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Making a “film” today rarely involves a journey to the lab as images are more often recorded digitally and not on celluloid. Even video’s electromagnetic record is transformed to bits and bytes. There is no frame to splice. The visual material exists as a virtual reference only. As McLuhan points out, new media doesn’t replace the old, existing media, but changes it. Theorists often point to the photograph and its impact on the painting. A similar event was the emergence of video technology and its ensuing relationship with film, a relationship whose differences have become increasingly transparent.
Looking at the work of Adam K. Beckett offers an opportunity to examine the dialogue between these technologies during the 1970s and to consider the relationship between avantgarde filmmaking and experimental animation. He is an artist whose work deserves to be reconsidered in the ongoing discussion of animation and media art. His animation, unlike that of many of his colleagues, was steeped in process and technical innovation, a proclivity akin to those filmmakers whose paramount concern was the structure and material of film, and video artists who were exploring the electronic signal of video.
© Pamela Taylor Turner. The iotaCenter holds copyright to the films and images and has granted permission for use in the publication of this paper.This paper was presented at “Animation Universe”, the 2007 Society for Animation Studies annual conference, on July 1, 2007 and subsequently published in Animation Studies, vol. 2, 2007.
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VCU Dept. of Kinetic Imaging