Experimental Film Between Pedagogy and Practice

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    In 1975 Peter Wollen published his article ‘The Two Avant-Gardes’. There he proposed that two experimental cinemas were at work in Europe, with one centred around a coop movement of avant-garde filmmakers like Peter Gidal, Malcolm Le Grice, and Birgit Hein and the other around experimental auteurs like Godard and the team of Straub and Huillet, all of whom worked in a more commercial, feature-length format that typically relied on narrative. Wollen’s piece has remained well-cited showing that it is still useful today. Much has changed since Wollen’s 1975 essay. Wollen’s first avant-garde has, now loosely divided into two fluidly interconnected coop communities: the grassroots communities that have gathered around DIY spaces and microcinemas, and a more institutionalized avant-garde that has operated through colleges, universities, museums, and the major media arts centres. A core of the grassroots coop communities are Artist run film labs based on a DIY culture which partly gives attention to materiality, such emphasis is not a reactionary return to modernist arguments of medium-specificity in an attempt to maintain film in the digital era; but rather as a way of adapting to celluloid’s unstable cultural position by establishing new practices and approaches that often looks to connect the digital with the analog.

    Can such a community/culture be considered avant-garde and if so in what way is such a culture avant-garde? In what way does it look to push forward and open up new possibilities and what are the inherent dangers it faces not least that of its own obsolescence?
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2017
    EventSensibility & The Senses - Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, PARIS, France
    Duration: 29 Jun 20171 Jul 2017


    ConferenceSensibility & The Senses
    Internet address


    • Experimental Film
    • Analogue Film
    • Analogue Film Co-op's


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