Foundations of Science

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 217–230 | Cite as

Revisiting Tom Tom: Performative Anamnesis and Autonomous Vision in Ken Jacobs’ Appropriations of Tom Tom the Piper’s Son

Article

Abstract

In 1969 the American avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs gained wide recognition with a two-hour long interpretation of a 1905 silent short film. Ever since, the artist has kept on revisiting the same material, each time with a different technological approach. Originally hailed as a prime example of structural filmmaking, Jacobs’ more recent variations on the theme of Tom Tom the Piper’s Son beg for a broader understanding of his methods and the meanings implied. To gain a deeper insight in this on-going mise-en-abyme (and an obsession dominating a large part of his career), this essay expands comments by the artist himself with concepts taken from animation, media-archaeology and Warburg’s Mnemosyne atlas. Rereading a filmic text with minute attention, remediating it from an analogue to an electronic format, and reanimating the original action by adding a variety of intervals: all Jacobs’ strategies are aimed at demonstrating the afterlife of Tom Tom in a contemporary cultural context.

Keywords

Media archaeology Structural film New film history Avant-garde Iconology 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hogeschool Gent KASK - Campus Bijloke, Faculty of Fine ArtsUniversity College GhentGhentBelgium

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