FILM Experimental Cinema Since 1975


Screenings: Ottaway Theater, Thursdays, 7-10pm

Lecture: Ottaway Theater, Fridays, 10:10am-1:10pm

Professor Ed Halter


Office: Avery 322

Office hours: Thursdays, 5-7pm, by appointment


Attendance at all lectures and screenings; an in-class midterm exam, and a final research paper. Please be aware that most of the works shown in this class are not available on video, or are only available in inferior copies, and seeing them in a cinematic context is crucial to understanding the work.


Midterm is essay format, and will be based on material found in the films, the lectures, and the weekly readings. You may use your notes from the lectures and screenings during the exam.

The final research paper will be on a topic of your choice and will run, 10-15 pages. For the paper, you must bring a topic for your paper to class on Friday, Nov 18 for discussion and approval. On Friday, Dec 2, you will hand in a one-paragraph summary and preliminary bibliography of at least four sources in class. The final paper will be due no later than 10:10am on Friday, Dec 16.


Grading will be determined by 50% midterm, 50% final essay. Your ability to meet all above deadlines for the final essay – including topic, summary, bibliography and the paper itself – will be factored into the grade for the essay as whole.


In order to be counted for attendance purposes, you will need to sign the attendance book at the beginning of each lecture and screening. Attendance is mandatory at all lectures and screenings, and attendance to both will count towards your grade. Three absences and your grade drops a full letter. More than three and your grade drops two. Should you experience any problems meeting these requirements at any point in the course, please contact me immediately.



The reading will be available on Reservesdirect, or linked directly from this syllabus online. I am looking into ordering one book for later in the class…more information TK.

For research purposes and your general edification, please visit this short list of online resources about experimental cinema.


Week One

Thu Sep 1  / Fri Sep 2


Andy Warhol, Blow Job, 1964 , 16mm, 35 mins

Michael Snow, Wavelength, 1967, 16mm, 45 mins

Hollis Frampton, (nostalgia), 1971, 16mm, 38 mins


Week Two

Thu Sep 8 / Fri Sep 9

Mike Leggat, Shepherd’s Bush, 1971, 16mm, 15.5 mins

Malcolm LeGrice, Berlin Horse, 1971, 16mm, 7 mins

John Smith, Girl Chewing Gum, 1976, 16mm, 12 mins

Guy Sherwin, At the Academy, 1974, 16mm, 5 mins

Chris Welsby, Seven Days, 1974, 16mm, 20 mins

Lis Rhodes, Light Music (Abridged), 1976, 16mm, 15 mins

In class:

Anthony McCall, Line Describing a Cone, 1973, 16mm, 30 mins



P. Adams Sitney, “Structural Film”

Peter Gidal, "Theory and Definition of Structural/Materialist Film"

Malcolm Le Grice “Material, Materiality, Materialism”

A.L. Rees, "English Structuralists"

Anthony McCall, “Two Statements”


Annette Michelson, “Toward Snow”


Week Three

Thu Sep 15 / Fri Sep 15


Jonas Mekas, Lost, Lost, Lost, 1976, 16mm, 178mins


Jonas Mekas “The Diary Film” and “Autobiographical Notes”

Michael Renov, “Lost, Lost, Lost: Mekas as Essayist”

Jeffrey K. Ruoff, “Home Movies of the Avant-Garde: Jonas Mekas and the New York Art World”


Week Four

Thu Sep 22 / Fri Sep 23


Tony Conrad, Film Feedback, 1974, 16mm, 14 mins

Paul Sharits, Bad Burns, 1982, 16mm, 6 mins

Paul Sharits, Epileptic Seizure Comparison, 1976, 16mm, 34 mins

Paul Sharits, Shutter Interface, 1975, 16mm (2 projectors) 24 mins
Tony Conrad interview by Jay Sanders

"Statement Regarding Multiple Screen/Sound 'Locational' Film Environments—Installations" by Paul Sharits

Paul Sharits interview by Linda Cathcart

"Apparent Motion and Film Structure: Paul Sharits's Shutter Interface" by Stuart Liebman
"The Material of Film and the Idea of Cinema: Contrasting Practices in Sixties and Seventies Avant-Garde Film" by Jonathan Walley
"Hearing:Seeing" by Paul Sharits
Review of Paul Sharits at Greene Naftali Gallery, 2009, by Kristen M. Jones

Week Five

Thu Sep 29 / Fri Sep 30


Yvonne Rainer, Journeys From Berlin/1971, 1980, 16mm, 125 mins
"The Films of Yvonne Rainer," B. Ruby Rich
"Looking Myself in the Mouth," Yvonne Rainer

"Beginning With Some Advertisements For Criticisms Of Myself, Or Drawing The Dog You May Want To Use To Bite Me With, And Then Going On To Other Matters," Yvonne Rainer
"Interview with a Woman Who...," Noel Carroll


