What does it mean for film and video to be experimental? In this collection of essays framed by the concept “ex-”—meaning from, outside, and no longer—Akira Mizuta Lippit explores the aesthetic, technical, and theoretical reverberations of avant-garde film and video. Ex-Cinema is a sustained reflection on the ways in which experimental media artists move outside the conventions of mainstream cinema and initiate a dialogue on the meaning of cinema itself.
Ex-Cinema From a Theory of Experimental Film and Video
An exergue, from the Greek ex outside and ergon work, refers to a space outside the work, outside the essential body of the work, and yet part of it, even essentially--a part and apart. An exergue locates an outside space that is included in the work as its outside. What kind of work, and what kind of outside? The Oxford English Dictionary defines the exergue as "a small space usually on the reverse side of a coin or medal, below the principal device, for any minor inscription, the date, engraver's initials, etc. Also, the inscription there inserted." A small space for "minor" inscriptions as well as the inscription itself. Inscription and the space of inscription (they appear to bear the same significance in an exergue) located on the body of a work or object (ergon), but on the other side, away, but not far away from the work neither within nor without it, a minor space of inscription and a minor inscription. In a literary or artistic work, a place that forms an interstice between the frame or framework, parergon, and the proper body of the work, ergon. It belongs neither to the inside or outside, is proper to neither, but also exists before and beyond the work, a work that comes apart, exergue.
Jacques Derrida locates such an exergue in Friedrich Nietzsche's quasi-autobiography, Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (1888). Suspended between the book's "Forward" and its first chapter, "Why I Am So Wise," the untitled exergue opens onto an anniversary, Nietzsche's forty-forth birthday from which he looks "behind" and "before": "How should I not be grateful to my whole life?--And so I tell myself my life." Here, in the suspended midday of his life, exactly half way between life and death, in a shadowless moment, Nietzsche gives thanks to his life, and gives his life to himself, gives it over, tells and recites it. He mediates his own life, the recitation of his life to come, inscribing himself in the exergue as a medium. Nietzsche's exergue, this minor inscription and space of inscription resembles a spinning coin, front and reverse, "principal device" and "minor inscription" blending into one, a single work whose inside and out are no longer distinguishable, whose corpus and ex-corpus have become one in a blur.
What kind of work is essential and outside, essentially outside while remaining a part of the work? It is a work, or exergue, that takes place outside of the work, alongside and beside it, between the elements that constitute the work. It gives the work its date and its signature (the "engraver's initials"), inscribing its moment in time and its authorship. In this sense, the exergue initiates the work from outside, an outside or frame that makes possible the work, and remains in it in the form of a trace or frame. Nietzsche's exergue is such a dating, written, he claims on his forty-fourth birthday. "On this perfect day, when everything has become ripe and not only the grapes are growing brown, a ray of sunlight has fallen on to my life: I looked behind me, I looked before me, never have I seen such good things together. Not in vain have I buried my forty-fourth birthday today, I was entitled to bury it--what there was of life in it is rescued, is immortal."1 Nietzsche inscribes his book with an exergue, dates it on his forty-fourth birthday, between the Foreword and first chapter. But he also engraves it, buries himself in this exergue on this date, in which "not only the grapes are growing brown." This anniversary, his birthdate is also the date of his death and the beginning of an immortality, an eternal return that returns to Nietzsche, the author and to the "engraver's initials." In the space of the exergue and made possible by the space of the exergue, Nietzsche gives the work to himself, addresses it to himself, to another self that returns to the site of this minor inscription: "How should I not be grateful to my whole life? - And so I tell myself my life."2 In the exergue, or hors-d'oeuvre, in this space of minor inscription, Nietzsche addresses himself, gives himself over to himself. It is, Derrida notes, a unique space of autobiography, of dating, made complicated in this instance by the very concept of return that Nietzsche invokes within this space of the outside, the space outside the work and of the outside work. Derrida says:
Without fail, the structure of the exergue on the borderline or of the borderline in the exergue will be reprinted wherever the question of life, of "my-life," arises. Between a title or a preface on the one hand, and the book to come on the other, between the title Ecce Homo and Ecce Homo "itself," the structure of the exergue situates the place from which life will be recited, that is to say, reaffirmed.3
In Nietzsche's exergue, says Derrida, life itself is recited and reaffirmed; my life, signed and dated, returns to me in this space suspended within and without the work. On this borderline, the exergue animates this other life (the other's life but also my other life) that returns to the proper body on the anniversaries and eternal returns that call it back. But the body that returns and the one I return to are never one and the same. The shadowless moment of the exergue, makes both bodies possible side-by-side, inside-out. This is the spatio-temporal structure of an exergue, but also the force of its vitality: outside life. Borderline life returns on the occasion of its anniversary, on the anniversary of its beginning and its end, in this space essential to the work and yet always at the same time, in the same instant, inessential. For this day, inscribed and remembered is also not a place or time at all. "But this noon of life," says Derrida, "is not a place and does not take place. For this very reason, it is not a moment but only an instantly vanishing limit."4 This limit says Derrida vanishes and returns every day, each iteration a new recurrence of the same. This vanishing limit of life, of a time that begins in the instant of its end, born at the instant of its death, and signed always by an engraver that addresses itself elsewhere, returning from the outside to itself, operates according to a logic and work of the outside: because the exergue is not only outside the work, a work outside the work, but also a work of the outside. It works the outside as an instantly vanishing limit.
The exergue is also a thinking and excavation of the outside. It gives shape to the outside, signs and dates an outside made visible from the work but which also makes the work visible. This is the necessity of Nietzsche's exergue that Derrida recognizes: the work of life, of reciting one's life, of autobiography, is made possible only by traversing the minor inscription and space of inscription, the exergue. Only by crossing and crossing over (and crossing out) these thresholds, by signing and counter-signing life (engraving), does life become visible, does life become visible as work. The ergon is made possible by the exergue, framed by it as parergon. Outside the work and the work of the outside, but also a work from the work, and a work no longer the (same) work. Exergue, ex-cinema.
Could one imagine a cinema that appears as a series of exergues, elements of an essential cinema that take place between works, between, beside, and outside of them, but also as works of the outside, inscriptions of work that illuminate the outside; works that make cinema visible, and thus possible? A cinema elsewhere, to and from cinema, marked by this passage outside, no longer cinema yet not far? Could one call this body works an ex-cinema? In his essay on the experimental cinema of the 1960s and 70s, "The Material of Film and the Idea of Cinema: Contrasting Practices in Sixties and Seventies Avant-Garde Film," Jonathan Walley, following Hollis Frampton's coinage, uses the term "paracinema" to describe the phenomenon of cinema outside of cinema. "Paracinema," he says, " identifies an array of phenomena that are considered 'cinematic' but that are not embodied in the materials of film as traditionally defined. That is, the film works I am addressing recognize cinematic properties outside the standard film apparatus, and therefore reject the medium-specific premise of most essentialist theory and practice that the art form of cinema is defined by the specific medium of film."5 Walley rejects medium specificity in the paracinema but not essentialism as such, only the essentialism of medium-specificity. "Paracinema," he concludes, "is based on a different version of essentialism, which locates cinema's essence elsewhere."6 In Walley's account of paracinema, the essence of cinema does not lie somewhere else, somewhere other than the specificity of the medium, but precisely in the elsewhere. Paracinema is an essence of the elsewhere, a medium displaced from itself, like Nietzsche's autobiography given to himself from the outside, an exergue and ex-cinema that returns from the outside, from elsewhere, as the essence outside. For Walley, the paracinema is such a return, a "cinema beyond, even before, film."7
Walley cites Paul Sharits's early flicker films and Anthony McCall's Long Film for Ambient Light (1975) as two examples of paracinema, works that begin the process of "dismantling" the basic film apparatus to achieve the idea of cinema.8 Walley traces this impulse to Sergei Eisenstein's and later André Bazin's theorization of cinema as a general concept rather than a specific form achieved in the basic apparatus, and the structural-materialist or "expanded" cinemas (Gene Youngblood's term) of the 1960s and 70s as the moment of its actualization or attempted actualization. For Walley, cinema is virtual and its actualization in specific forms, iterations, and instances represents only a temporary and provisional realization of a cinema that remains ultimately elsewhere, diffuse, a potential rather than an instantiation. Following Bazin, Walley concludes that cinema is "an idea that has temporarily taken the form of certain materials."9 His argument eventually puts the experimental cinema of this period in dialogue with Conceptual art that similarly sought to "dematerialize" art, to liberate artworks from specific materials and media.
