Collectieblog

  • Peter Rubin Collection Blog #2 : Super8 Films

    dinsdag 5 november 2019

    Figure 1, from Super8 film in the Peter Rubin Collection.

    Welcome to the Peter Rubin Collection! My name is Hadley Kluber, a (now former) Curatorial Intern with the Peter Rubin Collection under the direction of Simona Monizza, Curator of Experimental Film at Eye. For information on the work of the previous intern, Eleni Tzialli, and a background on the Peter Rubin Collection, please see Blog Post #1.

     

    For a little over a year I have enjoyed working the Peter Rubin Collection, first as a student in January 2018, later as a volunteer and eventually as a Curatorial Intern. The Collection is vast and diverse; I have worked with 35mm slides, Super8 and 16mm film, and VHS tapes. From the preservation, digitization and catalouging of slides to spending countless hours watching VHS tapes preparing each for catalouging and some for digitization. There is too much content to cover in a single blog post so this will focus on one format: the Super8 films.

    Acquisitions

    Peter Rubin’s materials have come to Eye on two separate occasions. In 2006 there was an initiative to preserve Dutch Experimental Film and, as Peter Rubin was both an experimental filmmaker operating in the Netherlands and the founder of Holland Experimental Film, he was contacted. Peter worked with Simona Monizza during this time and provided several of his films, of which preservation copies have been made. These films, Environment I (1978), Rhythmic Moves (1979), Environment II (1980), Holland/USA Studies (1980), and Browsers Welcome (1982) can be viewed on Eye-D, our digital catalogue, accessible via the Eye Study in the Eye Collection Center.

     

    Unfortunately, Peter Rubin passed away in 2015. The second acquisition came to Eye in 2016, as a donation of his life’s work from his son, Seth Rubin. All of the materials I have been dealing with have come from the recent 2016 acquisition.

     

    Figure 2, bag one of Super8 materials from the Peter Rubin Collection.

    Figure 3, bag two of Super8 materials from the Peter Rubin Collection.

     

    In the past, I have worked with Super8 films as a small-gauge film technician. Due to my previous handling experience, Simona and I made viewing, identifying and cataloguing all Super8 films a priority during my Curatorial Internship. Peter Rubin’s Super8 films comprise a relatively smaller aspect of the entire Collection - only 62 reels, most 15 meters in length. This smaller number allowed me to be apart of the entire process; from taking films out of their original bags to making decisions about deaccession or digitization. Figures 2 & 3 above show the 2 bags containing the Super8 films which also included unshot film, a grease pencil, and a matchbox from the nightclub MAZZO.

     

    Set Up

    The work was completed at the Eye Collectiecentrum in film viewing rooms on, depending on the material itself, a Super8 Steenbeck viewing table, a hand-crank operated Fujica editor, or a light table with a loupe.

     

    Cataloging began at this first step. Before viewing, each reel was given an individual number. These numbers were temporary and served as an initial way to organize the films. I created this organizational method and a spreadsheet to document the process. At every step it was updated, ensuring as much as possible an accurate record of how and what information was acquired about these films. The spreadsheet has since been merged with the all-format-encompassing inventory on the Peter Rubin Collection.

    Figure 4, the Fujica hand-crank viewer set-up.

     

    Figure 5, Steenbeck Super8 table in action. Pictured: Simona Monizza

     

     

    Content Categories

    While each reel in the Collection is unique, general categories began to emerge, which helped to make sense of the films. The first reel of film belonged to what we called work materials: referring to the fact that the contents were related to a complete work by Rubin but included only excess fragments or ‘outtakes’ from the work.

    Some reels were comprised of what we considered unoriginal materials, or materials not shot by Rubin himself. This included a small, badly faded and shrunken scene from Charlie Chaplain’s The Rink (1916), a tinted reel about Las Vegas entertainment from 1975, and, not surprisingly for Peter Rubin’s Collection, two reels of pornographic materials. Each reel yielded a new surprise.

    The films of original materials stand out to me the most. These include staged film shoots with optical art backdrops, coverage of historically relevant events in Amsterdam, as well as beautiful experimental films shot in a now easily identifiable Peter Rubin style: fast-paced, abstract and often shot at a slower frame rate, utilizing extreme close-ups on movements or reflections. These were filmed by Rubin in the Netherlands, New York City, Wales, and other unidentified locations. (More on these films and identifying them below.)

    Another category (and a major challenge) has been reels made up of fragmented materials. These reels contained numerous fragments of various lengths of Super8 film, unconnected, wound together on a single spool. Viewing this material was not possible on the viewing table or hand crank viewer. Thanks to ingenuity and teamwork with Simona, viewing was done utilizing loupe and lightbox to view the ‘spaghetti,’ as seen in Fig. 6.

    This creative viewing solution allowed us to determine if the fragments were work materials, or, as Simona and I predicted, used as Super8 film loops in performances in club MAZZO and elsewhere. (More information on how this suspicion was confirmed below.)

    Figure 6, fragmented materials or ‘spaghetti’ on a lightbox for viewing.

    Identification

    As a personal point of pride, I was able to identify the location of one of the films due to my extensive knowledge of the Collection. As I mentioned, I also digitized slides from the Peter Rubin Collection and remembered a page titled “Wales (castles, fortresses, etc)” and was able to link the slides with the images in one of the Super8 films, identifying the filming location as the ruins of the Llanthony Priory in Wales.

