Polychronic Collage

“Found-footage sf ought to be a contradiction in terms. It brings together a typically avant-garde or underground experimental cinematic practice with a typically mass cultural genre. Found footage manipulates pre-existent materials and is therefore oriented to the past, whilst sf cinema is often defined as ‘the designated cultural showplace for special effects’, the content and form constantly pushing at the technological limits of the cinematic present to imagine and realise the future. Found footage is sometimes called ‘film-making without a camera’ whilst sf cinema is ‘violently self-conscious’ about its constructed artifice’.

“If a found-footage sf can be conceived, it is because the refunctioning of materials through various montage effects levers open a new temporality along the very seam of juxtaposition and the cut. In nearly every case, found-footage sf is a revival of the montage aesthetic, rendering visible the labour of cinematic constructions as (in Eisenstein’s words) ‘an assembly of fragments constructed out of complete and autonomous parts’. There is actually something intrinsically science-fictional, one might say, in what the artist Max Almy calls the ‘polychronic collage’ of these hybrid instances of video art, ‘the ability of the frame to contain many planes of information, subject, image and even, concepts of time, such as present, past, future and dream within one space.'”

Roger Luckhurst, ‘Found-footage science fiction: five films by Craig Baldwin, Jonathan Weiss, Werner Herzog and Patrick Keiller’. Science Fiction Film & Television, 1 [2]: 193-214, 2008.

Image: Bruce Conner, Ten Second Film, 1965

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