Word Movie (Fluxfilm 29) 


is a 4-minute silent short film by Paul Sharits. Approximately 50 words visually repeated in varying sequential and positioned relationships, each frame being a different word or word fragment.

Paul Sharits describes his shortest film, the 3 3/4 minute Word Movie/Flux Film 29 in Film Makers’ Cooperative Catalog No. 5: "…approximately 50 words visually repeated in varying sequential and positional relationships/spoken word sound track/structurally, each frame being a different word or word fragment…" As a brief example, the letter c remains positionally fixed in the frame, serving as structure for each different word frame, as with:






And so on, shifting from one letter cycle to another in this fashion throughout the film. A two-colour flicker system, alternating one colour per frame, back and forth through a letter cycle and then changing one or both colours on the nest letter cycle, correlates with the word system. 


More than any of Paul Sharits' flicker films, Word Movie most closely literalizes the flicker effect of the shutter mechanism through its use of the separate word for each frame coupled with the single frame units of colour. The word structure as a single unit becomes an analogue for the individual film frame. And at the same time as serving that function, the word emphasizes the screen frame perimeters as certain words are horizontally cut off by the frame line. But the word structure serves in another film analogy, one which is in contrast to the word/frame comparison. Paul Sharits completes the above catalogues description, saying: "…the individual optically-conceptually fuse into one 3 3/4 minute long word," the length of the film. Later at Millennium (December 26, 1970), he contrasted it to the symmetrical mandala films, saying that "Word Movie feels like a straight line going through time."  

("Paul Sharits: Illusion and Object" by Regina Cornwell in Artforum Vol. X No. 1, September 1971)


Source: Mike Hoolboom



Word Movie (Fluxfilm 29), typography, Film


Paul Sharits (2008) edited by Yann Beauvais. Known primarily for his experimental cinema and pictorial works, Paul Sharits developed an oeuvre that evolved around two central themes: one, closely related to music and the world of abstraction, the other, within the psychological and emotional arena of the figurative. This complete monograph, drawn from a recent exhibition, explores the connections between these two practices, and in addition provides a general introduction to a remarkable body of work. Illustrated throughout, the monograph also includes several essays, texts by Paul Sharits and interviews. (les presses du réel)



Konzerthaus Dortmund: Typofonie (2006) by Hamburg-based design studio tisch eins.

Konzerthaus Dortmund: Symphony In Red (2007) by Hamburg-based motion house Sehsucht have created the mesmerising spot for Konzerthaus Dortmund through the agency Jung von Matt. Jung von Matt approached Sehsucht with the brief, "Liquid Blood" and as luck would have it their director Niko Tziopanos had just spent a semester with his design students experimenting with "Ink as medium and form for animation". Music by Fazil Say. (Motionographer)

Free Radicals (1958) - In arguably his greatest film, Len Lye reduced the medium to its most basic elements – light in darkness – by scratching designs on black film. His scratches were as energetic as lightning in the night sky. He used a variety of scribers ranging from dental tools to an ancient Native American arrow-head, and synchronized the images to traditional African music ("a field tape of the Bagirmi tribe"). (centre for art tapes)

Passagen (2009) is the documentation of the video installation by Lichtfront created for an exhibition during the interiour design week called Passagen in Cologne 2009. (Lichtfront on Vimeo)

Eye 76 (2010) is Eye's first-ever special issue on the dynamic and continually inspiring sector of design for music. Designers are in a privileged position to add visual drama to music; to make it more understandable and enjoyable; to communicate the intangible essence of vibrating air molecules into the worlds of words, images and moving graphics. Design can make music look good, but when they really work together you have magic. (Eye magazine)