“Out of the Dark” Bruce Jenkins On Paul Sharits – ARTFORUM Summer 2009
I took the first courses taught by Paul Sharits at the community “Media Center” run by Gerald O’Grady with funding from the US, after moving him into an apartment in Buffalo, NY. Listed in the undergrad English dept. I was work/study and attending the “Visual and Performing Arts College” of the University, an experiment in residential education at the old and then newly opening campus in Amherst, NY. An interesting film teacher, it helped also in my anthropology studies of “structuralism”. In the “other room” at the time was Hollis Frampton (“Zorns Lemma” and many others, early Twyla Tharp) a prolific art film-maker and other interesting people would visit and show their works from the community and afar, i.e., new video processing, by the Vasulkas.
Paul Sharits was interested at the time in getting an animation “table” to work without “hotspots” something to do with the union at Disney and turned down an offer to visit Cannes he stated he did not like how American film-makers were being treated there. One course was “Experimental film-making” to make one and show to the class, the other, a montage of various “found” film, in “Experimental Film Analysis” which ranged from Harvard Medical School “brain experiments”, the Bell Jet-pack demo film and to more artfully edited film, ending in his own of the “blow-up” of film grain, to see it the grain, with the sound of breaking glass, dissected and replayed. In one part of the course I was in “Lost Doll Found” a performance art piece presented to film-makers by Ken Jacobs at another location on Charles Ives birthday.
Thank you for this explanatory article. It’s interesting to see that the optical world he was interested has come to more and more of the world, without the “darkness”.