"..." Reel 2

Rental Format(s): 16mm film

Dedicated to Michael McClure.

This work is in five reels (numbered, but called "reels" so that they don't take on the connotations of "Parts" - thus each simply a part of the "trail" of colored scratches, white scratches ((on black & white leader) which suggest, to me, a passage). The third "reel" combines these scratches with some motion picture film, mostly of the ocean. The fifth reel is the only one which has a sound track; but of course that makes the whole work a "SOUND film" because the audio track must be turned-on from the beginning.

"Brakhage's new series of scratch-and-stain films, known as (...) or ellipses, are, among other things, a visual analogue to Abstract Expressionism. The onrushing imagery and the spatial conundrums it creates evoke not only Pollock but also the work of Franz Kline, Willem De Kooning, and even Mark Rothko - that is Pollock et al., at 24 frames per second. Eschewing the camera, Brakhage scrapes away the film emulsion to create a thicket (or sometimes a spider's web) of white lines and rich, chemical colors. Some segments of the original footage appear to have been printed on negative stock or perhaps solarized - so that the blue and pink lines are inscribed on a white field. In any case, (...) is a cosmos. Rich without being ingratiating, the effect is one of rhythmic conflagration.

"A second 20-minute reel is more staccato mad chicken-scratch calligraphy fluttering out of a yellow void, sketchy lightning bolts or fireworks interrupted by a sudden field of turquoise. The third and shortest section reintroduces camera-derived imagery and, minimal as it may be (sunlight shimmering on water, seagull wheeling in the sky), it's still a shock to see "something." Brakhage continues to play with surfaces, layering the image with scratch bursts and soft-focus superimpositions; sentiment arrives with representation." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"dear stan,

phil solomon in town last week for one of those very rare special screenings where beautiful work shown to fine attentions. he'd brought with him some rolls he'd printed of some of your new (?) work (yer output so prodigious the 'new' word a relative one), entirely comprised of scratches and was astonished because it appeared to me as memory, after lying ill for some weeks, most of the brain already well past the hurdle of a calamitous end so not resigned to dying exactly but going along for the ride, alone mostly in a world i no longer recognized, did venture into what some deem the mind's eye and saw that crystal ice palace which you've scratched onto leader so succinctly and powerfully, some polar recess earned through labours of illness, if you can call lying in bed work, a thousand shades of icy white distilling, crystallizing understandings, a hard pitiless world where there is only impeccability and knowledge, no longer couched or framed in the proprieties of the everyday which i worried, as i entered, and entered again seeing your film, that only the dead may visit here, shorn of the echo of personality or even flesh, a valley of dry bones and mine amongst them, where the origins of idea and understanding might find a place with their own kind, and like all of these ventures into what the greeks might have called home or an old world of gods, this one layered over in the intervening years with my wanting to feel again the old questions and answers, or something like normal life and so becoming a dim stern light waiting until it flourished again, re-visited by one vastly more intrepid than i, and able to wrestle it back into the domain of picture with nothing more than a few hand tools. i am in awe." -

Mike Hoolboom, 1998

Note: It is clear now that Ellipsis Series ("...") is divided into reels which can be shown in any order (as distinct from parts which would ordinarily be shown chronologically).- Stan Brakhage

Rental Fees

16mm film $65.00  

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