By Mónica Delgado
A short experimental film, an homage to Paul Sharits by Catalonian filmmaker Antoni Pinent was projected in one of the brief international sections of the fourth edition of MUTA – International Audiovisual Appropriation Festival. Paul Sharits, the great avantgarde visual artist, a key figure of the called “structural cinema” from the United States. The use of multiple projectors, sound as a capital element, playful loops full of colour, and evidences of the materiality of each frame, strips of celluloid as marks of style of this artist and teacher which marked the history of experimental cinema. Films such as N:O:T:H:I:N:G, T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, Ray Gun Virus o Piece Mandala/End War, as an example of his inventive and creativity.
Pinent takes his Super 8 camera and realizes a register of Sharits’ retrospective at Kassel in 2015, and peeks out wanting to reproduce some motives of the artist oeuvre. This retrospective gathered installations, single-channel projections, several “frozen film frames”, drawings, scores or diagrams of camera editing and a number of unseen photographs and drawings. We see all those things in some takes of Pinent’s short, however, SHARITS/KASSEL 2015 goes beyond that, and poses as a visual and sound montage homage, which evokes the way in which the artist boarded his universes of shapes, voices and movements.
By using a mantra (an element present in Sharits’ work) inspired in Steve Reich’s -master of minimalism- compositions, Pinent retakes that which the expo diversified with themes, supports, periods and styles. This new reunification possesses the stupor of a frantic montage, and of that appearance of an inner trip that Sharits got us used to. In the beggining, we hear the voice of Sharits himself, extracted from a 1977 interview, made by Woody and Steina Vasulka, both pioneers of video art in the United States of the mid-seventies. In this way, through the evocations to Vasulka + Sharits + Reich, Pinent also proposes the idea of community, of nexus between contexts, artists, works, which give account of confluences and affinities. Not only does the Works dialogue with each other with frames and loops, but also, Pinent proposes through these details a dialogue between members of a generation. These loops or mantras, made by Pinent himself, remind us of Reich’s Early Works: Come Out, or It’s Gonna Rain Pt. II (1965), fused together with some seconds of his Act.1 – Typing Mysic (Genesis XVI).
For Sharits, to inquire on celluloid is not about cementing his role of reproducing imitations or illusions, but to fully immerse himself in their physical power, in the matter of emulsion, in the possibility of a bi-dimensional screen, in the auscultation of the rectangular frame, in making demands to the optical nerve, and specially, in opening the doors for different states of mind. And this is recovered by Pinent, in a mise-en-scene which contracts, separates, and dwells in the fragment as totality.
With SHARITS/KASSEL 2015, Pinent immerses us fully in this sensorial game, from the luminosity of the Kodak Etktachrome, which keeps the vitality of these colours dissolved in rhythms, cadences to the infinite. And he strays, in some way, from his previous works, concentrated in his proposals of the film quartet, of intervening and deconstructing existent films to create a new meaning, even if, as Pinent himself remarks, the pattern of the QR code is applied, inscribed into the series started by him in 2014. An homage in every sense.
SHARITS / KASSEL 2015
Antoni Pinent / Spain / 2020 / 8’25”