    The remaining unknown content left many questions; Which train station is being shown in this film? Who is the person being interviewed? Which club is Peter filming in? Unfortunately I was not in Amsterdam (nor alive anywhere) during the time Peter Rubin would have filmed this material so my identification skills left much to be desired.

    Fortunately the Collection Center is full of experts who are happy to spend a few minutes identifying film. Thanks to the colleagues and volunteers at the Collection Center we have identified an interview with Gerard Thoolen, an experimental film shot at Amstel Train Station, and a reel filmed on Rokin during the Amsterdam Coronation Riots on Queens Day, April 30th, 1980.

    A number of reels included what appeared to be bands performing. The only thing I could tell about these films was that they were shot in the same location but the location and subjects remained unidentified by the colleagues and volunteers at the Collection Center. Simona and I felt strongly that they were related club MAZZO so additional specialists were brought in and the films were projected for the first time in decades.

    Identification Screening

    Figure 7, Onno Petersen projecting Peter Rubin’s Band Films.

    Together Simona and I coordinated a viewing day for these so-called Band Films with freelance filmmaker and expert projectionist Onno Petersen, Fig. 7. Joining Simona, Onno and I in the screening room at the Collection Center were Steve Green (DJ at MAZZO), Michel van den Bergh (an owner of MAZZO), and Jaap Pieters (Super8 extraordinaire) in addition to a few members of the Collection Center. It was incredible to be in a room of Rubin’s former colleagues viewing, speculating, and discussing these films. Much was learned and fun was had.

    Thanks to the experts assistance we were able to determine the location, time period, and shooting processes of the Band Films; these reels were filmed in club MAZZO at a rear stage near the back bar on different Monday’s between 1982 and 1989. 

    Because the rear stage of MAZZO was dark, to allow more light to reach the film Peter shot these Band Films in 9 frames per second. The low frame rate coupled with Peter Rubin’s fast-paced, rapid-zoom, abstract shooting style, made it difficult even for our specialists to identify the bands or the musicians themselves. Below are the cleanest images we have been able to obtain so far, if you can help us identify these bands or musicians, contact info@eyefilm.nl

    Figure 8

    Figure 9

    Figure 10

    Figure 11

    Figure 12

    Figure 13, all three members shown in Figs. 10-12.

    Figure 14

    Figure 15

    Figure 16

    Figure 17

    Figure 18

     

    After the projection, Steve Green viewed fragmented reels on the light box. He noted that during nights at MAZZO, Peter was known to play loops of Super8 film and that the contents on the ‘spaghetti’ reels were most likely from those loops. This confirmed what Simona and I had suspected and provides insight into Rubins performances at MAZZO and gave some method to the madness that are the fragmented reels.

    Super8 Collection Status

    In the end, Simona and I determined that 36 reels of the 62 total would be kept. The selection process was based on whether or not Rubin was the filmmaker or if the materials were used by Rubin in some unique way; either as a part of his personal collection or to his work as a V.J. or ‘Video Jockey’ at club MAZZO and other locations.

    The 36 reels accessioned resulted in an additional 12 unique Peter Rubin films and collections, and were entered into Eye’s catalouge, Collection Eye (C.E.), as 12 new Filmwerks. Among those Filmwerks are two edited and perhaps complete films from Rubin, each of which had several smaller work material reels associated with them.

    The first, Bad Girls, is a roughly 60 meter film which is edited and complete with title. Shot in a yet unidentified club location, this film shows drag queens and models applying makeup, standing near a car inside the unknown club. (Fig. 9) This film demonstrates classic Rubin shooting style as the extreme close up shots of the subjects are intercut with blue and purple lights reflected in a saxophone. The heavy coloration present in this film is also classic Rubin, he often uses color in his VJ performances to help convey his works message and evoke emotion.

    Figure 19, still from Bad Girls film.

    The second film, at 125 meters, was edited but had no title so it was given the title Amsterdam / New York City Super8 Film. This film shared a similar structure to the previously accessioned and digitized Rubin film Holland/USA Studies (1980), but did not seem to share all of the same footage. This film demonstrates the delightful experimental film style and interests of Rubin; he stands on a bridge in Amsterdam shooting the canal and while the canal and bridge change, the shot composition does not, creating an interesting montage of similar yet different views of canals in Amsterdam. This is followed by other classic shots; from a mirror across a busy New York City Street, building facades, extreme close up children’s paintings on fences, as well as ducks swimming, cows grazing and sheep sleeping back in Holland.

    Films selected for the Collection have been catalogued in C.E. and have been properly stored, barcoded and transferred out of the depot into vaults for preservation.

    P.S. for P.R.

    While passive preservation of the Super8 films are complete, the work is not yet over. Due to the cultural significance and the uniqueness of the materials, it is my sincere hope that these films will soon be digitized to join the other digitized Rubin films and VHS tapes currently available to view on Eye-D. But how do we digitize short fragments of Super8 film or construct a currently deconstructed film loop? Additionally, consider that the Super8 films do not exist in isolation - they are a part of the larger Peter Rubin Collection which has no less than 6 other formats - some of which are catalogued, some not. How can the Super8 films be conceptualized with the other aspects of this Collection, in what ways can we see Rubin’s vision beyond format specificity? These questions remain for future interns, researchers, artists, and scholars. Hopefully my work provides a foundation for research, reconstructions, or exhibitions of Rubin’s work.