Week Six

Thu Oct 6 / Fri Oct 7
Take-home midterm given out in class today


James Benning, Landscape Suicide, 1986, 16mm, 95 mins

Fredric Jameson, "Video: Surrealism Without the Unconscious"

Noel Carroll, "Film in the Age of Postmodernism"
Danni Zuvela, interview with James Benning

Week Seven

Thu Oct 13 / Fri Oct 14

Screening (Thursday)
No screening
Screening in class (Friday)

Martha Rosler, Martha Rosler Reads Vogue, 1983, video, 26 mins
General Idea, Shut the Fuck Up, 1984, video, 14 mins
John Smith, Om, 1986, 16mm, 4 mins
John Smith, The Black Tower, 1985-87, 16mm, 24 mins

Take-home midterm due at the beginning of class today.

Week Eight

Thu Oct 20 / Fri Oct 21


Abigail Child, Perils, 1986, 16mm, 3.5 mins

Phil Solomon, The Secret Garden, 1988, 16mm, 20 mins

Mark Lapore, The Sleepers, 1989, 16mm, 16 mins

Peter Hutton, Study of a River, 1997, 16mm, 16 mins

Nathaniel Dorsky, Alaya, 1987, 16mm, 28 mins

Fred Camper, "The End of Avant-Garde Film"
Tom Gunning, "Towards a Minor Cinema"
Gilles Delueze & Félix Guattari, "What is Minor Literature?"


Week Nine

Thu Oct 27 / Fri Oct 28

Guest artist: Luther Price

Lia Gangitano, "Groupie"
Luther Price, "I Want to Keep Truth"


Week Ten

Thu Nov 3 / Fri Nov 4


Bruce Connor, Mongoloid, 1976, 16mm, 4 mins

Martin Arnold, Alone: Life Wastes Andy Hardy, 16mm, 15 mins

Craig Baldwin Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America, 1991, 16mm, 97 mins
William Wees, Recycled Images
Michael Zryd, "Found Footage Film as Discursive Metahistory: Craig Baldwin's Tribulation 99"


Week Eleven

Thu Nov 10 / Fri Nov 11


M Henry Jones, Soul City, 1979, 16mm, 2 mins

Vivienne Dick, She Had Her Gun All Ready, 1978, Super-8, 27 mins

Tom Chomont, Razor Head, 1984, 16mm, 4 mins

David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly, 1986-87, Super-8, 20 mins
J. Hoberman, "Notes on Three Films by Vivienne Dick"
Jack Sargeant, Foreword & Chapter One from Deathtripping: The Cinema of Transgression

Matthew Yokobosky, "No Wave Cinema, 1978-87 - Not Part of Any Wave: No Wave"
David Wojnarowicz, "Postcards from America: X Rays from Hell"


Week Twelve

Thu Nov 17 / Fri Nov 18

Matthias Müller, Sleepy Haven, 1993, 16mm, 14 mins

Su Friedrich, Gently Down the Stream, 1981, 16mm, 13 mins

Leslie Thornton, Peggy and Fred in Hell (Prologue), 1988, 16mm, 19 mins

Todd Haynes, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, 1987, 16mm/VHS, 43 mins
Lucas Hilderbrand, "Grainy Days and Mondays: Superstar and Bootleg Aesthetics"
William C. Wees, "Carrying On: Leslie Thornton, Su Friedrich, Abigail Child and American Avant-Garde Film of the Eighties"

Final paper topics due in class.


Thu Nov 24/ Fri Nov 25

Thanksgiving break, no class.


Week Thirteen

Thu Dec 1 / Fri Dec 2

Peggy Ahwesh, The Color of Love, 1994, 16mm, 10 mins

Jennifer Reeves, Fear of Blushing, 1995, 16mm, 5 mins

James Fotopoulos, Drowning, 2000, 16mm, 3 mins

Stom Sogo, Guided by Voices, 1999, video, 11 mins

Naomi Uman, Removed, 1999, 16mm, 7 mins

Takeshi Murata, Monster Movie, 2005, video, 4 mins

Paper topic summary and preliminary bibliography due in class.

Ed Halter, "Head Space"

Week Fourteen

Thu Dec 8 / Fri Dec 9
George Kuchar, Weather Diary 3, 1988, video, 28 mins

Brian Frye, Broken Camera Reels 1 & 2, 2000, 16mm, 5 mins

Seth Price, Rejected or Unused Clips, Arranged in Order of Importance, 2003, video, 11 mins

Miranda July, The Amateurist, 1998, video, 14 mins

Kevin Jerome Everson, 2009, Old Cat, 16mm, 11 mins


Week Fifteen

Thu Dec 15 / Fri Dec 16

No screening on Thu Dec 15. Final essays due by 10:10am Fri Dec 16.