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Course Code: 
RTC 400
Course Type: 
Elective
P: 
3
Lab: 
0
Credits: 
3
ECTS: 
5
Course Language: 
English
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: Question-Answer, 3: Discussion
Course Evaluation Methods: 
A: Testing, B: Experiment, C: Homework

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Program Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment Methods
  1. Demonstrate the 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, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8

 

 

 

1, 2, 3, 4 A, C
  1. Identify significant features of major approaches, movements, styles and themes within avant-garde film culture. Analyze them with regard to relevant historical, technical and social developments. 
 

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8

 

 

1, 2, 3, 4 A, C
  1. 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, 2, 6, 8, 13 1, 2, 3, 4 A, C
 
  1. 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, 6, 8, 12 1, 2, 3 A, C
  1. Engage critically in film culture and evaluates dominant modes of production, circulation and consumption of films. Discuss avant-garde film’s potential as an art form and critical act in the context of cultural industry and contemporary mass culture.

 

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 13 1, 2, 3 A, 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 filmmaking. Readings:

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

Michael O’Pray, “The Avant-Garde Film: Definitions,” in Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions (New York: Wallflower Press, 2003), pp. 1-7.

Tom Gunning, “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, pp. 381-388.

Screening:

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)

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)

Blue, (Derek Jarman,1993)

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:

Clement Greenberg, “Towards a Newer Laocoön”

 

Arnheim, Rudolf. "A New Laocoon: Artistic Composites and the Talking Film"

3 The cinema of the historical avant-garde : Abstract and absolute film. Readings:

Rees, pp. 1- 29

O’Pray, pp. 8-25.

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) in Apollonio, U. (ed.) Futurist Manifestos (Thames & Hudson, 1973), also: http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/abstract.html

 

Screening:

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)

4 The cinema of the historical avant-garde : Dada and surrealism. Readings:

 

Rees, pp. 41-50

 

Luis Buñuel, “Notes on the making of Un Chien Andalou” in Frank Stauffacher, ed., Art in Cinema, San Francisco: Society for Art in Cinema, 1947, pp. 9-30.

 

Elsaesser, Thomas “Dada/Cinema?” in Dada and Surrealist Film, ed. Rudolf Kuenzli, New York: Willis Locker & Owens, 1987, pp. 13-27

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

 

Richard Hülsenbeck,”The First German Dada Manifesto (Collective Dada Manifesto), (1920) as excerpted in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (eds.) Art in Theory,  pp. 257-259

 

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

 

Screening:

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

Ballet mécanique, Fernand Léger with Dudley Murphy (1924, 19 min.)

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

Anemic Cinéma, Marcel Duchamp (1927).

Un Chien Andalou, Luis Buñuel & Salvador Dalí, 1929.

5 Russian Avant-Garde : Constructivism & The Montage Film. Readings:

O’Pray, pp. 26-38 (“The 1920s: Soviet Experiments”)

Dziga Vertov writings in The Avant-Garde Film: A Reader of Theory and Criticism (New York: NYU Press, 1978), pp. 1-13.

Screening:

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

Excerpt from October (Eisenstein, 1928 )

6 1940s-50s: Postwar American experiments Reading:

 

Rees, pp.  56-62

 

O’Pray, pp. 48-57.

 

Sitney, pp. 17-41 (“Ritual and Nature”)

Maya Deren “Cinematography: The Creative Use of Reality”, in Film Theory and Criticism, edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen,  New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 187–198.

 

Screening:

 

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

Study in Choreography for Camera (Maya Deren, 1945)

Ritual in Transfigured Time (Maya Deren, 1946, excerpt)

At Land (Maya Deren , 1944, excerpt)

Fireworks (Kenneth Anger, 1947)

Swain, (Gregory Markopoulos, 1950)

7 New perceptions of reality: Brakhage and Lyrical Film

 

 

Readings:

 

Rees, pp. 56-62 (“Origins of the Post-War Avant-Garde”)
 

Sitney, pp. 156-171 (“The Lyrical Film”)

 

Stan Brakhage “Metaphors on Vision” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, Oxford University Press, 5th edition (1998)

 

Screening:

Reflections on Black (Stan Brakhage, 1955)

 

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

 

Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963)

 

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

8 Midterm  
9  

Avant-garde and mass culture in 1960s Underground Cinema

 

Reading:

O’Pray, pp. 84-95 (1960s: sex, drugs and structure)

Rees, pp. 70-72

Juan A. Suarez “Pop, Queer, or Fascist? The Ambiguity of Mass Culture in Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising” in Experimental Cinema, The Film Reader, ed. Wheeler Winston Dixon and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, New York: Routledge, 2002, pp. 115-137.

