Moving Images on the Margins
Title Details

280 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

19 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual

Imprint: Camden House

Moving Images on the Margins

Experimental Film in Late Socialist East Germany

by Seth Howes

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Documents the rich allusiveness and intellectual probity of experimental filmmaking-a form that thrived despite having been officially banned-in East German socialism's final years.
In the German Democratic Republic during the 1970s and 1980s, more than two hundred films and videos, many of them experimental, were made outside government-run institutions despite legal restrictions on independent filmmaking, and despite the state-owned DEFA studio system's resistance to experimental film. Many were by professional artists who incorporated their painted, sculpted, and performed works in their films and then re-integrated their films into their other artistic endeavors.
In addition to showing and debating their films informally in private, these artists worked within existing institutions, establishing annual meetings at Dresden's Academy of Fine Arts, publishing on experimental film in official journals, and even exhibiting films at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Though pursued as political subversives by the Stasi and dismissed as dilettantes by older critics, these artists frequently engaged their detractors in open debate, advancing their creative itineraries by exposing conceptual problems lurking in the histories of art and cinema.
Through extensive archival research, formal analyses of over a dozen films, and interpretation of their relation to their creators' work in other media, Seth Howes documents the rich allusiveness and intellectual probity of experimental filmmaking in East German socialism's final years. Individual chapters examine Lutz Dammbeck's incorporation of painting, dance, literature, and experimental film into a critique of the (mass-)mediation of experience; the Autoperforationsartisten's use of film to problematize the notion of the "performance document"; Greifswald-based artists' integration of film into mail-art projects that crossed political borders and boundaries between media; and Yana Milev's blending of film and installation art to theorize the organization and segmentation of urban spaces.

Seth Howes is Assistant Professor of German in the Department of German and Russian Studies at the University of Missouri.
Introduction
Art, Experimentation, and the Avant-Garde in East Germany
Heraklesmaschine: Lutz Dammbeck's Experimental Cinema and the Expropriation of the Senses
Lines of Communication: Mail Art and the Connectivity of Experimental Film
Herz Horn Haut Schrein: Film and the Autoperforating Body of/at Work
Film Experiments, Design Anthropology, and the Politics of Vision: Yana Milev's Theory of Practice
Conclusion: Images of Moving Margins
Notes
Bibliography
Index
"[W]orthwhile reading . . . marks an important contribution to a diverse GDR film culture. It is fascinating to learn how the experimental film scene was integrated into the GDR art scene. The book . . . is especially recommended to readers who would like to venture beyond books about 'official' GDR film culture." Sebastian Heiduschke, GERMAN HISTORY
"Moving Images on the Margins is an important contribution to scholarship on East German experimental film and performance art. The different chapters reveal the importance of looking beyond traditional centres, be they disciplinary, organisational or geographical. As Howes himself acknowledges at the start of the book, experimental film had a greater impact on East German art history than it did on film history and, given the focus of the case studies, this book may well find a wider readership among scholars specialising in performance art, as well as film scholars. . . . [A] key work for understanding the complexities of experimental filmmaking beyond the central structures of the GDR." Elizabeth M. Ward, Studies in European Cinema
"This book should be the final word on the struggle for artistic independence and expression under the GDR's state-controlled DEFA studio system. Highly recommended, upper-division undergraduate through faculty." S. Gittleman, CHOICE

Hardcover

9781640140684

October 2019

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781787447011

October 2019

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Title Details

280 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

19 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual

Imprint: Camden House