[New Avant-Garde Movement Project]

Les Astronautes (Chris Marker and Walerian Borowczyk, 1959

The Avant-Garde

Within a set of historical circumstances, cinema, an ever-capital-intensive, production-dependent art form, has been continually evolving ever since. Commercial cinema has taken a Taylor-Fordist route in producing films whereby films as mass produced following a standardized code of instructions. Like an industrial factory, each role in the process of film making is bounded tightly by his functions. This mode of production brought the exapansion of Hollywood cinema in the 30s and 40s. This also provided the stability of many Asian cinemas like Japan, India and Philippines in the 50s and 60s. This rigidity in structure has standardized the aesthetics of commercial cinema to be mass-oriented and perceptually easy to understand. This has become the norm of cinema since its inception.

Avant-garde cinema works opposite to the 'Taylor-Fordist model of rationalized production'. In avant-garde, the route of production comes from the framework that cinema is an art form and therefore follows the mutability of art to produce contiguous, non-normative forms. There is less alienation in the mode of productions, often leading to less defined roles and functions. Avant-garde should not be confused with the general independently produced films, but it is a sub-class of independently produced films without funding and financing from the commercial studios. Whereas most independently produced films may have commercial appeal as most American independents today appears have, avant-garde films have no commercial qualities. They are devoid of lavishness, grandiosity and dependency to the star system of the commercial cinema. They are anti-thesis of commercial films in terms of economic power.

Avant-garde films centers on experimentation and creation of new form and styles. Avant-garde films non-conformity to the commercial cinema aesthetics aid them to explore the possibilities of film language continuum making them innovators of expression and approaches to film making. This tradition pushes the envelop of film making which precipitates to the normative language of commercial cinema. Perhaps this transfer and influence of ideas to commercial cinema and other areas of cinema makes avant-garde cinema an indispensable part of cinema.

Without the avant-garde, cinema will not push forward.

The Project
from Diary of a Pregnant Woman 
(L'opéra-mouffe, Agnes Varda, 1958)

The project focuses on the exhibition of lesser known works of a new type of avant-garde: the avant-garde based on the current technology we have - the internet. Distribution of avant-garde has become easy with today's technology. With more and more works produced every year uploaded in VIMEO and YouTube, a new revolution is taking place. What strikes this new phase in avant-garde cinema is that most of its filmmakers are not institutionally recognized nor their works were mostly publicly exhibited in film festival. This new voices produce extremely personal films chronicling mostly their lives and the everyday. This path to cinema can be traced to the grass-roots of cinema. It was 1895 when Lumiere brothers started capturing the everyday and branded these recordings as movies. Devoid of automatize and invented movement, the Lumiere captured the look of the everyday: an arrival of a train, workers walking out of a factory and occasional banters of a gardener with a garden hose. Opposite to this was the wonders of George Melies in his experiments with the 'magic' of images. Melies created his own images and modified this images to create an illusion. Like Lumiere brothers and Melies, avant-garde filmmakers today are immersed in documenting the mundane aura of the everyday (Lumiere) but are drawn to experimentation (Melies).

For the next few months, AUDITOIRE will be exhibiting a series of films by avant-garde filmmakers. I hope you get to see them one by one and experience each.