Peter Tscherkassky – Three Short Films (1981-89)

From PT’s website:

Aderlaß is a youthful attempt to process the inheritance of the Vienna Actionists through the use of a super 8 camera. In front of the camera is a performance from Armin Schmickl Sebastiano (Peter Tcherkassky). A game with light and sound that explodes out of the calm into a delirium of movement and finally returns, after the “blood-letting”, to rigidity.

Liebesfilm is an ironic attack on one of the durables of the Hollywood clichés – the film kiss. A short take of mouths approaching each other is shown 522 times. But the kiss never takes place, merely the speed of the movement is continually increased. This excessive repetition of the theme destroys the “happy clarity” that inhabits “the film kiss” myth. Continue reading

Peter Tscherkassky – Tabula rasa (1989)

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From PT’s website:
The target of Tabula Rasa is the heart of cinema. Voyeuristic desire as the pre-condition for all cinema pleasure is at stake here. What Christian Metz and Jacques Lacan have established in theory is rendered as film in Tabula Rasa. At the beginning we can recognize only shadows from which the picture of a woman undressing herself hesitantly emerges. But exactly at the point when one believes one can make out what it is, the camera is located in front of the object. Tabula Rasa takes distance, the fundamental principle of voyeurism, in so far literally, as it shows us the object of desire but continually removes it from our gaze. Continue reading

Peter Tscherkassky – Instructions for a Light & Sound Machine (2005)

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The hero of Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is easy to identify. Walking down the street unknowingly, he suddenly realizes that he is not only subject to the gruesome moods of several spectators but also at the mercy of the filmmaker. He defends himself heroically, but is condemned to the gallows, where he dies a filmic death through a tearing of the film itself.
Our hero then descends into Hades, the realm of shades. Here, in the underground of cinematography, he encounters innumerable printing instructions, the means whereby the existence of every filmic image is made possible. In other words, our hero encounters the conditions of his own possibility, the conditions of his very existence as a filmic shade.
Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine is an attempt to transform a Roman Western into a Greek tragedy.

Peter Tscherkassky (translation: Eve Heller) Continue reading

Peter Tscherkassky – Cinemascope Trilogy (1997 – 2001)

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_L’Arrivée_

L’Arrivée is Tscherkassky’s second hommage to the Lumiére-brothers. First you see the arrival of the film itself, which shows the arrival of a train at a station. But that train collides with a second train, causing a violent crash, which leads us to an unexpected third arrival, the arrival of a beautiful woman – the happy-end.
Reduced to two minutes L’Arrivée gives a brief, but exact summary of what cinematography (after its arrival with Lumiéres train) has made into an enduring presence of our visual enviroment: violence, emotions. Or, as an anonymous american housewife (cited by T. W. Adorno) used to describe Hollywood’s version of life: “Getting into trouble and out of it again.”

(Peter Tscherkassky) Continue reading