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AAFF Tetrads

Published March 12, 2022

Quotes collected by Gerry Fialka, design by Mei Kiengsiri

I have received answers from alumni on how AAFF has shaped our behavior. Go with your gut - impulsive, intuitive, emotional percepts. Let us pry. Explore the hidden psychic effects of AAFF via McLuhan’s Tetrad. Probe unseen social effects of its environments and unintended consequences. James Joyce included the word “Tetrad” in Finnegans Wake: “Our wholemole millwheeling vicociclometer, a tetradomational gazebocroticon.”

1) ENH - What does the AAFF ENHance or intensify?

  • public discourse on (experimental) (film) art

  • WEIRDNESS -- it feels like a total celebration of people's uniqueness and personal energy

  • Intensity. Cinema is native to consciousness native to synaptic cadence; it gives music to sight. A corral, a chorus, a congregate of true cinema is a lighthouse that makes life appear, intermittently calms, stirs the depths, waves, creates tides, makes bouillon.

  • the joy of an earned experience. It would seem that very few entities at AAFF cater to those who are unwilling to participate in their construction

  • my attention and understanding of the work

  • immediacy to new work and practitioners

  • access to cinematic experiences of a non-commercial nature

  • Looking and listening. Imagining. Shared artistic experience.

  • the art of vision (to steal a phrase from Brakhage)

2) OBS - What does the AAFF render OBSolete or replace?

  • streaming media and watching movies together in church

  • personal patronage of (experimental) film artists, and to a certain extent the private ciné club

  • SOCIAL MEDIA — it renders the typical meeting grounds and forums obsolete for a moment (seems like we mostly gather digitally these days).

  • I don't believe in synonyms. Or victories that pulverize. Nothing can stand in for another thing, another word, nothing can ever be a replacement. What could replace a daguerreotype, a magnolia, a spoon, or a parent. Technologies supersede or destroy other technologies, mediums by controlled design. But nothing worthwhile ever becomes obsolete even if it disappears.

  • I think it replaces how we define meditation. Not negating it, but modifying it. Like the whirling dervishes of Istanbul, we find something exquisite through activity (mental/physical/other).

  • 'the void' that accompanies working solo with faces of good friends

  • The need to see new work for a few weeks. Programming in committee

  • TV. Commercial cinema.

  • traditional modes of narrative filmmaking

3) RET - What does the AAFF bring back, RETrieve that was previously obsolesced?

  • secular antidisestablishmentarianism

  • the Roman forum, or more accurately in terms of focus and degree of exclusivity its successor the salon

  • COMMUNAL WORSHIP -- It's getting harder to express ourselves and share vision with groups these days. Watching films in the big rooms is a communal sharing experience and an act of praise to the good energy.

  • Asylum for contemplation. A focused flame.

  • The wonder of a large, dark room filled with strangers. The internet has laid claim to anonymous experiences. AAFF (and fests like it) retake that experience in part.

  • Feel too young to know obsolescence

  • Original source media. Programming as a rhetorical activity. Rigorous work for the sake of rigor and originality.

  • Taboos. The unexpected in motion pictures.

  • elements of early silent film, which in some ways was closer to the (contemporary) avant-garde than to more mainstream cinema

4) REV - What does the AAFF become when pressed to an extreme, what does it flip into? REVersal?

  • you don't get to publish unless you write like John Steinbeck or Eudora Welty

  • isolated intellectualism, public installation, cult, or idolatry.

  • QUANTUM PHYSICS PORTAL (pressed to extreme); SEGREGATION and ISOLATION (opposite when flipped)

  • A flip book that moves like a runaway train, an animated feuilleton that moves like a bumpy hayride during a solar eclipse, a 1967 emerald Oldsmobile cutlass convertible gliding on a coastal overlook. When pressed it becomes an impression.

  • The fire on a fennel stalk. The kind of light that gives and takes. The kind of light we owe parts of ourselves to. The kind of fire that we might have been remade from, some time ago.

  • eyefuck in a good way

  • a mania of cool kids only talking to each other

  • Epilepsy-inducing black-white flashing films even more intense than last AAFF's epilepsy-inducing black-white flashing films

  • Sensory overload. Movies - discussion about movies - parties with fimmakers - movies... ad infinitude.

  • a totally new way of presenting art (not that I'm holding my breath), maybe something resembling Wagner/Greenaway's Gesamtkunstwerk (I just noticed that "Greenaway" is an anagram of '"aye, Wagner")

I welcome your answers & a suggested fifth question. "Communication of the new is a miracle, but not impossible.” - McLuhan. "The impossible attracts me because everything possible has been done and the world did not change." - Sun Ra. Reword’em: "We saw the best minds of our generation destroyed by boredom at film festivals.” - Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Tetrads merge poetry & hieroglyphics to gestalt the zeitgeist. ENH & RET = figure, OBS & REV = ground. What's the diff-between art & science, Ann & Arbor, Film & Festival, form & content, percept & concept . . . We shape our festivals, then they shape us. Artists are the antennae of the race broadcasting & detecting hidden psychic effects of inventions so we can cope with what we do not like about them. Turn rejections into redirections, weaknesses into strengths. Entangle tetrads to expand quantum interconnectedness. Flip cliches into archetypes. Epiphanies in everydayness. Is the mystery of art to more activate or more pacify? Play is the new ground?

Keep an eye out for these tetrads during festival week!

email your answers to Gerry Fialka:


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