Experimental films and videos

Experimental films and videos have been part of the history of cinema since the beginning, but they are not only historical documents. In the current digital age, it is cheaper and easier than ever to make and distribute experimental media. Your assignment is to go out into the world (either physical or digital) to find and analyze a recent experimental film or video. Your analysis should address the course’s three guiding questions: 1) What are the conventions the film is reacting to, its broader cinematic or artistic context? 2) What social, aesthetic, and intellectual communities positively influenced this work? 3) What is our position in relation to these two contexts, and how does that affect our reception of these films? This research paper is an opportunity for you to discover current work being done and to gain insight into the experimental media communities of today, and so I encourage you to be creative and have fun with it. The only restrictions for the media you pick are that it must not be something we’ve covered in class, and you must be able to make a convincing case that it is ‘experimental.’ Other than that, the field is open, and I look forward to seeing what you discover! Some resources that may be helpful to you include: • ubu.com, which has a large collection of avant-garde film and video archived on its site. • high-beam.net, which has a lot of information including the Frameworks Archive, an archive of a heavily used avant-garde film email listserv. • youtube.com and vimeo.com, where you can find many experimental works hosted. • And there are many, many others. And remember – experimental filmmakers are people too, and would (most likely) be very happy to talk to you about their work!

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