abstract and non-perspectival space

Thanks to Sarah Breen Lovett for showing this film made by Hans Richter in 1921 which is one of the earliest examples of abstract cinema and of a genre called structuralist cinema.

Structuralism has been defined as art in which 'the elements of the work's production or structure become the subject, partly as a way to demystify the cinematic process. For example, a particular camera action might be repeated and studied.'

The recession and progression of the simple geometric forms in this film Rhythmus 21 give the impression of a spatial depth which is non-perspectival. This type of spatial depth is related to that of the suprematists - from who Zaha Hadid drew an early influence.

Kazimir Malevich
Suprematism with Blue Triangle and Black Square

The Peak
Confetti; Suprematist Snowstorm
Zaha Hadid

One distinctive feature of this abstract or non-perspectival space is the lack of background. An infinite emptiness seems to lie beyond the forms which are brought to the foreground of these works. This film called 'black rain' by 'semiconductor' is set against an equally infinite space - 'outer space'. Black Rain is sourced from images collected by twin satellites which track interplanetary solar wind.

Black Rain from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

'Semiconductor's' description of their film brings us back to that definition of structuralism:

'By embracing the artifacts, calibration and phenomena of the capturing process we are reminded of the presence of the human observer who endeavors to extend our perceptions and knowledge through technological innovation.'

This allusion to the 'apparatus' of representation brings Duchamp to mind - in particular this very short film which he (allegedly) made.