The Dynamite of the Tenth of a Second. Rhythmizomena in Structural Film
According to the antique music theoretician Aristoxenos, the rhythmizomenon is “the thing rhythmed.” Its rhythm is structured in relation to an abstract atomic entity of duration (the chronos protos). Only through the concrete rhythmic articulation we get an idea of the subliminal chronoi, the pulses, which metrically shape our perception but are not perceivable as such. This model of temporal relations can also be applied to the medium of film. Its sampling frequency of 24 frames per second—the frame rate—interacts with our persistence of vision and thus creates the illusion of movement. As this process operates beyond our perceptual consciousness, the moving image established itself as the paradigm of cinema while the frequency-based cinematographic condition had been neglected for decades. With its media-reflective approach the so called structural film of the 1960s rediscovered the “dynamite of the tenth of a second,” as Walter Benjamin called it, and also took up the issue of stroboscopic viewing which had been investigated in the physiological and psychological laboratories of the 19th century. The chrono-technical aspects of film were strategically put in the center of attention. Examples of structural film works will be analyzed in order to shed light on the rhythmizomena in cinema.
Jan Thoben studied musicology and art history at Humboldt University of Berlin. He currently receives a Ph.D. scholarship from the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation for his research on audiovisual transformation as artistic strategy. Prior to that, in 2009, Jan Thoben was a research fellow at the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute in Linz. In 2011, he was invited as guest curator for Club Transmediale Berlin. Jan Thoben is co-editor of the print and online compendium See This Sound, an interdisciplinary survey of audiovisual culture, and he is a member of the editorial board of the online journal kunsttexte.de. Furthermore, he co-organizes an ongoing series of talks, presentations, and performances called Oscillation Series in the independent project space General Public, Berlin.
The symposium “Rhythmanalysis” is initated by Shintaro Miyazaki in collaboration with the art, science & business program of the Akademie Schloss Solitude. It is funded by Andrea von Braun Stiftung and the cogito foundation.
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