Sitney, pp. 83–120 (“The Magus” )

Screening:

Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1963, excerpt)

Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963)

Kustom Kar Kommandos (Kenneth Anger, 1965)

Chelsea Girls (Andy Warhol, 1966, excerpt)  

Kiss (Andy Warhol, 1963-64, excerpt)

 

Fuses (Carolee Schneeman, 1964-68, excerpt)

10 Found footage and collage films

 

 

 

 

Readings:

Danks, Adrian, “The global art of found footage cinema”,Traditions in World Cinema , eds. Linda Badley et al., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006, pp. 241-253

William C. Wees, “In the Domain of Montage: Compilation, Collage, Appropriation,” in  Recycled Images: The Art and Politics of Found Footage Films, New York:Anthology Film Archives, 1993, pp. 32-58

 

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)

11  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Structural Filmmaking

Reading:
Rees, pp. 72-75

Sitney, pp. 347-370  (“Structural Film.”)
 

Rees, pp. 72-75

 

Vogel, pp. 89-97, pp. 106-107

 

 Screening:

Adebar (Peter Kubelka, 956-'57)

Arnulf Rainer (Peter Kubelka, 1958-'60, excerpt)

Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963, excerpt)

Nostalgia (Hollis Frampton, 1971)

Serene Velocity (Ernie Gehr, 1969, excerpt)

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

The Flicker (Tony Conrad,1966, excerpt) T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (Paul Sharits, 1969)

Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967, excerpt)

Berlin Horse (Malcom Le Grice, 1970)

12 The Lettrist Avant-Garde and Situationism Reading:

Guy Debord, "Preface; Separation Perfected; the Commodity as Spectacle." In The Society of the Spectacle, New York: Zone Books, 1995, 7-10; 11-17; 29-31.
 

Thomas Y. Levin, “Dismantling the Spectacle: The Cinema of Guy Debord,”  Guy Debord and the Situationist International,

 ed. Tom McDonough, Cambridge, MA, 2002, pp. 321-454

 

Screening:

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

Venom and Eternity (Isodore Isou, 1951, excerpt)

La Société de Spectacle, Guy Debord, 1963, excerpt)

13 Performance Art: Fluxus and the Happening

 

 

Reading:

Allan Kaprow, “A Statement”( 1963), in Happenings, ed. Michael Kirby, London, 1965, pp.44-45

 

Rush, Michael, New Media in Late 20th-Century Art, Thames & Hudson: 2005, pp. 24 – 27

 

Screening:

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

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

14 Installation and Expanded Cinema Readings:

 

Stan VanDerBeek, “Culture Intercom: A Proposal and Manifesto,”  Film Culture  40 (1966),  pp. 15–18

 

Sheldon Renan, “Expanded Cinema” in An Introduction to American Underground Film, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1967, p.227-258

 

Rush, Chapter 3, “Video Installation Art”

 

Screenings:

Line Describing a Cone (Anthony McCall, 1973)

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

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)

15 Avant-garde aesthetics and socio-political activism

 

 

 

 

Reading:

 

Peter Wollen, "The Two Avant-Gardes"

Peter Wollen,  “Godard and counter cinema : Vent D’Est” (1972), in Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies, London,  Verso. 1982.

Vogel, pp. 258-262

 

Screening:

 

An Injury to One Travis Wilkerson. 2002, 53mins

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, excerpt)

 

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

 

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

 

Excerpt from 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)

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

 

 

Reading:

 

Lev Manovich, “Avant-garde as Software” ,(1999)

Malcolm LeGrice, Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age, London: British Film Institute, 2001.

Screening:

Breach (Sam Taylor Wood, 2001)

Piéta (Sam Taylor Wood, 2001)

Lunch Break (Sharon Lockhart, 2009)

 

 

Recommended Sources

Textbook Rees, A.L., A History of Experimental Film and Video, British Film Institute: 1999

Sitney, P. Adams, Visionary Film, The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000, New York and London, Oxford University Pres,  2002

Michael O’Pray, Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions, New York: Wallflower Press, 2003

Vogel, Amos Film as a Subversive Art (1974), D.A.P./C.T. Editions, 2005

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

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), pp. 381-388.

Greenberg Clement, “Towards a Newer Laocoön” (1940) in

Art in Theory (1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, pp. 1992.

 

Arnheim, Rudolf. "A New Laocoon: Artistic Composites and the Talking Film" (1938) in Film as Art, Los Angeles, University of California Press,1957, pp. 199-230

 

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

 

Corra, B.,  “Abstract Cinema – Chromatic Music” , (1912) in Apollonio, U. (ed.) Futurist Manifestos (Thames & Hudson, 1973), also: http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/abstract.html

 

Buñuel Luis, “Notes on the making of Un Chien Andalou” in Frank Stauffacher, ed., Art in Cinema, San Francisco: Society for Art in Cinema, 1947, pp. 29-30.

 

Elsaesser, Thomas “Dada/Cinema?” in Dada and Surrealist Film, ed. Rudolf Kuenzli, New York: Willis Locker & Owens, 1987, pp. 13-27

Tzara Tristan, “Dada Manifesto 1918”, (1922) in Art in Theory, (1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992, pp. 257-259

 

Hülsenbeck Richard,”The First German Dada Manifesto (Collective Dada Manifesto), (1920) as excerpted in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (eds.) Art in Theory (1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992. 257-259

 

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

Dziga Vertov writings in The Avant-Garde Film: A Reader of Theory and Criticism, New York: NYU Press, 1978, pp.1-13.

