Moshe Ladanga

Experiments in Strange Loops

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TV Buddha- Nam June Paik

My collaborative project with Katrin churned out a strange creature, this video feedback loop that harks back to the funky video experiments of the 60’s by Nam June Paik and the other pioneers of Video Art. We spent quite a while jamming our thoughts together and just throwing ideas on the table. The best thing about it was when our thoughts started to have its own thoughts, mutating into its own monster (haha- please read Hofstader’s I am a Strange Loop). Both of our research led to this realization that the collaboration must be a tangible thing, a digital thing; quite fun to finally hit the concept and ruminate on the possibilities over endless cups of coffee and thick puffs of tobacco.

I’ve been reading about Peter Campus and Ernie Gehr, experimental filmmakers who are still making provocative moving images. Even after their groundbreaking work in the 60’s and 70’s, they still developed their work, and they still challenge and reveal new things with their sheer ingenuity and imagination.

picksimg.jpg https://i1.wp.com/www.fredcamper.com/PF/Gehr/ModernNavigation.jpg

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What struck me was how they went the opposite way; most filmmakers went straight to the narrative and pursued the thematic evolution of their visions, but Gehr, Campus and a few other filmmakers walked the long trapeze line between the act of perception and the moving image. The thing that gives me hope is that their recent work is imbued by their personal visions. They still investigate the mystery of meaning-making and are never afraid to come to their own conclusions on what the act of seeing means.

In Cinema 1 , Deleuze makes a persuasive argument for a new definition of the moving image:

deleuze-equation.jpg

The analogous statement above basically reorients the understanding of the moving image as a constitution of movement, rather than an illusion of movement. Deleuze also concludes that the moving image in this context becomes a reality , rather than a representation of it.

This follows the theories of Manovich surrounding the nature of the moving image in New Media; the Macluhan ‘medium is the message’ dimension kicked up to the level of the waking dream.

So how do we see the world now? More importantly, how do we see ourselves?

Yes, it is increasing difficult to create something in this era of the screen, especially if you are fueled by all of this philosophical polemic. But again, knowing how powerful the moving image is (proof? Just look around at how many things you buy and believe because of things you see on screen), artists do bear a responsibility. This ethical stance actually bears more possibilities for innovation, because I feel that the other paths are slippery and well-exploited already by TV and the advertising industry. Why make moving images that merely re-imagine the technical capabilities of the machine? Why not turn the technology on itself, transform its function, re-imagine how it makes images?

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Working title: Reproduction Prohibited 2008
(after the Magritte painting done in 1937)

 

 

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