MARCH 2018 / ISSN: 2462-2885 / Color / ENGLISH
SPECIAL ON PETER TSCHERKASSKY:
Controlled Chaos: The Cinematic Unconscious of Peter Tscherkassky, by Matthew Levine
On the surface, the films of Peter Tscherkassky seem to align with the guiding principle of most experimental cinema (especially that which employs found footage). In Tscherkassky’s words, that guiding principle is “to diminish the distance between the viewer and what is being viewed, to create a cinema that can be experienced as a physical experience, and to provoke a kind of active seeing”. While this broad description might be applied to a wide range of avant-garde modes, from the Dadaist films of the silent era to the most recent mixed-media installations, it underscores a formalist approach that seeks to strip the cinematic process of its homogenizing forces (narrative, character, representation) until all that’s left is the bare, beating heart of the moving image.
This is the realm of the abstract, or so it seems: a world where legibility and meaning matter less than sensorial impact and theoretical subtext. Indeed, while Tscherkassky’s approach undergoes significant changes throughout his career, what remains consistent is the foregrounding of the cinematic apparatus and the raw materials with which it works its illusionist magic. From the crude, punkish energy of Aderlaß (1981) to the libidinous dreamscape of The Exquisite Corpus (2015), there’s no escaping the immediacy of cinema as a tactile and sensuous object.
The Trace of a Walk That Has Taken Place – a Conversation with Peter Tscherkassky, by Alejandro Bachmann
Aroma for the Eye, by Virgil Widrich
Lost Material and Found Footage: Peter Tscherkassky’s Dark Room—and Ours, by Jonathan Rosenbaum
The following develops a response to these questions, and it does so in three steps or movements. The first briefly introduces the concept of remix and the opportunities and challenges that this now widespread content creation practice presents to existing models and theories of moral and aesthetic value. The second outlines the three elements of what I call remixology—a new axiology (or theory of moral and aesthetic value) that is designed to scale to these new opportunities and challenges. The third and final movement investigates the consequences of this proposal, demonstrating how remixology can be read backwards through time, providing us with some new perspectives on artistry and creativity in all human endeavors, and read forwards into the emerging challenges that have been made available by innovations in algorithmic content generation and computational creativity.