By P. Adams Sitney
Sitney analyzes intimately the paintings of 11 American avant-garde filmmakers as heirs to the aesthetics of excitement and leading edge imaginative and prescient articulated via Ralph Waldo Emerson and explored by way of John Cage, Charles Olson and Gertrude Stein. the flicks mentioned span the sixty years because the moment international struggle. With 3 chapters each one dedicated to Stan Brakhage and Robert Beavers, every one to Hollis Frampton and Jonas Mekas, and unmarried chapters on Marie Menken, Ian Hugo, Andrew Noren, Warren Sonbert, Su Friedrich, Ernie Gehr, and Abigail baby, Eyes Upside Down is the fruit of Sitney's lifelong examine of visionary aspirations within the American avant-garde cinema.
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Extra resources for Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers and the Heritage of Emerson
The black-and-white ﬁlm they made is a competent, even-paced work, made up of something under thirty shots of sidewalks—mostly well-worn and cracked concrete, but including tiled and cemented brick surfaces—ﬁlmed from a height of about three feet, looking straight down, with a steadily moving camera. Generally the image sways slightly from left to right and back and the surface passes from the top of the screen out the bottom; sometimes the movement follows large cracks. The sudden appearance of gutter drains and manhole covers give a strong graphic punctuation to the ﬁrm, even pace.
He mined it for several of his most important theoretical texts. In the most condensed statement of his poetics, “Letter to Elaine Feinstein,” he responded to her inquiry about the status of imagery in his concept of the poem: You wld know already I’m buggy on say the Proper Noun, so much so I wld take it Pun is Rime, all from tope/type/trope, that built in is the connection, in each of us, to Cosmos, and if one taps, via psyche, plus a “true” adherence of Muse, one does reveal “Form”35 Packed into this sentence are several dimensions of Olson’s aesthetics as he articulated them in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
14 eyes upside down Hollis Frampton will take, completing Stein, as I show when I discuss his narrative theory in chapter 7. Since the late 1960s, John Cage has expressed his Emersonianism largely through the mediation of Emerson’s ﬁrst disciple, Henry David Thoreau. Cage wrote in his “Preface to ‘Lecture on the Weather’ ”: “No greater American has lived than Thoreau. Emerson called him a speaker and actor of the truth. Other great men have vision. Thoreau had none. Each day his eyes and ears were open and empty to see and hear the world he lived in.