[Frameworks] FUTURE OF FILM (was Letter to other Filmmaker Artists)

Dicky dickyvanness at gmail.com
Mon Jul 19 23:10:21 CDT 2010


Did film—or any other media—have anything *but* a present existence of
indeterminate length, to be ended whenever the institutional production of
the media ended? Did artists working with film in the 40's, 50's, 60's...
any decade when artists used film with impunity to create their works, just
pick your favorite... did they ever receive an assurance that film would
have a permanent future? Celluloid film has always been, essentially, a
consumer product... whether the consumers targeted were Hollywood studios,
home movie makers, or art students, film has been supplied to consumers as a
manufactured product—and no manufactured product is eternal. I really don't
understand what the use is in constantly talking about how "film is a
sinking ship" or "there is no future for film", except to make the person
presenting those claims feel better about the fact that they have switched
to video. Furthermore, I think it is incredibly naive (for anyone on this
list in particular) to try and assert that there is no difference between
film and video; if you truly believe that, you probably have no business
using either media for art. It shows that you have not taken the time to
seriously consider your media and the implications of and consequences for
the use of it. Film and video are so *clearly *different in the ways that
they operate, from their most fundamental material level, to the way in
which they are worked with by the artists, to the way they are perceived by
a viewer. If you see no difference, you are careless and lazy. They may both
offer the possibility to present visual information over a period of time,
but really... the comparison stops there. Depending on your use of the
media, the end result might seem to have negligible differences, but the
same could be said for instance of the difference between oil pain and
acrylic, or even between paint, watercolor and pencil, etc. A portrait is a
portrait is a portrait, but the medium is as important as the subject.

To go back to the idea of the "future"... who cares what "future" there is
for film? Or for anything? Are you creating work for yourself, for your
peers, because you feel you need to? Because you feel excited to share with
others and to learn for yourself the possibilities of working with the
media? Or are you merely trying to create a career for yourself? (Maybe this
distinction of intentions relates to the discussion of the difference
between an experimental art and a genre called Experimental?) And if you
think that "film" has no future, please go ahead and create work on video;
it'll be fun in a few decades, or who knows even sooner, to see how everyone
deals with keeping all of their old work current on whatever new formats are
being pushed by electronics companies so people can still view it.

And just to clarify, I am in no way opposed to video. It is just as capable
a media for the creating of great works of art as film, or any other
material; the result is obviously dependent on the person using it. I just
find the idea that people would make an arbitrary distinction between film
and video as media offensive; if you are trying to create a serious work of
art, there should be NO arbitrary decisions.

Dear Doug... you love film, so you should go down with the sinking ship and
keep shooting it as long as you feel it is necessary for your work, rather
than abandon it and watch it sink—in at least some very small part because
of your own actions.

Lovingly yours,
Rick Bahto
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