Moshe Ladanga

The Digital Moving Image

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Ernie Gehr

“The artifice of the film image stands in stark contrast to the ‘reality’ of the scene-one is highly conscious of the frame outlines-of what’s in and what’s out. The color is almost always ‘unreal’ -some artifact of photographic depiction. The spaces and sounds between, behind, and above the image comes through, we fill out the scene. The mind permeates the space and we become highly aware of the processes used for this inspection. While watching you become aware of your own space, your own patterns of movement. Common ground and individual experience are the poles here, and the active mind shuttles between them in the duration. The recalcitrant world, once it is depicted and articulated, can be peeled back like an onion, revealing constituent layers…”

-Daniel Eisenberg, “Some Notes on the Films of Ernie Gehr”

Gehr has always been unusually reticent about his life, and as a result we don’t know a good deal about how he came to make the earliest of his films currently in distribution; but, by the time he made Morning (1968), he was clearly a sophisticated filmmaker, capable of using the film experience as a means of exposing and considering specific elements of the mechanicall chemical apparatus of cinema. Morning is a brief (4’/-minute) visual interpretation of a portion of Gehr’s apartment at dawn: The end of a bed and the legs of someone presumably still sleeping and a cat are visible – but the personal elements are basically a context for the film’s focus on light. The camera points toward a window that opens onto an alley; by working with the single-framing function of the camera and the aperture, Gehr takes control of the light this window lets into the space: We can see – or seem to see – its actual substance.

-Scott MacdDonald (From UBU)

Peter Campus

In Three Transitions, Campus presents three introspective self-portraits that incorporate his dry humor. He begins with an image created by two cameras facing opposite sides of a paper wall and filming simultaneously. His back to one camera, Campus cuts through the paper. In the double image, it appears as if he is cutting through his back, which is both disconcerting and tongue-in-cheek. Campus then uses the “chroma-key effect” of superimposing one video image onto a similarly colored area of another image. He applies blue paint to his face, and during this process another image of himself is revealed; he then superimposes his image on a piece of blue paper, which he sets afire. As Three Transitions moves between deadpan humor and seeming self-destruction, Campus explores the limits of visual perception as a measure of reality.

Faces and masks have long been subjects in art, but, with the advent of television, these analytical discursive figures intimately entered our daily lives. Campus’s video art is concerned with exploring the subtle balance between remote but penetrating and formal, but unsettling, elements. (From UBU Website)

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Written by mosheladanga

February 14, 2008 at 6:36 AM

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