Media Arts Program

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Co-sponsored/co-presented by:
The University at Buffalo, Department of Media Studies & The College of Arts and Sciences

Ted Lyman


Presented at:

Vermont based filmmaker Ted Lyman visits Hallwalls with a retrospective screening. Lyman, who has been engaged with experimental filmmaking since the early seventies, creates films inspired by the American Avant-Garde—poetic works that explore the natural environment and our sense of place. Curated and organized by Caroline Koebel and Carolyn Tennant and co-sponsored by the UB Department of Media Study and the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Scotland with No Clothes (1977) is a 10-minute Michael Snow-like filmic exercise: one mesmerizing take via a 16mm handheld camera of a waterfall. On the soundtrack: the spillage of water, which gets louder and LOUDER as the camera zooms in." — Gerald Peary.

"Fla.Me (1982) is a film roughly based on a comparison between two geographic areas: Brooksville, Florida, and Sutton Island, Maine. It is a work about remembrance, a subject it treats both through the chronicling of events and the development of a specific and idiosyncratic way of seeing. The goal in this movie is to give the audience the sense of viewing these locations through the filter of time and the properties of a particular mind's eye. To this end, original scenes are used much as an Impressionist uses a landscape; visual elements are emphasized using film techniques such as animation and optical printing, and the slow rhythms and random nature of recall are simulated through sound and editing. As such, Fla.Me is a personal rendition of small sections of the past. These selected realities are the raw material for the film, but its style and structure are derived from the filmmaker's patterns of thought and memory." — New England Film/Video Festival

"Conceived as a meditation on the complex relationship of time, family, and mortality, Testament of the Rabbit (1989) uses subtitles, live action, animation and optically manipulated imagery to explore the consequences of parenthood. The film takes place in the context of a train trip through the Scottish Highlands. As the extraordinary scenery drifts by the protagonist slips into contemplation of the emotional and physical changes caused in his life by the birth of his children. Lulled by the rhythm of the wheels on the track, his dozing mind visualizes the abstract series of images which is the heart of the film. This sequence is created through photographic degeneration, a process which gradually decays the original, representational image to high contrast forms and, finally, to blackness. Animated in reverse, the phenomenon gradually pulls the audience from abstraction to reality. The intention is to create something like the childhood sensation of waking from a dream and breathlessly waiting for the formless beasts in one's bedroom to reassume their rightful identities as bureau, chair, and lamp." — New England Film/Video Festival

"First Surface (1996) is about a young boy with memories of his entire lifetime, an affliction with peculiar symptoms. He cannot separate his remembrances from reality and finds himself appearing at random moments in his own history. Events lose chronology and go backwards and forwards without logic. He senses two photographs, one of a waterfall, the other of his family, hold the key to his disease. These images gradually reveal themselves, first showing bursts of movement, then appearing as a complete motion picture scene, and, finally, becoming a massive, cycling grid which covers the wall of his room. As his recognition of this sequence evolves, the boy comes to understand his condition and the unique perspective it affords on his existence." — New England Film/Video Festival

"Flat Earth (work in progress) is a film that uses stop action and time-lapse techniques to develop geometric shapes in spaces and landscapes. The artist describes the work like this: 'The imagery of Flat Earth is based on the fact that, while the camera/lens system creates the illusion of the third dimension, it does so on a two dimensional surface. I exploit this phenomenon by beginning a shot as a normal image, then, through time-lapse or stop motion animation, generating a linear form in the frame. As this shape is in a three dimensional environment, the eye sees it in deep space…My last step is to mask out everything surrounding the form, which, at this point, reveals itself as geometrically symmetrical in two dimensions. Essentially, the image shifts from deep to flat space…Part of my interest in this effect is conceptual and aesthetic, but I also have another ambition. When Maxim Gorky, the Russian author, went to Lumiere's First Motion Picture Program in 1896, he initially saw only "a world of shadows" on a flat surface, as he had not been educated in viewing the screen as deep space. I want people to reclaim a fragment of that perceptual innocence from Flat Earth; thus dismantling an illusion they have accepted as real since childhood.'" — New England Film/Video Festival

Some publications related to this event:
November and December, 2007 - 2007