What do you think of Brakhage’s critique of the term “experimental film”? Do you agree or disagree? Why?

What do you think of Brakhage’s critique of the term “experimental film”? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Please answer these question from the readings attached in two full pages!
In MLA format include in-text citation, please !
In his “Introduction” and “From State Meant” excerpts from Metaphors on Vision, what does Stan Brakhage mean by the word “vision”?
What do you think of Brakhage’s critique of the term “experimental film”? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
What do you think of Brakhage’s working style of “visual thinking” with paint in his article “Painting Film”?
Painting Film (1996)
Author(s): Stan Brakhage
Source: Chicago Review, Vol. 47/48, Vol. 47, no. 4 – Vol. 48, no. 1 (Winter, 2001 – Spring,
2002), pp. 61-64
Published by: Chicago Review
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25304806
Accessed: 16-03-2017 00:17 UTC
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted
digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about
JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at
Chicago Review is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Chicago Review
This content downloaded from on Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:17:21 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Erigena). This interplay is the balance/counter-balance of any brain’s
genetic cultural individual “dance,” and this, therefore, stance-dance
would seem to be the only fully meaningful (i.e., means-less-usage) en
tertainment available of cognition (as distinct from re-cognition).
Film ought aesthetically to exist flickering electric and free of pho
tographic animation, free of the mechanical trickery of, the outright
fakery of the illusion of movie pictures. All interferences with The
Light (all shaped tones and formal silhouettes) ought to be an illumi
nation of source-as-light (or at least be subservient, as symbol, say,
representatives of Time, to Light’s life…as is, to be sure, the almost
equal space of Black in the projection of every split second of lighted
frame). The light, then, would be seen to move because of the light
signifying shapes and tones in their signatory continuities (especially
if these were tones in visual chromatic harmony, and shapes in evolu
tionary form at one with illumination). This anyway, is the aspiration of
artists whose Art aspires to Music, and “Art is art-as-art. And every
thing else is everything else” (Barnett Newman, painter, sculpture).
If it be an art, then it is intrinsically aesthetic, requiring aesthete?
that is to say, it is beautiful, integrally balanced, and (as unique) of
some individually discovered integrity: its appreciator is one who is
capable of sensory justice and evolutionary thought, free from dogma
and representational bias, because the art work’s this-for-that is not
clock-like but rather evolves eccentrically within, and only within,
the limits of being Human. Art forms and colors, or rhythms and
tones of words, progress asymmetrically or eventually settle into some
complexity of beseeming haphazard composure. The art work defines
a paradigm of the experienced chaos of everyday life while being in
itself a construct quite distinct from it.
The salad is on the table, every ruffled edge of lettuce crisp with
the glitter of its own being-at-one with water and/or overlay of oil.
This content downloaded from on Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:17:21 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Musically, such crispness can translate pizzicatto, or into some slow
uncoil of overall (say oboe) curl of tone, some tone of green punctu
ated by drum, and so on, or it can just be distorted by dream?the
limp-lettuce nightmare, crack and timbre reverberation in phosphor
glint of cathected leafage, soforth.
Were I to paint the plein-aire abstraction of this (as I do) onto a
strip of film, my whim would be to absorb what could be seen of
such lettuce, its surrounds of table and all, the very room, and then to
allow into my consideration the movements of such absorption?
the shifts of eye in contemplation, the electrical discharges of synap
tic thought, the “translations,” as it were, from optic imprint to memo
For color (“magic markers,” dyes, india inks) I choose greens,
yes, but vein them with yellows and ruffled shadow-black, applying
isopropyl alcohol on a twisted pointed Kleenex to thin dye lines,
smudge the tones or (with alcohol flicked from a thumbed tooth
brush) create circles to dab into partial-circle-curves or (with weak
ened, spit-diluted alcohol) do manage filigrees midst mixes of con
glomerate color. Sometimes varieties of tone are marked directly upon
the transparent “palette” (or clipboard which holds the film-strip),
so that I can then make toned puddles of alcohol to dip the film into,
feathering the shapes with quick twists of the wrist, pressing the film
so that the dyes collect as edges to half-dried shapes, and so on. More
often than not the alcohol is used to erase an entire frame or collec
tion of frames which have, so it seems, come to naught.
