• Türkçe
  • English
Course Code: 
RTC 400
Course Type: 
Course Language: 
Courses given by: 
Course Objectives: 
The course will introduce students to the history and aesthetics of avant-garde cinema that covers a wide range of alternative cinematic forms and practices challenging both social and artistic conventions. It will provide them with necessary analytical skills, theoretical framework and knowledge to consider these practices from various perspectives, and to discuss the relationships between avant-garde aesthetics, critical thought and cinema. At the end of the course, students will be expected to develop ability to engage in and construct theoretical and historical arguments in order to evaluate avant-garde works and aesthetic, political and philosophical issues that surround them. The course will also enable students to analyze experimental techniques in the construction of moving image work, helping them to develop skills on the creative use of filmic materials
Course Content: 

The course will explore avant-garde cinema through its emblematic movements (Surrealism, Lettrist movement, Abstract and Absolute Film, International Situationism, Structural-Materialist Cinema etc.) manifestos (The Manifesto of Futurist Cinema , We: Variant of a Manifesto, Fluxus manifesto…), filmmakers / artistes (Etienne Jules-Marey, Richter, Léger, Deren, Brakhage, Godard…), techniques and practices (flicker technique-recycle, found footage compilations, hand-painted film, cameraless film, expanded forms, activist cinema etc.), from the beginning of cinema to the contemporary developments in moving image arts such as digital filmmaking and hybrid practices. Since the history of avant-garde cinemas is inserted into the context of moving image culture and the context of art movements we will examine also the relations of these practices to avant-garde movements in art history such as Dadaism, Futurism, Cubism, Expressionism, Pop Art, Happening.  We will study and discuss avant-garde films comparing to the institutional mode of representation, and emphasis those aspects of these practices that distinguish them from industrial filmmaking on many levels: economic modes of organization, aesthetic and technical diversity, critical and subversive potency and formal innovations. 

Examples of avant-garde and experimental cinema will be screened and analyzed within a wider theoretical and historical context. Students will investigate avant-garde filmmaking practices using analytical methods and critical approaches from film studies and related disciplines such as art history, philosophy, cultural and visual studies. Class debates will focus on selected topics which may include: relationships between art and society, cinema and modernism, dialectics between historical forces and artistic productions, commercial cinema and avant-garde works, avant-garde and kitsch, the materiality of film and self-reflexive activity in cinema, moving images art in digital age.

Course Methodology: 
1:Lecture, 2:Interactive Lecture, 15:Assignment
Course Evaluation Methods: 
A: Exam, B: Oral Exam/Presentation, C: Assignment

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Program Learning Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment Methods
1) Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the history of avant-garde film practices in relation both to social, cultural, economic and historical context of production and reception and other areas of art and cinema. 1, 7, 8, 9 1,2,15 A, B, C
2) Be able to identify significant features of major approaches, movements, styles and themes within avant-garde film culture and to analyze them with regard to relevant historical, technical and social developments.  1, 4, 7, 8, 9 1,2,15 A, B, C
3) Investigate, compare and evaluate singular examples of avant-garde cinema from different geographies, cultures and historical periods within the framework of critical and theoretical perspective. 1, 4, 7, 8, 9 1,2,15 A, B, C
4) Demonstrate, through writing assignment and discussion on films, an understanding of the applications of formal techniques and various methods in cinematic practices, and an ability to recognize and explore non-traditional and innovative ways to create meaning with cinematic materials, including through the use of non-narrative and non-representational forms. 1, 4, 7, 8, 9 1,2,15 A, B, C
5) Engage critically in film culture and evaluates dominant modes of production, circulation and consumption of films and discuss avant-garde film’s potential as an art form and critical act in the context of cultural industry and contemporary mass culture. 1, 4, 7, 8, 9 1,2,15 A, B, C

Course Flow

Week Topics Study Materials
1 Introduction to the course: defining the avant-garde; overview of visual aesthetics and organizational forms of avant-garde film practices; origins of experimental filmmakin Reading:

Fred Camper, “Naming, and Defining, Avant-Garde or Experimental Film” http://www.fredcamper.com/Film/AvantGardeDefinition.html

Tom Gunning, “The Cinema of Attraction(s): Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde,” in, The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded, pp. 381-388.



