Sat, May 06|
Millennium Film Workshop
Notes After Long Silence: Austrian and American Structural Film
Time & Location
May 06, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Millennium Film Workshop, 167 Wilson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA
About the event
Notes after Long Silence. On Austrian and American Structural Film.
In the early 1960ies, a number of filmmakers emerged in the United States and Europe to produce remarkable
films that challenged any previous formal tendency in avant-garde filmmaking. The Structuralist filmmakers—
including Peter Kubelka, Tony Conrad, Paul Sharits, and Kurt Kren––arranged their shots according to
mathematical principles, attempting to produce non-narrative and non-illusionist films to oppose the cinematic
apparatus. Similar to the advent of Minimalism in painting and sculpture, structural films insisted on shape, and
their content was minimal and subsidiary to the outline. For instance, in his film 2/60:
(1960), Kurt Kren employed a strictly serial sequence technique to present 48 portraits from the Szondi Test
for "experimental diagnosis of human impulses" in various frame sizes and pre-specified lengths. Meanwhile,
Peter Kubelka used the most radical version of Structural arrangements to produce the first Flicker Film, Arnulf
Rainer (1960), which consisted solely of black or white frames coupled with either silence or white noise on the
soundtrack. Tony Conrad's The Flicker (1966), another landmark in Structural filmmaking, gradually increased
the frequency and pattern complexity of black and white frames to create stroboscopic effects that could cause
visual hallucinations and even epileptic seizures. Paul Sharits' T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (1968) further complicated the
frame-by-frame approach with chromatically-varied frames and combinations of visual and auditory repetition.
Offenhuber, Viktoria Schmid.
48 Heads from the Szondi-
The Structural Film movement and its aesthetic principles—including serial cuts, static frames, and flicker
effects—influenced several filmmakers of the next generation. Leslie Thornton, for instance, a student of both
Kubelka and Sharits, further developed the Structuralist approach in her debut experimental film X-TRACTS
(1975), which features cut-up readings of her high school diary paired with images of herself, once again
exploring the territories of rhetoric, linguistics, and narrative structures. Kubelka's co-founded institutions, the
Anthology Film Archives in New York and the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna, along with filmmakers like Saul
Levine, continued to pass on the strategies of Structural Film to inspire younger generations of filmmakers to
continue pushing the boundaries of structure and materiality of film. The upcoming screening program, Notes
After Long Silence, which takes its title from one of Levine's films, traces the historical conversation of Austrian
and American experimental film to the present day and explores the aesthetic and cultural limits pushed by
filmmakers from both countries. The program features works from members of the AgX Film Collective in Boston
and the Schule Friedl Kubelka in Vienna, with films distributed by sixpackfilm, Canyon Cinema, and Filmmakers'
A curatorial project by Nicole Prutsch, Mike Piso, and Wenhua Shi.
Filmmakers: Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, Kurt Kren, Leslie Thornton, Virgil Widrich, Philipp Fleischmann, Saul
Levine, Eve Heller, Jodie Mack, Mónica Sávirón, Mike Piso, Douglas Urbank, Björn Kämmerer, Dietmar
Presented by Revolutions Per Minute Festival and Millennium Film Workshop.
Supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts and Culture (BMKOES), Austrian Cultural Forum New York,
UMass Boston (Art and Art History, cinema studies), and Millennium Film Workshop.
Special thanks to Genevieve Carmel, Stefan Grabowski, AgX Film Collective, sixpackfilm, Canyon Cinema,
Filmmakers’ Coop, Millennium Film Workshop, Umass Boston, Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts and Culture
(BMKOES), and Austrian Cultural Forum New York.
List of Films
Arnulf Rainer, Peter Kubelka, 1960, 6’30” Format: 16mm
T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, Paul Sharits, 1968, 12’ Format: 16mm
2/60: 48 Heads from the Szondi-Test, Kurt Kren, 1960, 4’5” Format: 16mm
X-TRACTS, Leslie Thornton, 1975, 8’30’, US Format: 16mm
Light Matter, Virgil Widrich, 2018, 5’ AT Format: digital
The Invisible Cinema 3, Philipp Fleischmann, 2017, 43’’ AT Format: 16mm
Untitled (Generali Foundation Vienna), Philipp Fleischmann, 2015, 34’’ AT Format: 16mm
Notes after Long Silence, Saul Levine, 1989, US 15’ Format: Super 8
Ruby Skin, Eve Heller, 2005, 4’30" US Format: 16mm
Razzle Dazzle, Jodie Mack, 2014, 5’ US Format: 16mm
Answer Print, Mónica Sávirón, 2016, 5’ US Format: 16mm, digitized
Untitled for William P., Mike Piso, 2016, 6’46” US Format: 16mm
Portrait, Douglas Urbank, 2014, 5’16” US Format: 16mm
Navigator, Björn Kämmerer, 2015, 7’ AT Format: 35mm, digitized
Besenbahn, Dietmar Offenhuber, 2001, 10‘, AT Format: digital
A Proposal to Project in 4:3, Viktoria Schmid, 2017, 2’, AT Format: 16mm
Total length: 97 min 54 sec