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¶ Short of the Day #79: Machu Picchu

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Perception de Ambiguity
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¶ Short of the Day #79: Machu Picchu

#1

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » May 2nd, 2017, 4:37 am

"Short of the Day" is the daily discussion of a short.

Tasks:
1) Watch.
2) Discuss.
3) Send me your suggestions for the next Short of the Day per PM, along with links to the shorts and comments, questions for the other users to think about, and/or info about the short.

Detailed project introduction & index: here


Image

Machu Picchu (Robert Fulton, no one knows (but approximately 1970))


Get into a Zen mindset . . . Got it? OK, you may click the link now.

https://youtu.be/ztD6IOR5p4E?t=1m3s
Length: 3 minutes 56 seconds

Suggested by: Perception de Ambiguity


Were you chill enough to take in the constant flow of images and be one with the kinesthetic energies that are the inherent property of the cinematic image? In the improbable event that you dug this short I suggest you try to see Robert Fulton's equally radical Reality's Invisible (53 minutes) for the DtC project, you still have about two days to vote for it. I shared a link for it you-know-where. If you don't know where PM me to be one of the cool cat's who is in the know about certain invisible realities.

Comments by: Perception de Am∞iguity
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on May 2nd, 2017, 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#2

Post by Carmel1379 » May 2nd, 2017, 1:55 pm

Dynamics for the win. Contrary to some dull touristic excursion, the filmmaker here feels right in the moment and captures his impressions of all kinds of jolting physical occurrences - the commotion of locals, their artefacts, the path one strides, movement of clouds, insects, plants, improvisational (free) jazz, the ephemeral and impermanent. A bit like a more stirred-up Paul Clipson, don't you think?

You've definitely intrigued me by your 10 for the nicely titled 'Reality's Invisible'. I'll try to watch it in time; the director has received so little attention over time so far that he'll surely need all the support he can get, if he's any good that is. :P
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

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Perception de Ambiguity
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#3

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » May 2nd, 2017, 8:29 pm

Carmel1379 on May 2 2017, 07:55:48 AM wrote:Dynamics for the win. Contrary to some dull touristic excursion, the filmmaker here feels right in the moment and captures his impressions of all kinds of jolting physical occurrences - the commotion of locals, their artefacts, the path one strides, movement of clouds, insects, plants, improvisational (free) jazz, the ephemeral and impermanent. A bit like a more stirred-up Paul Clipson, don't you think?

You've definitely intrigued me by your 10 for the nicely titled 'Reality's Invisible'. I'll try to watch it in time; the director has received so little attention over time so far that he'll surely need all the support he can get, if he's any good that is. :P
>Contrary to some dull touristic excursion, the filmmaker here feels right in the moment and captures his impressions of all kinds...<

Yes, on that note he said the as he traveled through Peru (with the remarkably little film he took with him) he only took his camera and shot footage in moments when he really felt it, not forcing himself to shoot stuff.


>A bit like a more stirred-up Paul Clipson, don't you think?

The comparison to Clipson certainly isn't farfetched, especially with the extensive use of superimpositions, though one could just as easily bring up Brakhage or Bruce Baillie, for example, but in the end I would say the similarities are superficial. I actually watched a Clipson yesterday after the whole Fulton experience, for comparison's sake and to test myself if maybe I was just in the perfect mood for "this sort of stuff", and I wasn't on the same wavelength with the Clipson, his film seemed positively conventional and lethargic after that.

Fulton talked about his work on that "Screening Room" program that features both this film and 'Reality's Invisible', and I also read up a bit about his work. The ideas of Buddhism were very important to him, which as you know I'm currently very interested in, and this for me very strongly came through in the two films during every moment, even before I heard Fulton say this. "Harmonically" he cited Charlie Parker and John Coltrane as influences.

Maybe he fully succeeded in his ambitions to create (to put it in my own words) an organic extension of his own being and the world ("You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself", to quote Allan Watts) rather than anything that has much to do with cinema as it is normally practiced. That the waves, cadences, rhythms, harmonies, tones, energies, etc. of his films may really have a "naturalness" (for the lack of a better word) so that despite their apparent craziness and incomprehensible structures they don't feel abrasive, disruptive for anyone watching the films with just an open enough mind. Or maybe it's just me and a bunch of other nuts who are already on one wavelength with this dude before the film even started. It's probably closer to the latter.


But to focus on the topic at hand, 'Machu Picchu', which by the way, the few sources that mention the film spell as "Machu Pichu", but that seems like just a misspelling to me, or is this actually a legit alternate spelling of it? Something I was immediately struck by on my first viewing a few days ago (and it's still impressive after several viewings) is how time-lapse photography, slow-motion photography, and normal-speed photography are wildly combined and superimposed, just on a purely technical level I can't think of other films where I would have seen this before. And of course there are also the many single-frame shots and almost-single-frame shots.