    Figure 20, from the 16mm film in the Peter Rubin Collection.

    P.S.S. for P.R.

    My work at Eye with the Peter Rubin Collection has come to a close but my connection to the Collection remains. This summer in July I presented at the Northeast Historic Film Summer Symposium in Bucksport, Maine where I discussed my work with the Super8 films and the wonderful gems they contain. It was a pleasure to discuss American-born Peter Rubin with an audience in the United States and to promote this Collection further. The suggestion and support for my speaking at this Symposium came from Catherine Cormon, Dorette Schootemeijer, and Simona Monizza and to them I am grateful for the experience. It has been a joy to learn and grow as an archivist with this incredibly unique Collection and I can only hope it provides the same to another intern or employee.

    Written by Hadley Kluber, former Curatorial Intern and forever Peter Rubin enthusiast.

  • 'Shocking News'; Dutch Fanzines in the EYE collection

    woensdag 10 januari 2018

    Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Dutch film magazine Schokkend Nieuws (‘Shocking News’) donated various Dutch fanzines and genre publications to the Collection Centre of the EYE Filmmuseum.

    Horror, science fiction, fantasy and cultmovies are often overlooked - if not frowned upon - so we are very happy to work with the EYE Collection Centre to create a complete collection of Dutch fanzines and genre publications. Over the years, Schokkend Nieuws has developed into a professional bi-monthly publication, publishing many exclusive interviews, reviews and background stories, but in 1992 our magazine sprang from the depths of Dutch fanzine culture. And we’re proud of it!

    One of the first Dutch publications to write seriously about horror and science fiction movies was Drab. Dutch film journalist Peter Kuipers and publisher Rob Faber created the magazine in 1973. Apparently there were sixteen editions published until 1980. Drab was a publication of the Stichting Styx (later renamed Stichting Drab - ’Stichting bevordering Horror & Fantasy’) in Amsterdam and it was also devoted to fantastic literature. Drab organised the Horror 73 festival in De Brakke Grond (1973) en Angstendam 700 in November 1975, which consisted of two all-night movie marathons in the Cinétol movie theatre, with films by Roger Corman, Terence Fisher and so forth. Angstendam 700 also organised a writing contest for short horror and fantasy stories and featured lectures, an exhibition and horror theatre.

    Horrorscoop was created in March 1981. Its founder was 17-year-old Barry Raaymakers from Oosterhout. Raaijmakers was a young fan of the Universal Horror movies, which were shown on Dutch and German television, and inspired by foreign genre publications like Fangoria and l’Écran Fantastique. Horrorscope started out as an amateurish, small print, photocopied magazine, but managed to professionalise and grow. By the mid-eighties Horrorscoop was published quarterly, had about 250 subscribers, and was distributed to specialty film shops in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Collaborators like Ruben Drukker, Oliver Kerkdijk, Han Weevers, Bart Oosterhoorn, Fir Suidema, Mike Lebbing, Mark van den Tempel, Phil van Tongeren and Erique J. Rebel helped professionalise its content. Horrorscoop covered events like Wim Vink’s Benelux Horror & Science-Fiction Smalfilm Festival in Tiel and Jan Doense’s Weekend of Terror film festival. The magazine also managed to get exclusive interviews with directors like Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Dario Argento, Clive Barker, Sam Raimi en Christopher Lee.

    The eighties and the beginning of the nineties were a good period for fanzines. Peter Zirschky, lead singer of punk band Funeral Oration and head of the Stichting Horror Relations, ran a horror mail order company and published two magazines: Horror Relations, probably in 1987, and Savage Cinema in March 1988. Both magazines were written in English and filled with enthusiastic reviews like: ‘Night Train To Terror is a mess. BUT, it’s a very BLOODY mess and will certainly appeal to gore-hounds.’ That same year, graphic designer Bart Oosterhoorn created GoreHound (1988-1990): a completely self-written, self-designed and self-published free magazine. Its five editions were devoted to the different editions of Weekend of Terror, but they also contained articles on artists like Robert Longo, Félicien Rops, Antoine Wiertz, books and other fanzines.

    When Raaijmakers decided to stop in 1992, no less than three new Dutch genre publications were announced. Cinéville never came to be, but both Camera Obscura and Schokkend Nieuws started fruitful careers. Camera Obscura was published in Groningen from 1992 to 2000 by Mike Lebbing en Michael Kopijn, and focused on European cult cinema and Italian genre movies. Camera Obscura published extensive interviews with Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato and Jean Rollin, and featured articles by ex-Horrorscoop-writers Oliver Kerkdijk, Hans Peter Christen en Han Weevers.

    Schokkend Nieuws was founded by Jan Doense, Phil van Tongeren en Bart Oosterhoorn, soon joined by Parool film critic Bart van der Put. It started in black and white and on an A5-format, but became a full colour tabloid in 2002. It has been published bimonthly since 2011. Last week we released our 128th edition. It contains a long 10-page series of articles about De Johnsons (Rudolf van den Berg, 1992), one of the most successful Dutch horror movies. Cherished by the fans of the evil god ‘Xangadix’, but almost forgotten. Not by Schokkend Nieuws of course - we interviewed Van den Berg and star of the movie Monique van de Ven - and not by the Collection Centre of the EYE Filmmuseum: I was able to do a lot of the research for this issue at the institute – with the kind help of Nita Smit and Piet Dirkx.

