Imageless Films, Part 1

Series Site

April 1–20

If there’s one central element that would seem to be intrinsic and indispensable to any reasonable definition of the cinema it would be the presence of imagery, whether photographed, animated, or generated through more experimental methods such as hand-painting, scratching, collaging, and so on. Nevertheless, throughout the history of the medium, artists have challenged even this seemingly core tenet of the art form by producing works that subvert or entirely dispense with the image, by expanding the definition of the kinds of experience that can be shared within the space of the cinema, or by provocatively defining as “cinema” performances that might seem a thing apart.

These subversions of the idea of a medium of “moving images” have taken many forms: works that emphasize spoken dialogue or sound collages; films whose visual tracks consist primarily of written text; projector performances that showcase or manipulate light and darkness; flicker films; pure color studies; films that punctuate long stretches of darkness with near-subliminal bursts of imagery; and so on and so forth.

With this ongoing series, Anthology embarks on an extended, in-depth, and multi-chapter exploration of the various ways that filmmakers and artists have experimented with the possibilities of an “imageless” cinema (or have played with the idea of “emptiness” or visual subtraction in a more general sense). The series will include short and feature-length films by filmmakers as various as Stan Brakhage, Guy Debord, Bradley Eros, Hollis Frampton, Takahiko Iimura, Derek Jarman, Margaret Honda, Louise Lawler, Maurice Lemaître, George Maciunas, João César Monteiro, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Jeff Perkins, Luther Price, Walter Ruttmann, Paul Sharits, Michael Snow, and many others.

The series begins with several programs in April, but will continue throughout the summer. In addition, Microscope Gallery will participate by presenting a number of expanded cinema works or pieces that are specially designed for a gallery space; for more info visit: