Lichtspiel Opus I (1921)

Walter Ruttmann (born December 28, 1887 in Frankfurt am Main; died July 15, 1941 in Berlin) was a German film director and along with Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling was an early German practitioner of experimental film.

Ruttmann studied architecture and painting and worked as a graphic designer. His film career began in the early 1920s. His first abstract short films, “Opus I” (1921) and “Opus II” (1923), were experiments with new forms of film expression, and the influence of these early abstract films is especially obvious in the work of Oskar Fischinger in the 1930s. Ruttmann and his colleagues of the avant garde movement enriched the language of film as a medium with new form techniques. (Wikipedia: Walter Ruttmann)

They were cheap and available

On 20 August 1947 Gerhard Rose, one of Germany’s most respected physicians, stood in the prisoner’s dock at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, Germany, awaiting his sentence for “murders, tortures, and other atrocities committed in the name of medical science.” Dr Rose, the department head for tropical medicine of the Robert Koch Institute, was on trial along with 22 of his medical colleagues, for perpetrating “ghastly” and “hideous” experiments on concentration camp prisoners during the war.

At one point in the trial when the chief prosecution witness, Dr Andrew C Ivy of the medical school of the University of Illinois, underscored the basic principle “that human experimental subjects must be volunteers,” Dr Rose and his defence counsel vigorously objected, arguing that the United States was guilty of similar medical practices and giving several examples to support this contention. (BMJ: They were cheap and available)

The Hasher’s Delirium (1910)

Cohl’s animation style is rather surreal and also makes good use of the medium. The cartoons are not formally structured, but the images flow easily from one to another as objects melt into other shapes. For example, an elephant turns into a house or a window changes into a man. These films have had an obvious influence on later animated films, such as George Dunning’s Yellow Submarine, or the pink elephant sequence in Walt Disney’s Dumbo. (filmreference.com: Emile Cohl)

Clothesline

Developed at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Institut HyperWerk , the project connects two corner buildings flanking the gateway from the Main Square to the Danube by clotheslines. Together with 250 boxer shorts and some robotics these lines form a spectacular Mediterranean-style matrix display (and a clear one when the wind allowed it.) (WMMNA: Clothesline Display, credit card scarves and news knitters)

The Shock Doctrine (2007)

“When I finished The Shock Doctrine, I sent it to Alfonso Cuarón because I adore his films and felt that the future he created for Children of Men was very close to the present I was seeing in disaster zones. I was hoping he would send me a quote for the book jacket and instead he pulled together this amazing team of artists — including Jonás Cuarón who directed and edited — to make The Shock Doctrine short film. It was one of those blessed projects where everything felt fated.” – Naomi Klein (naomiklein.org)

TXT of The Living Dead

I took the original movie (public domain) and broke it out into 500 frames to visually tell the original story from beginning to end. Within those frames there are about 150 frames with speech bubbles. Text messages sent in from participants show up in those frames in the order that they are received. The movie moves forward when a new message is received. The other frames are action frames that play through automatically until they hit a speech frame. Once all the speech frames have been filled the movie can then be viewed from beginning to end with the new audience generated dialogue. (TXTual Healing: TXT of The Living Dead)

Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest

A scientist-turned-artist, Jansen’s bizarre beach animals have their roots in a computer program that he designed 17 years ago in which virtual four-legged creatures raced against each other to identify survivors fit enough to reproduce. Determined to translate the evolutionary process off-screen, Jansen went to a local shop and found his own alternative to the biological cell — the humble plastic tube. (Wired: Wild Things Are On The Beach)

See also: Theo Jansen at TED and strandbeest.com.

Very Nice, Very Nice (1961)

When Very Nice, Very Nice was released in 1961, it was immediately embraced by the new generation of hipsters, academics and artists. The film is sharp, jazzy, confrontational and darkly comic. It announces itself straight off with opening shots of office buildings, followed by an off-screen voice intoning, “In this city marches an army whose motto is—bwah, bwah, bwah.” Those three blasts of a car horn burst the documentary balloon; rapidly, we’re shown two signs, “No” and “Buy.” Lipsett has playfully set up the audience, awakening them from their torpor of receptivity and challenging them to engage with his film. Marching bands, drumbeats, old-time piano rolls and jazz music highlight a soundtrack made up of a collage of audio material. Moving in counterpoint are visuals that range from still photographs of individuals, images of crowds, rocket ships, the hydrogen bomb and various iconic historical figures.(NFB: Arthur Lipsett – Focus on Animation)

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