MOVIES BY MICHAEL BETANCOURT

  1. music: Jean-Philippe Feiss

    Cyanotype video. Centrifugal force pushing against the figure-ground distinction. An agglomeration of abstract light-shadow play, set in motion to evoke the transcendental, sublime experience created through a fusion of traditional, analogue in-camera photographic techniques with digital animation and compositing.

    # vimeo.com/343434467 Uploaded
  2. The silent film actress Mae Murray, known as the “girl with bee-stung lips,” appears in fancy dress, pouting and flirting with the audience. Hers is an archetypal image of white feminine beauty from the start of the twentieth century, a form that was already old when the source film was shot in 1922, here glitched and fragmented—yet remaining coherently recognizable throughout this movie. The music is from a vintage 1920 recording of inventor, visual music pioneer, and symphony piano soloist Mary Hallock-Greenewalt playing Chopin’s Nocturne in G Major.

    designed by Michael Betancourt

    # vimeo.com/73802758 Uploaded
  3. designed by Michael Betancourt, featuring music by Dennis H. Miller

    The Maya believed the Dark Rift, a group of interstellar dust clouds that divide the bright band of the Milky Way galaxy lengthwise and whose alignment with the Sun marks the winter solstice on Earth, was the road to the underworld. It is a reference point for apocalyptic fantasies prompted by the end of a cycle in the Mayan long count calendar on December 8, 2012.

    # vimeo.com/88156435 Uploaded
  4. designed by Michael Betancourt

    Going Somewhere: Episode I reconfigures nuclear tests, World War II documentaries and abstract glitch footage to recreate the science fiction narrative of atomic apocalypse. The story concerns the "Mushroom Man": a symbolic figure arising from a single nuclear explosion to create total war, leaving nothing standing as his radiant power destroys the world in the name of "civil defense."

    “Going Somewhere is frequently breathtakingly beautiful.... In Betancourt’s hands, datamoshing becomes a form of cultural resistance. Instead of utilizing the smooth, illusionistic motion of digital cinema which you would typically see in a commercial movie theater, he deliberately pulls apart the codes and exploits its errors to deconstruct the movies and show us how they do their tricks. He pulls apart the narrative tropes of Sci Fi at the same time that he literally pulls apart the pictures, pixel by pixel, creating a radically open form which resists the hypnotic myth-making of Hollywood.” — David Finkelstein

    “The glitch creates abrupt insertions and interferences, with intrusive fragments of images that seem out of place or come from other moments, earlier or later, belonging to the same narrative. Through the failure, whether fortuitous or induced, the trick is exposed; we still perceive movement, but we understand that it is only real in our mind.” — José Manuel García Perera

    Michael Betancourt is a pioneer of “Glitch Art” who has made visually seductive digital art that brings the visionary tradition into the present since 1990. Going Somewhere is a glitch-video based “movie serial” by one of the inventors of this video genre. The six episodes of the serial can be shown individually or as a group. It parodies science fiction spectacles, made using glitches and abstraction to transform historical documentary, home movies, public domain monster movies and NASA footage into a series of science fictional narratives. Their play with familiar tropes and structures creates a reflexive awareness of the artificiality and colonialism these narratives produce; sci-fi fantasies are masked narratives of invention, conquest, and domination presented as entertainment.

    The data stream that is the digital file has been glitched to create a continuous flow of imagery that functions syntactically—eschewing montage and the long take—so that each shot develops seamlessly into the next, morphing from one image into another. The overal structure of these images allows for a consideration of the relationship between displacements (primarily einbau structures) and their capacity to amplify the conceptual-narrative aspects of the science fiction 'story.' At the same time, the conversion of the shot sequence into an ASCii code animation enables a consideration of the distinction between the surface of the image and its internal organization as code. The audience is central to this process: without them, there is no coherence, no organization to this progression.

    # vimeo.com/152030090 Uploaded
  5. designed by Michael Betancourt

    Going Somewhere: Episode IV reconfigures science fiction movies with documentary/scientific NASA/JPL documentation and abstract glitch footage to reveal an underlying fantasy of transcendence. The story follows a simple trajectory: a traveler arrives, then embarks on a more abstract journey into inner space—a transcendent metaphor for exploring the self.

    The data stream that is the digital file has been glitched to create a continuous flow of imagery that functions syntactically—eschewing montage and the long take—so that each shot develops seamlessly into the next, morphing from one image into another. The overal structure of these images allows for a consideration of the relationship between displacements (primarily einbau structures) and their capacity to amplify the conceptual-narrative aspects of the science fiction 'story.' At the same time, the conversion of the shot sequence into an ASCii code animation enables a consideration of the distinction between the surface of the image and its internal organization as code. The audience is central to this process: without them, there is no coherence, no organization to this progression.

    # vimeo.com/148014103 Uploaded

MOVIES BY MICHAEL BETANCOURT

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