    Nita, Piet and the other collaborators at EYE are now also the keepers of some of the most obscure and fascinating Dutch fanzines: Horrorscoop, Savage Cinema, GoreHound, Camera Obscura, Schokkend Nieuws – all complete. And let’s not forget: the only eight editions that were ever published of Bad Taste (Geleen, 1993) and the extremely sleazy complete WOOF! (2014-2017) collection from Groningen. We are still looking to complete the collection with Drab, Horror Relations and GoreHound, but EYE now collectes a lot of research material on Dutch genre filmmaking and fan culture to be studied – and enjoyed.

    Barend de Voogd
    Editor Schokkend Nieuws film magazine
    www.schokkendnieuws.nl

     

     

  • Challenges of Preserving a Multimedia Installation

    donderdag 7 december 2017

    Earlier this year, in January, students of the MA ‘Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image’ were presented with four different case studies. Each project was introduced by a specialist from EYE, under whose supervision a group of four to five students would dedicate their time for the duration of four weeks. The following report describes one of those projects: Moving Pictures.
     

    Rien Hagen standing inside his installation, 1995 (one of five available photographs that depict the actual installation as it once was).


    Moving Pictures

    Moving Pictures is the name of an installation by Rien Hagen, which was on display, together with two other installations, during the two-week exhibition 500 Years of Film, in the Theater aan het Spui in November 1995. The exhibition was organized by the Cinematheek Haags Filmhuis, which hosted an accompanying two-day conference, inviting a variety of speakers who, through a series of lectures and debates, reflected on the state of cinema as it celebrated its centenary.

    Hagen’s installation was inspired by, or even based on, Anne Hollander’s book Moving Pictures. Hollander, an art historian, gave permission to use the title of her book for the installation and was present herself during the conference and opening of the exhibition. In her book, Hollander describes the birth and rise of cinema not merely as a technological invention, but above all as the continuation of a specific form of imagery that was established by Northern-European painters. She argues that these painters suggested, by using a variety of techniques, that there was a world beyond the physical frame of the painting, resulting in a form of imagery that can or should be considered proto-cinematic. By projecting some of these proto-cinematic paintings in conjunction with famous excerpts from films, Hagen wanted to highlight the connection between proto- and contemporary cinema in his installation.
     

    Remnants of the Past
     

    Rough first sketch of the installation, the final screens would measure 11 metres wide and 4 metres high.
     

    Our project evolved around the question how such an installation, which now merely exists in parts and on paper, could be best preserved, effectively enabling the possibility of a future reconstruction that mimics, or at least approaches, the experience of the past visitor. The following sources were available to us from the outset:

    • - 192 framed slides.
    • - Over 300 slide duplicates.
    • - 10 cans of 16mm film positives.
    • - 4 cans of 16mm film, A-B negative rolls (8 rolls in total).
    • - 2 Hi 8 tapes, which were solely used to record 8 tracks of audio.
    • - 1 compact cassette.
    • - A post-production script.
    • - A printed sequence of all images, moving and still (sometimes referred to as a timeline).
    • - 5 photographs of the installation (from 1995).
       

    Framed slides, originals and backups.
     

    The photographs of the installation provided an entry point for our research. The installation consisted of four dark transparent screens, which allowed backlit projection, creating a square room which could be entered from one of the corners. Each screen, or wall, could have still images projected onto it at four different locations. Besides these still images, the photographs made clear that film could be projected at the centre of each screen. This indicated that there would have been at least sixteen slide projectors, four per screen, and four 16mm film projectors, one behind each screen. A schemata, acquired at a later stage of our research, confirmed this setup.
     

    Schemata of the installation showing various projector locations.
     

    The framed slides, which were used in the actual installation, bear handwritten annotations that indicate trough a letter on which wall each slide was projected (A, B, C or D). Next to this letter a number was written, ranging from 1 to 4, specifying the exact location on the wall where the image was to be projected.
     

    Example of a series of slides which were all projected on the same wall. Because of the handwritten annotations, it was decided to preserve these slides as a whole, including the frames.
     

    The 16mm positives did not contain many images, some rolls were even completely void. It was to be expected that the actual film rolls used for the installation would contain a lot of black material, since there were four different film projectors, and often there would be no film projected at all during the runtime of the installation. However, none of the prints would match the sequence of images, as provided by the film related documentation, at a specific wall,. The A-B negatives proved to be more promising. There were four cans in total (now eight, for the rolls have been re-canned individually), which all included an A and B roll. The cans were labelled A to D, and the images on the negatives did in fact correspond to the image locations as provided by the timeline. There was however a slight discrepancy between the timestamps in the timeline and the ones provided by the Steenbeck’s counter while viewing the material. Nevertheless, it is very likely that the A-B negatives were in fact used to create the final prints that were projected. The negatives were in excellent condition and would only need dust removal before being processed once more.
     

    Several cans containing 16mm positives or A-B negative rolls.
     