But what if such a paracinema, such an idea of cinema without organs, without bodies, or rather with multiple bodies and parts of bodies took place within cinema, as cinema, as the specter of an idea of cinema that doesn't require its dematerialization or dismantling, its displacement into a radical exteriority, but as an exergue within the body of cinema, of film, framed within the frame but always at an irreducible distance? What if the medium was thought here, as the word also suggests, as a passage rather than a fixed body, as a movement rather than a form, as the possibility of contact with another medium? Would it alter the very concept of "medium specificity" if the medium were understood as essentially non-specific, if its specificity were determined precisely by its opening to another form or thought of the outside? An intermediate (mediating) form rather than a fixed body, a channel of communication rather than essence unto itself, like a spiritual medium? And what if certain works haunted cinema, returned to cinema, engraving from within the trace of an irreducible exteriority, a second body or secondary revision, like Nietzsche's exergue, marking a temporal dimension that always comes from cinema (ex-cinema), from a spectral outside (ex-cinema) and becomes cinema, like an autobiography of cinema, inscribing itself within the space of an anniversary exergue? Might one call such a cinema "ex-cinema"? A cinema that opens a space before and beyond, as Walley says, a space beside and outside, but always from within a minor space opened on the other side of cinema?
David James locates such parasitic geographies in the minor cinemas of Los Angeles, counter-cinemas that formed as a resistance to but also symptom of the film industry. "The industry has been a constant presence," he says, "one that enticed as often as it repelled its would-be other and inspired as often as inhibited it."10 James calls the constellation of other cinemas that formed around the industry, "minor cinemas." It is an aggregate term for those cinemas outside:
To register the collective significance of these multiple traditions of films whose unusual, experimental, and sometimes outrageous qualities set them apart from the standardized narrative features made by Hollywood and other industrial centers, they must be brought into some common field of reference with each other. My expanded summary term for these diverse and often mutually incompatible avant-garde traditions is "minor cinemas," cinemas constructed , in at least some aspects of their motivation, outside the major studios and the dominant film industry.11
James's collection of minor inscriptions, of "most typical avant-gardes," defines a cinema borne of ambivalence toward cinema. They are second cinemas, paracinemas, ex-cinemas that exist outside cinema by existing within it.
A cinema from cinema, ex-cinema that forms in the space of an exergue, second cinema and medium double; that generates its own grammatology pieced together from the languages of cinema, from its spaces and times and images, often quoting cinema in excerpt and extensive revision, secondary revision. A cinema that describes cinema within the frame of cinema, along its borders as parergon. Would one call this cinema, this ex-cinema, a second medium? Another medium specific to its own aspecificity, to medium aspecificity? Or would this ex-cinema supplement cinema, extend its medium specificity outside, from cinema but remain within the parameters of the basic apparatus? The problem of medium specificity that Walley poses with regard to film and the idea of cinema assumes an added degree of complexity in an ex-cinema that never distinguishes itself from cinema and yet never adheres to a cinema proper. All of this made possible by the phantom space and time of an exergue, by the space of work outside and the work of space outside that returns. James's Los Angeles resembles such an exergue, a city, industry, and concept whose outsides are already inscribed inside, ex-Los Angeles.12
The ex-cinema is never only a thought or conception, an imaginary genre, but a set of manifestations and praxes. Andy Warhol's Blow Job (1964) practices ex-cinema. The pornographic visuality signaled (named and promised) in its title is displaced off-screen, performed where it cannot be seen. If it exists, it takes place outside, folded into the spectacle as an absence. Warhol's 36-minute close-up of a male face reveals nothing while exposing something, if not everything (else); the sexual activity described in the title never appears in a film that suggests something else, another other film elsewhere. There and not there, visible and invisible, or evasive. Roy Grundmann recognizes the persistent "tension between concreteness and abstraction" that defines Warhol's sexual visuality in Blow Job, and which leads outward into a cinema space that forms around the frame. 13 In this film one sees the space one does not and cannot see, the space of scopophilic desire par excellence. Everything in Blow Job takes place in this exergue, in and beyond the edges of the frame, of a pornographic scene exposed. In Warhol's ex-cinema, here and elsewhere, the frame is obscene, the mundane spectacle and time of cinema always inscribed on the edges of his cinema. And yet everything takes place in the film: the frenzy outside the frame, its force, exists within Blow Job. The displacement of spectacle in this film and of cinema is its spectacle.
