Michael Snow videos and links

My paintings are done by a filmmaker, sculpture by a musician, films by a painter, music by a filmmaker, paintings by a sculptor, sculpture by a filmmaker, films by a musician, music by a sculptor … sometimes they all work together. (Michael Snow)


[N]o other artist has done so much to destabilise our approximation of the visible than Michael Snow. By threatening the very tools we rely on to process what we perceive, the artist creates unnerving yet frequently poetic works. His avant-garde film-making is less about a way of understanding the camera as a device for recording than as an instrument whose structural, material properties can form the main focus of the work. (Tim Clarke)

Today, Film Studies For Free brings you another video gem from the Tate Channel in which the highly distinguished Canadian artist Michael Snow, one of the most influential experimental filmmakers (including of such masterworks as Wavelength [1967)], La Région Centrale [1971], and *Corpus Callosum [2002]) discusses his work. Snow, who will reach the grand old age of 80 this December, gave this illustrated talk at the Tate Modern in London on October 26, 2001, on the occasion of a major retrospective of his work that year at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. The talk, a very detailed and insightful revisiting of the entirety of his work to that point, lasts just under two hours.

Here also, as is FSFF‘s wont, are links to further wonderful, freely accessible, online, scholarly Michael Snow resources. Below the list are two other embedded videos: the first, a ten minute overview of Snow’s work; the second, a video version of Snow’s 1967 experimental film Wavelength (please read the comments on this post for a discussion of the ethics of reproducing this very poor copy of the film):

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4 thoughts on “Michael Snow videos and links

  1. I scrolled down this page hoping that Wavelength wouldn't be embedded, but there it is! It makes me very sad that the film is so widely "accessible" in such a bastardised form – watching a grimy pixelated mess of an old VHS rip is like trying to read The Brothers Karamazov with all but a handful of the pages ripped out. But I appreciate that few people look at it that way, of course…Otherwise, as valuable as ever. I stumbled across Snow's interview with Frampton in an old Film Culture the other week, and shall type it up at LS in anticipation of Hapax Legomena's screening at LFF…

  2. Hi Matthew. Thanks for your comment. Even more than usual with the decisions I habitually have to take about embedding full-length video versions of films on this site, I agonised before embedding Wavelength. Thus I completely understand your (on this occasion, greater) agony in seeing it offered up in this form here. I think that more than a few people will agree with you. But I decided to go ahead and embed, because so very few people will ever get to see Wavelength in the form in which it was intended to be seen. And video versions online are pretty common. I picked out the best quality version I could, and I hope that those FSFF readers who manage to get to the bottom of a list of scholarly resources on Snow will appreciate that it is a poor facsimile indeed. In any case, I'm glad your comment makes that point so eloquently and forcefully.

  3. Well, I side with Snow in believing that Wavelength can only be seen in the form in which it was intended to be seen. The embedded thing is unrelated – for a few reasons why, see WVLNT. Confession: I watched an nth generation screen-recorded VHS about a year before seeing a good print projected at ear-splitting volume (crucial), and would urge anybody reading this not to make the same mistake – the difference is elemental. If tempted, have a cup of tea, go for a walk or stare at the wall instead.This 2-hour talk is amazing, though! Thanks so much. Bookmarked to watch in full later…

  4. We can agree, certainly, that what anyone who pressed play on the lowest (!) video above would be experiencing would absolutely NOT be Wavelength as Michael Snow intended it.The talk is brilliant, so I would definitely prefer people pressed play on that video, than on the lower two…Look forward to your Landscape Suicide post on Snow/Frampton, and will post a link here when that appears.

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