The shots of moving clouds in the film can feel like slow motion, like, as if it was, let's say an explosion in slow motion or a water stream. If you take for example the llamas at the beginning the animals and the clouds often feel like they are moving at around the same speed. When later in a shot of the horizon a human figure whizzes by you are reminded again that of course for those cloud shots the exact opposite of slow motion was used. And what this and the many other things the film does do for me is to first and foremost give a sense of the oneness of everything, they aren't just flowers, animals, clouds, people, trains, rocks, water, etc. that are separate from one another, they are all interrelated, different expressions of the same organism, and all those other Buddhist ideas.
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on May 2nd, 2017, 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#4

Post by Carmel1379 » May 3rd, 2017, 12:01 am

Now that I've seen the entire 'Screening Room' I understand why you used the word "kinaesthesia" in your opening c∞mments. While I knew its definition, I initially understood it as a synonym for the word "kinetics", which I supplanted by the word "dynamics", but now I know that you used the word literally, and why. The delineation of spontaneous and inevitable body movements, and thus the camera, also directly correlates to your idea of "naturalness" (for the lack of a better word) (but that of course extends to a certain next level you're talking about).

Reality's Invisible - It's not Ultimate Trip magnitude for me, but I definitely find many things to cherish in it, like how it espouses a meditative way of thinking and intuitive free/jazz-form composition that helps it convey the feeling of "psychic imagery" (as it's said in the discussion) and In-der-Welt-sein. However it's not (or not exclusively) a study of memory or immediate sensations, as it attempts to go beyond ordinary conceptions and experiences. The cinematic techniques you've named with 'Machu Picchu' (+ split-screen), rapid editing and disjointed thoughts of people, largely contribute to make it something else, which is probably best left for Fulton himself to describe, which one can glimpse from the quotes from the films - in particular I remember:
"flowing with the world and the universe (...) all things interrelate"
"I'd make a good schizophrenic if I wasn't a filmmaker"
"life is an experiment"

I didn't think his films were abrasive either, but there's no doubt I didn't fully understand what you meant by that sentence (not implying that I believe you could've written it more clearly, since that's not the issue); it's obviously impossible for me to have the same background interests, reading, thoughts and to be aware of the Zen mindset as you know it.

Lamas and clouds in the sky - This particular image was reminiscent of Clipson - the animal, insect, observer superimposed with the bigger world around him (which is a very general thing to say, so it's natural to name other artists), showing the interconnection despite contrast, of the organic, inorganic and energetic (light). But you're right that Clipson didn't pursue the time manipulation/illusions to the extent Fulton did.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on May 3rd, 2017, 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3622
Joined: Jul 09, 2011
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#5

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » May 3rd, 2017, 3:11 am

I used " kinesthetic" because that's a word Fulton used to describe it. I think "dynamics" isn't a wrong synonym even if it goes beyond just being dynamic.

Did the ostensible subject of 'Reality's Invisible' resonate with you, namely the exploration of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and the art students and teachers creating, working, learning, teaching, thinking at this facility in the year 1971? Obviously it has little in common with what usually would be considered a documentary of a place and its people at a particular point in time, but I think there is something to get out of it on just this level alone. Or let me put it this way, I think its subject isn't incidental to the film, it isn't just background noise to a guy's LSD-induced film experimentaions. Like the architecture of the building the students, their thoughts and works shape the film, most obviously in the form of the visual artworks like for example the animated section in the film which I strongly suspect was a work by one of the students that was incorporated rather than something Fulton created.

But on a further level there is the whole notion that the students don't make art in a vacuum, they are inspired by everything that goes on around them, the art is their intellectual response to those impulses, more than just fiddling to create pretty stuff it often functions as their way to make sense of the world (or "serious playing around", as one student said). Then their works go out into the world to in turn inform the world that it was informed by. It's an infinite feedback loop like what we had recently with Schwizgebel's 'Romance' were real lovers become lovers in a painting and they become a lonely woman in a museum who becomes one of the lovers in a a romantic movie and so on. And of course eventually the film itself as a piece of art is a total reflection of this notion, as if the film created itself with Fulton just functioning as its enabler.

>not abrasive<
Well, what I was thinking of is maybe most easily described with the word "flow". Many avant-garde/art films require the viewer to intellectualize the proceedings to get much out of them. They PROVOKE thought in the literal sense of the word, they are often uncomfortable and you are made to want to make sense of them. Not that there is anything wrong with that and it isn't to say that I think 'Realiy's Invisible' doesn't also encourage the viewer to be reflective and that it isn't also full of specific ideas (as opposed to being a mere invitation to meditate on whatever), but at the same time it's also a visceral and quite pleasant film to experience. I find this notable here because of how much the film bombards you with images, sounds and words. You could maybe compare it to 'F for Fake' in that sense, which also bombards you with images, sounds and words, except that 'F for Fake' is a very entertaining film in the conventional sense. 'Reality's Invisible' I think also takes it further because the thing that 'F for Fake' most of all bombards you with is information, and the playfulness and inventiveness of the filmmaking functions as a means to bump you up enough to seduce you into keeping up with its ungodly overflow of information. In contrast in the Fulton film "information" even in a very wide sense of the word was something secondary (you'll remember when he talked about that "normally we think of an image as an information-conveying unit"). This was a stupid comparison but anyway, I'm sure you already got my point a few sentences ago.
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on May 3rd, 2017, 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#6

Post by Carmel1379 » May 4th, 2017, 12:51 am

The sometimes hippie-looking and tripping creative art students (and their tutors) are an interesting demographic, it's only reasonable that Fulton would immerse himself in that environment and make a film including their words as much or more than his own, or show how he interacts while walking with a camera around the place, receiving their input and appreciating their work. By disjointing his own and their thoughts and putting them together in a string (sometimes the words even make sense together), he obviously shows an attachment to fellow students (of life), which together with the abundance of art he films, emphasises those ideas of flowing, interrelation and universality again.

