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 Peter Kubelka, 1994 Peter Kubelka, 1994
IN SEPTEMBER ONE OF THE WORLD’S FOREMOST EXPERIMENTAL FILM PROPONENTS, PETER KUBELKA, FROM AUSTRIA, WILL BE IN RESIDENCE AT THE NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE IN CANBERRA. THE VISIT PRESENTS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THE MAN PRESENT HIS FILMS AND ACCLAIMED LECTURES—INCLUDING A COOKING DEMONSTRATION!

Since the 1950s Kubelka has championed both experimental cinema and a history of film art radically different from that of Hollywood or ‘auteured’ European art cinema. In 1964 he co-founded the Austrian Filmmuseum in Vienna and has been its curator ever since. He was also a co-founder of New York’s Anthology Film Archive and has been a professor in film at the Art Academy in Frankfurt since 1978.

Kubelka is also famous for inspiring curatorial projects, including his cycle of film screenings, What is Film, and his plan for The Invisible Cinema: an ideal screening venue first conceived in 1958. Invisible Cinemas (their seats each separated by partitions) can now be found at Anthology Film Archives and the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna

Kubelka has made just over an hour of work in half a century, all of it unavailable on video and difficult to access. Yet its influence has been profound, with Jonas Mekas describing his films as “like a piece of crystal, or some other object of nature: it does not look like it was produced by man”, and Stan Brakhage calling Kubelka “the world’s greatest film-maker.”

But since the 1970s, Kubelka has also been dedicated to cultural de-specialisation and interaction, working to find cinema’s common history with architecture, archaeology, music and the culinary arts (focusing on what he calls “non-industrial cuisine”).

A guest research fellow of the National Film and Sound Archive in August and September, Peter Kubelka will present his famous lecture series—apparently works of art in their own right—only in Canberra. The three-day seminar will be held at the NFSA’s Arc Cinema.

The first two lectures use Kubelka’s own work to probe the idea of evolution as manifested in the development of cinema. This will be the first Australian opportunity to see legendary titles such as Kubelka’s flicker film Adebar (1956/57), his beer ‘commercial’ Schwechater (1958), the 1966 experiment in ethnographic film Unsere Afrikareise and 2003’s Poetry and Truth—Kubelka’s first film in over 25 years. The final lecture, “The Editable Metaphor” gives new meaning to the idea of “expanded cinema”, with what is promised to be a celebration of cooking, food, taste and smell as artistic expressions.

As a bonus, Kubelka will also introduce his restoration of Soviet director Dziga Vertov’s extraordinary 1930 experiment in image and sound montage, Enthusiasm. Writer Danni Zuvela will visit the National Film & Sound Archive to report on the Peter Kubelka experience for RealTime.


Peter Kubelka, National Film and Sound Archive, September; www.nfsa.gov.au for program and dates

RealTime issue #86 Aug-Sept 2008 pg. 22

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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