Monday, July 13, 2020
Jonathan Walley and Erika Balsom on Expanded Cinema

Listen to the conversation here.

In 2003, scholar Jonathan Walley published what would become an influential and widely-cited essay in the journal October, “The Material of Film and the Idea of Cinema: Contrasting Practices in Sixties and Seventies Avant-Garde Film.” Walley argued against a reductive conception of cinematic materialism—the notion that the aesthetic consequence of experimental cinema resides primarily in an exploration of the celluloid medium and its unique properties—in order to account for pieces like Anthony McCall’s Long Film for Ambient Light, or Tony Conrad’s Yellow Movies, which essentially forgo the cinematographic apparatus, and yet are considered works of cinema by their makers.

A decade and a half later, Walley has continued this line of investigation in his important new book Cinema Expanded: Avant-Garde Film in the Age of Intermedia, published by Oxford University Press. Here Walley considers how the formal concerns of 1960s expanded cinema, such as the shift away from standard approaches to projection and screen surface, have evolved in the late-20th and early-21st century among a more recent generation of artists, including Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder, Jeanne Liotta, Bruce McClure, and Jennifer Reeves, to name only a few.

For our show this week, Walley is joined by fellow scholar Erika Balsom to discuss his research into cinema’s outer reaches.

Above: Takahisa Kosugi, Film & Film #4, 1965