is a three-minute film directed by Robert Breer, a well-known avant-garde artist, animator, and film director. This short film displays Breer’s signature style: animation, playful abstraction, and fast-moving images.

In Robert Breer’s own words, Blazes is essentially "One hundred basic images switching positions for four thousands frames. A continuous explosion." Indeed, the film consists of stills resembling abstract paintings of basic shapes in basic colors, cut and combined in different ways and rhythms.


Source: Kathleen Sun



The tremendous richness of Breer's cinema comes not from a simple exclusion of continuities, but rather from the attempt to as much as possible. Thus he situates his films at a number of "thresholds." A burst of continuous movement will suddenly arrest itself in a freeze frame. Extremely jerky and irregular rhythms will unexpectedly become continuous ones. A drawn object will appear to rotate in three dimensions, creating the illusion of depth; a moment later we find ourselves watching a flat surface once again. The sound track will oscillate between apparently synchronous effects that match the action, a more abstract accompaniment, and sounds that are intentionally, often humorously, ill at odds with the images. The audience thus finds itself presented with a virtual panoply of styles and techniques. The effect is that the audience is held literally at the edge of its perception by a continual unfolding of surprises. Each time a brief section ("brief" being generally only a few seconds) establishes some form of continuity, the film leaps outside the pattern just established into some new realm. While it should be apparent from this that Breer's attitude toward his medium and its materials locates him clearly within the modernist tradition, the effect of his work is unique. Time and space are profoundly fragmented, and the film and its viewer are placed firmly in the infinitely uncertain realm of the instant.

In the first two decades of Breer's filmmaking, he utilized a variety of approaches and styles. His earliest films, such as the Form Phases series, are abstract, and grew out of his work as an abstract painter. Mondrian was an early inspiration, and some of the abstract films seem to be questing after idealized, perfect forms. There are hand-drawn and animated films, such as A Man and His Dog Out for Air and PBL 2, in which tension is created between line as representation of figure and line as an abstraction. There are some highly eclectic works, such as Eyewash and Fist Fight, in which cut-outs, various kinds of animation, and live-action photography are intermixed. There are 'abstract' animations such as 66, 69, and 70, which are amazing for their fusion of purity and complexity. It should also be mentioned that Breer has made kinetic sculptures, works that move along the floor so slowly their movement can barely be seen, and a number of constructions inspired by early 'pre-cinema' devices such as thaumatropes; these works again play at the threshold between movement and stillness.

(Fred Camper)


Source: Film Reference



Blazes, 2nd generation, flicker / strobe, handmade, Film


Art That Moves: The Work of Len Lye (2009) by Roger Horrocks, author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed 2001 Len Lye: A biography, shifts the focus from Len Lye's life to his art practice and innovative aesthetic theories about "the art of motion," which continue to be relevant today. Going beyond a general introduction to Len Lye and his artistic importance, this in-depth book offers a detailed study of his aesthetics of motion, analyzing how these theories were embodied in his sculptures and films. (Amazon)

Hans Richter - Activism, Modernism, and the Avant-Garde (2000) edited by Stephen C. Foster. Few artists spanned the movements of early twentieth-century art as completely as did Hans Richter. Richter was a major force in the developments of expressionism, Dada, De Stijl, constructivism, and Surrealism, and the creator, with Viking Eggeling, of the abstract cinema. Along with Theo van Doesburg, László Moholy-Nagy, El Lissitzky, and a few others, he is one of the artists crucial to an understanding of the role of the arts in the reconstruction era following World War I. (MIT Press)

Len Lye: A biography (2001) by Roger Horrock tells for the first time the story of an extraordinary New Zealander, a brilliant artist with an international career who never lost the informality, the energy, the independence of spirit of his South Pacific origins. Len Lye began as an unsettled working-class kid with limited prospects and became a leading modernist artist in London and New York. Roger Horrocks's exhaustive study of Lye has taken many years and is based on interviews with many of those close to the artist as well as on voluminous documentary sources. (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery)



ray vibration is a realtime audio-visual performance by Tina Tonagel, Christian Faubel and Ralf Schreiber. Three overhead projectors, three screens and three sound systems. Different electro-kinetic devices, machines and instruments are placed on the projectors. They produce movement and sound. The small sounds of what happens on the projectors are filtered, distorted and amplified. At the same time a triptych in cinemascope format displays magnified, filtered, distorted images of what happens on the screens/fresnel lenses of the projectors. (ray vibration)

Press + (2009) is the work of Benjamin Ducroz a mediagraphics designer at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. He used a variety of materials and sources including 3D, paper, inkjet printed frames, watercolors, water and ink to create this animation. (SkyBluePink)

Transforma (Baris Hasselbach, Luke Bennett and Simon Krahl), a Berlin based video artist collective, combine the momentum of VJ improvisation with the power of highly composed imagery and narrative. Transforma started producing experimental video art in 2001 and have been taking their imageworld and production processes to higher levels of absurdity ever since. They have worked on promos, concert video and live cinema approaches, in collaboration with Apparat and Funkstörung among others, and have VJed in clubs in Berlin and around Europe. (CueMixMagazine)

Telefante is formed by Luis Negrón van Grieken and Juan Carlos Orozco Velásquez. They put all kinds of media, new, old, forgotten, obsolete, overused, commercial, useless, all over the table, as if we were making a transversal cut through history. Simply it is about tell stories (new and old) through several media (new and old), with the aim to forget this unproductive dialectic and be able to capture the most difficult: the present. (Telefante)

Jemapur: AANAATT (2008) is a music video by Max Hattler is a sublime stop-motion animation that hearkens back to 40′s and 50′s abstract films through its geneological exploration of shape and movement with music. Using a static camera and zero digital effects, Hattler, whose previously celebrated films like Collision are definitely digital, adeptly moves into the arena of object stop-motion. In doing so he creates something as intricate and imaginative as I’ve seen in stop-motion’s modern renaissance. (Jason Sondhi)