Dickson Camera Test (Edison Manufacturing Company, 1891)

Men Boxing (Edison Manufacturing Company, 1891)

Monkeyshines, No. 1 (William K.L. Dickson, 1890)

La Vague (Etienne-Jules Marey ,1891) 

Films(XII) Body Motions (Étienne-Jules Marey, 1891-1983)

Series Photography (Eadweard Muybridge, 1877-1885 excerpts)

The Big Swallow, (James Williamson, 1901)

Stenographics 1, (Lucien Bull - 1904)

A Color Box, (Len Lye, 1935)

Le Vampire, (Jean Painlevé, 1939-45, excerpt)

L.B.J. (Santiago Álvarez, 1968, excerpt)

Blue, (Derek Jarman,1993, excerpt)

L’oeil sauvage  (Johanna Vaude, 2000, excerpt)

Africa Shox music video, (Chris Cunningham, 2003)

2 The idea and practice of artistic avant-garde within the framework of modernity. Film as a paradigm of modern art. Readings:

Greenberg, Clement 1988, ‘Towards a New Laocoön’, in The Collected Essays and Criticism, pp.23-37

3 The cinema of the historical avant-garde : Abstract film, Dada and surrealism. Readings:

Bordwell, D. & Thompson K., Film history : an introduction, pp. 173-184

 “The Futurist Cinema”, by F.T. Marinetti, Bruno Corra, Emilio Settimelli, Arnaldo Ginna, Giacomo Balla, and Remo Chiti
(Milan), 1916. http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/cinema.html

 “Abstract Cinema – Chromatic Music” , Corra, B. (1912) http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/abstract.html

Tristan Tzara, “Dada Manifesto 1918”, 1922. (Dada Manifesto) in Art in Theory, pp. 252-257

André Breton, Excerpt from the First Manifesto of Surrealism, (1924) in Art in Theory, pp.87-88


Screening excerpts from:  

Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, 1923-27)

Symphonie Diagonale (Diagonal Symphony) (Viking Eggling, 1924)

H20 (Ralph Steiner, 1929)

Rhythm (Len Lye, 1957)

Lichtspiel, Opus 1 (Walther Ruttmann, 1921)

Lichtspiel, Schwarz, Weiß, Grau, Lásló Moholy-Nagy, (1930)

An Optical Poem, (Oscar Fischinger, 1938)

Filmstudie (Hans Richter, 1926)

L’étoile de mer, Man Ray & Robert Desnos, (1928)

Ballet mécanique, Fernand Léger with Dudley Murphy (1924)

Entr’acte, René Clair with Francis Picabia, (1924).

Anemic Cinéma, Marcel Duchamp (1927).

Un Chien Andalou, Luis Buñuel & Salvador Dalí, 1929

4 Russian Avant-Garde : Constructivism & The Montage Film. Reading:

Bordwell, D. & Thompson K., Film history : an introduction, pp. 119-142


Screening excerpts from:

The Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1928)

October (Eisenstein, 1928 )

5 1940s-50s: Postwar American experiments Reading:

Maya Deren “Cinematography: The Creative Use of Reality”, in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings,  pp. 187–198.


Screening excerpts from:

Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren & Alexander Hammid, (1944.)

Study in Choreography for Camera (Maya Deren, 1945)

Ritual in Transfigured Time (Maya Deren, 1946)

At Land (Maya Deren , 1944)

Fireworks (Kenneth Anger, 1947)

6 New perceptions of reality: Brakhage and Lyrical Film Reading:

Stan Brakhage “Metaphors on Vision” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings,, pp.228-235



Reflections on Black (Stan Brakhage, 1955)

Anticipation of the Night (Stan Brakhage, 1958, excerpt)

Thigh Line Lyre Triangular (Stan Brakhage, 1961, excerpt)

Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963)

8 Avant-garde and mass culture in 1960s Underground Cinema Screening excerpts from :

Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1963)

Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963)

Kustom Kar Kommandos (Kenneth Anger, 1965)

Chelsea Girls (Andy Warhol, 1966)  

Kiss (Andy Warhol, 1963-64)

Fuses (Carolee Schneeman, 1964-68)

9 Found footage and collage films Screening:

Rose Hobart, (Joseph Cornell, 1936)

Eyewash (Robert Breer, 1959)

A Movie (Bruce Conner 1958)

Perfect Film, (Ken Jacobs, 1986, excerpt)

Tribulation 99, (Craig Baldwin, 1991, excerpt)

Home Stories (Matthias  Mueller, 1991)

One Way to Find out  Scott Stark (2012)

Histoire (s) du Cinema, (Godard, 1988-1998, excerpts)

10 Structural Filmmaking  Screening excerpts from:

Adebar (Peter Kubelka, 1956-'57)

Arnulf Rainer (Peter Kubelka, 1958-'60)

Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963)

Nostalgia (Hollis Frampton, 1971)

Serene Velocity (Ernie Gehr, 1969)

5_62_ Fenstergucker, Abfall, etc. (Kurt Kren, 1962)

The Flicker (Tony Conrad,1966)

T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (Paul Sharits, 1969)

Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967)

Berlin Horse (Malcom Le Grice, 1970)

11 The Lettrist Avant-Garde and Situationism Reading:

Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, New York: Zone Books, pp. 7-35.

Screening excerpts from:

Le Film est déjà commencé?, (Maurice LeMaitre, 1951)

Venom and Eternity (Isodore Isou, 1951)

La Société de Spectacle, Guy Debord, 1963)

12 Performance Art: Fluxus and the Happening Reading:

Rush, M., New Media in Late 20th-Century Art, pp. 24 – 27



Excerpts from Fluxfilm Anthology - Zen for Film (Nam June Paik, 1962- 64)

No. 4 (Bottoms) (Yoko Ono, 1966)

13 Installation and Expanded Cinema Readings:

Rush, M., Chapter 3, “Video Installation Art” in New Media in Late 20th-Century Art



Line Describing a Cone (Anthony McCall, 1973, excerpt)

Celestial Subway Lines / Salvaging Noise (Ken Jacobs and John Zorn, 2005, excerpt)

Single Wing Turquoise Birds performance, 1969 excerpt,)

Inner and Outer Space (Warhol, 1966, excerpt),

 Exploding Plastic Inevitable, (Andy Warhol and Ronald Nameth, 1967)

 Permutations  (John Whitney, 1968)

 Sweet light (Bill Viola, 1977)

 Television Delivers People (Richard Serra, 1973)

14 Avant-garde aesthetics and socio-political activism Reading:

Wollen, Peter, “The Two Avant-Gardes”, Studio International 190 (978), 1975, pp. 171–75

https://alejandroquinteros.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/thetwoavantgardes.pdf (Accessesd 06.06.2020)

Wollen Peter,  “Godard and counter cinema : Vent D’Est” (1972), in Narrative, apparatus, ideology: A film theory reader, pp.120-130


Screening excerpts from:

An Injury to One Travis Wilkerson. 2002

79 Springtimes of Ho Chi Minh (Santiago Alvarez, 1969).

Off the Pig, (Black Panthers, Newsreel, 1967)

I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts (Ich glaubte Gefangene zu sehen), (Harun Farocki, 2000)

Vent d’Est  (1970), Letter to Jane: An Investigation About a Still (1972), Dziga Vertov Group’s movies (Godard and Gorin),

Sochaux 11 June  1968 (Sochaux, 11 juin 68), Sochaux Medvedkine Group (1970)

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song: A Guerilla Filmmaking Manifesto, Melvin Van Peebles (1971)

Misconception (Marjorie Keller, 1977)

Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs (Walid Raad,  2001)

15 Experiments with new technologies: Avant-garde cinema in the digital age Reading:

Lev Manovich, “Avant-garde as Software”, (1999) http://manovich.net/content/04-projects/027-avant-garde-as-software/24_article_1999.pdf



