Text of Sight

Film can also essay in language certain things that cannot be done by picture.  I needed words to do certain things so that the picture isn’t burdened with them…” (Stan Brakhage)

The following is an expanded (yet still brief) chronological glimpse at some of the uses of text throughout film history...

  College Chums (1907, Edwin S. Porter)*

 Anemic Cinema (1926, Marcel Duchamp)*

 N. or N.W. (1937, Len Lye)

 A Movie (1958, Bruce Conner)*

 Word Movie (1966, Paul Sharits)*

 Poemfield No. 2 (1966, Stan VanderBeek)

 Rat Life and Diet in North America (1968, Joyce Wieland)*

 Bleu Shut (1970, Robert Nelson)*

 Remedial Reading Comprehension (1970, George Landow)*

 Film About a Woman Who… (1974, Yvonne Rainer)*

 Projection Instructions (1976, Morgan Fisher)*

 Argument (1978, Anthony McCall and Andrew Tyndall)*

 Gloria! (1979, Hollis Frampton)

 1857 (Fool’s Gold) (1981, R. Bruce Elder)*

 So Is This (1982, Michael Snow)*

 Secondary Currents (1983, Peter Rose)*

 Landfall (1983, Rick Hancox)

 Gently Down the Stream (1984, Su Friedrich)*

 American Dreams (1984, James Benning)*
 The Secret Garden (1988, Phil Solomon)

 Untitled (For Marilyn) (1992, Stan Brakhage)

 Air Cries ‘Empty Water’ Pt. One: Misery Loves Company (1993, Carl E. Brown)

 Histoire(s) du Cinema (1988-1998, Jean-Luc Godard)

 As I Was Moving Ahead… (2000, Jonas Mekas)

 Secret History of the Dividing Line (2002, David Gatten)

 Star Spangled to Death (1957-2004, Ken Jacobs)

 Let Me Count the Ways (2004, Leslie Thornton)

 The General Returns From One Place to Another (2006, Michael Robinson)

 Unas fotos en la ciudad de Sylvia (2007, Jose Luis Guerin)

 (If I Can Sing A Song About) Ligatures (2009, Abigail Child)

* ((Indicates titles mentioned/discussed in the article ‘Text as Image: In Some Recent North American Avant-Garde Films’ by Scott MacDonald, included in AFTERIMAGE Volume 13.8))