A Sloppy Manifesto
I have been making some kind of movies since a neighbor gave me an 8mm wind-up Brownie movie camera on my tenth birthday.
Not long after that I started reading the plays and other writings of Bertolt Brecht. His concept of a "Verfremdungseffekt" fascinated me. He talked about the playwright or artist creating as part of their work a mechanism so that the viewer can see the strings, see the illusionism at the heart of any creative endeavor. He felt this was necessary because the theatre of his time was judged more favorably for its verisimilitude, for its realism. Realism can be an important part of art, but if it ends up as the be all and end all its audience is put into a kind of trance and turns off critical thinking.
Most filmmaking strives to be illusionistic, to hide all signs of its fabrication. This is often called "professionalism" and favors certain formats and equipment price ranges over others. In television production this results in a slick look that almost vibrates with its slickness, both in image and audio.
Illusionism and lying are closely related, and I aim to avoid both as much as I can. I want to produce work that demands some audience involvement. That is why I call the films and videos that I produce "Sloppy Films."
I like to work in nonprofessional video and film formats, 8mm, Super 8, Hi-8, VHS, etc. I also like small equipment because I do not drive and whatever equipment I do use needs to be hauled on my bicycle or on the bus.
Since the age of ten I have produced hundreds of films and videos, many of them too sloppy to show to any other human being. I work because I like to and because I need to, not because I want to appeal to some certain audience or another.
Having said that, I do like the historical and archival possibilities of media, and enjoy collecting unique films and videos. Most of the films I have are super 8 and 8mm prints of silent movies.