    The compact cassette contained three citations of poems which would accompany specific images while the installation was running. The cassette itself was not used during the installation and should be considered working material. However, the Hi 8 tapes (one being a backup) were used for the installation. This carrier, as we later learned, was chosen because of two reasons. First, the production team simply had access to this specific technology at that time, which made the choice cost efficient. Second, this carrier was able to contain eight separate sound tracks, delivering stereo sound to each individual wall.
     

    The Tascam DA-88 (left), which was used to produce and read the Hi 8 tapes (right) of the installation. Nico Bunnik, who originally worked on the sound for Hagen’s installation, maintained the unit in his studio and was able to digitize the Hi 8 tape for us twenty-two years later.


    Cataloguing and Scanning

    In order to preserve both material and concept, it was decided to catalogue all slides, including detailed descriptions in EYE’s collection database. There were over 300, non-framed, acetate positive duplicate prints of the slides. For the sake of preservation, all duplicates have been transferred to acid-free folders, while the framed slides that were broken had their glass removed and its folder cleaned thoroughly by a cotton swab. In consultation with EYE specialists it was decided that the originally used slides would remain in their frames, for the annotations on these frames are valuable to the concept and should be preserved as well. Logically, the duplicates were used for scanning purposes, they had never been used in the installation and proved to be in better overall condition.
     

    The time-consuming task of organizing over hundreds of slides. Connecting each slide to a specific wall and position of the installation proved to be a daunting task.
     

    Organized and catalogued slides, transferred to acid-free folders, ready for their trip to the vault.


    Connecting the Dots

    Even though all content-material seemed to be available, many questions remained, especially concerning the physical and technical setup of the installation. Dealing with a media art-installation, the logical next step was to contact the artist himself, not only to gather missing technological information, but also to focus on the ethics that are involved during a possible re-installation of the work. In other words, to discover and determine what could be considered the essential characteristics of the installation. Rien Hagen suggested to also contact Gerard Holthuis and Nico Bunnik, who were involved with the installation’s production and sound, respectively.

    During a variety of interviews a great deal of information was gathered which allowed us to fill in most of the gaps that were still there. Besides specific technical details on, for example, the way in which sound and images were synced or why and how different lenses were used for the slide projectors, Holthuis was able to provide us with a much more detailed production script than we originally had access to. This addition made it possible to finalize an exact timeline.
     

    Excerpt from the production script as provided by Gerard Holthuis. Besides connecting sound and image, it also specifies the location on the screen/wall where an image was to be projected.
     

    Regarding a possible reconstruction of the installation opinions differed. According to Bunnik a reinstallation should ideally be fully analogue, especially the slide projectors, for he identifies the analogue setup as a unique attribute that added to the overall experience of the artwork. In contrast, Hagen and Holthuis argued that if they had had the means in 1995 to produce the installation digitally, they would have chosen to do so. To them, the noise produced by the analogue apparatus was distractive and interfered with the overall experience. Hagen defines specific aspects, like the dimensions of the screens and projections, the fact that the apparatus was hidden from the inside of the installation and the actual content as key components that should not be tempered with.

    It’s logical that the content plays a defining role, but to what extend are its delivering mechanisms hands-off? If an artist states that his or her intended goals would have been better served by newer technologies, should one embrace such alterations and implement them in future editions? One might argue that such a deviation automatically leads to a different work of art. Following a similar, yet slightly different, line of argumentation one could assert that especially now, in an era where the digital has seemingly taken over, a return to the analogue apparatus would add an extra dimension to the historical exploration of cinematographic aspects as was investigated by Hagen’s installation in the first place.

    The difference between preserving a film and a multimedia installation is primarily that an installation demands the safeguarding of a concept as well. A film may already be accompanied by a variety of film related material, such as posters, catalogues, scripts and photographs, to name a few. A multimedia installation, such as the one described above, potentially multiplies this accumulation of related materials and inscribes them with a certain necessity. Not only do they add something external to its subject, they may provide specific context that is crucial for a possible future reestablishment of the work, its body and meaning.
     

    Research by: Aldo van Keulen, Fatma Amer, Costanza Lo Cicero and Katia Rossini
    Written by: Aldo van Keulen

  • Reclame vereeuwigd op glas: Bioscoopreclames op glasdia’s

    maandag 28 augustus 2017

    De films die in het bezit zijn van EYE filmmuseum vormen op zichzelf een prachtige collectie. Maar films vertellen slechts de helft van het verhaal. Elementen als de artefacten uit de productie en vertoning van films, zoals de apparatuur, persberichten, filmposters en dergelijke, geven ons de kans om een tijdsbeeld te schetsen van de tijd, waarin deze films voor het eerst vertoond werden. En EYE heeft gelukkig een grote collectie film-gerelateerde objecten weten op te bouwen door acquisitie en schenkingen. In het kader van mijn stage ben ik in aanraking gekomen met glasdia’s of wel toverlantaarnplaten met reclames die rond vertoningen gebruikt werden. Laat me vertellen hoe ik daarbij terecht ben gekomen.

