školská 28



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Marcus Bergner: The Surface and The Other

Mon 21.6. - 22:00

Artist screening and discussion with australian experimental filmmaker and visual artist.
Marcus Bergner, experimental filmmaker, mainly on 16mm, since late '70s. Also member of sound performance group Arf Arf.


The Surface (16mm, 60mins, sound, colour, 2008)

The exterior is an interior raised to the power of mystery- Novalis. This is the second part in a three part series of works about the phenomena of the surface in visual perception. It is considered that when looking at an opaque object what one actually sees is essentially only surface. Following from this thought it might be implied that all the white areas in this film are the optical/metonymic evidence of a kind of surface object (sell-you-void). Space here comprises of light and whiteness and exists as a spatial act of redefinition in the form of things; and/or what Pascal has referred to the physicality of the void. This film is highly fragmentary and has emerged from an exhaustive process of cinematic decollagment. The projections are of a kinaesthetic patterning of holes or missing shapes out of hundreds of found industrial or educational films. These chemically divergent prints have been graphically rebuilt through batiking, bleaching and sgraffiare type methods of pictorial manipulation. A filmic mosaic is built up, and one that incorporates elements of blind spotting, sight gags, blocking-out, spatial gestaltism, ruin-pleasure and ornamentation via the refilming of cinematic ruins. The production rationale was to create addition through severe subtraction; and, with the many unavoidable slippages in form, to illustrate certain concepts of the disembodied surface and surface thought; notions which are often referred to in digital film art and new media art. Such surfacing thoughts also connect to the daily experiences of glancing. The perceptual activity of a glance can often involve many humorous, sensuous, poetic and even subversive qualities. And which is emphasised in this film by a jittery or rapid focal movement; the erasure of any predictable points of view; the radical reframing of the inner object or any subject matter to each film sequence; and a constantly shifting relationship in the figure to ground elements. The soundtrack is made entirely of sound concrete; and vocal leftovers, sound effects or silences. All of which are the audio remnants to these historic, and entirely de-braining in effect, forms of didactic cinema.

It is important to recognise that the DVD copy of The Surface is a mediated and diluted version of the original film print. The film was made with the specific aim of transforming and reconciling the cinematic screening into a site-specific exhibition event. The images and sounds in this film are clustered together into hundreds of short sequences. Each of these sequences is designed to deliver a sudden trajectory or paroxysm-like leap from the materiality of the filmstrip to the blankness and whitened oblivion of the film screen. Techniques of selective erasure and ruination have been carried out on the film emulsion to suspend or eradicate any meaning and representational function once provided by the educational and training films used to make the film.

Musical Four Letters (16mm, 1989, sound, 6mins)

Every conceivable word with four-letters that has anything do with music (including melodious bodily functions) have been written directly onto the surface of a 1940s Mexican musical film. Here words reveal their innately luciferous and playful capacity for abstraction and offering an escape route from memory. The film was conceived under the influence of the line from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake: “…leading slip by slipper to a general amnesia.” It is about activating more somatic manifestations of language through images, and visa versa.

Marcus Bergner: The Surface and The Other, foto: Martin Blažíček

About the Artist 


Marcus Bergner,  foto: Martin Blažíček
Marcus Bergner: The Surface a další, foto: Martin Blažíček
Marcus Bergner a Lloyd Dunn, foto: Martin Blažíček
Marcus Bergner: The Surface a další, foto: Martin Blažíček
Marcus Bergner: The Surface a další, foto: Martin Blažíček
Marcus Bergner: The Surface a další, foto: Martin Blažíček