WORKS / solo

EARLY ABSTRACTIONS 7

2015EARLY ABSTRACTIONS 7for percussion | 5'38''ca.

PROGRAM NOTES


EARLY ABSTRACTIONS VII(music for an experimental video by Harry E. Smith)USA, 1951, ±5’30” Colour, opt. 16mm Themes / Abstraction
My cinematic excreta is of four varieties: - batiked abstractions made directly on film between 1939 and 1946; optically printed non-objective studies composed around 1950; semi-realistic animated collages made as part of my alchemical labors of 1957 to 1962; and chronologically superimposed photographs of actualities formed since the latter year. All these works have been organised in specific patterns derived from the interlocking beats of the respiration, the heart and the EEG Alpha component and should be observed together in order, or not at all, for they are valuable works, works that will live forever- - they made me gray.
No. 7 - Optically printed Pythagoreanism in four movements supported on squares, circles, grill-work and triangles with an interlude concerning an experiment. - H.S.

INTRODUCTION
Early Abstractions is a collection of seven short animated films created by Harry Everett Smith between 1939 and 1956. Each film is between two and six minutes long, and is named according to the chronological order in which it was made. The collection includes Numbers 1–5, 7, and 10, while the missing Numbers 6, 8, and 9 are presumed to have been lost.
The idea of the numbering was to suggest a coherent link between each individual film, and that they were to be treated not just on their own but as part of a larger body of work.[2] Of the missing chapters, Number 6 was made up of three-dimensional optically printed abstractions; Number 8 was a black and white collage of clippings taken from nineteenth century ladies wear catalogues and elocution books, and Number 9 was a color collage of biology books and nineteenth century temperance movement| posters. The remaining films show a gradual evolution in Smith's technical complexity, with blunt abstraction rudimentary motion more prominent in the early shorts, in contrast to an allegoric dance of Tarot cards, and Buddhist and Cabalistic symbols.
Initially recorded with no sound, a medley of music by The Beatles was added retrospectively. Because the songs do not exactly sync up with each individual film, some critics have opined that this does not enhance the film, and recommend watching it in silence.
In 2006, Early Abstractions was selected to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress for its ”cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance”.
Early Abstractions 7 (Harry Smith).mp4