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80 The Collected Writings of Michael Snow There is. We made tapes to operate certain sections of the thing, but I couldn't use the original sound that was made to trigger the machine because some of it was too high for optical soundtracks. I'd known that, but I thought I'd be able to shift it all down. But that wasn't possible, so I had to reconstruct it. Originally, the sound was intended to dictate the movements. Actually,though, I was thinking about Bach - the St. Matthew Passion and that sort of thing. But you would never use that on the soundtrack. Oh, God no. But I was thinking about that kind of weight. I guess that would be my ultimate ambition, to do something that was as good as something by Bach. After the publication of the interview, Snow wrote a letter to the editor of Take One.It was printed in 3, no. 4 (March-April 1971) of the magazine. No riot till intermission It's true that it's funny to talk about when you're talking about it and feeling funny, but there seem to be so many mentions of riots and other acts-of-man - starting with the "300 Flee Far Out Film" cover (which is funny too) - in my interview and elsewhere in the last issue of Take One (3, no. 3) that I felt sad about the possibilities of the expectations of newcomers to my films being formed by descriptions of such events. My films are made for attention, contemplation, meditation, and if they are met in those sorts of ways some very rewarding and subtle sensory, sensual and psychic states can be experienced, so please don't riot until intermission. (They're often met appreciatively.) I'd like to thank Bob Cowan and Jonas Mekas for writing such sensitive appreciations of those states, and I'd like to thank Joe Medjuck and myself for the interview which was enjoyable, and I'd like to thank the editors of Take One for the layout and cover and for publishing this letter. I'm a respecter and observer, as well as a shaper, of the unities of occasions (which is why I made very very few changes in the transcript of our discussion). This is another occasion. Michael Snow New York De La 1972 This excerptfrom a March 1971 letter to Pierre Theberge, then curator of contemporary Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada, concerns the machine designed to film La Region Centrale. In January and February 1971, Pierre Abbeloos, the machine's designer, in cooperation with Astro Electronics and R.C.A. Limited of Montreal, made the necessary technical adaptations to the machine so it could be used to hold a television camera transmitting images by cable to four monitors. The resulting work was presented under the title From/De La Region Centraleat the National Gallery. Subsequently alterations were made to render permanent the use of the machine with a television camera and monitors . The final result was a new work, De La. (See photograph on p. 55.) This excerpt was first published in the catalogue for About 30 Works by Michael Snow, an exhibition organized by the National Gallery for the Center for Inter-American Relations, New York, 1972. B ecause of what I wanted to happen on the screen, it [the camera-activated machine] had to be at man-size height from the ground. I started to think of the machine as an object in itself as it was being built and to see that it was beautiful; I was thinkingof other uses for it when we made the film. De La precisely has to do with seeing the machine make what you see. . . . There's a really interesting separation between the maker of the images and the images. . . . You can follow the movements that are made by the source of the image as well as the results of those movements on the four screens. Contrary to the film, it doesn't have anything to do with affecting a sense of fictional gravity. . . . De La is sculpture and it's really important that you see how the machine moves and how beautiful it is. ... It is a kind of dialogue about perception. . . . The T.V. image is magic: even though it is in real time; simultaneous, it is a ghost of the actual events which one is, in this case, part of. The machine that is orchestrating...


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