shifts of global capital and the rise of China as an economic power. Asian work, registering a history of aspiration offers a re-integration of Peter Wollen’s avant-gardes split from the early 70s in the West. In the academy the Avant-garde’s strategies and techniques are studied, but are offered up in new work as aesthetic and lifestyle choices, rather than as the political imperatives announced implicitly or explicitly in their originating forms.
Field of Research
200104 Media Studies 190101 Art Criticism 190104 Visual Cultures
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