Tuesday, March 20 • 10:00am - 10:50am
The Transparency of Early Film Colors. Techniques, Aesthetics, Materials LIMITED

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The Transparency of Early Film Colors: Techniques, Aesthetics, Materials 
The classical relation between transparency and color is not only a historical one situated in the fine arts, with different painting techniques, or in the theoretical framework of discourses of transparency and opacity. It is also an obviously desirable physical quality for lantern slides and film materials and their literal visibility. Taking the paradigm of transparency as a theory and as a raw material (Werkstoff) with a necessary visual effect, different material properties and parameters of the transparent in early color film will be discussed.

The focus of the discussion will be on the possibilities and limitations of technologies of early film color processes in relation to their specific materials, tools and techniques for color application or imbibition in order to achieve their determining (transparent or opaque) aesthetics, as well as in the very materiality of colored analog film as a physical and artistic artifact – and thereby its faktura. With faktura I refer to twentieth-century Russian formalism and its definition of surface descriptions of materials, which is used here as a concept to describe the interaction of the nitrate base to its layer of color application. Finally, aesthetics will be crucial to further investigate pro-filmic (semi-transparent) materials in set design that were commonly used to enhance a color process as well. Therefore, the methodological approach of this research consists of (experimental) media archaeology combined with material iconography and phenomenology as well as David Bordwell’s Historical Poetics. Important sources for this research are historical manuals, material catalogues, color recipes and color samples. These sources provide insight into application techniques and their materials, branding, chemistry, physics and aesthetics of color(-ing) at the beginning of the twentieth century.

avatar for Olivia Kristina Stutz

Olivia Kristina Stutz

PhD student, ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors, University of Zurich
PhD candidate on early film color in the research project "Film Colors. Bridging the Gap Between Technology and Aesthetics", funded by an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council, and contributor to the Timeline of Historical Film Colors. My research focuses on the relationship... Read More →

Tuesday March 20, 2018 10:00am - 10:50am GMT
BFI Southbank NFT3 Belvedere Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8XT