Thursday, November 08, 2007

of questioning, of experience

"An image in avant-garde cinema is something irreducible to one conception, it's the exploration of all possible conceptions, which don't pre-exist the exploration itself - for example, the industrial cinema falls within Hegel's formula "art is what decorates our internal and external environments", this 'impoverished' conception of art is precisely what the dominant cinema insists on, that it be a psychic and social ornament, what's called a 'diversion', a conception not reprehensible per se but which is a problem because it is imperialistic... because it occupies the entire field of images... Experimental cinema implies the field, the site, of a critical questioning of the world in general, of experience in the political, ethnological, anthropological and metaphysical senses...

"... I prefer to think that an ouevre doesn't fix any mission for itself, but that it exists, breaks things open, introduces disorder into what was believed to be an ineluctable political and in particular ideological order, art as catastrophe in fact."
- Nicole Brenez, interviewed in Fergus Daly's indispensable and "heroic" (to use critic/filmmaker Maximilian Le Cain's apt description) film-essay, Experimental Conversations (2006), a work that draws compelling associations between French avant-garde cinema culture and the contemporary Irish experimental film/video scene, unfolding in a series of chapters with titles such as 'Every Potentiality of the Medium', 'From Futurism to Rock N'Roll - In Praise of Artisans' and 'The Redemptive Power of Cinema?', their fluid unraveling charged by the juxtaposition of excerpts of several of the works under discussion, and the genuinely stimulating discourse; besides Brenez, there's also Philippe Grandrieux, Raymond Bellour, Jackie Raynal, Vivienne Dick, FJ Ossang, Gerard Byrne, Malcolm Le Grice, Max Le Cain, and several other voices, singular yet magnificently entangled within the movement of the essay.

(Above: Two excerpts from Experimental Conversations, the first featuring commentary by Brenez, and the second featuring Grandrieux and Brenez.)

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