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INFLeXions No. 4 - Transversal Fields of Experience (Dec. 2010)

R.U.N. A Short Statement on the Work Paul Gazzola


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R.U.N. began as an experiment in 2001 that aimed to explore the filmic relationship between the camera and the body and the use of video as an extension to the performance pieces I was making at the time. One that would expand and unfold other viewpoints of the performing body. The process was born out of my interest to the early experimental films of German avant-garde artist Hans Richter.1 I had become highly intrigued by his abstracted use of non-representational forms and structural elements in opposition to each other (specifically the rectangular and square shapes in Rhytmus 212) that focussed on their fragmented positive-negative rhythmic interplay. This ordering and organising of the relationship between parts and his move towards the dissolution of the subject3 spoke directly to my interests as a choreographer/ performance maker, as I had begun to move away from formal narrative structures and storylines to concentrate more on the physical arranging and spatialization of movement and scenographic elements.

I had also at this time been reading the Phenomenology of Perception from Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and his positioning to the need of a second body to observe ones own self, which I understood as a form of knowing through surveillance. This idea became complicit in my undertakings as I sought to display ‘a perspective of the body in reference to itself’ through a cinematic experience.

Hence with R.U.N., I began to explore the rhythmic potentiality of movement in film where the body became another element of the whole - forgoing any emotional semblance or narrative structure as its guide. And as the work was initially intended to be screened in connection to the live performance - Bird Talk #1 -74, I sought to a ‘display an unfolding of time’ as an active process, parallelling the live experience - by emphasizing movement and the shifting relationship of elements in time.

One of my initial interests was in the ‘close up’ – in how to show a ‘section of a whole’. I had just finished working on a project in Belgium, and while there I had gotten into a conversation with a friend about his fathers’ paintings and what he thought about them. He said, “Well I don’t like them so much as a whole but there are parts that I like a lot”. Following this idea, ‘to just to show a part of’, was inline with my readings of the early Richter films and inturn would offer a counterpoint to the mode of exaggeration that I saw as quite problematic at times within the staged body. Through the camera’s lens, I would be able to work on a ‘micro field’ of observation within the grand scale of the stage. Opening up ground to how the fine detailing of the body could be enlarged and screened in juxtaposition to the onstage figure.5

Around this time I had also seen two filmic works that had impressed me deeply through their staging of the camera and use of long unedited durational shots that gently swept over the human landscape, giving over a heightened sense to an unfolding of time and space. The first being the installation, From the East: Bordering on Fiction by Chantal Ackerman and the second, the memorable opening sequence of The Player from Robert Altman. Both of these works gave me an insight into how the movement of the camera, played against the body could draw out other readings, reflecting the rhythmic flow of things, events and people. S o I got to thinking about how I could develop a work where the camera movement would match the speed of the moving body and how they both inturn, could adjust themselves in direct relationship to the other.

Via my own limited financial means, I set out to explore how to make a camera move whilst still maintaining its framing from a solid viewpoint. A number of early experiments were made, purely hand holding a camera as well as using home made versions of expensive steady-cam devices but I quickly came to a point where the jerky and bumpy nature of this method asked me to search for another more stable approach. I was also unhappy with the idea that this device would be fixed to another body as I had the impression that the framing needed to remain a constant but its motion should be fluid. And that it was also not about the camera becoming connected to another interpretive being. So when the idea for R.U.N. became clear, the use of a car as ‘steady cam’ seemed the most logical choice.

It was in the combination of these ideas that set the ground for this work, R.U.N.

R.U.N. - Filmed one Sunday morning just outside of Fremantle, Australia on a deserted down hill road. A mini-dv camera was secured to the back of a moving car and my task (as the runner) was to maintain my position within the frame. Over the short journey of around 4:30 min, the camera recorded this ‘performative run’ whilst a three-way conversation is heard between myself, the cameraman who sat on the folded down tail–gate of the station wagon and the driver. These verbal instructions, re-laid back and forth on whether to speed up or slow down served my ability to run alongside the car and stay in the ‘shot’. The editing process that followed saw the omission of certain frames whilst leaving the sound track as a constant. Offering a disjointed view of the body in continuous motion related to its shadowed self.6


Hans Richter - April 6, 1888 – February 1, 1976. Painter, graphic artist, avant-gardist, film-experimenter and producer.

