Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film 2011


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Monday, August 1, 8:30pm
Symphony Barn

by Barbara Sternberg
Landscape is a fluid term, (we speak of mindscapes, soundscapes, landscape of the imagination) but, even in its original meaning referring to a view of ‘out there’, it is a term of mediation. ‘Landscape’ is composed seeing, seeing in reference to image-making. Before landscape painting, one saw, one looked, one encountered natural terrain in its vastness. ‘Landscape’ enclosed Nature- wildness in a frame. Often I hear, and say, that a newly encountered vista is “oh, it’s just like ----“ (and here you fill in the film, photograph, painting that suits). We often experience the natural world as the simulacra of the images we know already in our mind’s eye, in our mental landscape.

Experiences of ‘landscape’ have always been mediated by technology from painting to digital media- experiencing as looking. Now the circle is complete: images appropriated through technological means reference landscapes which themselves refer to images which have already mediated and conditioned seeing.

Boar Attack
Vincent Grenier, Colour Study

This programme of films and videos and digital works starts from David Rimmer’s touchstone 1960’s film Landscape to present day digital media works. Gerda Cammear’s video, The Sound of Tulips, completed in June this year, makes use of 60’s imagery from a tourist postcard. Semiconductor works with images from NASA’s Heliospheric Imager. Cheryl Sourkes’s work, made for this screening, draws images posted by others on the web. Has the idea and aims of the representation of landscape changed in this time period and with the advent of digital media?

As much as the film camera and projector are of course technologies already, nonetheless, filmed landscape within experimental film has often involved a constructed apparatus which expands how our eyes can see. The camera in Michael Snow’s La Region Centrale which revolved in every conceivable direction, let us see from spatial positions impossible without this specially constructed machinery; in Chris Welsby’s Seven Days, the camera was mounted on an Equatorial Stand usually used by astronomers to track stars. But in these films, the natural world was still intact - was revealed. Digital mediation can transform differently - although some works reveal the invisible workings of Nature, many transform it into something fantastical, newly imagined through technological imaging - a landscape of the imagination.

“Traditional images are no longer capable of representing the world…There’s the need I think to recommence from zero to experiment with new ways of representation…the tasks of the spectator also are modified…the spectator must operate on his own, almost creatively…it is the rapport between image and image which counts... we must feel a film.” M. Antonioni Architect of Vision

“[abstract films] are enclosed in a tension, a struggle between the generation of force and the articulation of meaning. Operations on representation evoke the history of figural and narrative art, but these film images, in their difference from these traditions, expose what is habitually unseen in the act of seeing” Maureen Turim Abstraction in the Avant-Garde.

“Ever since Chateabriand, we’ve acquired such depraved tastes that we’d sooner appreciate nature dead on canvas or in the pages of a book than in living reality. Instead of showing it as it is, they have to embellish it and humanize it. And they’ve only succeeded in distorting it.”

“But don’t you find certain passages in Chateabriand much lovelier than any place in this country?”

“Art! Art! Whatever beauty human art creates will always be artificial. It can never be as valuable as life itself.” Georges Bugnet, The Forest.


Landscape #1

(USA, 1939, audio)
John Cage

(Canada, 1969, 8 min)
David Rimmer

(Australia, 1971, 15 min)
Paul Winkler

(Canada, 1990, 15 min)
Jane Evans

Les Tournesols
(France, 1982, 3 min)
Rose Lowder

(Canada, 1982, 2:30 min)
Ellie Epp

Colour Study
(Canada/USA, 2000, 4:30 min)
Vincent Grenier

Rehearsals for Retirement
(USA, 2007, 10 min)
Phil Solomon

Black Rain
(UK, 2009, 3 min)

Andrew McPherson of Eccodek
Black Rain

State of Flux Wave 1,2,3
(Austria, 2009, 11 min)
Rainer Gamsjager

The Sound of Tulips
(Canada, 2011, 3:41 min)
Gerda Cammaer

Untitled Web Work
(Canada, 2011)
Cheryl Sourkes