The most prevalent theme of the film might exactly be youthful explorations, artistic experimentation, where to look for influences, inspirations, for newer territories, the unknown and life's possibilities - all that which is yet invisible, but still part of reality. Your feedback loop works here as well: the things one and the whole artistic community have done (as inspired by the world), propels further action which is again fed into the system and commingled. Yeah, you could say that resonates with me.

but at the same time it's also a visceral and quite pleasant film to experience - Well yeah, I agree. To put it using a daft scale, Falton is a bit closer to Brakhage than to Sharits*, i.e. due to plenty of engaging imagery and audio-visual techniques his films can be enjoyed purely sensorially, such that one's appreciation doesn't have to rely on finding some specific ideas (which the film may or may not provoke). And those that find it terrible/uncomfortable and fail to intellectualise will often make threads asking things like "What am I missing?" if such a director has particularly many official checks...

*Sharits might not be the best person to use for the opposite extreme, and although some of his work employs many colours and seems psychedelic, I think we can agree that a small group of people will look at his work with relish.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on May 4th, 2017, 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
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#7

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » May 4th, 2017, 2:05 am

Not that I would know from personal experience, but that whole "hippie" spirit (and LSD) were just the spirit of those times, I doubt Fulton had to artificially get accustomed to anything, I bet he felt it just as much or even more than the students did. I reckon he even was on some substance when he appeared on that "Screening Room" program, energetic and "far out" as he was, unless he was just high off life, which is always possible. I'm sure Buddhism had its high time (no pun intended) during those times in the States, but not that this would take anything away from this film (or "trippy" late-60s/early 70's films in general), LSD and Buddhism seem to go along very well.

I don't consider myself an expert in the matter but "immersing himself in that environment and making a film including their words as much or more than his own" is indeed very reasonable in the sense that individuality naturally would take a backseat in a seriously Buddhist-minded film. Not that the individual and the ego would be rejected as concepts, it's just something that is of little relevance in the scheme of things. And while every being has a sense of I every I is very much a part of the whole.

I wouldn't say that the film is about "youthfulness" per se, young people are just naturally still on the search for answers and more open to the world. As Fulton said, he tried to get rid of all of his preconceived notions when making the film which ties in with what I said about the film in some sense "making itself".

As you must know from watching the program Fulton actually was a tutor at the facility at that time. As was Brakage, incidentally (or maybe not so incidentally). And I don't really get Brakhage, personally. Some of his films I appreciate, many I do not. And because of Brakhage's decision to present many of his films sans any kind of soundtrack I'm also hard-pressed to speak of "audio-visual techniques" in the case of his films.
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on May 4th, 2017, 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#8

Post by Carmel1379 » May 4th, 2017, 5:42 pm

Yeah, he didn't have to artificially get accustomed to the spirit of the time, because it very naturally aligns with his personal aspirations (/taste), and the fact he tutored in an University's art department and produced such work just shows what a lad he was. It's highly plausible that the students have received most exposure to his work, and moreover welcomed it the most as well, with the "hippie" spirit incidentally boosting people's openness to such experimental creations.

Brakhage - The "audio-" part is particularly poor, I agree. I suppose he was one of those artists that were lead to think that the purest cinematic form is at its most visual, such that the auditory must be completely deprived. I wouldn't necessarily agree, but watching Dog Star Man's Prelude sans sound was a surprisingly fantastic experience for me that I'd liken to a hypnagogic state. As for "techniques" I was merely alluding to the stuff mentioned in Wikipedia's second paragraph, including the thematic interests.

Btw:

Reality's Invisible (1971) 5.29-7, one vote too short from making the list. Even with a 0 it would have an impressive average of 4.63... But at least it's a holdover.
IMDb, letterboxd
Image
whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?


Well here he is skidded out onto the Zone like a planchette on a Ouija board, and what shows up inside the empty circle in his brain might string together into a message, might not, he'll just have to see.

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3622
Joined: Jul 09, 2011
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#9

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » May 4th, 2017, 7:09 pm

Certainly now it's highly plausible, indeed, since from what I read about 'Reality's Invisible' "[a]t the moment, the film exists in a single 16mm print housed at the Havard [sic] Film Archive".

That it's only one vote short hurts a little, but that's a pretty good show, considering its obscurity and lack of proper availability. But as you said, at least it's a holdover. And my Mettler just got in, too.
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#10

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » November 8th, 2017, 6:48 am

:ICM: :imdb:
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on November 8th, 2017, 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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