Feb. 13th – Focus Group: The Screening Room with Ed Emshwiller

February 13th, 2013
Visual Arts Center (map)
Auditorium , Room 1.102

This Spring, the Visual Arts Center will present four screenings featuring Robert Gardner’s The Screening Room under their Focus Group program. We are honored to be collaborating with them with guest speakers and selected prints of the featured filmmakers! For this first one, Paul Gansky will do a presentation on Ed Emshwiller and screen 3 of his films.

Paul Gansky spends his days tacking through the vapor of doctoral work for the Radio-TV-Film Department at the University of Texas at Austin. His evenings are given to dreaming about Bakelite telephones, the effects of bad weather both human and natural upon media, obsolescence, haptics, insanity, and CHiPs. He is the co-editor of Flow, an online journal of media studies, and co-director of The Mad Stork Cinema.

Sunstone (1979)
16mm / 3min / sound

A film version of computer animation done using a digital paint program at New York Institute of Technology. Originally released as a videotape. –E.E.

Thermogenesis (1972)
16mm / 12min / sound

A film version of a videotape. In it my drawings are animated and colorized by using computers. Walter Wright and Richard Froman were on the computers. John Godfrey helped with the video editing. I did the sound score. The original tape was done on 2″ high-band color videotape, two computers, a Paik-Abe video-synthesizer, with studio chroma-keying and multi-generation video editing. –E.E.

This early tape is a version of Computer Graphics #1, one of Emshwiller’s very first video works. Black-and-white drawings by Emshwiller were animated and colorized with the assistance of Walter Wright and Richard Froman at Dolphin Computer Image Corporation. The sound score was made on Moog Audio Synthesizers by Emshwiller in collaboration with Robert Moog and Jeff Slotnick. (via Electronic Arts Intermix for the tape version.)

Transformation (1959)
16mm / 5min / sound

The pointillist score accompanies changing line, form, and color to create an animated film painting, achieved through the exploration of spontaneous abstractions. Utilizes evolving changes style, technique and rhythm. — E.E.

More from the VAC website:

Focus Group is a screening series centered on experimental film in its various formats, including but not limited to 16mm, 8mm, and digital video. Focusing on seminal filmmakers from the past and their contemporary counterparts, the screenings are introduced by artists, filmmakers, critics, and curators who additionally present discussion topics ranging from innovative approaches to the medium to issues in contemporary film culture. Through this exposure to unique and often rare films, as well as the critical dialogue surrounding them, Focus Group enables a broader understanding of the possibilities of cinema.

Screening Room, a 1970s television series that aired in Boston, invited independent filmmakers to screen and discuss their work on a commercial affiliate station (ABC-TV). The unique program, developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner, gave equal exposure to animation, documentary, and experimental film by artists such as Jean Rouch, Jonas Mekas, Hollis Frampton, Yvonne Rainer, and Michael Snow. Each episode featured conversations with filmmakers about their work, as well as excerpts, and often full-length films. The filmmakers that were presented on the show are now considered among the most influential contributors to their respective genres. Produced and released by Studio7Arts, an organization founded by Robert Gardner to support nonfiction media, the rarely seen Screening Room episodes are still invaluable today to creative thinkers, regardless of what medium they work in.

This spring, as part of the newly branded series, Focus Group, the VAC presents a different episode of Screening Room each month, providing a wide range of anecdotes, explanations, and methodologies from pioneers in film. Videos and films hand-picked by members of Experimental Response Cinema precede each screening.

For February’s edition, the VAC presents the July 1975 episode with Ed Emshwiller. Emshwiller began as an Abstract Expressionist painter and an award-winning science fiction illustrator before becoming a major figure in avant-garde cinema and the experimental film movement of the 1960s and 70s. Becoming a highly respected video artist and dean of the School of Film/Video at the California Institute of the Arts, Emshwiller always looked for ways to push the boundaries of what film and video could be. He was a pioneer of computer-generated video, which combined technology and art. In this episode of Screening Room, Emshwiller screens and discusses the films ChrysalisGeorge Dumpson’s PlaceCarol Emshwiller,ThanatopsisFilm With Three DancersScape Mates, and Crossings and Meetings.

Special thanks to The University of Texas at Austin Fine Arts Library and its staff for supporting the educational mission of the Visual Arts Center through acquisitions of works like Screening Room.

1CC37C4C-F8B8-4054-9CC6-E548C5C38D88The Visual Arts Center (VAC) is positioned as a place for the intersection of art education and art evolution. The center is a new exhibition and research space within the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin that will highlight internationally acclaimed artists, as well as students, faculty, and alumni through multiple programs. An adaptive reuse of the space in the Art Building previously inhabited by the Jack S. Blanton Museum, the VAC was designed by renowned architects Lake | Flato and provides an additional 22,000 square feet of space to the department.

The Visual Arts Center draws together a uniquely diverse arts community of students, alumni, faculty, guest artists and creative voices from around the world. This beautiful facility — with its airy hall, collegial gathering space and inspiring art exhibits — forms the new intellectual and emotional center of this dynamic community.