    Toverlantaarnplaten staan in het kader van precinema al enkele jaren weer in de belangstelling van de academische wereld. Het internationale onderzoeksproject “A Million Pictures” is een voorbeeld van deze belangstelling. Binnen dit project, waarvan EYE een van de faciliterende partners is, wordt getracht om inzicht te krijgen in de talrijke collecties van lantaarnplaten. Ook binnen de collectie van EYE weten de talrijke platen hun weg naar de tentoonstellingen te vinden. In het Panorama (permanente tentoonstelling) zijn bijvoorbeeld enkele lantaarnplaten tentoongesteld, bij de mooiste lantaarn uit de collectie. De collectie lantaarnplaten bevat enkele duizenden items. Tot nu toe is nog maar een klein gedeelte ontsloten en veilig gesteld voor de toekomst.

    De afgelopen twee maanden heb ik een bescheiden bijdrage kunnen leveren aan het ontsluiten en preserveren van de serie bioscoopreclameplaten. Het grootste deel is afkomstig uit een schenking van CARPA-HARPO, een voortzetting van HARPO n.v. uit Den Haag. HARPO is een bekende producent van bioscoopreclame. Naast lantaarnplaten produceerden zij ook korte reclamefilms. In deze schenking is van alles te vinden, van reclames voor uitgaansgelegenheden en cafétaria’s tot allerlei winkels. Al met al heb ik 208 platen gedigitaliseerd en ontsloten, die nu via EYE Collectiedatabase kunnen worden bestudeerd. Enkele platen in de collectie komen uit het begin van de jaren veertig, de meesten zijn geproduceerd aan het eind van de jaren zestig en begin van de jaren zeventig. Het materiaal kan een prachtige indruk geven van de ervaring van de bioscoop in vergane tijden. Het geeft ons inzicht in het uitgaansleven van de met name de jaren zeventig.

    In het kader van toverlantaarnplaten is deze collectie bijzonder. Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat lantaarnplaten in te delen zijn in twee categorieën: Commercieel en internationaal/nationaal,  tegenover non-commercieel en regionaal. De reclamelantaarnplaten vallen eigenlijk in de categorie van commercieel en regionaal. De platen werden tegen een prijs geproduceerd, maar waren sterk gebonden aan de plaats waar de opdrachtgever gevestigd was.

    Wat ik interessant vond aan deze platen is de hoeveelheid van reclames voor cafés, restaurants en discotheken. Op het eerste gezicht lijkt het niet bijzonder dat een restaurant zou adverteren in een bioscoop, deze bedrijven zijn immers ook onderdeel van de middenstand. Wat deze platen interessant maakt is de wijze waarop ze adverteren. Op menig plaat wordt de bioscoopbezoeker uitgenodigd om na de voorstelling naar een café of discotheek te gaan. Een mooi voorbeeld hiervan is bijvoorbeeld de reclame van Van Santen’s automatiek, of de reclame voor Café-bar de Postjager. In beide platen wordt het publiek met een tekst als “tot straks” uitgenodigd om naar de gelegenheid in de buurt te gaan, om daar hun bezoek aan de bioscoop af te sluiten. Dit gegeven maakt deze platen interessant, omdat ze iets kunnen vertellen over wat het inhield om naar de bioscoop te gaan in het eind van de jaren ’60.

    Deze lantaarnplaten vormen een bijzonder onderdeel van de collectie van EYE, en verdienen het om verder ontsloten te worden. De vertoningscontext en de film zijn aan elkaar verbonden. Deze reclames hebben lange tijd behoord tot een onderdeel van de voorstelling. Binnen de meeste generaties herinneren mensen zich deze reclames. Vanwege hun intrinsieke plaats in de filmvoorstelling verdienen deze platen een plek in de collectie van EYE. En, het goede nieuws is, er zijn er nog genoeg. Er zijn zeker nog twee andere dozen met bioscoopreclameplaten. Ook daar zal nog genoeg in te vinden zijn.

    Jeroen Splinter

    Intern at A Million Pictures/film related collections EYE

  • Theodore van Houten overleden

    maandag 18 april 2016

    Vrij plotseling maar niet geheel onverwacht bereikte ons vorige week het bericht dat Theodore van Houten is overleden. Deze markante persoon had op een aantal manieren een band met EYE. Hij was bekend door zijn voorstellingen voor zwijgende film via zijn stichting Cinema in Concert. Deze voorstellingen werden weliswaar niet bij EYE georganiseerd en waren bedoeld voor muzikale begeleiding met groot orkest, maar uiteraard vormden zij een mooie aanvulling op de voortstellingen die EYE zelf met zwijgende film verzorgt en delen vooral de passie voor deze bijzondere kunstvorm.
    Ondergetekende werkte in 1991 een drietal maanden intensief met Theodore samen aan de ontsluiting van EYE's collectie bladmuziek voor zwijgende film, die toen voornamelijk bestond uit de collectie afkomstig van de Utrechtse concertmeester Ido Eyl. Theodore beschreef de stukken inhoudelijk, waarna ik ze in zuurvrije omslagen verpakte en de data in de database invoerde.

    Ik leerde Theodore in die periode kennen als een zeer eigenzinnige, om niet te zeggen eigenwijze man, die echter tegelijk een bijzonder humorvolle en aangename kamergenoot bleek. Zijn passie voor muziek galmde regelmatig door de ruimte en hij bleek bovendien zeer gedreven en productief.
    Theodore vulde de Eyl-collectie nog aan met honderden stukken uit zijn eigen verzameling. Hij wist te bewerkstelligen dat alle op deze manier gegeneerde data in boekvorm verschenen bij uitgever Frits Knuf: Silent Cinema Music.

