Defining Artists’ Moving Images | MexIndex

Defining Artists’ Moving Images


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Sitting as it does between the visual arts, and experimental film, this genre is a little difficult to pin down. This makes it a very exciting medium , but also makes it difficult to define!

To help you assess if a moving image work falls into this genre, the work should have some of the following characteristics:

  • Most experimental filmmakers conceive, shoot and edit their films on their own or with a minimal crew.

  • Experimental film is mainly made outside of the film industry economics. This low budget approach buys independence.

  • Experimental works are usually short, under say a half an hour long.

  • Experimental filmmakers are commonly the first to try out new ways of making films, after which these new technologies are adopted by the mainstream.

  • Avantgarde filmmakers often continue to use old formats such as 16mm film long after they go out of commercial use.

  • Most experimental films give primacy to the visual.

  • Experimental films typically ignore, subvert and or fragment the storytelling rules of Hollywood.

  • Experimental film doesn’t offer a clear, unequivocal ‘message’. More frequently than mainstream film, it is fraught with conscious ambiguities, encourages multiple interpretations and marshals contradictory techniques and subject matter to create active participation of the viewer.

  • Experimental film tends to make conscious use of the materials of the cinema that call attention to the medium.

  • Experimental film may form part of a gallery installation.

As you can see, even the definition (an adaptation of a definition by Edward S. Small in 1994) is quite loose and is still under discussion!

If you wish to submit a work for inclusion in the MexIndex please see here Criteria for inclusion of information on works in the MexIndex Repository

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