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FORMAL ANALYSIS – Week 6 – 05 October 2020

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

FORMAL ANALYSIS – Week 6 – 05 October 2020

1. "What do you see?"

Copy Shop – by Virgil Widrich, 2001

The story of a man who works in a copy shop and copies himself until he fills the whole world. The film "Copy Shop" consists of nearly 18,000 photocopied digital frames, which are animated and filmed with a 35mm camera.

Meshes of the Afternoon – Maya Deren (1943)

Mishes of the Afternoon is a 1943 American short experimental film directed by and starring wife-and-husband team Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film's narrative is circular and repeats several motifs, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a mysterious Grim Reaper–like cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, a phone off the hook and an ocean.

Stan Brakhage Mothlight, 1963

Mothlight is a silent "collage film" that incorporates "real world elements. Brakhage produced the film without the use of a camera, using what he then described as "a whole new film technique." Brakhage collected moth wings, flower petals, and blades of grass, and pressed them between two strips of 16mm splicing tape. The resulting assemblage was then contact printed at a lab to allow projection in a cinema.

Rocio Alvarez, Simbiosis Carnal, 2017

This a poetic journey through the history of animal evolution, desire and sexuality, from the first unicellular organism to human being, who invents the calculated pleasure: eroticism; a story crossed by moral conflicts, where the female pleasure long ignored and repressed takes pride of place, and which culminates in an explosive finale.

2. "How did the artist do it?"




Virgil Widrich's film is about a man copies himself until he fills the entire world. The film "Copy Shop" consists of nearly 18,000 photocopied digital frames, which are animated and filmed with a 35mm camera. I found this film to be a monumental achievement and very clever



Maya Deren’s film deals with mystery in being in a strange environment. This B & W film used camera angles and spooky soundtrack to create the look and feel of a fantastical and dreamlike environment. This film had a Film Noir look of the 1940s and it really reminded me of the Fritz Lang movie “M”. The film is very clever to reproduce the way in which the subconscious of an individual can be represented in a film.



Stan Brakhage’s very short film was created without the use of a camera. Brakhage collected moth wings, flower petals, and blades of grass, and pressed them between two strips of 16mm splicing tape. I was very impressed with this film. I felt like I was looking at the world from the point of view of an insect. Life moves very fast for moths and I felt the world rush through me as a living moth.



Rocio Alvarez’s is a short animate film that explores reproduction and the importance of the female role in this process. Ms. Alvarez uses two primary colors of blue (male) and red (female) in this video. The main emphasis of this video was on feminine pleasure, which was for a long time ignored, repressed, and then progressively revealed and liberated. The film ends on a positive note that both male and females can have a balanced sexual and pleasurable relationship.

3. "Why did the artist create it and what does it mean”

All these artists want to use video art to explore individual subconscious. They focused on the internal and external images created by the human mind. Virgil Widrich's film reminded me of the “Simpsons” when he made many clone copies of himself. Each copy devolves into a lesser representation before it all falls apart. Maya Deren’s film deals with mystery of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind can be a terrible place of fear and mystery. The main character of this film goes to far and it destroyed by her mind. Stan Brakhage’s very short film gave me the point of view of a moth and how bright and yet very short its life can be. Rocio Alvarez’s short animate film that explores reproduction and the importance of the female role in this process. Reproduction has been the central theme in all species on this planet. Motherhood is key to a healthy civilization, which is represented in this film.

4. Is it a good artwork? Yes, this is good artwork because each video uses imagery to explore the human subconscious. The interior of the human mind is a difficult area to explore through art. Film and video can take interior thoughts and present them to a viewing audience. Also, music can enhance the representation of the thoughts in a human mind. Each artist use film to effectively explore the inner working s of the human subconscious.