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Images of the Day. Peter Kubelka's Monument Film sculpture

Images from an installation constituting Kubelka’s new film, Antiphon, Arnulf Rainer (1960), and the two combined.

Please excuse the reprehensible qualities of digital, composition, lighting and coverage in the below photos, but I thought I'd share a glimpse at Peter Kubelka's celluloid sculpture at the New York Film Festival, "Monument Film". It is being exhibited at the Walter Reade theatre in tandem with two screenings (accompanied by a lecture by the filmmaker) that occurred on Monday at the Views from the Avant-Garde of a new film work by Kubelka, Monument Film. This work isn't a film so much as a material-projector-theatrical experience/performance: it began with a projection of his 1960 film Arnulf Rainer—a short of overwhelming, assaultive visual-aural intensity made up of black frames, empty (clear) frames, white noise and silence—and was followed by a projection of his new film, Antiphon, a work that is made up of the material inversion of Arnulf Rainer. Where the old film has a clear frame the new one has a black one, where one has silence the other has noise. (Though, as Kubelka pointed out, it is impossible to make this inversion totally exact, as over fifty years has passed between two films.)  Next, the two works where projected side by side on the same screen in perfect sync. And finally, the two films were projected on top of one another, again in perfect sync.

The exhibit, as can only be partially be gleaned below, is installed on three walls: on the right, facing inward, is the entirety of Antiphon; on the left, facing inward (and seen only obliquely in my photo) is Arnulf Rainer. In the middle, facing outward, are the two films placed on top of one another.

 Above: Antiphon (2012).

Above: Detail of Arnulf Rainer (1960).

 Above: Arnulf Rainer laid on top of Antiphon.

No need to apologize, Danny. Not sure I’d enjoy the experience of the films, exactly, but these are def fascinating.
Thanks Ry, but you’d apologize, too if you heard his lecture decrying our (future) ability to “watch Dreyer’s Jeanne d’Arc on your wristwatch in the shower”!
Notice the pins in the bottom photo: at the later of the two screenings, Kubelka explained that they were inserted every 24 frames as a physical timecode. He also unspooled a print of Antiphon through the audience and invited us to hold the film as it was screened. Then he passed out scissors and let us take a strip home. Cinema doesn’t get more concrete than that.
Haha, well, I did watch La Jetee on my iPhone in bed one night last month… And I felt ok about it? Sorry, Kubelka. Sorry, Marker. Sorry, cinema. Only, not entirely. Cinema is a mutable thing! I’m sad to see the indexical qualities so often ignored even in the most erudite “death of cinema” blunderbusses but there’s gotta be a way to celebrate how much more cinema can become with the right ingenuity going forward. I mean, it’s weird: the lowest form is now becoming totally bifurcated between high and low with stuff like this “sculpture” pointing towards what I see as a possible future of cinema as akin to painting, to “high art” and museums, where celluloid truly is a rarity only certain artists are able to afford to use and project in, until, like vinyl, it reaches a vogue point again and all the “right” nerds start extolling the virtues of — and fun of! — seeing films on film. I want to be in this game for the long haul, really, and that’s why I hate all the doomsayers. Just make the world better by singing a prettier song!!
Aww man, we didn’t do that at my screening!
Didn’t see your comment when I wrote my spiel, Kurt. That is awesome.
Some more moving images on youtube, documenting the final mounting stage. Can’t wait to see MONUMENT FILM at the Viennale. And Martina Kudláček’s 4hrs documentary. I completely share Kubelka’s view on cinema, obviously. Any form of digital compression tarnishes my taste for cinema.
Thanks for sharing that, Grey. Perhaps I’ll see you at the Viennale screening!
And if you miss the Martina Kudláček’s FRAGMENTS OF KUBELKA at the Viennale, one will still have the possibility to see it regularly in Austrian cinemas afterwards (distributed by the Stadtkino Filmverleih).
That’s great news, Stadtkino Filmverleih! Can you release it in the US too? ;)
This was the best screening/lecture ever. Loved it.
Avant-garde artists are full of crap ideas.

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