var swf = document.createElement("script"); swf.onload = function() { setTimeout(function() { var fmovie = document.createElement("script"); UbuWeb Film & Video: Jennifer West - Film Title Poem (2016)
Jennifer West
Film Title Poem (2016)
9 minute excerpt from:
Jennifer West
Film Title Poem, 2016
35mm optical print hand-etch and painted, transferred to high-definition, sound
67 minutes, 40 seconds
Commissioned by Art Night London 2016, presented by ICA London, Curated by Kathy Noble
Originally presented in St Mary Le Strand church as part of Art Night London, Film Title Poem is an etched, hand-painted 35mm digitized film comprised of collaged words, images, patterns and glitches shot from over 500 movie title cards to a musical soundtrack. West describes the film as 'a psychic montage of my inner-history of film in alphabetical order.';

Jennifer West“s Film Title Poem (2016) proposes a personal ABC of cinema, from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) to Hollis Frampton's Zorns Lemma (1970). In between: Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963), Michael Wilson's blacklisted Salt of the Earth (1954), Thom Andersen's The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015), Lizzie Borden's Working Girls (1986), Hollywood comedies such as Bridesmaids (Paul Feig, 2011) and Sister Act (Emile Ardolino, 1992), to name only a few. A genuine account of a life watching films, but also an inclusive, democratizing gesture which erases traditional distinctions of 'genre', nationality and historical period. There's no 'high' and 'low' art here. No mainstream and avant-garde. Every film gets the same treatment and place. The order, determined by an algorithm, leads to titles as seemingly diverse as Aelita (Yakov Protazanov, 1924), After Hours (Martin Scorsese, 1985), Altered States (Ken Russell, 1980), Amy (Asif Kapadia, 2015) and Marcel Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema (1926) being brought together by the arbitrariness of alphabetical order. The contradictory associations and tensions between these titles and the memories that they evoke are coherent with a long tradition of West Coast experimental filmmaking done in dialogue with Hollywood productions. Jennifer West was born in Topanga, California, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, where avant-garde filmmakers' from Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger in the 1940s, to Morgan Fisher, Thom Andersen or Lewis Klahr today often refer to Hollywood in their work.

Film Title Poem is comprised of over 500 film title cards. They have been reshot while apparently illuminated by flashlight, an effect which makes them 'emerge' from the darkness of the film theatre (of memory?) and appear brought back to life. These sequences are superimposed with drawings that have been etched and hand-painted on to 35 mm film. The drawings are interventions that activate the film titles, responding visually to their graphic shape and meaning. Vertical, horizontal, diagonal lines. Circles. Squares. Holes. Words. Scrawls and scribbles that cheekily energize the title cards, and which were inscribed using unconventional tools such as forks, shards of mirrors and hole punchers. The drawings propose a direct dialogue between the gestures of avant-garde cinema with which they are associated from Norman McLaren and Len Lye to Isidore Isou, Stan Brakhage and Carolee Schneemann and the 'official' film history to which many of the film titles belong. The drawings also come to embody the artist's gesture of appropriation, referring not only to West's individual memory of film and her relationship to specific titles, but also to the artistic appropriation of a mainstream form of media production through the means of the artisanal and the domestic.' -Maria Palacios Cruz, 'C is for Celluloid' Essay in Art Night: Expanding the Cities Boudaries (2017)

This work is part of a wider project considering the idea of the 'remembered' film and how fiction weaves itself into our lives and memories and how our viewing experience, and thus memories, has changed with the digital and Internet revolutions.