WHY I STOPPED MAKING EXPERIMENTAL FILMS
I received this e-mail today concerning my recent posting on Bruce Conner's "Looking For Mushrooms"--
I am writing on behalf of Jean Conner, wife of the late Bruce Conner
and rights holder to all of his art and films. I have just viewed
your blog with Bruce Conner's LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS available for
download, which must be removed immediately.
I understand this was posted as an homage and an effort to share his
work, however, Bruce Conner was strictly opposed to ever having his
work on the internet. He felt It destroyed his aesthetics, the
image quality, and the experience of the work itself. This is not an
appropriate way to revere Bruce Conner. Due to this clear violation
of copyright, this is an order to cease and desist. If this is not
addressed immediately, the Conner Family will pursue further action to
have this removed. I have informed the Kohn Gallery of the intent
for illegal duplication of the DVD which they have produced of
CROSSROADS and LOOKING FOR MUSHROOMS.
Please remove all contents of this page and any reference to this
Michelle Silva, on behalf of Jean Conner
The Conner Family Trust
My first response, as with any request I've received from an artist or representative, was to remove the offending material immediately as requested. In the past I've had no issues with the methods used in bringing the objection to my attention, but the threatening tone of this one along with some idiotic reasoning just made me need to address this.
This is a perfect example of why experimental film is now a dead genre. The egos, greed and uber-formalism of people like Conner, Brakhage and others of their generation resulted in comments like this:
Bruce Conner was strictly opposed to ever having his work on the internet. He felt It destroyed his aesthetics, the image quality, and the experience of the work itself.
Bullshit. You can't experience art in a vacuum, and these idiots destroyed any possibility of future audiences appreciating their work. First it was "oh, my films are meant to be watched on film only, never video". Well, guess what--Kodak isn't even going to be making film stock to make prints pretty soon. Then some gallery throws a bunch of money and faux-prestige their way, and suddenly it's ok to show your work on video. As long as you can charge $40 a copy for two short films.
Oh and, hate to break it to you, but soon EVERYTHING WILL BE DIGITAL AND ON COMPUTERS. Film is dead, video is on its way out. Deal with it, evolve, or the works of people like Bruce Conner will be forgotten.
It's this neophobia and unwillingness to embrace future technologies that killed experimental film as a viable art form and there's no reason for it. Art is about sharing, growing, trying new things (it is called "experimental" film after all....) and attitudes like this are what stiffle and kill creativity and what will make works like "Looking For Mushrooms" eventually obsolete except to the elitists. It's a damn shame.