Lux Algebra

Side/Walk/Shuttle, Ernie Gehr

Algebra is the branch of mathematics that studies the combination of elements of abstract structures according to certain rules. In this edition we appropriate a word that evokes science to play within programming with the different expressions that the algebra of light -that is, the algebra of cinema- can have. For cinema is a temporary art, in which montage and structure (and its combinatorial rules) are basic pillars.

The structural cinema, then, is one of the guides of programming. First, as it was canonically understood in that great wave generated in the 70s, through the work of Ernie Gehr and Kurt Kren: that cinema stripped of narration and whose first reason for being is the form, often predetermined, as it was broadly categorized by P. Adams Sitney, or “structural-materialist” cinema as described by Peter Gidal, where the very essence of the film medium and its qualities dictates the content of the film. Second, we also want to expand that concept towards new authors and towards other ways of working with the idea of ​​pattern and structure, material and content. A base that within its rigor, has given some of the most beautiful and fascinating films in the history of cinema.


But let’s take it bit by bit. On the other side of the Atlantic, one of the primordial figures of that “canonical” structural cinema is Ernie Gehr. A filmmaker whose influence is difficult to draw justly even today, and who precisely addressed the issue of perception and narration (or rather its total annihilation). Gehr is a minimalist pioneer, who pursues the film image as light and pure matter, as an independent entity and not as a representation or story. As he himself says, he cultivates “the idea of ​​using cinema to reeducate perception, often making us stop so we can truly see and hear.” In this edition he will be present and there will be several sessions: one about his most emblematic films, from the 70s to the 90s, another about his work in video, which he carries out from the first 2000s; also a master class in which he will talk about his process as a filmmaker from the beginning, and an installation at the Luis Seoane Foundation since May 14.

Asylum, Kurt Kren

On this side of the ocean, one of the essential names of structural cinema is the Austrian Kurt Kren. In Austria and the world, Peter Kubelka cultivated greater notoriety (especially thanks to his inclusion in the book Visionary Film), while Kurt Kren, who died in 1998, lived and filmed in the punk way, even being a filmmaker and a visionary as important (or even more) as Kubelka. Already in the late 50’s he began to experiment with editing and sound, and a large part of his work is a meticulous work in many cases frame by frame, often planned according to premises that Kren noted in detailed diagrams. A selection of his most purely structural works (another important aspect of his work are the films he made with Viennese Activists) can be seen in (S8), presented by the British filmmaker and researcher Nicky Hamlyn, who has recently edited with Simon Payne and AL Rees the book Kurt Kren: Structural Films.

Degrees of Limitation, Scott Stark

Austin-based American Scott Stark would represent the next generation of filmmakers concerned with the patterns and construction of the film. Stark began working in the 80s, in films planned according to a kind of “rule of the game”: in each film Stark poses a situation, establishes premises, embraces experimentation. From films that have more to do with performance (from emulating Jane Fonda in a parking lot to playing with the patterns of a television in low resolution, or experimenting with the architectural forms and their composition) to the most purely formal, taking advantage of the properties of the video, 16mm and 35mm. MoMA, Pacific Film Archive, San Francisco Cinematheque and Filmforum (Los Angeles) have organized monographs on Stark’s work which we will be able to see in two sessions, as well as a performance.

Tamalpais, Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy, originally from Maryland and living in Toronto, where he is also in charge of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers, begins working in the 2000s. His work would be an expression in the present of these structural concerns, rooted in an extensive knowledge of the history of experimental cinema based on his work as a programmer (from the Images Festival for a few years, and from the monthly cycle Early Monthly Segments and the TIFF now). From his concern for the framing, and how its presentation in the cinema affects the perception of the world, Kennedy has composed a work as varied as rigorous, fruit of a long reflection on the image in motion, a quality that does not prevent the passage to the visual richness and the sensuality of the images.

Patterns of Interference, Ian Helliwell

The sound has been a fascinating field of work if we talk about structure in the cinema. The filmmaker, researcher and curator Albert Alcoz has prepared in this sense a session under the title “Patterns of interference. Sound and structure” that collects current and historical works. From the Austrian Johan Lurf to the Spanish Alberto Cabrera Bernal, from the mythical American Barry Spinello to the “mad scientist” British Ian Helliwell, or Blanca Rego from A Coruña.

As Much Time as Space, Katja Mater

The program closes with the session “Meter and rhyme”, in which we also connect past and present in works that examine the idea of ​​pattern and structure: from its most graphic sense, regarding the framing of the works, to its applications of montage. From the amazing overlappings of the Canadian Alexandre Larose, to the world decomposed in diagrams by Paul Glabicki, to the frenetic animation of Jodie Mack or to the “metric” ideas of the Argentines Pablo Marín and Federico Lanchares, among others.

Diagrama de Kurt Kren para 2/60 48 Heads from the Szondi-Test

In the exhibition section, the exhibition “Cinema on paper” links different films with the diagrams that their directors used to prepare them: works of art in themselves, which help to appreciate and better understand this idea of ​​structure that moves programming of this edition. The graphic expression of what we then see as a moving image in a temporal continuum, revealing the “source code” of the films of filmmakers such as Lis Rhodes, Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, Rose Lowder, Kurt Kren, Bill Brand, Dóra Mauer and R. Bruce Elder.