The Essential Frame: Austrian Independent Film 1955-2003

Date: 31 May 2003 | Season: Essential Frame

31 May—1 June 2003
London Film School

The Essential Frame is a two-day intensive programme of screenings and talks reflecting on the history and the present situation of independent filmmaking in Austria. The six sessions will provide a concise survey of those artists who chose to work specifically with film, and two of the most important figures active in the movement will appear in person to talk about their work.

The event begins with a ‘remote lecture’ prepared by media-artist Valie Export, a pioneer of film performance and one of the most influential artists of recent decades. Contemporary filmmakers Martin Arnold and Peter Tscherkassky will present and discuss selections of their films. The screening programme includes a cycle of films by Dietmar Brehm plus works by Peter Kubelka, Marc Adrian, Kurt Kren, Peter Weibel, Gustav Deutsch, Linda Christanell, Lisl Ponger, and many others.

Perhaps more than any other national independent or avant-garde cinema, Austrian filmmakers have paid particular and precise attention to The Frame – and it goes two ways – into the frame (and the space between two adjacent frames) as the essential component of film (and apparent motion), and outwards, testing the limits of the frame, pushing the boundaries of expanded cinema and film actions.

This concentrated weekend focuses on those films in which the material and mechanics of cinema are essential to the form and content of the final work. It is not all-inclusive and there are some notable omissions: it does not feature the works made in documenting the performances of the Viennese Actionists, the exploratory early video works by Export, Weibel and others, or the thriving digital video scene of contemporary Vienna. There is plenty more out there to be discovered, but an essential framework is here.

The Essential Frame is curated by Mark Webber for the Austrian Cultural Forum, London. The event in London will be followed by a two-programme UK tour.