“Beauty shall be convulsive.” – Andre Breton
Produced with the aid of a CAPS Award (1978). Sound portion made possible by the facilities of the Computer Science Center at Carnegie Mellon University and ZBS Foundation (through funding by the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts).
The films are of two patients, extracted from a medical film study of brain wave activity during seizures. Of course, the patients volunteered for these tests. The black and white footage of each patient entering convulsive stages was temporally and tonally articulated on an optical printer and rhythmic pure color frames were added to these images. Everything was done to allow the viewer to move beyond mere voyeurism and actually enter into the convulsive state, to allow a deeper empathy for the condition and to also, hopefully, experience the ecstatic aspect of such paroxysm.
American avante-garde “experimental” filmmaker, artist, and professor of media studies, Paul Sharits, was born in Denver, Colorado on February 7, 1943. Tragically, he died on July 8, 1993 in his home in Buffalo, NY. He is survived by his son, Christopher, Christopher’s wife Cheri, and three grandsons.
Paul is widely known for his structural films, the use of multiple projectors, infinite film loops, experimental soundtracks, and interventions at the level of the filmstrip in order to realize his elemental mode of cinematic presentation. Paul went to The University of Denver’s School of Art (DU) where he earned a BFA in Fine Arts. At the time he was known as a young painter, however, he had been making films since high school. While studying art at DU, he began a mentorship with Stan Brakhage that soon became a lifelong friendship. Stan’s manipulation of film structure through experimental and “scratch” film’s influence is evident in Paul’s early work.
In 1964, he attended… read more
hm... You don't actually remember the seizure - you remember waking up, maybe several times .. going in and out of consciousness until you finally gain full awareness. "...you had a seizure..you had a seizure.... you had a seizure..." You don't care and you go back to sleep because you're so tired. You wake up, and your body and head aches. You had a seizure. Oh. Okay.