Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi: Archive, Technology and Body, by Paula Arantzazu Ruiz
The work of Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi is a cinema of catalogue, a cinema that displays previously archived images and shapes an enormous inventory of 20th history century. It has been more than forty years since these Italian filmmakers (Gianikian is of Armenian origin) have been recovering, re-filming and re-editing archived films by means of the analytical camera—a re-visualizing tool made ex profeso to manipulate film footage from different sources, either by cutting original frames, reversing images and revealing their negative, modifying speed or manipulating the montage. In this way, by discovering unusual associations among visual documents from different archives, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi create new films. The topics covered in their work are both diverse and recurrent: war, fascism, colonialism and racism, science, technological advancements and violence, as well as the links that surreptitiously connect one topic to another. Among them emerges the human body as a commonplace element of each and every one of these images: men and women whose faces and gestures take on a new breath in this visual re-cataloguing of the archive.
Our Analytical Camera, by Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi
Pages of a Diary, by Angela Ricci Lucchi
A Letter to Angela and Yervant, by Atom Egoyan
- A Poetics of Care: Slowness, Ethics and Enchantment in Gianikian & Ricci Lucchi’s Oeuvre, by Miriam De Rosa
Maintaining that Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian have a privileged relationship to history may sound quite predictable. Similarly, describing their artistic effort as that of archaeologists, historians, or entomologists is a delicate move: for, on the one hand, their famous “Non, Non, Non” claim expresses their basic refusal of any sort of constraining etiquettes, while on the other hand their work still continues to be labeled in a number of ways, thereby demonstrating the impossibility to identify an ultimate footing that synthesizes the fascinating complexity of their oeuvre.
Trying to locate my argument outside such rhetoric, what I wish to propose is not an alternative or further reading of Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian’s artistic trajectory, but rather an attempt to imagine the philosophy innervating their work and to observe the gestures informed by it. From this point, my review of their films and video installations does not aim to provide a counter-description opposed to the several detailed accounts to which I am indebted, but to complement them by seeing these works as the crystallization of a specific way of conceiving time—a way that is apt to restitute the past, inhabit the present and look at the future. Their work employs a conception of temporality that transcends the diegesis, and which I believe cannot be solely described in terms of a feature typical of slow cinema. Conversely, I shall contend that this approach to temporality represents the most immediately recognizable—but at the same time, the densest aspect—of a very peculiar poetics that is merely the audio-visual output of a wider creative process and of a broader, personal and very concrete relationship with the world.
- Re-routing the Image: The Use of Haptic Interventions in Gianikian and Lucchi´s Work, by Arine Kirstein Høgel
When watching Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi’s Diario Africano (1994)—consisting of archival material filmed by an anonymous photographer in North Africa in the 1920s—viewers are intrigued by the exploration of gaze, by how colonizer and colonized subject are represented in the image, by how the layers of temporality are constructed, reaching into past discourses and contemporary ones, expanding on the sense of place and locality.
In traditional anthropological thinking, situating and relativizing are considered hallmarks of written representation. In this paper it shall be argued that it may also be a central quality of experimental filmmaking. It will be suggested that a new space for representation is created in the filmic composition via Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi’s aesthetic and analytical processing of archival material. Consequently, the term haptic détournement will be used to analyze postcolonial thinking in the experience of Diario Africano.
- Glitched Media as Found/Transformed Footage: Post-Digitality in Takeshi Murata’s Monster Movie, by Michael Betancourt
In 1981, former Beatle Ringo Starr co-starred with Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long in Caveman (Carl Gottlieb), a comedy feature that is notable for being performed entirely in caveman basic—a language of nonsense words and grunts explained in a flyer given to the audience at the premiere. It takes place in a fantasy past—the year one billion B.C. on October 9—populated by a variety of mythic terrors that include a dinosaur, hallucinogenic berries and a yeti. Shots of this yeti are the foundation for Takeshi Murata’s Monster Movie (2005). Organized as a series of looped shots, this glitch video introduces errors into the compressed video file. Glitched videos are made by employing different compressions and file types to achieve the same variety of results that different film stocks and photographic techniques provided to celluloid throughout the history of film production.