Impressions (Jacques Perconte, 2011, excerpts)

Breach (Sam Taylor Wood, 2001)

Lunch Break (Sharon Lockhart, 2009)

Samouraï (Johanna Vaude, 2002, excerpt)


Recommended Sources

Additional Resources Bordwell, D & Thompson. K., Film history : an introduction, Boston : McGraw-Hill, 2003

Corra, B. , “Abstract Cinema – Chromatic Music”, 1912. http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/abstract.html (Accessed 06.06.2020)

Corra B., Marinetti F.T., Settimelli E., Ginna A., Balla G., Chiti R.“The Futurist Cinema”, (Milan), 1916. http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/cinema.html (Accessed 06.06.2020)

Debord Guy, The Society of the Spectacle, New York: Zone Books, 1995

Greenberg, Clement, ‘Towards a New Laocoön’, in The Collected Essays and Criticism, Vol. 1: Perceptions and Judgments, 1939–1944, second edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988

Gunning Tom, “The Cinema of Attraction(s): Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde,” in Wanda Strauven, ed., The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007.

Harrison C. & Wood P., Art in Theory 1900-2000 : an anthology of changing ideas, Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2005

Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen (ed.)  Film Theory and Criticism, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004

Rush, Michael, New Media in Late 20th-Century Art, New York: Thames & Hudson, 2003

Wollen, Peter, “The Two Avant-Gardes”, Studio International 190 (978), 1975

https://alejandroquinteros.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/thetwoavantgardes.pdf (Accessed 06.06.2020)

Wollen Peter,  “Godard and counter cinema : Vent D’Est” (1972), in Narrative, apparatus, ideology: A film theory reader (ed.) Philip Rosen,  New York : Columbia University Press, 1986, pp.120-130

Manovich Lev, “Avant-garde as Software”, 1999 http://manovich.net/content/04-projects/027-avant-garde-as-software/24_article_1999.pdf (Acessed 06.06.2020)

Profesor’s Slides + Selected movies and film excerpts (www.youtube.com, www.vimeo.com Accessed 06.06.2020)

Material Sharing

Documents Yeditepe University Copy Center
Assignments yulearn.yeditepe.edu.tr


Mid-terms 1 80
Presentation 1 20
Total   100
Contribution of Final Examination to Overall Grade   50
Contribution of In-Term Studies to Overall Grade   50
Total   100

Course’s Contribution to Program

No Program Learning Outcomes Contribution
1 2 3 4 5
1 Defines basic concepts, theories, methods, and domains of study specific to radio, television and cinema by associating them with the findings and theories of humanities and social sciences.       X  
2 Demonstrates the responsibilities, effective participation, coordination, and planning skills essential for harmonious and efficient teamwork in the production processes relative to the radio, television and cinema fields. X        
3 Generates media products in accordance with professional standards in various narrative forms and genres specific to the field by synthesizing up-to-date knowledge and skills for expertise acquired through applied and theoretical courses. X        
4 Manifests professional knowledge and such skills as copywriting, image management, editing, sound design, producing and directing, media management in different fields of radio, television and cinema locally and globally.   X      
5 Holds responsibility in broadcasting by integrating national and international rules of law that media professionals should pursue with professional ethical principles. X        
6 Comprehends the knowledge and skills related to institutional operation and management in the production and broadcasting processes of radio, television and cinema for the common interest.          
7 Evaluates radio, television and cinema fields analytically and critically from their institutional structuring to products regarding a wide range of cultural, artistic, economic, and social relations.       X  
8 Has the ability to collect visual, audio and written data, conduct research, evaluate, report and offer creative solutions in the fields of radio, television and cinema.       X  
9 Develops original projects for radio, television and cinema by following new technologies, developments, and ideas in the fields of art, culture, and media at the national and global planes.       X  


Activities Quantity Duration
Course Duration 14 3 42
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 14 3 42
Students Reading 16 2 32
Presentation 1 2 2
Mid-terms 1 1 1
Final examination 1 5 5
Total Work Load     124
Total Work Load / 25 (h)     4,96
ECTS Credit of the Course     5