Grand Tradition

This is the 104th post on this video blog. Though I occasionally post words instead of video, I think it’s safe to assume that I’m quickly approaching 100 video posts, of which at least 90 are entirely mine – shot, edited and uploaded.

All but a few of them are between 1 and 2 minutes long, which means, by conservative estimate, that there are more than 2 hours of my work on this site so far.

Which is pretty interesting to me… granted, quantity is not quality, but the mere fact that I’ve created a feature film’s worth of video haiku seems significant, somehow.

Jonas Mekas is an important artist in the world of experimental film – he invented, according to some, the ‘Diary’ genre of filmmaking in the 1960s, by carrying a super-8 or 16mm camera around with him basically every day of his adult life. He’s still doing it today, at 80-some years old, though he recently switched to video. He lives in New York, and is the founder and president of Anthology Film Archives.

A number of his films consist mostly or entirely of scenes from his life, edited together over the course of years – which feature his family, friends, other filmmakers, and people he knew in New York in the 60s and 70s, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground.

I’m not trying to make a diary film out of Video Haiku – but I have been thinking about further uses for the footage, beyond the individual posts. Maybe when I finish the first full year, this spring, I’ll try to edit something together from all that I’ve collected.

I just wanted to point out that this – the video blog – isn’t a new idea, it’s just a slightly different format for a Diary Film. The concept itself is at least as old as super-8 and the Bolex… and I’d encourage anyone who’s interested to take a look at the history of the genre, because it contains some really fascinating works of art. Video is a powerful tool, and I’m a big fan, but it’s neither entirely unique nor unprecedented as a medium, in the cinematic freedom it provides.

  2 comments for “Grand Tradition

  1. November 21, 2006 at 10:33 AM

    Congratulations, my man.

    Speaking from experience, I can tell you that a Diary Effort is very cathartic and gives you a good perspective as what you really are trying to say in what you do: without a blanket of narrative or characters, your base emotions, styles, and views are stripped down to their barest essentials. I guess this is a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view, but it sure is interesting.

  2. November 21, 2006 at 3:14 PM

    I’m not sure if I’ll achieve the same amount of introspection with this as you did with 365, since there’s less opportunity for overt comment – unless I voiceover the whole thing. But who knows, it could always evolve in that direction.

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