    In 1991 vertelde Theodore regelmatig over zijn nog jonge dochters, waaruit tevens een warm vaderhart sprak. Toen kon ik nog niet vermoeden welk een bekendheid Carice en Jelka later zouden krijgen. Zijn trots om de prestaties van zijn dochters bleek in 2011, toen Theodore enkele dozen vol verzamelde publicaties over met name Carice aan EYE aanbood. Hij kon de stroom niet meer bijhouden en droeg de materialen daarom al vast over. In 2014 volgde zijn archief van Cinema in Concert. Alle drie genoemde collecties zijn bij EYE ontsloten en zullen binnenkort raadpleegbaar zijn in het nieuwe Collectiecentrum.

  • Exposing the Film Apparatus

    donderdag 24 maart 2016

    Friday, the 11th of March, the book launch of Exposing the Film Apparatus: The Film Archive as a Research Laboratory took place at EYE. Co-editors Giovanna Fossati (EYE, University of Amsterdam) and Annie van den Oever (University of Groningen), together with the present contributors, proudly presented the new book.

    Exposing the Film Apparatus is a volume which is made possible by a collaboration between EYE and the Film Archive and Research Laboratory of the University of Groningen. The book offers essays on film apparatuses and media technologies by various media scholars and practitioners. It is a rich tribute to the various pioneers and creators of the cinematic medium. Furthermore, the book provides “a wider view encompassing the coming rewards in the context of the treasures left us by past experiences, possessions and insights”.
     


    In Fossati’s introduction speech, she states that one of the main reasons to create the book was the material turn. As a reaction to the digital turn, the material turn spurs a strong longing for the materiality of film and its devices; its apparatuses so to say. By opening up the archival vaults it is possible to seek out for practical and interactive ways of dealing with the apparatus collection. Therefore, the book has an experimental archival approach by addressing the film archive as a research lab, van den Oever argues.

    The afternoon was filled with five chapter presentations by Susan Aasman, Eef Masson, Leenke Ripmeester, Martin Koerber and Jan Holmberg. They provided the audience with inspiring and interactive ways of dealing with the apparatus collection. During Ripmeester’s presentation, the audience even witnessed a 35mm film reel changeover by a projectionist.

    This book is the ultimate materialization of a collaboration between the many scholars who are involved in this project. The gathering ended with all the speakers and writers on stage to receive a great applause by the attendees.

    Exposing the Film Apparatus: The Film Archive as a Research Laboratory
    ISBN 978 90 8964 718 4

    Price: € 39.90

    http://nl.aup.nl/books/9789462983168-exposing-the-film-apparatus.html

     

    By Sam Duijf and Anouk Kraan. Photo's by Tulta Behm

    Filmapparaten, Filmapparatus, apparaten, apparatencollectie
  • Saul Bass affiches tentoongesteld in EYE

    donderdag 21 januari 2016

    De Amerikaan Saul Bass (1920-1996) is een van de beroemdste grafische ontwerpers van de 20ste eeuw. Hij ontwierp markante symbolen op allerlei gebied voor bijv. Minolta, United Airlines en Kleenex. Hij is vooral wereldberoemd en blijvend populair om zijn treffende filmtitelsequenties en filmaffiches. Zijn titelsequenties zijn een samenvatting van de film in enkele minuten, zijn affiches een samenvatting van de titelsequentie in een enkel beeld, vaak met hetzelfde symbool.

    EYE heeft nu een kleine tentoonstelling met 16 affiches van Saul Bass, die twintig jaar geleden overleed. Er bestaat geen complete catalogus van zijn filmaffiches die vaak niet zijn gesigneerd (van deze 16  zijn er slechts 5 gesigneerd), deels omdat maatschappijen zijn gestileerde werk afkeurden en veranderden, zoals toevoeging van stills aan THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM. Op het affiche voor ROSEBUD resteert van Bass’ ontwerp slechts de titel plus een vuist met mes. Toeschrijving van zijn ongesigneerde werk blijft ook voor zijn biografen een uitdaging. Er is vooral verwarring over films waarvoor hij alleen titelsequenties ontwierp maar geen affiche zoals PSYCHO en WEST SIDE STORY. 
    Zijn grafische filmaffiches hebben een krachtige en heldere stijl met soms slordige letters en tot de essentie teruggebrachte lijnen en figuratieve symbolen in weinig tinten met monochrome vlakvulling (vaak rood zoals hier bij 9 exemplaren) ogenschijnlijk kinderlijk eenvoudig maar trefzeker en onnavolgbaar. Sommige symbolen werden een icoon voor bepaalde films, zoals het lichaam uit ANATOMY OF A MURDER of de arm uit THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM en veel ander werk vooral voor regisseur Otto Preminger (hier vertegenwoordigd met 9 affiches). Handen werden Bass’ bekendste motief voor talloze titels (hier 8 exemplaren).

    EYE toont onder meer beroemde affiches als VERTIGO (met spiraalvorm voor duizelingen van de hoofdpersoon met hoogtevrees), ANATOMY OF A MURDER (met losse lichaamsdelen), THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (met verwrongen arm van de verslaafde hoofdpersoon), ADVISE AND CONSENT (het opengeklapte Capitool onthult geheimen). VERTIGO is bij uitzondering een re-issue uit 1996 want een eerste druk hiervan ontbreekt in de EYE collectie en is nu zeldzaam en daarom zeer prijzig.