The movement between the spaces that constitute cinema--physical, photographic, and cinematographic--form an exergual momentum in Ito Takashi's baroque Spacy (1981). Shot inside a gymnasium, the film moves from photographic images of the gymnasium standing (existing) inside the gymnasium; Ito's camera fuses the photographic and architectural frames until the physical and photographic spaces become indistinguishable. This infinite regress generates a cinema composed of photographed spaces and photographic images of the same photographed spaces: Itoh's ex-cinema emerges in the exergues between those two photographed spaces, in the intervals rendered invisible and indivisible in Spacy. At the end of the film, in the middle and end of a film that has no proper ending, Ito inserts an image of himself, an auto-inscription, like Nietzsche's autobiographical exergue, a self-reflection of the outside. The last image turns the end of the film into its middle, a center folded into the film's outside.
The interplay of reflection and self-reflection that forms much of ex-cinema's affect works ecstatically in Sadie Benning's PixelVision videos, in It Wasn't Love (1992), for example. Coming out in a series of low-definition video works shot on the Fischer-Price's PixelVision (PXL-2000) cameras that produce low-resolution, highly-pixelated black-and-white video images, Benning, produces a cinema from this apparatus, an ex-cinema, in her case often an ex-Hollywood cinema that reproduces another cinema, another Hollywood where the industry rarely adventures. Benning's is an ex-cinema that exists not only below the commercial cinema, in its adolescent detritus (the Fischer-Price video cameras were marketed as toys for children), but under the shadow of the high avant-garde cinema of her father, James Benning, among others.
It Wasn't Love effects the portrait of a young woman discovering herself in a series of low-resolution images and video scenarios; a pastiche of diary entries, reenactments, daydreams, and reflections on the world around her. Part television, part cinema, part theater, It Wasn't Love opens a media space that is outwardly intimate, extimate, an inside broadcast out that transforms the specificity of Benning's media into her own specificity. That is, the tactile materiality of Benning's media become, as she comes out into it, a paramedia and ex-media. A media outside, of coming out--a medium specific to the outside contours of intimacy.
Such intimacies accrue to individual media as they do to individual persons. Phil Solomon's films generated from the Grand Theft Auto video games using Machinima software platforms are deeply intimate ex-cinemas. His work extends the practice of recycling found footage from Bruce Connor to Craig Baldwin into new territories by establishing a movement between multiple forms of mediated space: game space, film space, physical space loop through Solomon's work. From the violent graphical content and agitated rhythms of the controversial games, Solomon generates melancholic landscapes and laconic subjects in his transmedial revisions. In films such as Crossroad (2005) with Mark Lapore, which already opens a referential loop with Conner's Crossroads (1976), and then beginning in 2007, a series of reanimations titled collectively, In Memoriam, Mark Lapore, and including Rehearsals for Retirement (2007), Last Days in a Lonely Place (2007), Still Raining, Still Dreaming (2008-9), and his installation EMPIRE (2008), which reworks Andy Warhol's Empire (1964) in Grand Theft Auto's synthetic ex-New York, Solomon generates an alternate cinema in the video game's landscapes and figures, from the video game's landscapes and figures, transposing the world from one medium to another, cinema from a place other than its presumed origin, life itself. The place that Solomon discovers in these works is one of irreducible (inconsolable) displacement, an exergue suspended alongside cinema, alongside video, and alongside life (in memoriam), always lonely, always raining.
