Posts Tagged ‘(nostalgia)


Visual Images without the Visuals – 1a – Summer Camp, maybe 10 years ago

For the longest time it was the only place in the world where I always knew the exact location of the Big Dipper. As an awkward pre-teen, and teen, I spent at least one Saturday night there a summer. The incline of the hill just the perfect angle for stargazing. As I got older I could still spot it, to the bottom left, just above the ‘Boys’ bathroom, standing now instead of laying down. Generally speaking, they were always the same thing. The same ironic nostalgia, nothing current, that wasn’t the point. Eventually the clothes grew as ridiculous and gaudy as the music. Dressing up as a competition. Who can wear more differing prints? More neon? More costume jewelry? More sunglasses at night? More androgyny?

A dark and muggy night like so many others. The colored ropes and Christmas lights blazing. Tiki torches. Not taking requests. Before the switch to Ipods. For the life of me I can’t remember the song that came on before it. Of the cordoned off and encircled space, the least available could be found directly in front of the DJ Booth. A volleyball court, a full size basketball court, the perfectly slanted hill in between, and 3 by 12 feet of dried out and browning grass on the other side of both. The first electronic notes hit and there is no mass convergence inspired by something so out of character. This isn’t Bon Jovi or the Spice Girls. The crowd slowly gets its bearings, as certain people start to recognize what’s happening. It’s the kind of music that makes you lose your job as DJ. Radiohead. The early 2000s uniter, to some. The jam kids and the trustafarians, the punks, the hip-hop kids, the suburban and oblivious, they all collectively seem to have no problem with the band still. Perhaps because they were mislabeled for years as the next Pink Floyd. It’s starting to get really dark now. The crowd descends into the 3 by 12 space of former grass, slowly but en mass, and they don’t dance. They don’t stand still. They don’t mosh or pogo. There is no skanking or lip synching or air-synth jamming. The gathering crowd simply ceases to be single entities. Moving as a whole, up and down, to the constant electronic drum beat. ‘WHO’S IN BUNKER, WHO’S IN BUNKER.” The outfits, the rest of the nights music, including the perpetual last dance ‘American Pie,’ where your friends are, where your girl went, it doesn’t matter. No one lacking control of their facilities, most underage. A strange song for some standards. And yet, it inspires a reaction on a level never seen since. 5 minutes in the woods. Hours until the nearest city. Dial-up only internet. Piles of CDs in binders supplying the music, a stereo borrowed from a low wattage radio station.


Visual Images without the Visuals – 1 – Summer Camp, maybe 14 years ago

A lanky man in a dark vest with a name tag walking in circles, face shrouded in cloudy Coke bottle thick glasses. He’s holding a briefcase. As we get closer, collectively the group notices that that he is whispering to himself, muttering quickly and methodically, “I like cheese.” It’s hard to get close to him, nothing seems to stop him from walking in circles, not even the pole of a nearby soccer goal. It’s as if he is on some sort of premeditated route. He collides with the goal post so believably that most of the group jumps back in fear and concern. When we finally encircle him, holding hands as is the custom, he motions for us all to sit down. We do, and he sits as well, opening his briefcase in a swift motion. In the movies, when some sort of deal goes down, and large amounts of money are exchanged it usually lines a briefcase in stacks of bills. The briefcase is lined in the same way, with individually wrapped slices of American Cheese. My counselor dutifully takes off his shoes, as he is motioned to do without words, his socks as well, and then, even more methodically than the circles the man unwraps the slices of cheese and shoves them between the toes of my counselor.  Shoes and socks go back on quickly, without any sort of clean up, so as not to lose any time. All of this is for the lanky bespecteled man’s signature, on a pre-approved sheet of paper.


generated in Ohio

Hollis Frampton – Hapax Legomena

Part 1 – (nostalgia)

The basic assumption regarding Hollis Frampton’s seven part Hapax Legomena is that each respective part aims to deconstruct an element of cinema: ‘(nostalgia)’ addresses narrative, ‘critical mass’ addresses sound, ‘traveling matte’ explores framing, etc. This is a simple, straightforward reading of Frampton’s film and places him easily among his structuralist contemporaries.  But the captivating element of this marathon of avant garde filmmaking is Frampton’s attempt to instruct his audience in new methods of viewership. Frampton presents each film as a new exercise, a game even, in deciphering the method through which the viewer can understand the film. In ‘(nostalgia)’, the incongruous narration requires a balancing act between recollection of the previous image as a new image writhes on the hotplate.

Part 3 – critical mass

Here, in part 3, Frampton requires the audience to learn how to listen to this film and piece together the continuity of the conversation. This calls into question the authorship of the cinematic experience: is Frampton orchestrating the perception of the audience? or allowing the audience to create their own experience with the most basic elements of cinema?

Part 2, ‘poetic justice’ (unfortunately unavailable on youtube or elsewhere), addresses this concept the best of the seven. A static shot of cactus, screenplay and cup of coffee, the film progresses through a continually growing pile of screenplay pages that describe the actions of the filmmaker (Frampton in first person) as he films and the viewer (described in second person) and the viewer’s lover. The ‘images’ of the film become ‘projected’ in the viewer’s mind as they perceive the action described onscreen. Frampton appears as the author of the script, but the composition of the film is unique to the audience.  This is the argument at the core of each section of Hapax Legomena, the cinematic image is fallible, subservient to the altering unique perception of the individual audience member.

The entirety of this interview is available at Amazon Video on Demand.

May 2020