    Jan-Hein Bal

     

    Saul Bass, affiche
  • The Color Red

    zaterdag 28 maart 2015

    Affiches met een bijzondere rol voor de kleur rood zijn het eerste thema van een nieuwe opstelling in EYE, die dit weekend gepresenteerd wordt in het kader van het project "Cinema (R)evolutie". Het project behelst het meer zichtbaar maken van de (filmgerelateerde) collecties in het museumgebouw.
    De "affichegalerij" komt te hangen in de voorgang van zaal 2 en 3. Op een deel van deze wand waren eerder al kleine exposities te zien van affiches voor de films van Theo van Gogh en Alfred Hitchcock.

    Deze keer is het thema niet aan een zaalprogramma, tentoonstelling of persoon gelieerd, maar is het een idee dat ontstaan is vanuit de collectie zelf. Natuurlijk is de kleur rood een populaire kleur en is deze in talloze affiches gebruikt. Daarom kwamen ook alleen affiches in aanmerking waar deze kleur onmiddellijk als kleur in het oog sprong. Bovendien moest het ook een geslaagd totaal - ontwerp zijn en liefst ook een aantal voor het publiek bekende films en sterren bevatten. De aanleiding voor de opening van deze opstelling deze week is de conferentie "The Colour Fantastic: Chromatic Worlds of Silent Cinema", in EYE van 29 t/m 31 maart.
    Het was een groot plezier om met dit thema door de collectie te bladeren en 16 (oorspronkelijk 20) affiches uit te kiezen. Het resultaat bevat een breed scala aan landen van herkomst (Verenigde Staten, Cuba, Frankrijk, Duitsland, Sovjetunie, Polen, Denemarken en Nederland), werk van beroemde ontwerpers (o.a. Saul Bass, Mikhail Dlugach, Albert Hirschfeld, Waldemar Swierzy, Valdemar Christian Setoft, Pierre Etaix, Hans Hillmann en vanuit Nederland Jurriaan Schrofer, Frans Bosen en Dolly Rüdemann) en thema's.

    Sommige affiches hebben een overheersende rode kleurstelling (bijv. West Side Story, Mon Oncle), andere gebruiken de kleur juist om vanuit een rustige achtergrond een sterk accent te zetten (Harakiri, Les Amants).
    Bij de linoleumdruk affiches van Frans Bosen zijn de kleurvlakken vanzelf strak omlijnd (Don Q en Dante's Inferno), bij de Poolse affiches van Jan Mlodozeniec (Senso/Zwysty) en Waldemar Swierzy (Sunset Boulevard/Bulwar zachodzacego stonca) is de kleur rood een stevige achtergrond waaruit het met zwart en lichte kleuren geschilderde thema juist sterk naar voren kan komen.
    Saul Bass (Anatomy of a murder) en Hans Hillmann (Der General) zetten de kleur rood gewaagd tegenover een bijna vloekende oranje resp. paarse tint en gebruiken grote vlakken, daar waar de kleur rood in de jurken van Gloria Swanson (Manhandled/Maendenes moral), Rita Hayworth (Affair in Trinidad) en een onbekende Russische dame op het affiche van Bluzhdayushchie zvyozdy juist weer een bijna erotiserend accent is tegenover een divers gekleurde achtergrond.

    De affiches zullen in EYE 3 maanden te zien zijn en worden op de website van EYE getoond met de credits.
    Op Flickr is de gehele selectie van 20 te zien: klik hier
    Frans Bosen, Jan Mlodozeniec, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, Hans Hillmann, Saul Bass, Waldemar Swierzy, affiche, Dolly Rüdemann, Mikhail Oskarovich Dlugach
  • Anita Ekberg (29 September 1931 – 11 January 2015) overleden

    donderdag 15 januari 2015

    Wij eren de deze week overleden actrice / fotomodel met en keuze van foto's uit de EYE collectie

  • Verwacht: een nieuwe opstelling in de Basement van EYE

    donderdag 6 november 2014

    In het museumgebouw bereidt EYE een ontdekkingstocht over de technologische ontwikkeling van cinema voor, met geld van de Bank Giro Loterij. Het eerste onderdeel dat zeer binnenkort wordt uitgewerkt is de herinrichting van de Basement. Elf bijzondere pré-cinema  en cinema-objecten uit de collectie zullen hier worden getoond.

    De afgelopen maanden werden de objecten uit de depots gehaald, bekeken, schoongemaakt en waar nodig gerestaureerd. Een eerste tip van de sluier lichten wij hier op: een Clamshell Mutoscope van de American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (ca. 1900), een populaire attractie op boulevards en op andere publieke plaatsen, bedoeld voor een individuele vertoning van een kort filmpje, geprint op ca. 800 fotootjes die als een flipboekje in het apparaat worden voortbewogen door de handel aan de buitenkant te draaien. Het exemplaar in de collectie van EYE is enige jaren geleden verworven en behoort zeker tot de fraaiste mutoscopen die overgeleverd zijn.
    NB: Clamshell refereert aan de afsluitklep in de vorm van een schelp.

    apparatuurcollectie, Mutoscope

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