Notes after Long Silence. On Austrian and American Structural Film

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In the early 1960ies, a number of filmmakers emerged in the United States and Europe to produce remarkable films that challenged any previous formal tendency in avant-garde filmmaking. The Structuralist filmmakers— including Peter Kubelka, Tony Conrad, Paul Sharits, and Kurt Kren––arranged their shots according to mathematical principles, attempting to produce non-narrative and non-illusionist films to oppose the cinematic apparatus. Similar to the advent of Minimalism in painting and sculpture, structural films insisted on shape, and their content was minimal and subsidiary to the outline. For instance, in his film 2/60 (1960), Kurt Kren employed a strictly serial sequence technique to present 48 portraits from the Szondi Test for "experimental diagnosis of human impulses" in various frame sizes and pre-specified lengths. Meanwhile, Peter Kubelka used the most radical version of Structural arrangements to produce the first Flicker Film, Arnulf Rainer (1960), which consisted solely of black or white frames coupled with either silence or white noise on the soundtrack. Tony Conrad's The Flicker (1966), another landmark in Structural filmmaking, gradually increased the frequency and pattern complexity of black and white frames to create stroboscopic effects that could cause visual hallucinations and even epileptic seizures. Paul Sharits' T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (1968) further complicated the frame-by-frame approach with chromatically-varied frames and combinations of visual and auditory repetition.

The Structural Film movement and its aesthetic principles—including serial cuts, static frames, and flicker effects—influenced several filmmakers of the next generation. Leslie Thornton, for instance, a student of both Kubelka and Sharits, further developed the Structuralist approach in her debut experimental film X-TRACTS (1975), which features cut-up readings of her high school diary paired with images of herself, once again exploring the territories of rhetoric, linguistics, and narrative structures. Kubelka's co-founded institutions, the Anthology Film Archives in New York and the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna, along with filmmakers like Saul Levine, continued to pass on the strategies of Structural Film to inspire younger generations of filmmakers to continue pushing the boundaries of structure and materiality of film. The upcoming screening program, Notes After Long Silence, which takes its title from one of Levine's films, traces the historical conversation of Austrian and American experimental film to the present day and explores the aesthetic and cultural limits pushed by filmmakers from both countries. The program features works from members of the AgX Film Collective in Boston and the Schule Friedl Kubelka in Vienna, with films distributed by sixpackfilm, Canyon Cinema, and Filmmakers' Coop.

A curatorial project by Nicole Prutsch, Mike Piso, and Wenhua Shi.

Filmmakers: Peter Kubelka, Paul Sharits, Kurt Kren, Leslie Thornton, Virgil Widrich, Philipp Fleischmann, Saul Levine, Eve Heller, Jodie Mack, Mónica Sávirón, Mike Piso, Douglas Urbank, Björn Kämmerer, Dietmar Offenhuber, Viktoria Schmid

Presented by Revolutions Per Minute Festival and Millennium Film Workshop.

Supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts and Culture (BMKOES), Austrian Cultural Forum New York, UMass Boston (Art and Art History, cinema studies), and Millennium Film Workshop.

Special thanks to Genevieve Carmel, Stefan Grabowski, AgX Film Collective, sixpackfilm, Canyon Cinema, Filmmakers’ Coop, Millennium Film Workshop, Umass Boston, Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts and Culture (BMKOES), and Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

Thursday May 4th 2023,  20h - UMass, Boston
Saturday May 6h 2023, 19:30h - Millennium Film Workshop, New York

List of Films

  • Arnulf Rainer, Peter Kubelka, 1960, 6’30” Format: 16mm
  • T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, Paul Sharits, 1968, 12’ Format: 16mm
  • 2/60: 48 Heads from the Szondi-Test, Kurt Kren, 1960, 4’5” Format: 16mm
  • X-TRACTS, Leslie Thornton, 1975, 8’30’, US Format: 16mm
  • Light Matter, Virgil Widrich, 2018, 5’ AT Format: digital
  • The Invisible Cinema 3, Philipp Fleischmann, 2017, 43’’ AT Format: 16mm
  • Untitled (Generali Foundation Vienna), Philipp Fleischmann, 2015, 34’’ AT Format: 16mm
  • Notes after Long Silence, Saul Levine, 1989, US 15’ Format: Super 8
  • Ruby Skin, Eve Heller, 2005, 4’30" US Format: 16mm
  • Razzle Dazzle, Jodie Mack, 2014, 5’ US Format: 16mm
  • Answer Print, Mónica Sávirón, 2016, 5’ US Format: 16mm, digitized
  • Untitled for William P., Mike Piso, 2016, 6’46” US Format: 16mm
  • Portrait, Douglas Urbank, 2014, 5’16” US Format: 16mm
  • Navigator, Björn Kämmerer, 2015, 7’ AT Format: 35mm, digitized
  • Besenbahn, Dietmar Offenhuber, 2001, 10‘, AT Format: digital
  • A Proposal to Project in 4:3, Viktoria Schmid, 2017, 2’, AT Format: 16mm


Repeats every 2 days 2 times.
Thursday, May 4, 2023 (All day)
Saturday, May 6, 2023 (All day)



Thursday, May 4, 2023 (All day)
Saturday, May 6, 2023 (All day)