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Paul Winkler: Migrating from analog to digital practice
conference contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Dirk De Bruyn
Paul Winkler’s highly graphic cinema was initiated on his arrival in Australia in 1959 at age 26 from Germany. His filmmaking began with a more straightforward commercial 8mm film documenting his journey from Germany to Australia by motorbike and screened in public venues in Sydney on his arrival. His first 16mm film was Isolated completed in 1967. His innovative 16mm practice participated in Sydney’s Yellow House Art events with Albie Thoms and David Perry. His minimalist work Brickwall (1975) is considered a classic of Australian experimental film that explicitly re-performs the act of bricklaying and caused an unsettling audience reaction during its initial screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival. An acute technical intelligence lies at the foundation of these idiosyncratic image manipulation techniques. In Sydney Harbour Bridge (1977), for example, numerous pans all executed by hand of the bridge are laid over one another, all of the same exposure and in sync with each other. These are all in-camera effects, constructed on site, requiring numerous re-threadings through his Bolex Camera. Over time these effects became more sophisticated with Winkler constructing his own unique travelling matte devices. His material art and craft special effect techniques predate and predict numerous digital manipulation strategies. Now in his 70s Winkler has migrated his practice into the digital, re-animating artifacts collected from op shops using rudimentary digital cameras, a green screen set up in his backyard studio with subsequent re-animating and layering using I-movie. These recent purely digital constructions like Bean;Queen (2017), Morbid Sheep (2017) and Barbie and Friends (2018) are now surfacing in international experimental showcases such as Ann Arbor.