Experimental Film in a Museum Context [panel]

@ LACMA, 1/19/2010, Part 1 (of 3): Location

brief notes:

Rita Gonzalez (Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art) and Alex Klein (Ralph M. Parsons Curatorial Fellow, Wallis Annenberg Photography Department)
-Anthony McCall: “In recent years, the art world has paid a lot of attention to work in film and video, yet the dichotomy between avant-garde film (and video) makers, and artists ‘working in film/video,’ still seems to be with us. Despite the important role being played by museums such as the Whitney in bridging this divide, the two worlds sometimes seem like Crick and Watson’s double helix, spiraling closely around one another without ever quite meeting.”
-how film is physically presented and therefore historicized
-ruining actual context with ~artificial art context?
-ramifications of sudden commodification of film as “art”
-where is film located disciplinarily and institutionally?
-time-based work in gallery setting

Gloria Sutton, art historian, emphasis on Stan VanDerBeek
-his quote new “aesthetics of anticipation” vs. older “aesthetics of meditation”
-VanDerBeek worked with John Cage (Variations V)
-what is film? different forms edited different ways. Poemfields, BEFLIX; which print is the “actual” work?
-Movie-Drome – utopian vision, in some ways more the art than the actual place
-“expanded cinema” “experimental” “avant garde” American version
-Vision ’65 using computers for graphic design etc.
-communication theories of Sontag and McLuhan
-his work was more about changing models of audience reception than technophilia; how people occupy space
-Kubelka’s Invisible Cinema
-steam screens
-utopian and dystopian use of technology

Stuart Comer, Curator of Film, Tate Modern
-why is the art museum the arbiter of value now?
-we haven’t yet figured out what the legacy of the recent era of experimental filmmakers is/will be
-only now being taken seriously because shown in commercial galleries — double edged sword — will drive up price at a point when the work needs to be archived before it literally starts falling apart
-like with VanDerBeek “where a certain medium was always being cannibalized and re-mediated through other media”
-not video installations, cinema presentations
-turbine space at the Tate

panel discussion / questions
-why not set up rooms/displays of the films: people walk by rather than engage with the film (vs. room w/ computers, where they sit and watch)
-the artists put requirements on how things should be displayed.
-what about artists who want the film to look/be legitimately degraded over the years; conflict with “art world” of archiving, saving, commodifying
-why current young artists use old mediums such at 16mm; fetishizing the past + a “wishful conversation across time”
-films recorded 16mm should be shown 16mm because that’s the work; but there is a role for showing archived versions–digital or youtube
-value is assigned to objects — so the actual film or the projector
-there are limited ways to develop / produce certain kinds of film, so why engage with that? (because of that?)
-roles of curators, politics of museums
-when museum “owns” work, do they have the “right” to do what they want with it?
-models of spectatorship are culturally inculcated

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