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Michael Snow with the machine he and Pierre Abbeloos designed to film La Region Centrale. The photo was taken by Joyce Wieland in October 1969, on the fifth and final day of the crew's presence on the mountaintop in northern Quebec where the film was shot. Neither Snow nor snow appear in the film. De La by Michael Snow. Photo by Ellis Kerr, 1971. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada 56 The Collected Writingsof Michael Snow The film will become a kind of absolute record of a piece of wilderness. Eventually the effect of the mechanized movement will be what I imagine the first rigorous filming of the moon surface. But this will feel like a record of the last wilderness on earth, a film to be taken into outer space as a souvenir of what nature once was. I want to convey a feeling of absolute aloneness, a kind of Goodbye to Earth which I believe we are living through. In complete opposition to what most films convey, this film will not present only human drama but mechanical and natural drama as well. It will preserve what will increasingly become an extreme rarity: wilderness. Perhaps aloneness will also become a rarity. At any rate the film will create a very special state of mind, and while I believe that it will have no precedent I also believe it will be possible for it to have a large audience.. . . I have two general areas in mind for the location. I am familiar with the country north of Chicoutimi (my mother's birthplace) in Quebec, and to familially balance it out, in 1912 and 1914 my father was in surveyingparties which mapped what are now partly the chief mining districts in Northern Ontario (Kapuskasing, Timmins). I have his notebooks and snapshots from that time and they have always had a fascination for me. Enclosed is a snapshot (mine) of the type of typically Canadian northern landscape I would like to use. Converging on La Region Centrale: Michael Snow in Conversation with Charlotte Townsend 1971 Michael Snow, with Joyce Wieland, spent ten weeks of the 1970 fall semester as visiting artist at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He had just finished filming La Region Centrale in northern Quebec and was editing in Halifax. Charlotte Townsend took the following from taped conversations with Snow in Halifax. The article was first published in artscanada28, no. 1, Issue 152/153 (February-March 1971). Note: The opening section of the film in which Pierre Abbeloos is described as appearing was finally removed. The interview gives the impression that the "soundinstruction " method was used through most of the film. In fact, the three hours derived from six hours of material were created, following the pre-composed score, by instructing the camera-mount machine electrically with a series of dials and switches. These were the On/Off switch for the machine and camera, and dials for the Horizontal, Vertical , Rotation (centred on the lens) and Zoom. The score defined speed from 1 (slow) to 10 (fastest) and duration. An example would be Horizontal speed 5, plus Vertical speed 1, plus Rotation 10 for three minutes. This would produce a particular kind of motionshape created by determining relative simultaneous speeds of movement for each arc. M.S. M ore than five years ago I started speculating on how you could make a real landscape film, a movie of a completely open space. Wavelength, 1966-67, Standard Time, 1967, and , 1969, used closed, rectangular spaces, each for different purposes. New York Eye and Ear Control, 1964, had both city and country spaces, but they were part of a completely different composition from what one might call "landscape." I wanted to make a film in which what the camera-eye did in the space would be completely appropriate to what it saw, but at the same time equal to it. Certain landscape paintings have achieved a unity of method and subject. Cezanne, for instance, produced an, to say the least, incredibly balanced relationship between what he did and what he (apparently) saw. Standard Time had the germ of the idea. When I saw what happened with the continuous circular, horizontal pans I realized there was a lot to be done with it. If properly orchestrated it can do some powerful physical-psychic things. It can really move you around, as I think you felt in the ten-minute excerpt I showed you. If you become completely...


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MARC Record
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