What is Film? Program 56
Harry Smith Early Abstractions
Harry Smith was a visual artist, experimental filmmaker, record collector, bohemian, mystic, and largely self-taught student of anthropology. Smith was an important figure in the Beat Generation scene in New York City, and his activities, such as his use of mind-altering substances and interest in esoteric spirituality, anticipated aspects of the Hippie movement. Besides his films, Smith is widely known for his influential Anthology of American Folk Music, drawn from his extensive collection of out-of-print commercial 78 rpm recordings.
Throughout his life Smith was an inveterate collector. In addition to records, artifacts he collected included string figures, paper airplanes, Seminole textiles, and Ukrainian Easter eggs.
Early Abstractions (1939-50) 16mm, 22 min
Pat O'Neill is an American independent experimental filmmaker and artist who has also worked in the special effects industry. Although his work embraces an extremely wide technical and aesthetic scope, he is perhaps best known for his startling, surrealistic, and humorous film compositions achieved through a mastery of the optical printer. His films and other artworks often reveal a complex and mysterious interest in the connections and clashes between the natural world and human civilization. O'Neill has also produced a prodigious body of work in drawing, collage, sculpture, installation, and many other media.
Saugus Series (1974) 16mm, 19 min
Water and Power (1989) 35mm, 55 min