Video - Select Previews and Related Clips

Prints are being provided by Canyon Cinema (San Francisco), The Film-Maker's Cooperative (NYC), and the private collections of Sprocket Society members.
All films will be shown in their original 16mm film format, using a 1,000 watt theatrical projector.
But the streaming video clips below offer a taste of several of the films that will be shown. We've also included a couple related extras.

Invocation of My Demon Brother
Kenneth Anger
Improvised synthesizer soundtrack by Mick Jagger

In 1967, after the theft of the irreplaceable master print of the nearly-completed Lucifer Rising, Kenneth Anger took out full-page ads in major publications proclaiming his death, then announced he would no longer make films.

Two years later in 1969, he released Invocation of My Demon Brother, a full-blown assault on the senses, saturated with occult ritual, complex symbolism, superimposed imagery, and the infamously merciless score improvised by Mick Jagger on an early Moog synthesizer.

The film's cast includes Bobby Beausolei, who gained infamy that very year as an associate of the Manson Family.

After this film, Anger put away his camera; ostensibly his final cinema statement, forever. Yet 11 years later he released another film — a spectacular "reincarnation" of the lost Lucifer Rising.

The video clip at right includes audio commentary by Kenneth Anger. The film being shown at Heavy Visuals '69 will have the original, unaltered soundtrack (with no commentary).

The audio commentary in this clip will not be part of the Heavy Visuals program.

Le Labyrinthe
Piotr Kamler
Electronic score by Bernard Parmegiani

In Le Labyrinthe, Piotr Kamler fluidly combines the Alexeieff pinscreen, drawn art, physical animation, rotoscoping, and multiple exposures -- sometimes dozens of layers deep. Kamler's films are very rarely screened, and we are pleased to present an excellent print at Heavy Visuals '69.

The impressive original electronic score is by Bernard Parmegiani, one of the great tape music and acousmatic composers, mentored by Pierre Schaeffer himself.

Except for his monumental feature film Chronopolis (1981), Polish animator Piotr Kamler is almost completely unknown in the US, even among the art-film cognoscenti. In fact, during the 1960s and '70s he created some of the most breathtakingly strange and excellent animation ever.

During those years, Kamler worked in Paris for a small division of French national television that was directed by Pierre Schaeffer, the legendary composer and father of musique concrèt (tape music).

Kamler was commissioned to create short films using the music of the experimental sound artists and composers in the same institute. This included most of the leading electronic composers of the time: Ivo Malec, Luc Ferrari, Bernard Parmegiani, and others.

Program note: The 16mm print we will be showing is a nearly pristine copy.

Video stream via

The player will show in this paragraph

Our Lady of the Sphere
Larry Jordan

Larry Jordan is one of the legendary names of avant garde animation, who has influenced cinema not only through his films, but also through his involvement in the co-op distribution network.

Between 1960 and 1974, he produced a total of eleven animated films, celebrated for their surreal beauty and exacting craftsmanship. Our Lady of the Sphere (at right) is widely considered to be his best (though Jordan himself disagrees).

Probing deeply into the interior world of the subconscious, Jordan employs the process of free association to construct his dream-like imagery using two-dimensional and three-dimensional collage animation.

During high school in Denver, he was chums with Stan Brakhage, appearing in several of his early films. He studied film at Harvard, and was mentored as an assistant to artist and filmmaker Joseph Cornell. Jordan then moved to San Francisco and established himself as a filmmaker there. His films have won dozens of international awards, are taught in college film courses around the globe, and were recently anthologized in a comprehensive DVD box set.

Currently, in addition to producing animated films, Jordan is a member of the board of trustees of the American Film Institute and head of the film department at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Beatles Electronique
Jud Yalkut and Name June Paik
Music: "Four Loops" by Ken Werner

Also playing at Heavy Visuals '69 by the same artists: "Electronic Moon no. 2"

The Heavy Visuals '69 program includes two very short films from the PAIKPIECES series: Electronic Moon no. 2 (guest-starring Charlotte Mormon's match-lit breast) and Beatles Electronique (which can be viewed at right in a very low-bitrate clip).

