Fourth Wall

by Gidal, Peter

Film: 16mm 1978


‘This film was shot in June 1977 and finished in July 1978, as one shot was lost (my fault) and reshooting of the 5 second segment took me, to say the least, a long time. (It also took a long time to get the title right, ('right') as I wanted a whole series of denotations and connotations to operate. In fact, I've always felt titles are extremely important in contexting the meanings a work will find its place in, and this allows for some compulsion/obsession). The film attempts to deal with angles of non-anthropomorphic viewing, the non-positing within the profilmic of the always so boringly searched for stand-in. The retarded analysis of avant-garde film found for example in Screen and After-Image (to name but our local products, to which the rubbish across the seas doesn't compare, even, at all) will have some problems, no doubt, with a film that attempts to vanquish the figure, the character, the analyst and analysand, the man, the woman, (the latter two terms always, when imagined in reproduction, 'man' and 'woman', always a nonspecific biologism though one never curable by mere oxytetracyclene). The film attempts to construct a space (as all films do), to construct a time (as all films do), to construct a process (as all films do) of and for viewing, of and for the viewer to constantly re-process, re-memorate, re-produce it (him/her) self in attempted (but impossible) arrestation. Thus the impossibility, through such a practice as this film, 4th Wall, of a seamlessness, a linear narrative flow, a pleasure of the sort so sought for as in its delirium it reestablishes in all its power the ideology of freedom, whilst reestablishing precisely the dominant modes of oppression in the ideology of meaning making. The secure place for the finding of meaning in representation is that secure place: of sexist power, of the ideology of transparency, meaning/consumption in the guise of 'meaning making', the catatonic hysterical stasis of/for the viewer, given more and more as the 'position of the subject', etc, a new ideology of freedom, which must be countered (again, a defence) with another ideology: this.’ - P.G. 1978.


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