A two-day event bringing together academics, film-makers and artists to explore the indefinite and the illegible in film – from artists’ film and video to experimental film and commercial cinema.
Light, motion, definition, compression: the conditions of recording, storing and screening moving image works are subject to constant variations that pull them away from perfect visibility. Film-makers and artists often seek out and work with the resulting visual uncertainty, from the warping of space to the melding of senses; speed to slowness; darkness to glare; and blur to glitch.
Indefinite Visions explores the possibility that an important function of moving image is not to show but to obscure, and that – like the photographer in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up – the closer and deeper we look at an image, the less clear it becomes.
Each day includes a variety of screenings on film and video, complemented by an evening programme at Close Up Film Centre. Evening screenings bring together recent examples of indefinite vision in experimental film.
The event is curated by film-maker and theorist Richard Misek and film scholar Allan Cameron, and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. An edited anthology entitled Indefinite Visions (eds. Martine Beugnet, Allan Cameron and Arild Fetveit) will be published by Edinburgh University Press in late 2016.
Introduction, followed by presentations by D.N. Rodowick (University of Chicago) on movement, force and time in experimental film and video, and Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli (University of California, Davis) on the uncanny effects of slow motion in the work of Bill Viola.
Catherine Fowler (University of Otago) discusses the power of uncertain imagery in artists’ film and video, and Emmanuelle André (Université Paris VII Didérot) explores new relations between vision and touch in digital media.
A screening of Cinema Concrete, the latest film by leading Japanese experimental film-maker Takashi Makino. Followed by a conversation between Makino and Holly Rogers (Goldsmiths, University of London) exploring the relationship between indefinite image and sound.
Looking beyond the moving image, pioneering scientist and artist Frederik de Wilde and scholar/artist Paul Thomas (University of New South Wales) discuss nanoart.
Sean Cubitt (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Allan Cameron (University of Auckland) provide two perspectives on glitch, followed by a conversation with artist and theorist Rosa Menkman, featuring screenings of her works.
Richard Misek gives a lecture-performance based around his video Black Screen, and Frederik de Wilde discusses his experiments with nanoblack. Followed by a conversation with Ars Electronica prize-winning media artist Anouk de Clercq, featuring screenings of her works.
2pm: Materiality I
A compendium of short works exploring the materiality of film, programmed by Kim Knowles, curator of the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s ‘Black Box’ experimental theme.
2.30pm: Materiality II
Emmanuel Lefrant, director of French experimental film co-operative Light Cone, presents some films from their collection and talks with artist Jacques Perconte, whose film Ettrick screened earlier this year at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight.
Martine Beugnet (Université Paris VII Didérot) explores the uses and effects of blur, Christa Blümlinger discusses the work of Peter Tscherkassky, and Erika Balsom (King’s College, London) traces low definition from early cinema to digital compression.
Sean Cubitt leads a concluding round table discussion with film academics D.N. Rodowick and Arild Fetveit, artist Susan Collins (Slade School of Fine Art, UCL), and Maria Palacios Cruz (deputy director of LUX).
Richard Misek is a film-maker and Lecturer in Digital Arts at the University of Kent. He is author of the book Chromatic Cinema (Wiley-Blackwell) and director of the critically-acclaimed essay film Rohmer in Paris. He uses film- and video-making as means of researching film and video, and is principal investigator on the current AHRC Digital Transformations project ‘The Audiovisual Essay: a digital methodology for film and media studies’.
Allan Cameron is a senior lecturer in Media, Film and Television at the University of Auckland. He is the author of Modular Narratives in Contemporary Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan), and co-editor (with Martine Beugnet and Arild Fetveit) of the forthcoming volume Indefinite Visions: Cinema and the Attractions of Uncertainty (Edinburgh University Press).