* This is an abridged mobile version of the Handmade Cinema site, intended for users without Flash installed. If you've landed here by mistake, click here to access the full site.
About Handmade Cinema

This web project visualizes the relationships detailed in my dissertation, "Handmade: The Moving Image in the Artisanal Mode," completed in November 2011 (Cinema Studies, New York University).

"Handmade Cinema" allows users to explore the world of artisanal moving image production by providing information on the practices and themes of a sampling of the field's major figures. "Handmade Cinema" is also designed to allow users to quickly glean the many connections between artists, their ideas, and the media they used.

What is Handmade Cinema? Rather than represent the world by photographic means, handmade moving-image artists seek to create new ways of seeing. Think of a Pollock or a Kandinsky that moves, a hand-drawn score that produces music when read by a film projector, or a mechanical apparatus that fractures light and bends time. Handmade cinema includes: painted, scratched, and treated film, hand-drawn soundtracks, and the artisanal construction of devices to make moving images (color organs, kinetic sculpture, light show apparatus, analog video synthesizers).

In the popular imagination--and in the majority of scholarship and criticsm on the subject--the power of cinema is rooted in its photographic representation of the world and its ability to marshal images in the service of fictional or documentary narratives. This project contends that handmade films, which reject cinema's putative indexical relation to reality in favor of abstract form, otherworldly color, textural richness, and sensory depth, serve as ideal objects with which to challenge--and subsequently, to reshape--our definition of what constitutes the moving image.

By recovering the range of forms, tools, and intentions that make up the moving image's shadow history, "Handmade Cinema" seeks to enlighten our awareness of the intersection of art and media in the 20th century, and enrich our understanding--and appreciation--of what is to come.

Examples of Handmade Cinema artists
Clicking on an artist name below will display a representative video or image.
*Note that most, but not all, videos are formatted to work on mobile devices*

Scott Bartlett

Stephen Beck

Jordan Belson

Bainbridge Bishop

Boyle Family

Stan Brakhage

Carl Brown

Mary Ellen Bute

Donna Cameron

Louis Bertrand Castel

Tony Conrad

Douglass Crockwell

Jim Davis

Charles Dockum

Peter Donebauer

Bradley Eros

Oskar Fischinger

Thorsten Fleisch

Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder

Arnaldo Ginna and Bruno Corra

Mary Hallock-Greenewalt

Bill Ham

Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack

Hy Hirsh

Takahiko Iimura

Isidore Isou

Ken Jacobs

The Joshua Light Show

Lynn Marie Kirby

Alexander Laszlo

Emmanuel Lefrant

Maurice Lemaître

Julio Le Parc

Len Lye

Frank Malina

Man Ray

Tony Martin

Stephanie Maxwell

Bruce McClure

Glenn McKay

Norman McLaren

László Moholy-Nagy

Richard Monkhouse

Bärbel Neubauer

Annabel Nicolson

Daphne Oram

Nam June Paik

Abraham Palatnik

Rudolf Pfenninger

Thad Povey and the Scratch Film Junkies

Jennifer Reeves

Richard Reeves

Jürgen Reble

Alexander Wallace Rimington

David Rimmer

Elias Romero

Steve Rutt and Bill Etra

Walther Ruttmann

Dan Sandin

Carolee Schneemann

Nicholas Schöffer

Kurt Schwerdtfeger

Alexander Scriabin

Guy Sherwin

silt (Jeff Warrin, Christian Farrell, Keith Evans)

Ture Sjölander

The Single Wing Turquoise Bird

José Antonio Sistiaga

Harry Smith

Barry Spinello

Rudi Stern and Jackie Cassen

Marcelle Thirache

Stan VanDerBeek

Naomi Uman

Luigi Veronesi

Jennifer West

James Whitney

John Whitney

Thomas Wilfred

Steven Woloshen