Thursday, 4 November 2010

Owen Land/George Landow - Remedial Reading Comprehension [1970]

I came across Owen Land in Malcolm Le Grice's Abstract Film and Beyond. Owen Land was then known as George Landow (not to be confused with  George Landow Professor of English and Art History at Brown University). In Le Grice's book  there is a still from Remedial Reading Comprehension on page 139. It was of the sequence featuring a page of a book where we can see part of the sentence "to pupil is an emot". The rest of the text is blurred.  The page is part of a montage which also includes the face of a sleeping woman.

Le Grice is concerned with the way in which the film addresses the audience directly “giving instructions, asking questions or proclaiming blandly ‘this is a film about you- not about its maker’, it forces the audience to recognize the apparent surface intentions, like the instructions to participate in a way which cannot be complied with, are ‘not’ the subject of the work. They are a provocative demonstration that the audience must treat film, however subjectively structured by the film-maker, as raw material for their own use. This is a demand that film should be approached sceptically counteracting unquestioned acceptance of the film’s authority” (Le Grice, 1977 p.139-40). 

 I like this from the Harvard Gazette: "In several of these films, Land constructs facades of reality, often directly addressing the viewer using the language of television, advertising, or educational films".

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