From the Call of the Temporal: Blinkity Blank as Another Deleuzian Choice (Cinema II)

Posted: June 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Blinkity BlankNorman McLaren  1955

 The 1955 animation by the Canadian experimental filmmaker Norman Mclaren Blinkity Blank, uses the technique of directly working with the filmstock.  In this case McLaren Scratches away the Blackened Emulsion to let light through the Stock by means of the projection in the theatre.  Mclaren also develops a “graphic” sound by scratching the film stock in the “unseen” part of the film which creates the optical sound (sound was created by light passing through the film. See the below clip from the original Fantasia, 1940, for a humorous explanation of optical sound) though this is layered with a improvisational score from Maurice Blackburn.

Blinkity Blank combines an abstract field of lines dots and other objective forms while continually playing at its alterations into figurative elements.  This places him with artists such as Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich Cow and Violin, 1913

and Ross Bleckner

Ross Bleckner, Cage, 1986. Hummingbirds appear on Abstract, and Stripped, Grid

who explored the continual flux between the conceptions of the multiple layers of differing Representational Systems (superseding the binary of “figurative” and “abstract”).

Blinkity Blank received such honors as Short Film Palme d’Or from the1955 Cannes Film Festival, the BAFTA Award for Animated Short, and the Silver Bear which is given by Berlin International Film Festival, but the short film is really best known by the artistic and film community for being a landmark work of visual and aural integration and a direct application of work to the film stock as material (while keeping a narrative structure).

Note: this is the second of the series which will look at the “experimental” films discussed by Gilles Deleueze in his books Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, and  Cinema 2: The Time-Image. The above discussion is not from the Deleuzian standpoints in these volumes (very, very important to note).

For Deleuze’s take, and the First part of the series, look here.


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