In Beatles Electronique, film loops of Beatles TV performance kinescope footage were videotaped, combined with other video sources, then manipulated in the control room. Additionally, Paik used electro-magnets and other techniques to distort the monitor itself. All of this was filmed by Yalkut, and edited into this short film. The soundtrack, "Four Loops" by Ken Werner, was made using four electronically altered loops of Beatles sound recordings.

During 1968-1969, Jud Yalkut filmed and reinterpreted Paik's constant experimenting in a rapidly-made series of very short films. In 1969, Yalkut combined these into a 45 minute collection titled PAIKPIECES.

"One of the most influential filmmakers making experimental cinema in New York in the 1960s was Jud Yalkut... Since then, Yalkut has gone on to consolidate an enviable reputation as one of the most important metamedia artists in American independent cinema." (Wheeler Winston Dixon, The Exploding Eye, 1997)

Nam June Paik is widely considered to be the first video artist, beginning his experiments in 1963 while living in Germany. He was a close friend and collaborator with John Cage, deeply involved in the Fluxus art movement, and a celebrated prankster. Through various means and grants, he was able to work at WGBH in Boston and WNET in NYC, at MIT's labs, and with other engineers he met along the way.

In these filmed works and improvisations by Paik, he was experimenting with new ways of manipulating the video signal itself. In 1970, this work led to Paik and Shuya Abe building the first video synthesizer, piecing it together from cannibalized gear from disparate systems. This led directly to a series of landmark, brilliant, and often hilariously bizarre works of video art. Incredibly, a number were nationally broadcast on PBS.

The video synthesizer and all of Paik's work with video imaging has had lasting impact, down to the CGI effects of today.

Sorry: a very low-quality video capture.

Moon 1969
Scott Bartlett

Scott Bartlett, working at the time with Tom DeWitt, merged film and video in a way that had never been done before, fusing the acid-drenched psychedelic sensibility of the Summer of Love with then-futuristic TV technology.

Moon 1969 (originally simply "Moon") was completed two months before the Apollo 11 landing. It had started out as a remake of his earlier film, A Trip to the Moon (after the 1902 Georges Melies sci-fi epic).

"Moon is a beautiful, eerie, haunting film, a product of the New Surrealism, all the more wonderful for the fact that we do not actually see the moon... The film contains some of the most spectacular manipulations of video techniques Bartlett had yet achieved, sending fiery rainbows into a cloudy sky, transforming men and rockets into shattering crystals, creating a portrait of the cosmos in continual metamorphosis." (Gene Youngblood, Expanded Cinema, 1970)

In it, Bartlett takes a more directed, intentional approach than in his previous film. As you can hopefully tell from the video at right, OFFON (1968) is an anarchic explosion of imagery, video feedback, processed kinescopes, and other control room mayhem. But whereas OFFON was a purely visual quasi-improvisation made in 3 hours, Moon 1969 is following a theme (however abstractly).

Related film (not being shown) - made just before the film we are actually screening.

Binary Bit Patterns
Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney's Binary Bit Patterns was one of the very first handful to be made entirely using digital computer-created imagery. An adapted microfilm printer was attached to the computer, and the film printed frame by frame. This was then optically printed to create color effects.

Michael Whitney is one of three filmmaking sons of John Whitney Sr., legendary pioneer of computer-assisted animation.

In the mid-'60s, John Whitney was approached by IBM to do experimental animations using cutting-edge new digital imaging systems. Very little of this had only been done, all of it had been rudimentary.

One of the results was the film at right, Permutations, completed in 1966. It was one of the very first animations created entirely inside a digital computer, with no external image sources. Programmed in GRAF and FORTRAN using an IBM 360 computer, it was filmed directly off the black and white monitor. Color was later added using an optical printer.

Michael Whitney used a variation of the same program to make Binary Bit Patterns three years later.

Related film (not being shown) - using an earlier version of the same custom software