The feedback loop that Solomon's In Memoriam, Mark Lapore effects reaches its apotheosis in his installation EMPIRE. The referent in this work points at once to an iconic structure and all it invokes, as well as to a film by Warhol, and that he and his film work invoke. The exergue opens between the two, between an object in the world and a film, in the space of film derived from neither. And here, everything stops. Genevieve Yue describes the suspended temporality of EMPIRE, the historical exergue it opens. Of the "indefinite" running time of Solomon's installation, she says, "EMPIRE thus creates a hermetic, perpetual present that, in merging real time with game-time, edges out the possibility for a past or a future."14 In his Machinmanic revision of Warhol's seemingly interminable portrait of the immobile structure, Solomon recasts the original--the film and the building--through the optic of a video game and projects both into a suspended history that never transpires. Without "past or future," Solomon's EMPIRE never expires; and held in the exergue of a perpetual present, it mobilizes an extemporality beyond the extreme temporality of Warhol's original.
Another work exemplifies the ex-cinema, Peter Tscherkassky's singular Outer Space (1999), an ecstatic ten-minute recycling of Sidney J. Furie's horror film The Entity (1982), starring Barbara Hershey. Made through a painstaking process of contact printing in which Tscherkassky traced multiple frames from the original film, as many as five, he says, onto a single frame of Outer Space in a darkroom using a laser pointer, his "conceptual starting point was to make a film in which the filmic material would permeate the marginal plot."15 The result is an engraving; a film that has been over-written by material force of film. In spite of the exteriority invoked in its title, and the supernatural interiority rendered in the source material, Outer Space delineates neither outer nor inner space, but the space between the two, the imaginary space that opens between a film from a film, ex-film. This is not the space between frames but that which engulfs the frame, a space at once originary and imaginary. It is the outside or outer space intrinsic to cinema, Tscherkassky's remarkable discovery. Tom Gunning describes the returns of invisible elements from outer space in Tscherkassky's ex-cinema: "A concealed area," he says, "the edge of the film, normally plays a crucial--but unseen--role in the construction and ordering of the film image that underlie the spectacle. Pulling them out of this invisible realm, Tscherkassky invades the space of the image with these elements from cinema's outer space."16 A cinema of extraction, "pulling out."
Alexander Horwath recognizes the archeological dimension of Tscherkassky's work, the way in which the unseen monster in the source material returns in Outer Space as the formless threat of the medium itself. Or rather, in Outer Space, formlessness is defined by the terms of film form, the violence erupting from "the exterior area of the image, 'negative space.'"17 For Horwath, Outer Space recasts the threat from monster to cinema, from invisibility to medium specificity. Of the new threat faced by the female figure in Outer Space, Horwath says: "She is threatened by the soundtrack's jagged trail of light, by the sprocket holes on the film's edge, by the sounds of 'manufacture,' by the sudden multiplication of her own image, by the perforation of pictorial space, by being stuck in cinema time."18 What threatens the female figure in Outer Space is no longer diegetic, not even the inscription of non-diegetic force, but cinema itself. Within the frame, the parergon, is the frame itself: sprocket holes and edges of the frame are within the frame, an entity of the mise-en-scene in which the outside is no more external than the inside is internal. The violence of Outer Space comes from cinema's energies and what Tscherkassky's film makes visible is the visibility of cinema itself. Nor is this a matter of genre and convention. "Outer Space is no longer the 'parallel space' of the avant-garde," says Horwath meta-critically, "but in fact the 'world space' of cinema."19 In Tscherkassky's film, outer and inner space, diegetic and non-diegetic figures, form and formlessness, avant-garde and commercial cinemas, and ultimately cinema and non-cinema entities are transposed to an ex-cinema, to a world that originates from cinema.
