One of the major yet still underappreciated heroes of the American Experimental cinema of the 1970s and 80s, Philadelphia-based artist Peter Rose has created a body of work fusing his interest in the nature of the physical film frame itself with the humor of invented languages and idioms. Rose is a master of the optical printer, which he used to combine as many as 25 separately photographed 16mm images into each frame. In Analogies, Rose uses this technique to break down his “Godardian movements” (in the words of Amos Vogel), creating something akin to filmic cubism. The Man Who Could Not See Far Enough utilizes the same technique (and more!) alongside an autobiographical narrative. It is a film that can move from a solar eclipse to a first person perspective climbing the Golden Gate Bridge in intricate patterns all to investigate the act of seeing.
With the final three films, Rose reveals his increased interest in language and the written word. Secondary Currents uses only a black screen and white text as its image accompanied by voiceover. As the film proceeds, language begins to fail until the screen is entirely filled with letters devoid of meaning. Pressures of the Text highlights another amusement with language. Rose himself performs a parody of the professorial lecture, exaggerating academic jargon to such a fever pitch that he begins to speak in a convincing form of gibberish. SpiritMatters presents a similar game where text presented horizontally as a photographed image and also painted on the film frame itself running vertically, playing tricks on our perception while constantly service as a reminder of film’s dual existence as both a record and an object.
Analogies: Studies in the Movement of Time / Peter Rose / 1977 / 14 min / 16mm
The Man Who Could Not See Far Enough / Peter Rose / 1981 / 32 min / 16mm
Secondary Currents / Peter Rose / 1982 / 16 min / 16mm
The Pressures of the Text / Peter Rose / 1983 / 17 min / Digital Video
SpiritMatters / Peter Rose / 1984 / 6 min / 16mm
Tickets: $10 at the door.