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Films by Lillian F. Schwartz

A selection of films from this director who has done pioneering work in computer-generated art.

Above: two images from 1971's UFOs.

Lillian F. Schwartz is having quite a year: a restored version of her 1971 film UFOs was programmed at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and later in TIFF's Wavelengths program; the New Museum in New York included that film and another in its "Ghosts in the Machine" exhibition; and the Museum of Modern Art recently had a discussion and screening with the filmmaker, showing several of her shorts from her time at Bell Laboratories, as well as a new digital work from 2012. Several of these films are by their nature—that is, by the particular choices of color and their compositional placement—3D if one has 3D glasses. Watching them in 3D is a reminder, just as is Ken Jacobs' recent work, that the vast majority of commercial filmmakers "working in 3D" simply don't understand what it is that's dynamic, invigorating and exploratory about compositions in depth.

Schwartz's films seem to be in the process of being restored, and, according to the filmmaker, these restored films will eventually be put online through a new website. In the meantime, you can actually view a selection of them—including the masterpieces UFOs, Googolplex (1972), and Enigma (1972)—at her current website, http://lillian.com. The quality of the streaming videos is not great—and is nothing compared to seeing these pulsing, teeming films of early computer visualization projected on film, a paradoxical experience itself—but it certainly gives an idea of the range of Schwartz's collaborations, pursuits of interest, and artistry. Let's view these as teasers for the improved versions to come.


Lillian SchwartzVideos
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