From cinema, Tscherkassky's Coming Attractions (2010) returns repeatedly to the beginning of cinema and retraces the history of primitive and avant-garde film, revealing at its center an outside engraved all over its surfaces. Through multiple chapters and a proliferating set of references to primitive cinema, to the historical avant-garde, and to film theory and criticism, Tscherkassky generates a film that pulls itself apart, exploding outward until the film occupies the entirety of cinema, and eventually everything outside until it appears to take place entirely outside. At once an explosion and exegesis of cinema, Coming Attractions is as much about leaving cinema, about a cinema after cinema, from but no longer cinema, ex-cinema. Recycling commercials and feature films, Tscherkassky etches onto their surfaces a series of citations of, allusions and references to the Lumières, Brit Acres and R. W. Paul, Georges Méliès, Fernand Léger, Jean Cocteau, Dziga Vertov, Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, and Stan Brakhage, among many others, including himself. (The chapter of Coming Attractions titled "Unseen Energy Swallows Face" refers to Tom Gunning, to primitive cinema, but also to his own Outer Space.) In the end, Coming Attractions signals a cinema yet to come after the end of cinema, an outside cinema inscribed and exscribed over the surface of an exergue, coming and going.
The films and videos considered in Ex-cinema: From a Theory of Experimental Film and Video open such exergues within the media they embody. Mostly contemporary, these works construct an architecture of cinema, of film and video, that comes from cinema, that comes back to cinema, like a revenant, and in the most spectral sense of the term becomes cinema. Derek Jarman's figureless blue, Martin Arnold's secondary revisions and erasures of classic Hollywood films and classic Disney animation, Caveh Zahedi's interrupted narratives and documents, Su Friedrich's oblique autobiography in reverse, Diana Thater's animal reflections and video translations, and Matthias Müller's excerpts from a phantasmatic whole, to name only a few examples, each present the idea of cinema, of a cinema to and from cinema, that adheres to the corpus of cinema, to its basic apparatus even when it begins to vanish into a space of exile. These "ex-cinemas" return to cinema like an anniversary, like the anniversary that Nietzsche imagines in exergue, without ever making the body whole, without ever restoring the medium to itself. An autobiography of cinema from the outside. The talismanic "ex," a metonymy of experimental (cinema), a part of its body that comes from experimental cinema, is also a mark of excision, of erasure. It reverberates throughout the works as a phantom signifier--exterior, excorporation, extract ...
On the borderlines drawn as minor spaces of inscription, and of minor inscriptions within those spaces, ex-cinemas form an alternate cinema that reaffirms and recites the life of cinema, a life whose bodies are visible even when the forms are diffuse, opaque, dispersed, and extended across a temporality not always recognizable as now.20 Ex-cinema is cinema, the thought and practice of a cinema outside. The works that comprise ex-cinema are essential, essentially outside, without demanding primacy because, as Foucault says, "the outside never yields its essence."21 The outside remains outside only by refusing the dialectic of interiority, the privilege of intimacy, and the fantasy of belonging to a proper body and history. The ex-cinema, outside, from, and no longer cinema, tells the story of cinema from an outside formed along the frames and borders of another, of another life of cinema no longer here nor there but already within the space of an outside in exergue.
Ex-cinema imagines the cinema from elsewhere, a cinema elsewhere that sees itself from the vantage of point of the exergue. Neither here nor there, a cinema bound by an ex-specificity--outside, from, no longer. Not simply the exposure of cinema, the disclosure of its apparatuses and mechanisms; nor the practice of cinema in another medium, but the actualization of cinema outside, of cinema from cinema.