Monster Movie is an early example of the glitch process called datamoshing that involves the removal of data from digital videos compressed using the MPEG-1 format, resulting in characteristic smears of color and residues from the original image on screen.
- The Success and Failure of Arthur Lipsett, by Stephen Broomer
Enlisted to the National Film Board in 1958 as an editor, Arthur Lipsett would distinguish himself through the early 1960s as a maker of films most closely associated with the collage or found footage branch of experimental film. That association would grow in later years; in his time, his work was considered something of a strange growth on the corpus of the Film Board’s documentary and animation units, blending the staccato rhythms of animation with a cynical wit for social comment. His entry into the federal government came at the recommendation of his mentor, the painter Arthur Lismer, with whom Lipsett had studied for two years at Montreal’s Museum School of Art and Design. It was nearly a prophecy when Lismer wrote that a young artist of the contemporary world “must weave, carve and mold upon the story of human progress the living truths that masking creates as well as destroys” (Lismer, circa 1950). His pronouncement is open to contradictory interpretations, that it should champion at the center of all things the story of man, while nodding toward empirical, perceptual truths—the truths that Lismer, among others, had penetrated in the cadences, colour contrasts, and material presence of the modern Canadian landscape painting. Lipsett’s proposals for films and elements of his finished works suggest an artist’s commitment to rhythmic and experiential shape; to tightening and loosening, building and dropping intensities; but they are also marked by the footprint of an institution devoted to telling—and controlling—the story of man.
- Harun Farocki and the Archive. What Images Show, What Images Conceal, by Sergi Álvarez Riosalido
Analyzing the works of the filmmaker Harun Farocki entails immersing oneself into the cinematic phenomenon to rather extraordinary depths. This is not only due to the constant inquiry into the status of the image that permeates all of his films—what institutions produce them, by means of what technical artifacts, how these images are distributed, what meanings they engender, etc.—but also to the fact that Harun Farocki’s ongoing research has been accompanied by a no less rigorous written production. This complementarity is undoubtedly helpful when one deals with said depths in questioning what is at stake when we see an image.
The aim of this paper is to traverse certain texts by Farocki as well as those films dealing with the issue of World War II, especially through the images generated in concentration camps. Thus, a small sample of his entire filmic œuvre is selected here so as to ponder its contribution to the study of the image and the way it operates, while considering the role of archive footage when tackling the issue of WWII and the concentration camps that produced such images.
- Depicting Cinema(s): Film History as Experiment. Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself, by David de Rozas
Entirely made by clips from movies, documentary footage, and archival images, Los Angeles Plays Itself puts a wide range of film genres and movie representations from different eras into dialogue with one another—from early silent films to action movies or dramas, documentary forms to musical clips, classical Hollywood productions to lesser known or underground films. Combining clips from well-known and relatively unknown movies, as well as using documentary footage, Los Angeles Plays Itself is a commentary on the relationship between reality and representation, between simulacrum and artifact, and between the visible and the unknown. Thom Andersen’s film is a historical tour of cinema that researches, inquires, and questions the role of films, and the film industry, in the construction of our collective experience of urban space, its landscape and geography.
Articles & Interviews
- Odds & Ends, by Edwin Rostron
- Benning Goes Digital: An Interview, by Scott MacDonald
- Pretending the Camera Isn´t There: Joshua Oppenheimer’s Postcard From Sun City, Arizona, by Matthew Levine
- Dreams Rewired: A Conversation with Manu Luksch and Mukul Patel, by Martin Zeilinger
- Living Memories: Thinking Amateur Filmmaking Practices Through Archive Footage, by Antonin Charret
Book & DVD reviews
· Cinema by Other Means, by Nazare Soares
· Verifica Incerta (Disperse Exclamatory Phase), by César Ustarroz
A conversation between Alejandro Bachmann and Kevin B. Lee
Démontage: Freude, by Thomas Draschan
by Joseph Bernard, Jeroen Cluckers, Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy (aka Ojoboca), Thomas Draschan, Siegfried A. Fruhauf, Makino Takashi, Ignacio Tamarit and Guillaume Vallée.