Wavelength And Back And Forth

Michael Snow’s two early masterpieces of inexorable camera movements, metaphysical speculation, and painterly meditations. Wavelength (1967) is a stuttering 45-minute forward zoom across a Manhattan loft in which a man’s death and the subsequent discovery of his corpse, both presented in sync sound, provide two of the on-screen events; an electronic sine wave moving steadily up a musical scale accompanies the camera’s journey. In Back and Forth (1969), also titled as arrows pointing in opposite directions, a camera pans right to left and left to right across a classroom at varying speeds over 52 minutes while various events intervene and a clapping sound marks the start and end of each trajectory. A great Canadian conceptual artist who works in several media, Snow has achieved perhaps his greatest international fame with these films and his subsequent three-hour epic of camera movement, La Region Centrale (1971). (JR)

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