1 Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is, trans. R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Penguin, 1979), 37, original emphasis. 2 Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, 37, original emphasis. 3 Jacques Derrida, "Otobiographies," in The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, ed. Christie V. McDonald, trans. Avital Ronell (New York: Schocken, 1985), 14, original emphasis. 4 Derrida, "Otobiographies," 14. 5 Jonathan Walley, "The Material of Film and the Idea of Cinema: Contrasting Practices in Sixties and Seventies Avant-Garde Film," October, vol. 103 (Winter 2003): 18. 6 Walley, "The Material of Film": 18. 7 Walley, "The Material of Film": 18. 8 "McCall's earlier film, Line Describing a Cone," says Walley, "had already begun to eliminate certain physical properties of film" (Walley, "The Material of Film": 20). For more on McCall's oeuvre, see Jonathan Walley's and Branden Joseph's contributions to Anthony McCall: The Solid Light Films and Related Works, ed. Christopher Eamon (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2005). 9 Walley, "The Material of Film": 23, emphasis added. 10 David E. James, The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 4. 11 James, The Most Typical Avant-Garde, 13, emphasis added. 12 Of space and the avant-garde cinema, James says: "Avant-garde cinemas take place. Existing geographically as well as historically, they emerge from, occupy, and articulate specific spatialities. The role of geography in them is then at least double, involving the representation of spatiality and also the role played by spatiality in their production" (The Most Typical Avant-Garde, 16). In this sense, spatiality is both the space of inscription and the inscription itself, what James calls the "representation of spatiality." Los Angeles becomes in this way, an exergue. 13 Roy Grundmann, Andy Warhol's Blow Job (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003), 3. Grundmann elaborates the extensive outsides that open up around and close in on this film in his book-length study devoted to Blow Job. 14 Genevieve Yue, "At the Edge of Town: The Experimental Machinima of Phil Solomon," manuscript, 32. 15 Peter Tscherkassky, "Epilogue, Prologue: Autobiographical Notes Along the Lines of a Filmography," in Peter Tscherkassky, ed. Alexander Horwath and Michael Loebenstein, trans. Alexander Horwath and Barbara Schwartz (Vienna: Synema, 2005), 150. 16 Tom Gunning, "Peter Tscherkassky Manufractures Two Minutes of (Im)Pure Cinema," manuscript, 7. 17 Alexander Horwath, "Singing in the Rain: Supercinematography in Peter Tscherkassky," in Peter Tscherkassky, ed. Alexander Horwath and Michael Loebenstein, trans. Alexander Horwath and Barbara Schwartz (Vienna: Synema, 2005), 46. 18 Horwath, "Singing in the Rain," 46. 19 Horwath, "Singing in the Rain," 48. 20 Louis-Georges Schwartz pursues a line between cinema and life, thought through biopolitics, history, and philosophy in his "Cinema and the Meaning of 'Life,'" Discourse 28.2 & 3 (Spring & Fall 2006): 7-28. 21 Michel Foucault, "Maurice Blanchot: The Thought From Outside, Foucault/Blanchot, trans. Brian Massumi (New York: Zone Books, 1987), 28.
About the Book
Reviews“Ex-Cinema offers lucid and mesmerizing readings of a broad spectrum of avant-garde films and videos, ranging from Derek Jarman’s Blue to Martin Arnold’s and Matthias Müller’s very different found footage works, from Maya Deren to structural film, and from Su Friedrich’s performative autobiographies to Diane Thater’s zoo videos. Lippit’s passion for addressing the philosophical implications of experimental film and video is as astounding as it is laudable.” —Roy Grundmann, author of Andy Warhol’s Blow Job
“In this collection of brilliant essays on avant-garde film and video, Akira Lippit manifests a precise intelligence and a critical acumen that stretch our understanding of cinema. Invoking the concept of ‘Ex-Cinema,’ he produces an intricate chain of questions that challenge conventional notions of interiority and exteriority, medium specificity, and narratives of the self. Lippit’s writing resonates with the affective impact of the works he discusses—from Derek Jarman’s Blue to Jacques Derrida’s work on blindness and the spectral. This is a dazzling tour through a series of provocative and groundbreaking works.” —Mary Ann Doane, author of The Emergence of Cinematic Time: Modernity, Contingency, the Archive
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
EXC00 Exergue Ex-cinema
EXC01 Out of the Blue (ex nihilo)
EXC02 Extimacy: Outside Time and Super-realist Cinema
EXC03 Cinemnesis: Martin Arnold’s Memory Apparatus
EXC04 The Rhetoric of Images, of the Unimaginable
EXC05 Derrida, Specters, Self-reflection
EXC06 (Parenthesis: Video Ergo Sum)
EXC07 Digesture: Gestures Without Bodies
EXC08 Extract Matthias Müller
EXC09 Revisionary Cinema