Program notes for Anthony McCall films screening at Carnegie Museum of Art (9/9/1975)

September 9, 1975 8:30 p,M.
LINE DESCRIBING A CONE (1973), 16mm, black and white, silent, 30 minutes.
Four PROJECTED MOVEMENTS (1975), 16mm,black and white, silent, in 75 minute cycles, with no maximum duration. U.S.A. Premiere.
"LINE DESCRIBING A CONE is what I term a solid light film. It is dealing with the projected light_beam itself, rather than treating the light-beam as a mere carrier of coded information, which is decoded when it strikes a flat surface (the screen).''
"It is the first in what is now, a series.
"It is projected in the normal way, on a 16 mm film projector.
"Though inevitably there will be a wall that limits the length of the beam, a screen is not necessary.
"The viewer watches the film, by standing with his, or her, back towards what would normally be the screen, and looking along the beam towards the projector itself. The film begins as a coherent line of light, like a laser beam, and develops through the 30 minute duration, into a complete, hollow cone of light. "LINE DESCRIBING A CONE deals with one of the irreducible, necessary conditions of film: projected light. It deals iith this phenomenon directly, independent of any other consideration.
"It is the first film to exist solely in real, three-dimentional, space. '
"This film exists only the present: the moment of projection. It refers to nothing beyond this real time, (In contrast, most films allude to a past time).
It contains no illusion. It is a primary experience, not secondary: i.e. the space is real, not referential; the time is real, not referential.
The form of attention required on the part of the viewer, is unprecedented.
No longer is one viewing position as good as any other. For this film, every viewing position presents a different aspect. The viewer therefore, has a participatory role in apprehending the event: he or she can, indeed needs to, move around, relative to the emerging light-form. This is radically different from the traditional film situation, which has as its props, row upon row of seats, a giant screen and a hidden projection booth: here, the viewer sits passively in one position, whilst the images of the film are "brought" to the viewer; this viewer can only participate vicariously."
- Statement by Anthony McCall from catalogue of 5th International Film Competition Knokke-Heist, Belgium, December 1974.
"....LINE DESCRIBING A CONE.... repreenncs a genuine innovation. The concept of the piece is extremely simple. It is not necessary to have any kind of screen or surface on which to 'catch' the image, and it may be better if there is none, like projecting out into infinity in a landscape.
"If the image is seen on the screen, it is nothing more than a white dot on a black ground gradually describing a circular path, and leaving a white circular line as its trace. The total circle is built up in thirty minutes, the length of the piece.
"However, even if there is a screen it is not what you watch during the projection. The piece is to be viewed from the side of the beam and looking back towards the projector. It should be shown in a space where the audience can walk about. So what is seen is not a dot forming a circle but a line, running outwards in a space from the projector lens, like a sharp searchlight, very very slowly forming a conical curved plane, which finally forms a complete cone with its apex at the leas.
The real surprise was the sensuality of the experience. 'The image is formed on the, dust particles in the air, or on the smoke from cigarettes, which somehow seems substantial but resists touch."
- Malcolm Legrice, STUDIO INTERNATIONAL, February 197k, London.
FOUR PROJECTED MOVEMENTS: "This film demonstrates that permutation, within certain precise limits, is a function of the projector. The four move-menys (each a 15-minute sweep of a plane of light through 90 degrees) result rrom a single 15-minute reel of film, passed through the projector in the four possible ways. The projector is positioned in a corner of the room so that a wall and the floorestablish theboundaries of the space through which the beams will travel.
Though one complete cycle takes about 75 minutes, there is no maximum duration.
- Anthony McCall, July 22, 1975. Letter to Carnegie Institute, Film Section.
Born 1946 London. Resident in New York since January 1973 Films:
1972: "Landscape for Fire" l6mm, color, sync sound, 8min.
1973: "ABCD" 16mm, B&W, silent, 30 mins.
"Line describing a Cone" l6mm, B&W, silent, 30 min.
1974 "partial Cone", 16mm, B&W, silent, 15 min.
"Cone of Variable Volume" l6mm, B&W, silent, 15min.
"Conical Solid" l6mm, B&W, silent, 10min.
"Long Film for Four Projectors", l6mm, B&W, silent, 6hours.
1975 "Four Projected Movements" l6mm, B&W, silent, in 75 minute cycles with no maximum duration.
"Long Film for Ambient Light'.' silent, in 2k hour cycles.
Four Projected Movements Anthony McCall 1975
Line describing a Cone Anthony McCall 1975
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