Dear Ms. Doyle,
I’m sending you the color Xerox series By Any Other Name today by Priority Mail. My form is enclosed, and I’ve written a characteristically opaque note on the back of it, which you may use or not as you see fit.
The images themselves, as you will see, take up a bit of space. Do not feel, if they seem boring or tenuous, under any special obligation to use all of them, or indeed any of them. I am aware that the group (there’s a part two on the burner, by the way) rides roughshod over the notions of both subtlety and coherence: a mild triumph, in my book, but others may not find themselves tickled in the same spots I do.
In any case, I hope well for your show. It is about time that filmmakers be allowed outside the gilded ghetto of cinema: after all, the painting and sculpture gangs invade our turf without so much as a by your leave, and almost invariably there is hysterical applause for that It reminds me of the Spanish “discovery” of gold in South America. The Incas had already dug it out of the ground.
Above is a letter to Cherie Doyle, Curator, Department of Art, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN written in 1980. In terms of the last paragraph, it could have been written in 2010.
It’s from a wonderful book edited by Bruce Jenkins called: On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The writings of Hollis Frampton. I am also the happy owner of a previous book of Frampton writings, Circles of Confusion (I bought a signed remaindered copy at Millenium for $6.00 in the late 80′s). The Jenkins book expands on this earlier book, with small gems like the above.
It is a pleasure to find a fellow traveler on the craggly unmarked path of the moving image. I never physically met Frampton, and now it’s too late, but the magic of books - that I could spend an hour this morning, in my Chinatown coffee shop, cajoling, arguing, conversing with this man.
“This is not to say that there is no such thing as art, or that everything is art; rather, it is to state that there can be no certainty, no final determination, about where we may expect to find art, or about how we are to recognize it when we do find it.” Notes on Composing in Film, Hollis Frampton, written for and delivered at the Conference on Research in Composition at the State University of New York at Buffalo in October, 1975