Sunday, 1 May 2016

Split Log 6

Mihovil Pansini called his Zagreb ‘anti-films’ a “visual acoustic phenomenon” but it is the middle word that best evokes the feeling, of vibrations on air, of an architectural space to be filled, of an in-between rather than a finite surface. His opposite number on the coast, Ivan Martinac, regarded his own pictures as “films of state”, pyschogeofilmic distillations of a/the “shared otherworldliness” of Split on small format stock. Despite my narratively-oriented work, I feel closer thus far to these Croatians than the distant Belgrade Klub with all their ‘plot’ and “unembellished reality”. It is not so much that I have lost the plot, as that it has dissolved: in the spirit of Martinac and Pansini, hoovering up their images with scant regard for causality, and in unnerving contrast to my infamous Nexus residency in which I literally pre-scripted every minute of the whole three month trial, I have drifted these weeks, absorbing information and experience like a sponge, releasing pungent drips when squeezed by the participants of the Unfound Peoples Videotechnic.

The workshops have progressed well: the participants are broadminded, self-determined and curious, with a healthy dose of dissidence. Despite labelling this inaugural program UPV’s ‘Alpha Semester’, though, it remains very much a beta proposition: I am as yet unsatisified with both form and content, but these are early tests that need to be made, the felling of outlying trees (with attendant squirrel carnage) necessary to get our tractors to the rich bounty at the heart of the forest. We have, I believe, struck a nice balance of my meaningless English-language blather prompting homework assignments of serious enquiry inspired by mis- and partial-understandings of the obscure words and unstable theories asserted in class by a professor who must, above all else, profess to be a terrible speaker.

The Institute’s enemies will be bitter to hear it’s going so well that we have decided to extend my time at the Kino Klub for a few extra weeks. Research into the culture and history of the Kino Klubs, combined with preparing the workshops, has eaten into the time that I had hoped to devote to putting a new video together. Inspired by those historic enclaves of young (mostly) men, engaged in their ideas and their surroundings, creating and solving their own artistic problems, entitled, imprisoned and inspired, I hope I can work something out with their (mixed) spiritual descendents. As a pack-dog, a member of one official, one unannounced, and thirteen secret artist collectives, anyway, it is an unpassable opportunity to hole up in a Klub of huge cultural importance for a few weeks, to steal and to leak esoteric techniques and forge some irreverent tribute to the Yugoslavian ‘amateurs’ who changed the direction of Balkan film and art. I hope to warm up the sensors in the first couple of weeks of May.

Gastrodimensional cake-chart illustrating total of work yet to be achieved.

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