This found footage manifesto is a cinematic revolution of marginalized elements against the medium’s transparency. If film is a window to the world, stained glass has been installed and then broken in this window. The bastions of film spectacle fall one after another – corners and crevices storm the center of the frame, the film turns monstrous, bubbles up and demands autonomy to ultimately burn in a silent protest against narrative conclusion.
A delicate rootsy rhythm of Greek folk music resonates throughout the structure of the film Figurative elements are reduced to sound media. Shots freely blend into one another, juxtaposed with gentle contrasts. The film’s elliptical architecture based on the organic cycle of the seasons completes the harmony. The blue aura of early spring is broken by budding greens and replaced by the reds of summer, to ultimately mire in winter gray.
Candies, caramels, Eskimo Pies, Cho Ka Ka O! Elfriede and Rudolf’s days pass to the tune of Annie Cordy’s 1950s hit. Their home archive contains film recordings spanning nearly two decades. Always at the same plastic sheet covered table, always with a full glass of finger sticky liqueur. Who are these recordings of bourgeois parties for? Who will be the audience of the stacks of home interior portraits?
A frame is the smallest dynamic unit of a cinematic building block between two of the nearest cuts. A shot – actual or anticipated – is an essential part of a western, one the oldest film genres. A frame presenting a shot is the source of conflict at the foundation of cinematic tension. Add countershot and you have a duel. Leave it alone, and it wanders off like a bullet fired out of the frame.
D.W. Griffith perverted cinema. Filmed characters were forced to ignore the presence of the camera to give audiences the comfort of voyeurism. Excess replaced the norm, norm replaced excess. The times when film was obsessed with the madness of seeing, was labeled the cinematograph of attractions and shoved in the archives. Tscherkassky updates it using advertising materials – the latest manifestation of the exhibitionism of the cinematic image.
The official trailer of the 1999 Viennale International Film Festival is a topography of cinematic fantasies woven of light. Car lights, rabid urban neon and intense suns pulse to the mad rhythm of the projection in a kind of race between the alternating negatives and positives. The film heats up and frays to an intense electronic accompaniment, to ultimately dissolve in the light of the projector/reflector.
In the technical age of reproductions of art works, the elementary requirements of machinery force an actor’s work to be split into editable episodes. The camera gives life to a character consisting of several images stolen from an actor, to imprison it forever between the opening and closing credits. Ugly – one of the links in the triad film title by Sergio Leone – becomes painfully aware of the limited possibilities for its existence when placed on the editing table.
Peter Tscherkassky was born October 3, 1958 in Vienna, Austria. He attended the Primary School in Mistelbach from 1965–1969 and Jesuit boarding school from 1969–1975 in Vienna. He attended BORG (high school) Mistelbach and graduated in June 1977. From 1977–1979 Tscherkassky studied journalism and political science as well as philosophy at the University of Vienna. His first encounter with avant-garde film was in January 1978 when he attended a five-day lecture series by P. Adams Sitney at the Austrian Film Museum.
Tscherkassky began filming in 1979 when he acquired Super-8 equipment and before the end of the year he had scripted and started of the shooting of Kreuzritter. Throughout his career he conceived numerous film festivals including The Light of Periphery – Austrian Avant-Garde Film 1957–1988 (1988), Im Off der Geschichte (1990), Found Footage – Filme aus gefundenem Material (1991), and Unknown Territories – The American Independent Film (1992). He was also the founding member of the newly Austria Filmmakers Cooperative which began in 1982 and resigned from his position there in 1993. His most recent work Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the series Quinzaine des réalisateurs.
1979–1980 Kreuzritter (short)
1980 Portrait (short)
1981 Rauchopfer (short)
1981 Anderlaß / Bloodletting (short)
1982 Erotique (short)
1982 Liebesfilm / Love Film (short)
1982 Sechs über Eins (short)
1982 Ballett N†3 (short)
1983 Urlaubsfilm / Holiday Movie (short)
1983 Freeze Frame (short)
1983 Partita (short)
1983 Miniaturen – viele Berliner Künstler in Hoisdorf / Miniaturen – Many Berlin Artists in Hoisdorf (short)
1984 Ballet 16 (short)
1984 Motion Picture (La Sortie des Ouvriers de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon) (short)
1985 Manufraktur / Manufracture (short)
1986 kelimba (short)
1987 Shot-Countershot (short)
1987–1989 Daniel Paul Schrebers Stimmvisionen and Schizo-Schreber (short)
1988 Brehms tierisches Leben (short)
1987–1989 tabula rasa (short)
1988–1989 à jour (short)
1992 Parallel Space: Inter-View (short)
1993 Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken (co-dir., short)
1996 Happy-End (short)
1997–1998 L’Arrivée (short)
1999 Outer Space (short)
1999 Get Ready (Viennale ’99 Trailer) (short)
2001 Dream Work (short)
2005 Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (short)
2006 Nachtstück / Nocturne (short)
2010 Coming Attractions (short)