There is very little of “lettuce” left after all this, but when success
ful, the truths of moving visual thinking are made manifest along a
strip of film.
As to the “table,” strips of adhesive tape provide varieties of straight
lines, after applied dyes, in mimic of eye’s slippage?brevities of “cub
ism,” if you will, in Time…continuities of cubistic envisionment when
flashed (twenty-four frames a second) through the projector and upon
the motion-picture screen. Very little of geometry survives “transla
tion” into organic thought, so it seems to me. The meat of the mind
(at least my mind) puts curve to linearity, blurs hard-edge percep
tion; but the thought of (for example) “the shortest distance between
two points” prevails in a mix of cellular irregularities sufficient to
This content downloaded from on Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:17:21 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
necessitate its occasional representation.
The table is in the range of nomenclature “yellow brown”; but
the eye’s retention of yellow is blue, and the after-image of brown is
often something I call “red-black”?a very muted red, to be sure…more
in the range of purple, say?actually unnameable. The shifts of tone,
as the mind absorbs, is understandably variable along a strip of film,
but almost always tending to recycle its orders, like the pitches of a
tune, but a tune undergoing melodic variations. These variations are
subject to interruptions by absorption of all other tones (and shape
shifts) of the surrounding room (for shape does surely affect recep
tion of tone…and tone of tone in color-chordal variance)
The plate upon which the salad sits (oval-shaped, as it happens)
presents curves which tighten in relation to each other as if pulled
string-to-bow, becoming variances of interruptive “horizontals,” “ver
ticals,” “diagonals” (as we name them?mimicking the language of
painting and still photography) in the field of compositional logic
for film. Semi-dried “magic markers” can effect a line quite similar
(on this small scale) to brush-stroke; but these I tend to smudge with
alcohol twist of Kleenex until they more nearly approximate some
sense of optic flickering of such. As the plate is “white,” and the film
strip transparent film-leader, I delicately scratch at the lines of the
“stroke,” so to speak.
The truth of the “plate” is that it affects visual absorption of the
lettuce very much like a break in the sight-lines, distraction from
forms, rhythmically castanet-like, because otherwise its paradigm on
film, its variable oval, would act as container?a word appropriate to
its service vis-?-vis lettuce (appropriate surely in language and per
haps to description of snapshot) but absolute non-sense in respect to
moving visual thought process. Such containment would preclude
the peripherally perceived effects of the room, the in-pouring light of
the world beyond, the process of memory and expectation; and thus
would obliterate Time.
I haven’t really written about the paradigmatic play of memory
in this process of painting a film…nor do I intend to now; but suffice
it that “lettuce” perceived as a word and lettuce seen across any (how
ever limited) “space of time,” like we say, constitute two entirely dif
ferent processes of thinking.
This content downloaded from on Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:17:21 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Let me end on three “Tender Buttons” by Gertrude Stein:
An elegant use of foliage and grace and a little piece of white cloth
and oil.
Wondering so winningly in several kinds of oceans is the reason
that makes red so regular and enthusiastic. The reason that there is
more snips are the same shining very colored rid of no round color.
Enthusiastically hurting a clouded yellow bud and saucer, enthusi
astically so is the bite in the ribbon
Within, within the cut and slender joint alone, with sudden equals
and no more than three, two in the center make two one side.
If the elbow is long and it is filled so then the best example is all
The kind of show is made by squeezing.
The Lost Films is a series of nine untitled films, from the late 1980s
through to 1995, which are photographed and/or painted, sometimes
painted-over photography?and are “lost” in the sense that, across
the whole period of time, I could not manage nor imagine any way to
pay for printing them. Finally a C.R.C.W. University of Colorado sab
batical grant allowed me to take them out of “the lost drawer” in my
office, string them together chronologically, and send them on to
Western Cine labs.
This content downloaded from on Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:17:21 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms

                                                                                                                                                               Order Now