Remembering Gene Youngblood (1942 — 2021)

Gene Youngblood’s Expanded Cinema was one of the guiding lights of the Millennium Film Journal from the very first issue. He contributed to the MFJ on three occasions, the last in 2013 with an  extensive statement of his radical futurist utopian politics: “SECESSION FROM THE BROADCAST” The Internet and the Crisis of Social Control” Millennium Film Journal No. 58 “Since 78: 35th Anniversary Edition” (Fall 2013)

Here are short quotes from two earlier texts: his 1988 essay on Bill Viola, and his 2012 remembrance of Jordan Belson.

“There’s a constant with which every video artist works, yet which you consider as a separate element to manipulate overtly; it’s the constant of real time—but [Bill] Viola calls “playback time” that which matches our perceptual sense of time and provides a reference for slow motion and timelapse. He points out that the concept of real time is strictly technological: before recording devices and computers there was no reason to think of things as occurring in real time—as opposed to what? Time was like the weather: some days go slow, others fast. If we don’t think of “real” time as a constant, interesting things happen.

[…] Circularity is the essence of Viola’s vision of being in the world. It’s a vision of transcendent unity in which the medium, the witness, and the world constitute an autonomous closure, mutually implying and constructing each other. This vision is as contemporary as cognitive science, as ancient as the Tao, as universal as the silence at the center of the circle. Viola touches that silence in each of us and we feel it resonate.”

Metaphysical Structuralism: The Videotapes of Bill Viola

Millennium Film Journal Nos. 20/21 “New Technology” (Fall/Winter 1988/89)

“Nested within the camera obscura of my faded memory is another dark room, a very small room that looms large in remembering Jordan Belson. I had come to his tiny North Beach apartment in the summer of 1968 to interview him for my book Expanded Cinema. I remember a Japanese style main room with tatami mats and flowers and a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay. I remember a little workroom opposite the window with an editing bench and rewinds and some racks of film cans on the walls. […]

One of the hallway doors was ajar, and through it I briefly glimpsed the magicians tools – the rotating tables, the motors, lights and optics Jordan had mentioned. […] Thirty-four years later his archivist told me it was the only time Jordan ever revealed how he conjured his figures of light from glass and allowed the secret to be published.”


Figures of Light: A Remembrance

Millennium Film Journal No. 55 “Structures and Spaces: Cine-Installation” (Spring 2012)

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