martes, 7 de febrero de 2012

Studies for the Decay of the West - Klaus Wyborny

Klaus Wyborny | Germany | 1979/2010 | 80m
color | sound | Super 8 transferred to DigiBeta
A Music Film in five parts

1: Tiring; tumbling towards the end
 7 parts, edited directly in the camera, shot in the Ruhr (spring 1980) (10m, 30 sec)

2: Serene; in the way of ants
 13 parts (6 double-exposed) shot in the same way in the Ruhr (1980) (11m, 16 sec)

3: Classical; radiant with glory 
8 parts (4 double-exposed) in the Ruhr (1980) and Athens (1991) (9m, 32 sec)

4: About the Light of the North
 13 parts (8 double-exposures) in Hamburg (1983/84), La Gomera (1984) and East Africa (1981/82) (20m), 
with an intermezzo “Out of New York” (1987) (12m)

5: From the New World
 16 parts shot in Hamburg (1984), Rimini (1990), Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio (1979) 
(13m, 48 sec)

Total number of shots: 6.299
Wyborny’s latest flicker film concentrates on factories, industrial wastelands, waterways, cityscapes, and the bits in between, and has an uncanny emotional resonance. It is “serene, in the manner of ants”—to quote the title of the second section—but it is also elegiac and melancholy. Like two other old cranks (Godard and Straub), the director stays true to ideas about filmic composition gestated over many years and thereby provides a glimpse of a utopian cinema.—Thom Andersen, Film Comment, Jan/Feb 2011
In Wyborny's "musical film," every new sound triggers a new image: 6,299 shots, all directly edited within his Super-8 camera. An intoxicating, stroboscopic trip to industrial, natural and urban landscapes in East Africa, New York, the Ruhr region and Rimini.
This experimental music film refers to Oswald Spengler’s world-famous 1918 philosophical work The Decay of the West. Culture pessimist Spengler argues that progress is an illusion and that the modern era brings little good. People are no longer able to understand the rationality of the world. Wyborny does not set out to make a film version of Spengler's theories, but rather a visual reflection on the modern age; a stroboscopic journey in five parts to industrial, natural and urban landscapes. He uses 6,299 shots, edited directly in a Super-8 camera. Each piano note and violin vibrato evokes a new image: demolished buildings, rubble, destruction and nature. This film forms a counterpart to Wyborny’s previous films series Eine andere Welt. Lieder der Erde II (2004/2005).
"Perhaps in the spirit of the end-of-the-world themes of several of the festival's main slate entries, Views includes Studies for the Decay of the West (1979-2010) by veteran German filmmaker Klaus Wyborny," writes Tony Pipolo in his overview of the series for Artforum. "Few of Wyborny's works are known in the US. Even Birth of a Nation (1973), his first major piece, is rarely screened. Studies is divided into five parts whose titles suggest more distinction among them than one might discern at an initial viewing…. The most striking formal aspect of the work is that Wyborny has edited his images in nearly perfect synchrony with a musical score he composed for piano and strings. In the silent era, Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling composed films based on musical principles (e.g., rhythms of repetition and variation), and in the sound era, the Disney studios animated graphic shapes to classic musical pieces. But to my knowledge, I don't think anyone has timed the editing of filmed images of the world — iron structures, concrete buildings, beaches, waterfronts, apartment buildings, waterways, people, and so forth — to the notations and phrases of a musical composition. In many instances (further viewings would indicate how extensively), images are repeated in sync with the repetition of the musical note first associated with them. At nearly eighty minutes, the effectiveness of this may tend to lose force, but I found the work even more seductive on second viewing."