Deren, Maya “Cinematography: The Creative Use of Reality”, in Film Theory and Criticism, edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen,  New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, pp.187–198.

Brakhage, Stan “Metaphors on Vision” in Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 1998

Suarez, Juan A., “Pop, Queer, or Fascist? The Ambiguity of Mass Culture in Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising” in Experimental Cinema, The Film Reader, ed. Wheeler Winston Dixon and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, New York: Routledge, 2002, 115-137.

Danks, Adrian, “The global art of found footage cinema”,Traditions in World Cinema , eds. Linda Badley et al., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006, pp. 241-253

William C. Wees, “In the Domain of Montage: Compilation, Collage, Appropriation,” in  Recycled Images: The Art and Politics of Found Footage Films, New York:Anthology Film Archives, 1993, pp. 32-58

 

Debord, Guy, "Preface; Separation Perfected; the Commodity as Spectacle." In The Society of the Spectacle, New York: Zone Books, 1995, pp.7-10; pp. 11-17; pp. 29-31.
 

Levin, Thomas Y. “Dismantling the Spectacle: The Cinema of Guy Debord,”  Guy Debord and the Situationist International,

 ed. Tom McDonough, Cambridge, MA, 2002, pp. 321-454

Rush, Michael, New Media in Late 20th-Century Art, Thames & Hudson: 2005, pp. 24 – 27

Kaprow, Allan, “A Statement”( 1963), in Happenings, ed. Michael Kirby, London, 1965, pp.44-45

 

VanDerBeek, Stan “Culture Intercom: A Proposal and Manifesto,”  Film Culture  40 (1966),  pp. 15–18

 

Renan, Sheldon, “Expanded Cinema” in An Introduction to American Underground Film, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1967, p.227-258

 

Wollen, Peter, "The Two Avant-Gardes" (1975), and   “Godard and counter cinema : Vent D’Est” (1972), in Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies, London,  Verso. 1982.

Manovich, Lev “Avant-garde as Software” ,(1999)

LeGrice, Malcolm, Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age, London: British Film Institute, 2001.

Additional Resources Films and excerpts from the films

 

 

 

Material Sharing

Documents Films and film excerpts, articles, books
Assignments 1 group presentation
Exams Midterm and Final

 

 

Assessment

IN-TERM STUDIES NUMBER PERCENTAGE
Mid-terms 1 60
Assignments 1 30
Attendance and Participation 1 10
Total   100
CONTRIBUTION OF FINAL EXAMINATION TO OVERALL GRADE   60
CONTRIBUTION OF IN-TERM STUDIES TO OVERALL GRADE   40
Total   100

 

 

COURSE CATEGORY Expertise/ Field Course

 

 

 

Course’s Contribution to Program

No Program Learning Outcomes Contribution
1 2 3 4 5
1 To interpret the basic concepts, theories, approaches and field of study of communication science through analytical and critical perspective.         x
2 To interpret and have access to findings and  theories and the impacts of social sciences with other disciplines in the communication field.         x
3 To evaluate critically the relationship of media in a wide range from corporate structuring to media products within the context of other social structures and actors.   x      
4 To relate the impacts of mass media in terms of political economy, socio-economic and social-psychological aspects within a historical process.          
5 To develop responsible reparation  insight through integrating national and international rules of law that media professionals need to observe with the principles of professional ethics.   x      
6 To develop unique approaches,able to make an independent  research and defend an assumption in communication science specifically  in radio,television and cinema department.         x
7 To in a particular area through knowledge and skills that are acquired in practical and theoretical courses; to use in various narrative forms and adapt in the manner of giving independent product in radio, television and cinema department.          
8 To obtain the basic knowledge of creative approaches and technical infrastructure that are used in  production process in terms of theoretical and practical manners     x    
9 To develop a project in terms of design, reparation, shooting and post-production phases of knowledge and concepts in radio, television and cinema department in a practical manner.          
10 To consider  the functioning of measuring and decision-making processes in radio,television and cinema department; to evaluate the historical and cultural development and socio-political effects of program formats and programs.          
11 To consider the essential format forms, to develop a project, to design a project in terms of linguistically and visually, to present, to write and to apply a project that is appropriate and effective to Turkish in creative ways which is essential for radio,television and cinema.          
12 Students will be able to effectively engage in media research, planning and purchase. At a certain level to be able to performance  English in order to pursue developments and ideas in international arena in the field of communication.   x      
13 To monitor and analyze national and global events and facts through associating with media.   x      

 

 

ECTS

Activities Quantity Duration
(Hour)
Total
Workload
(Hour)
Course Duration (Including the exam week: 16x Total course hours) 16 3 48
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 16 3 48
Mid-terms 1 10 10
Assignments 1 6 6
Final examination 1 10 10
Total Work Load     122
Total Work Load / 25 (h)     5,25
ECTS Credit of the Course     5