Richard Thomas talks to Ed Pinsent about the history of structuralist cinema from its beginnings in America in the 1960s to its development in Britain a decade later and beyond. Ed is the editor of Sound Projector magazine and hosts a related show on Resonance (Fridays 5.30-7pm) on the subject of ecclectic music.
Links: Ed’s show – www.thesoundprojector.com/radioshow.html
Ways of seeing article on Structuralist cinema – www.waysofseeing.org/struct.html
Originally broadcast 16th March 2006 (mp3 format, 28mb)
> i completely disagree with ed pinsent that most structural films are conceptual. the best are very very sensualâ€¦ framptonâ€™s â€œzorns lemmaâ€ and â€œnostalgiaâ€ being two of the best examples.
Thanks for listening. You make a very good point. I suppose I was trying to clutch at a handy definition that would serve as an introduction to an audience of listeners who might not be completely familiar with this branch of experimental cinema. In describing structural cinema to people who haven’t heard of it, the best thing I can think of is that it deploys a non-narrative form, for which I sometimes lapse into the term ‘conceptual’ as a form of shorthand.
But I don’t intend ‘conceptual’ to be a pejorative term or one that carries connotations of anti-pleasure.
I completely share your view that these films are sensual; I find many structural films (both UK and USA ones) to be extremely enjoyable as visual experiences. I’m also aware that certain UK film-makers in the structuralist-materialist mode went out of their way to deny visual pleasure. The same can’t really be said of the American and Canadian structuralists, though.
I had no idea that this broadcast was going to be published on the Internet this way; had I known, I might have prepared my material a bit better, which on the day was somewhat off the cuff. I wanted to add there is at least one factual innacuracy in what I say; ‘Wavelength’ was not produced with the assistance of a computer. My thanks to William English, another attentive listener, for pointing this out.
> the person who â€˜diesâ€™ in michael snowâ€™s â€œwavelengthâ€ is hollis frampton himself.
Ahh, that I didn’t know. Another piece of the jigsaw falls into place. Many thanks.