See -
Influenced by cubism and its search for structure, but not satisfied with what it offered, I found myself between 1913-1918 increasingly faced with the conflict of suppressing spontaneous expression in order to gain an objective understanding of a fundamental principle with which I could control the ‘heap of fragments’ inherited from the cubists. Thus I gradually lost interest in the subject – in any subject – and focused instead on the positive-negative (white-black) opposition, which at least gave me a working hypothesis whereby I could organize the relationship of one part of a painting to the other. - Hans Richter, “Easel-Scroll-Film”, Magazine of Art, No. 45 (February 1952), p. 82.
As taken from the Online Journal - Senses of Cinema and the essay on Hans Richter by Richard Suchenski, a joint Ph.D. candidate in Film Studies and History of Art at Yale University.
The Bird talk series began in 1997 as Bird talk #3 - a 20-minute study on the role of mimicry and repetition in our education and how this forms the basis of learning processes. The ongoing nature of this project saw its expansion to an exploration of uniqueness in choreographic practice and the follow up work - Bird Talk #1 -7 in 2002. Performances have taken place in Australia, Germany, Portugal and South Africa.

My ongoing interest to the relationship of the body and film continued on within many works at that time such as Spin Solo/Spin Double and the Assisted solo series. Other works that have been created since include YEP/Video playback, TWO and The Street Walk series. See HYPERLINK for more information.

In this notable work, Gazzola established the ground-rules for his many subsequent projects – of movement vs ‘dance’; performer vs spectator; illusion vs revelation. And through it all, the tense dynamic of a body framed whilst subjected to ‘the gaze that is outside.’ Andrew Gaynor – Points of View. Catalogue essay. Sara Asperger Gallery, Berlin 2009.

  INFLeXions No. 4 (Dec. 2010)
Transversal Fields of Experience

edited by C. Brunner, T.Rhoades

Transversal Fields of Experience
Christoph Brunner and Troy Rhoades

ZeNeZ and the Re[a]dShift BOOM! Sher Doruff 1-32

Body, The Scrivener – The Somagrammical Alphabet Of “Deep”
Kaisa Kurikka and Jukka Sihvonen 33-47

Anarchival Cinemas
Alanna Thain 48-68

Syn-aesthetics – total artwork or difference engine?
Anna Munster 69-94

Icon Icon
Aden Evens

Edgy Colour: Digital Colour in Experimental Film and Video
Simon Payne 118-140

“Still Life” de Jia Zhangke: Les temps de la rencontre
Erik Bordeleau 141-163

To Dance Life: On Veridiana Zurita’s “Das Partes for Video”
Rick Dolphijn 164-182

Jazz And Emergence (Part One) - From Calculus to Cage, and from Charlie Parker to Ornette Coleman: Complexity and the Aesthetics and Politics of Emergent Form in Jazz
Martin E. Rosenberg

edited by B. Mancini, J. Wiersma

3 Poems Crina Bondre Ardelean

Healing Series Brian Knep 276-278

R.U.N.: A Short Statement on the Work Paul Gazzola 279-282

Castings: A Conversation
Bianca Scliar Mancini, Deborah Margo and Janita Wiersma

Matter, Manner, Idea
Sjoerd van Tuinen 309-334

On Critique
Brian Massumi 335-338

Loco-Motion (HTML)
view Flash version HERE
Andrew Murphie

An Emergent Tuning as Molecular Organizational Mode
Heidi Fast

Semiotext: Interview with Sylvere Lotringer
Sylvere Lotringer

Andreia Oliveira