Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Jornadas Lúcidas *1A journey devoted to reflective, entoptic, raw and cooked light
1859, Fred Worden

Digital video, colour, silent, 11', 2008

Information, Hollis Frampton

16 mm film, b/w, silent, 4', 1966

In the groundbreaking publication "Metaphors on Vision" Stan Brakhage wonders about which rays pass through the retina still unretained by the mind. It is common knowledge, that film and video reveal only a small part of the light spectrum when bringing a picture to existence. The camera's lens function as a barrier, filtering the necessary light to create an image while dispersing all incomprehensible and, who knows, noxious outbursts of energy.
For an orthodox structuralist filmmaker, as Brakhage, the use of lenses in the making of film is questionable, as all light should arrive pure to the viewer's retina. In the 1960s, while the experimental film crowd was acquiring a taste for raw and uncooked light, in film's industry all manifestations of uncontrolled light, such as lens flares, were still being avoided and seen as camera errors that shed light on a poor cinematography. 

It was only in 1969, that the Hungarian director of photography, László Kovács, allowed, for the first time, against all advice, lens flares to appear in a feature film. During the film Easy Rider the Sun's rays cross the barrier of lenses generating colourful flares, revealing the presence of the glass itself, giving a true sense of reality. 

Twenty years later, John Knoll, while working at the launch of Photoshop, developed a digital Lens Flare plug-in. This artificial lens reflexion, soon became the effect that every science-fiction film needed to reclaim truth. 

In the video “1859”, Fred Worden presents the anatomy of a digital lens flare. The filmmaker dissects a 30 frame instant of light intersecting a lens, unfolding in a series of singular reflections. Each circle of light pulsates independently, echoing a series of events that, occurred in the year 1859: the publishing of Darwin's Origin of Species, the birth of Pierre Curie, Georges Seurat and Conan Doyle, the largest recorded solar storm and the first time solar flares were noted by the amateur astronomer Richard Christopher Carrington. 

For this Oporto session we will screen “1859” together with  "Information",  Hollis Frampton’s earliest surviving film. This short enigmatic piece  features a single lightbulb recorded using multiple exposures. The blaze casts light onto the black screen, moving to a silent score, in a mesmerising rhythm that can only be coded.

"If only the sound of the sun would reach the earth.  
T. Batista

Friday, May 18, 10.30 pm