Fred Worden: When Worlds Collude (Lecture & Screening) (Sonic Acts XIII, 2010)
Lecture: After Hours in the Cerebral Kitchen. Relations among time, space and motion have befuddled thinkers since at least the time of Zeno and his paradoxes. With the invention of cinema came a promiscuous new tool for staging various thought experiments on how best to understand the complex and often slippery interrelations among these terms. The lecture hypothesizes a cinematic space where time and motion can disengage from the theatrics of lens-based representations and dance to their own dematerialized tunes. Adopting the model of the cooking shows that proliferate on American cable television, filmmaker Fred Worden assembles a selection of hand picked ingredients then carefully stirs them together in an effort to produce his own irresistible dish of optical cuisine. Among the ingredients going into the pot: apparent motion, including both the phi and beta varieties, a fresh consideration of the role of illusion in cinema which distinguishes between cine-illusions that simply dissemble and those that illuminate through the transparency of their dissembling, a consideration of acoustic motion as a precursor and prototype model for an ‘abstract’ visual motion (characterized here as both ‘directionless’ and ‘objectless’ visual motion), the secret recipe for converting black frames from inert null spaces to energized catalysts to perception, the cinematic possibilities for entraining the nervous system and the aspirational differences between a cinema of ideas and a cinema of direct experiences. The proof will be in the pudding. You be the judge. Screening: When Worlds Collude, 2008, 13 mins. ‘Is there, we ask, some secret language which we feel and see but never speak, and, if so, could this be made visible to the eye? Is there any characteristic which thought possesses that can be rendered visible without the help of words?’ Virginia Woolf, The Cinema, 1926. An experimental film structured as a kind of specialized playground in which highly representational images are freed from their duties to refer to things outside of themselves. The images run free in their new lightness making unforeseeable, promiscuous connections with each other and developing an inexplicable, non-parsable plot line that runs along with all the urgency of any good thriller. When worlds collude, something outside of description is always just about to happen. Fred Worden (US) has been involved in experimental cinema since the 1970s. His work develops from his interest in how a stream of still pictures passing through a projector at a speed meant to overwhelm the eyes, might be harnessed to purposes other than representation or naturalism.