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Arnulf Rainer (1960)

 |  Short  |  1960 (Austria)
4.2
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Ratings: 4.2/10 from 535 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

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For cinema viewing only
12 October 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The cinema feels invaded by Peter Kubelka's "Arnulf Rainer". It's less like watching a film than watching a predator at a mysterious zoo. The strobing of black and white frames and electronic scratches is a minimal set of variables but evokes a seizing presence, a greedy indurate screeching that sucks all the light out of the cinema as it recedes. This quasar creature is practically oracular, chawing untranslatable screams. A gradually increasing battering of the eyeballs fed me dancing rectangular phosphors and reticulated patterns appearing inside a tear, though physically all that happens is an alternation of black and white (a true black produced by the expunging of white).

The Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer, appeared as the subject of Kubelka's film Pause! and was fascinated by destruction and the atom bomb so it's not entirely lateral thinking for it to be dedicated to him. You could say perhaps that the result of both Pause! and "Arnulf Rainer" though antipodean in technique, is to record episodes of self-sensate mania.

It's important to add that the exhibition space is important for this piece of work. I've seen it in two cinemas, and it had far more effect in the first, which was cosier, and had less distracting lighting (exit signs and such). Since I first wrote about this I've realised that Kubelka designed the Invisible Cinema in New York, where there was no light source except the screen, and each viewer sat in a black velvet lined cubicle unable to view any of the other patrons. Kubelka was definitely aware of the power of the environment to distract!


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