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THE ENTHUSIASTS ARCHIVE

Banner stills L to R: 1, 2, 3...Cinematographer's Exercise, Open Form – Game on an Actress's Face, and Market, all courtesy Filmoteka Muzeum

Clapper (Klaskacz)
Wojciech Bruszewski, Poland, 1971, 35 mm, 5 minutes 53 seconds

WFF-clapper

Still from Clapper, courtesy Filmoteka Muzeum

Wojciech Bruszewski (1947–2009) was one of the founders and outstanding members of the Workshop of the Film Form at the Film School in Łódź, and he shared the group’s spirit of analytical and media critique of mainstream cinematography. Bruszewski approached human perception as dependent, not on material reality, but ratheron its representations, which can be interpreted and processed formally through media technologies. Guided by the assumption that reality can never be reached in its pure form but is always mediated, he emphasized in his works the idea that references in a film always lead to other representations of reality, bypassing reality itself.

Clapper is a dynamic and heavily edited (slowed down, sped up, rewound, looped, and so one) mixture of archival black-and-white images. Bursting with tension, the footage of political rallies, street scenes, bombardments, and other disturbing events from both the pre– and the post–World War II period unfolds to the sound track of Janis Joplin singing “Summertime,” as though this were a music video clip. The film was one of the first “found footage” works in the history of Polish experimental film and artists’ moving image works and bears testimony to Bruszewski’s pioneering investigations, which never lost their innovative edge throughout his career, which ended with his untimely death in 2009.  — Łukasz Mojsak

The organizers would like to thank Weronika Czołnowska and the Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Filmowa, TV i Teatralna im. L. Schillera w Łodzi (The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź), for their help in making a screening of this film possible in Washington.

Transformation (Transformacja)
Grzegorz G. Zgraja, Poland, 1978, digital file from VHS, 3 minutes 38 seconds

WFF-transmission

Still from Transformation, courtesy Grzegorz G. Zgraja

Grzegorz Zgraja (b. 1952) is an important pioneer of video art in Poland. Although he was not a member of the Workshop of the Film Form, which ceased to exist in 1977, in the late 1970s Zgraja helped cofound the “Laboratorium Technik Prezentacyjnych (Laboratory of Presentational Technologies) [which] took up the model of analytical art proposed by the [WFF] related to such media as film and video."[1]

In March 2014, the author corresponded with Zgraja, who has lived and taught in Germany for many years. As a commentary on this film, he sent the following text originally written in 1978: “This work is one in a cycle of four videos, which were part of my final student dissertation completed at the Fine Arts Academy in Krakow in 1978.

 “This is an audiovisual interpretation of a graphic score. Beginning with one point on a raster-built “reproduction” of a facial image, the systemativ distancing of the camera lens from the graphic reveals an entirely rasterized face. The next step is to present a still picture of this passage and, in the final stage, a real object. The images are accompanied by flute and the sound of a prepared piano, which illustrate the complexity of the visual structure.

“The binding element in the next phase of the entire compositon is the sound of identical frequencies understood to be in all phases of the object’s transformation until the end, when the “original” subject appears to be singing the same sound. [The music was written by Grzegorz Zgraja’s brother, Krzysztof P. Zgraja, a flutist and composer. [JR]

“The work is concerned with:

            “1. the structure of images:

            “a. for print (screen printing), files intended for image reproduction in black and white

            “b. for transmission (electronic screen), representing fragments of reality and their interdependence; the agreement or disagreement in the process of layering these pictures and the result seen on a TV screen (1978 PAL system).

            “2. the relationship of sound to image:

            “a. sound as a fundamental part of musical structure (musical composition)

            “b. a single printing raster is the elemental component of the printed reproduction.

“The author completely ignores the psychological factors associated with the working of music upon the emotions of the recipient in the perception of audio-visual works.”  — Joanna Raczynska

The organizers would like to thank Grzegorz G. Zgraja and Łukasz Mojsak, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw for their help in research and making the screening of this film possible in Washington.

 

1. Łukasz Ronduda, Polish Art of the 70s (Warsaw, 2009), 299. (back to top)