“Notes After Long Silence: On Austrian and American Structural Film,” a program featuring both contemporary and historic examples of “structural film,” will play at Umass Boston tonight, Thursday May 4th, at 8pm. Curated by Nicole Prutsch, Mike Piso, and Wenhua Shi, the program is co-presented by the currently Boston-based Revolutions Per Minute Festival (RPM Fest) and the Millennium Film Workshop in New York City.
Program notes from the curatorial team provide a brief explanation of structural film:
The Structuralist filmmakers—including Peter Kubelka, Tony Conrad, Paul Sharits, and Kurt Kren—arranged their shots according to mathematical principles, attempting to produce non-narrative and non-illusionist films to oppose the cinematic apparatus… Notes After Long Silence, which takes its title from one of [Saul] Levine’s films, traces the historical conversation of Austrian and American experimental film to the present day and explores the aesthetic and cultural limits pushed by filmmakers from both countries.
Opening the program are two foundational examples of the form, Arnulf Rainer (Kubelka, 1960) and T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (Sharits, 1968), which are scheduled to be shown from their original 16mm format.
The remainder of “Notes After Long Silence” features a mixture of newer and older structural films, some projected on film-based formats and some projected digitally, that also includes work by multiple artists previously covered in DigBoston. That latter group includes the Levine film which gives the program its title, covered as part of our report on RPM’s 2020 festival, and Razzle Dazzle (2014) by Jodie Mack, who was interviewed for the paper in early 2019.
“Notes After Long Silence” also “features works from members of the AgX Film Collective,” an organization reported on by Olivia Deng for DigBoston in 2021.
The event is free and open to the public. Following the screening at Umass Boston, “Notes After Long Silence” will also play at Millennium’s space in Brooklyn on Saturday, May 6th, at 7pm.