This presentation and discussion provides an overview of experimental film from the 1960s and beyond. It explores the various motivations behind experimental filmmaking as an oppositional and radical departure from conventional filmmaking practices. Experimental film is daringly non-commercial, non-narrative and low-budget cinema. The program also addresses the various aesthetic techniques utilized by avant-garde filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Peter Kubelka, Hans Richter and Maya Deren. These techniques include painting on or scratching film, exploring abstraction and surrealism, along with other unorthodox and free-form methods. The presentation features Pip Chodorov’s 2012 playful documentary essay Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film. Come and learn, or unlearn, what you know about film.
David Gracon is a media activist, video maker and scholar. He is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., and has since the mid-’90s invested in post-punk, indie, experimental music scenes, zine communities and college radio, as well as activist-orientated experimental film, video and documentary communities and collectives. Since 1997, his documentary and experimental film and video works have screened at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Seattle Underground Film Festival, Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center (Buffalo, N.Y.), Squeaky Wheel: Buffalo Media Resources, Pacic Cinematheque (Vancouver, Canada), Sarah Lawrence College Experimental Film and Video Festival and many others venues. Gracon completed a Ph.D. in communication and society at the University of Oregon and an M.A. and B.A. at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) in media studies and sociology. He is an assistant professor in the department of communication studies at Eastern, where he teaches classes in critical media studies and digital media production.