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New Restorations and Discoveries From Center for Visual Music

Quartet (1983)
December 14, 2013 - 7:30 pm
Richard Brown, Cindy Keefer.

From absolute film to psychedelia, this program of revelatory moments from the history of visual music and kinetic art explores lost, legendary and rare treasures found in the archives of Center for Visual Music (CVM).  Featuring among others, rare works by Jordan Belson, including the unfinished Quartet (1983) and the U.S. premiere of the restoration of the infamous LSD (1962); Charles Dockum’s Mobilcolor Performance Film (1970), a later color-light projection composition that provides insights into the history of kinetic art; and two newly discovered films by John Cage and Richard Lippold, including the U.S. premiere of The Sun Film (1956), a kinetic art sculpture. 

The program, featuring many newly preserved 16mm and 35mm prints, will be introduced by archivist/curator Cindy Keefer of CVM. Richard Brown, Ph.D., will introduce The Sun Film and The Sun, Variations Within a Sphere No. 10 [documentation] (1956) by John Cage and Richard Lippold.

Program notes by CVM, except where noted. 

Many of the films in this program were preserved by CVM with support from The National Film Preservation Foundation; others with support from private donors.

Center for Visual Music is an archive dedicated to visual music, experimental animation and abstract film.

Image Courtesy of Center for Visual Music

New preserved print!  U.S. Premiere!

The Sun, Variations within a Sphere No 10 [documentation] (1956)

Directed by John Cage, Richard Lippold

Two films on the construction and display of Lippold’s kinetic art sculpture, edited according to Cage’s graphic score composed via chance.  The films were discovered in 2010 by musicologist Richard Brown, Ph.D.

16mm, color, silent, approx. 7 min.

Quartet (unfinished) (c. 1983)

Directed by Jordan Belson

Several versions of Quartet were found in filmmaker Jordan Belson’s studio after his death, none completed with music.

Digital Video (16 mm film transferred to HD), color, silent, 10 min.

New preserved print!

Spirals (Germany, c. 1926)

Directed by Oskar Fischinger

Scenes composed of concentric circular, spiral and radiating patterns moving in such ways that they produce optical illusions of great depth leading off into an eternally distant vanishing point. ---William Moritz

35mm, b/w, silent, 2 min. 

New preserved print!  U.S. Premiere!

Mobilcolor Performance Film (1970)

Directed by Charles Dockum

Mathematically composed color-light projections performed as music, with filmmaker Charles Dockum’s Mobilcolor Projector in Altadena, CA.

16 mm, color, silent, 11 min.

Night Waves (1977)

Directed by Richard Baily

Filmmaker Richard Baily was offered a position at Robert Abel & Associates based on his work in this award-winning early computer animation film, made while a student at CalArts.

Digital Video (16mm transferred to HD), color, 6 min. 

New preserved print!

Studie NR 5 (Germany, 1930)

Directed by Oskar Fischinger

Filmmaker Oskar Fischinger chose a popular foxtrot, “I've Never Seen a Smile Like Yours.”  Fischinger transforms the dance into a fantastic abstract ballet, in which two levels of “dancers” flow past and through each other: regular and orderly groups of thin-line, hard-edged figures. ---William Moritz

35mm, b/w, sound, 3 min.

Ornament Sound (Germany, c. 1932)

Directed by Oskar Fischinger

Filmmaker Oskar Fischinger photographed graphic shapes and icons, “ornaments,” onto the film’s optical soundtrack for this early experiment in synthetic sound.

35 mm, b/w, sound, 2 min.

Bopscotch (1952)

Directed by Jordan Belson

An early pixilated film, unique for Belson who only used traditional animation techniques in his earliest films.

16mm, color, sound, 4 min.

New preserved print!  U.S. Premiere!

Vortex 5 Presentation Reel (1959)

Directed by Jordan Belson

One of Belson’s compilation reels which he combined with colored filters, projected patterns and various lighting effects for the legendary San Francisco Vortex Concerts.

16mm, b/w, silent, 7 min.

New preserved print!  U.S. Premiere! 

LSD (c. 1962)

Directed by Jordan Belson

Filmmaker Jordan Belson stated this was simply an unfinished project representing the zeitgeist of this time, rather than a finished film.

16mm, color, sound, approx. 5 min.

Turn, Turn, Turn (1966)

Directed by Jud Yalkut

A kinetic alchemy of the light and electronic works of Nicolas Schöffer, Julio Le Parc, USCO, and Nam June Paik.  An exploration of the effect-versus-content thesis of Marshall McLuhan's, “the medium is the message/massage.” ---Jud Yalkut.

16 mm, color, sound, 10 min.

New preserved print!  U.S. Premiere! 

The Sun Film (1956)

16mm, color, silent, approx. 6 min.