Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Introduction

Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Introduction

Article excerpt

One aspect of the Millennium Film Journal project is documentation of the changing territory of artists' cinema, which sometimes highlights seismic redefinitions of underlying aesthetic and social ideologies. Pinning down trends and tendencies is a hypothetical exercise, fraught, always open to dispute, and no time period in avant-garde cinema has been more explosive, variable, and variously described than the three and a half decades of the MFJ's existence. This issue, the 35th anniversary edition Volume 2, maps out a few aspects of this mercurial landscape, from the late 1970s' re-emergent interest in narrative and political ideologies, through the mid-1990s eruption of gallery and museum installations, to recent developments in exhibition policies and politics, with the fluctuating cinephilia of moving image artists of the last 35 years a theme that appears with varying intensity throughout the period.

One way to chart the history of artists' cinema is to find in specific works indications of new areas of exploration, and several of the authors in this issue take this approach. Jonathan Walley argues that a major shift in the culture of experimental film occurred around 1978, when works with explicit political and narrative underpinnings challenged the modernist ideology of so-called 'structural film.' His discussion turns around films by Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, Anthony McCall and his collaborators, Yvonne Rainer and others. For Volker Pantenburg and Eivind Røssaak another radical change in the field comes 15 years later, in the mid-1990s, with such artists as Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe, and Matthew Barney embracing the narrative cinema of both Hollywood and the Art House and acknowledging it in their practice, though in different ways. Pantenburg discusses the effects, both negative and positive, of relocating moving image works from the auditorium to the museum and gallery, coincident with the digital encoding of photochemical works and their subsequent re-envisioning as installations. Røssaak contributes a fine analysis of Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho, referring to Bergson's theory of the interweaving of perception and memory, as well as proposing cinephilia as a basis for some of the pleasures the work offers. …

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