April 12, 2017, 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Oliver Gaycken: A Cinema of Living Facts: The Encyclopedia Cinematographica's Archives of Movement

Wylie Hall 005

A signature achievement of the Institut für den Wissenschaftlichen Film (IWF) was its Encyclopaedia Cinematographica (EC) project, which was active from 1952 until the early 1990s. Divided into three sections dedicated to biology, ethnology, and the technical sciences, the EC was conceived as a comprehensive archive of movement whose core principle was to reduce complex phenomena into basic “movement events” (Bewegungsvorgänge). This reduction allowed both for the creation of records that trammeled film’s tendency to contain too much information as well as a systematic organizational grid that made it possible to compare similar processes (e.g. modes of bipedal locomotion, fertility rituals, methods of sifting fine‐grain materials, etc.). This talk will provide an overview of the EC, which by the end of the twentieth century contained over 1000 films, which lie on the fringes of more established cinematic modes (wildlife filmmaking, visual anthropology, industrial films). As a coda, the talk will turn to  one area where the EC has had a notable afterlife, namely, as a source for experimental filmmakers. The EC biology films provide exemplary instances of this paradoxical aesthetic surplus, which is particularly notable in the work of Gustav Deutsch. Oliver Gaycken is associate professor of English at the University of Maryland. His visit was co-sponsored by the CDRP and the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Colloquium Lecture.

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