Technology and Ideology in/through/and Avant-Garde Film: An Instance

  • Peter Gidal


Since 1966, members of the London Film-makers Co-operative have thought it necessary to have equipment at hand in order to allow for the making of films. Whatever ideologies of ‘spontaneity’ can be read through this, the fact of the matter is that equipment was bought and built to that end. Malcolm Le Grice built some machinery and, together with David Curtis, persuaded one person to give money to assemble and buy more. The sum was not in excess of £3000. Stated rationale: expense; concepts like ‘non-alienated labour’ were current. The Co-op thus ended up with a 16mm printer and a 16mm developer, as well as editing equipment, viewer, rewinds, lenses, grading strips, etc. A film-maker could shoot footage and see it in negative and then in positive within a few hours in black and white, within a couple of days in colour. The control of the process by the individual was not an individualism. It was the possibility of having access into and thereby through and thereby onto the possible processes of representation. A freeze frame in a final film is no longer within the context of eternity/infinity when you have been holding a strip of original master material while the printstock noisily continues through the printer constantly copying the ‘same’ image.


Social Practice Optical Effect Experimental Cinema Mirror Stage Freeze Frame 
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  1. 1.
    Christine Delphy, The Main Enemy (London: Women’s Research and Resources Centre, 1977), p. 31.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Cf. Rosalinde Sartorti and Henning Rogge, Sowjetische Fotografie ig28–j2 (Munich: Hanser Verlag, 1975).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited and Teresa de Lauretis and Stephen Heath 1980

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  • Peter Gidal

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