Monday, February 11, 2008
A response to a reading from A Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book, by Stan Brakhage:
Brakhage, in his filmmaking and writing, never fails to reveal an endearing nature that somehow rests between primal, child-like perceptions and sophisticated comprehension of formal artistic technique. The technical guidance that he provides in his writings from A Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book offers invaluable direction for the creation, or giving, of motion film imagery through various techniques of light source and filmstock manipulation. Though his technical references may seem basic in some regards, particularly to an informed student or maker of film, his insight and neverending wanderment remains inspiring and endlessly useful. It seems, in many regards, that Brakhage has managed to deconstruct the concept of motion imagery and then rediscover (or reinvent) it with unabated curiosity. He shows infinite generosity in his desire to share personal discoveries, technical and conceptual, while also expressing a constant desire and respect for new discoveries that may extend beyond his humble realizations. Though I was completely inthralled by the nature and language with which he communicates, often reverting to the poetry and stream of consciousness so evident in his work, he still manages to share explicit techniques that offer groundwork from which to begin. I was particularly humored by his humble (which he is by no means obligated to considering his mastery of craft and art) invitation to quit reading the material and get to work, repeated at regular intervals throughout the essay. The ultimate advice herein is the encouragement of personal discovery. However, he also articulates the importance, though somewhat begrudgingly, of technique and the mastery and full comprehension of... While adamently encouraging a selfless exchange of technical information amongst filmmakers (i'm sure partly selfish due to his own unquenchable desire for artistic exploration), he is careful to state, "...many creations are still-born out of technical inadequacy." Miles Davis once stated that a musician should first learn as much technique and theory as possible, and then forget it all. At this point, a true musician is born. Brakhage seems to have a similar approach of integrating knowledge and technical ability with his child-like sense of discovery. In all, Brakhage most impresses with his infinite curiosity and attempt to purely express his minds eye - a subjective feat all too obscure in motion filmmaking.