Tony Conrad
Experimental musician and filmmaker Tony Conrad's interest in developing new methods for employing sound in performance and film is a long-standing one. In the 1960s, he played violin in La Monte Young's noise-music outfit the Theatre of Eternal Music (also known as the Dream Syndicate), whose members also included John Cage and the Velvet Underground's John Cale. Conrad subsequently applied his experiments in early electric music to his films. For his landmark perceptual film The Flicker (1966), he even designed his own instrument rather than leave the soundtrack to an engineer or composer. Articulation of Boolean Algebra for Film Opticals (1975) is a flicker film consisting of six patterns of alternating black and white that cover the entirety of the filmstrip. Sounding very much like Spinello and McLaren, Conrad noted that Articulation "literally unifies the optical and sound tracks." Conrad wrote that he hoped "to define the simplistic metaphor of the filmstrip so concisely that it becomes incumbent upon the viewer (-hearer) to diagnose the mechanism of externalization in the sound-sight construction." Conrad thus drained every referential element from his film, leaving viewers to wrestle with seventy minutes of black-and-white patterns that he hoped would reveal the qualities of their construction. Conrad's idea that a film could provide a non-illusionistic, nonverbal means of communication that could be understood by every viewer/auditor harkens back to Fischinger and Pfenninger's synthetic soundtrack experiments, and shares affinities with the work of Spinello and McLaren. Conrad extended his investigations into cinematic materiality and the parameters of film sound in his series of "cooked" films--performances wherein the filmmaker actually cut celluloid with a knife (an act that can be understood as a kind of aleatory editing) before marinating, blackening, stir-frying, pickling, or even deep-frying the film.

Sample Media:

Curried 7302 (1973)