A Hollis Frampton Odyssey - DVD of the year!
This year there have been collected writings from two of the most influential thinkers in contemporary moving image practice; Hito Steyerl (Hito Steyerl, The Wretched of the Screen published by Sternberg Press and e-flux) and Morgan Fisher (MORGAN FISHER writings edited by Sabine Folie and Susanne Titz. published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne).
2012 also saw the publication of a number of historical overviews and collections including, a history of British artists’ video from the 70s and 80s (REWIND| British Artists’ Video in the 1970s & 1980s edited by Sean Cubitt & Stephen Partridge. published by John Libby in the UK, LUX published an accompanying DVD boxset a couple of years ago) and a history of Austrian experimental film edited by filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky (Film Unframed – A History of Austrian Avant-Garde Cinema, published by sixpackfilm and FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen). To mark the 50th anniversary of the Oberhausen Manifesto the Oberhausen Film Festival published the DVD collection Provoking Reality, a collection of films by filmmakers who signed the 1962 manifesto which marked the beginning of the New German Cinema. While Antennae have been doing an amazing job mining the until now little known history of artists’ film in Argentine, with their recent DVD collection Dialética en suspenso: Argentine Experimental Film and Video with works from 30s to the present day
For those interested in the mechanics of artists’ moving image this year saw the publication of Julia Knight and Peter Thomas’ Reaching Audiences Distribution and Promotion of Alternative Moving Image, the most detailed and accurate history of LUX and its predecessors as well as many of their fellow traveller organisations from the 70s and 80s. Also on distribution, Dan Kidner and George Clark’s great little book (with artist interventions by James Richards) explored the little known history of Infermental, the prescient ‘first international magazine on videocassettes’ founded by Hungarian filmmaker Gábor Bódy in the 80s (A Detour Around Infermental published by Focal Point Gallery).
There were a number of artist monograph publications over the past year, perhaps the most significant being A Hollis Frampton Odyssey from Criterion, which along with his collected writings published a couple of years ago cements Frampton’s reputation as one of the key figures of 20th century artists’ film. No less significant is the publication of Jonas Mekas DVD Boxset just in time for Christmas, which collects the major works of artist films’ greatest advocate and promoter. Other notable publications include VON Archives double DVD release a double DVD collecting the key film and video works of Aldo Tambellini Cathodic works 1966-1976 and the Re:voir release of Marie Losier’s documentary on Tony Conrad Dreaminimalist which also includes Conrad’s seminal The Flicker. Edition Filmmuseum continue their very welcomed series of James Benning releases with two of his later films casting a glance & RR on Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and the American railroad respectively.
This year also saw book length monographs on some giants of artists’ filmmaking; Douglas Crimp’s Our Kind of Movie, The Films of Andy Warhol and Kevin Hatch’s comprehensive analysis of the work of Bruce Conner, Looking For Bruce Conner and Dominic Johnson’s Glorious Catastrophe: Jack Smith, Performance and Visual Culture. Afterall, who have covered a number of moving image works in their One Work series, this year published Kodwo Eshun’s energetic study of Dan Graham’s Rock My Religion.
Finally a couple of very welcomed DVD releases of work by influential filmmakers on the outer limits of artists film; Criterion’s collection of Jean-Pierre Gorin’s brilliant Californian trilogy (Eclipse Series 31: Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin) and Icarus Film’s DVD of Robert Kramer’s until now hard-to-see but absolutely essential films Ice and Milestones
Finally a quick plug for LUX releases this year which have included, Ben River’s cross-over cinema success Two Years at Sea with Soda Pictures, our first LP release with the Badischer Kunstverein, the giallo film-inspired soundtrack to Emily Wardill’s latest film, Fulll Firearms. As well as two DVD collections, Nothing Special: Selected Video Works 1993–2011, John Wood and Paul Harrison published in a distinctive LP-style sleeve and Trilogy, Inge Lise Hansen collecting the recent films of the Norwegian film artist in a small hardback book.