Visual Arts Program
 


Friday, March 10 — Friday, April 28

Renée Lear

Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF

Renée Lear - <em>Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF</em>
Renée Lear - <em>Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF</em>
Renée Lear - <em>Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF</em>
Renée Lear - <em>Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF</em>
Renée Lear - <em>Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF</em>
Renée Lear - <em>Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF</em>

In Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF, Vertov's pioneering film Man with a Movie Camera is meticulously reorganized and reconfigured spatially as a series of animated GIF montages, projected large scale. One complete viewing of the GIF montages runs well over three hours—far exceeding the length of its source—contains every shot in the film, edit for edit, offering viewers an alternate way to experience this revolutionary film.

Lear's impetus for this project comes from observing the virtuosic and future-proofed editing style of the film's editor, Elizaveta Svilova (commonly known as "Dziga Vertov's wife", but arguably one of the most prolific and important editors in the history of cinema). The 1929 film is famously a silent, black and white, montage-style documentary of "a day in the life" in the Soviet Union, employing every known and unknown shot relationship from graphic and temporal to associational and metaphoric. Svilova's editing not only anticipates the animated GIF with her quick edits that see one action through to its completion, but also turns it on its head, pushing the GIF into that which it is typically not: a cinematic shot only one or two frames long.

Vertov's theory of the interval, a driving force in the original film, is the primary logic used to construct Lear's GIF montages. To Vertov, the interval is the movement between shots and is determined by careful attention to the visual correlation of one shot to another. By turning the shots into GIFs and reconfiguring them spatially within a frame, the shot is looped and the interval now becomes the simultaneous moment of the shot's beginning and end. When assembled into GIF montages, the interval does double-duty as the movement between shots across a space, creating new rhythms and new visual connections.

What does it mean to dismantle a film of such historical significance—one that comprises an absolute system of cinematic language—and then rebuild it as a series of animated GIFs? GIFs function as the quintessential distraction and as that which demands our closest attention to the smallest detail…over and over again. Lear's interest resides in the utopian dimensions of both functions: GIFs that distract us from the larger context so that we can now attend to the absurd fragment and GIFs that compel us to seriously analyze them with a care that only methodical repetition enables. For Lear, this combination of surface and depth (play and rigor) represents an effective model for experiencing the world.

Every Shot from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera as an Animated GIF is made in the spirit of the original film: challenging audiences' conventional movie viewing habits, while activating their critical thinking skills without compromising a deeply felt aesthetic experience.

Renée Lear is a video artist, performer, photographer and filmmaker. She holds a BFA in New Media from the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University, Toronto and received an MFA from York University, Toronto. Her latest work includes experimental video, site-specific video installation, video performance and video mixing in live environments, and most recently she has been working with GIF montages. She works both solo and in collaboration with other artists including musicians, DJ's, chefs and dancers. Her work has been shown in art galleries, festivals, underground cinemas, performance spaces, dance clubs, music venues, ad hoc public spaces and has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe and China. Renée Lear lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

www.reneelear.com

 
 
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