Reaction Paper: Hans Richter, Rhythmus 21
Considering when it was made, I found this piece to be a highly impressive expression and use of film as a medium. By 1921, film had no doubt been active for several years and was gaining in popularity and success. However, it was still a very new medium that had so much yet to be explored. This video, although not really my style as it is very abstract and not story-oriented, it shows an amazing exploration of a new medium that experiments with three-dimensional imagery, fluidity, movement, shapes, and light. This was probably one of the more unusual pieces of the time, as most film makers were focusing on filming boxers or train heists. This exercise really seems to strip the medium down to its bare bones, but not in a detrimental way. I think it’s refreshing and healthy to strip everything down once in a while. It is a minimalist expression that shows us how much can be done with so little through film. How we can take simple shapes like squares and boxes and make them appear to move towards us and away from us, how they can cross each other over different planes of depth, and how all this movement can be made to look smooth and fluid.
Again, abstract film isn’t usually what I’m interested in but this video was a reminder that abstractions of mediums can be useful. It helped me remember that minimalism can still achieve wonderful effects. I often have to stifle a want to saturate my expressions with content because some irrational voice is telling me that’ll make it better. Certainly, this is not the case in reality. Minimalism can convey complex feelings, emotions, or ideas in its own way and should not be underestimated. I’m not sure I’ve ever underestimated minimalism, I’ve probably just been afraid to use it because I feel that with less content, and shortcomings in my work will be more apparent. Therefore, I suppose I often want to stuff my work with content in the hopes that its failings will be concealed.