5 May, Up to the Sky and Much Much More

Three films on recollections and forgotten memories concerning World War 2, with work by Henri Plaat, Karel Doing and Barbara Meter. Absurdism, personal memories and experiment come together in this programme, which examines the many ways in which memories of the Second World War can be visualised.

2nd war hats 2
2nd War Hats – Henri Plaat (NL, 1984, 3 min)

In between war bombardments, models are showing the latest fashion in ladies’ hats from a manhole in a tarmac road. One of the made-up faces peeping out of the manhole is that of the filmmaker himself.

Henri Plaat (1936) studied at the Amsterdam Arts and Industry School (the current Gerrit Rietveld Academy). He works as a visual artist and has occupied himself with film since 1968. Frequently his films are a precipitate of his journeys through Europe, Asia, America and North Africa. Plaat lives and works in Amsterdam.


Dark Matter 01
Dark Matter – Karel Doing (NL, 2014, 20 min)
The filmmaker follows the trail of his father based on an archive of family portraits and landscape photographs and experiments with film emulsion against the backdrop of the Second World War. Images of industrial buildings, wooded areas and a surreal semi-desert pass by, alternated with abstract, fast-moving shots. Karel Doing made use of chemical, biochemical and mechanical techniques to create these animated images. The outcome is a fascinating tale, told by the film material itself.
Dark Matter offers a mix of sensory experience and intellectual challenge; what precisely drove Doing’s father? Why did he travel to the ends of the earth and why did he record thousands of landscapes, but hardly took any photographs of his friends, relatives and colleagues?


“Taking a selection of my father’s vast archive of landscape photographs as a starting point, I embarked on an investigation of the possibilities for creating ‘landscapes’ directly on motion picture film material. 

Using yeast, salt, leaves and seaweed as reactive elements I managed to find a new way for creating images on analogue film. The yeast grew; feeding on the gelatin, the caustic power of the salt left marks in the emulsion, the acidity of the leaves attacked the film even stronger, and chlorophyll in the seaweed was absorbed; creating unexpected colours. 

Additionally I experimented with organic developers and a range of chemical toning techniques and more destructive techniques such as scraping, applying acid and temporary burial of photographic material. 

I used the resulting collection of images to create an experiential cinematic piece, simultaneously being a portrait of my father, an account of the largely unknown part of his life before I was born, and a moving visual painting.”
-Karel Doing

Karel Doing (1965, Canberra, Australia) makes expanded cinema, multi-screen, performative, cross-media and participatory works. His single screen works and installations are often the result of these processes and collaborations. He has worked together with individuals, groups and organizations in many European countries and in Indonesia, Suriname and the USA. His main interest is to reconnect seemingly implausible links: urban/nature, music/math, passion/ratio, analogue/digital. He lives and works in London.
In 1989 he started Studio één, an artist run lab for Super8 and 16mm filmmaking, now operating as an independent film-production company specialized in artist films.

Interview in Dutch:


Bis an den Himmel und noch viel mehr – Barbara Meter (NL, 2015, 35 min)

Barbara Meter tells the story of her father Leo Meter based on a series of poignant letters. Leo Meter wrote them to his daughter after he had been arrested by the Gestapo and deported to the East Front. Bis an den Himmel… is a magnificently produced and touching portrait of a unique man.


“There was an article in the newspaper that suddenly struck me: someone here in Holland had found gravestones of Russian soldiers from the Second World War. The traces of what was left of the soldiers’ memory brought the remaining relatives to come and visit their gravesites. All of them were very grateful and moved. My father does not have a gravestone, and though that was not something I was after, the article awakened what I had decided long ago and it was made clear that I should do that now.

There are not many testimonies of Germans who resisted fascism – my father was one of them and I could tell it. So I dug up what I found of him – photos, letters, drawings, stories…, and recorded it. During the making of the film I felt that step by step I came closer to who he had been and also closer to the love and protection I experienced from him – even if I was too little to remember his presence clearly.

In Poland I was very close to where he had died. There were only empty fields of grain and old broken houses… such an estranged feeling that there were no signs left of the cruel fighting that had happened there. For myself this gap has been filled and I hope for some others too.”
-Barbara Meter

Barbara Meter finished the Dutch Film Academy in 1963 and got an MA Film and video at the London School of Printing in 1995. Meter was co-founder of Electric Cinema, in the early 70’s a bastion of Dutch experimental cinema. Meter has made many experimental short films, and also some feature films and documentaries. She also worked as a curator of film programs, teacher and free-lance lecturer on film.




7 Apr, Wet Dream Festival Recap

This programme is devoted to the two editions of the Wet Dream Film Festival in the early seventies, instigated by Suck (the First European Sex Magazine).
The Wet Dream Film Festival was the world’s first sex film festival and took place at various locations in Amsterdam. With participants like Germaine Greer, William Burroughs and Betty Dodson. Erotic films were screened at the interface between eroticism and art, who wanted to be more then or different from standard porn. The sexual revolution of the late 60s was closely linked to the artistic and cultural avant-garde of the time.
One of the organizers, Willem de Ridder, will take us 45 years back in time.

Cover of the Wet Dream Festival catalogue



It’s Harem Time (NL, Wim van der Linden, Willem de Ridder, 1966, 10’)



Noviciat (FR, Noël Burch, 1969, 20′)

A peeping tom caught spying on a women’s self-defence class is taken captive by the class leader. At first the class uses him to practice on, but his treatment steadily becomes more humiliating and fetishistic.



Love Objects (NL, Tom Chomont, 1971,16mm, 11’)

In Love Objects, explicit scenes of heterosexual and homosexual lovemaking are intercut so seamlessly that one doesn’t know quite what one’s watching. And yet—while its subject and content are daringly transgressive, the film reveals in its tenderness, rather, that life itself is a transgression on prurience.



Fuses (US, Carolee Schneemann, 25′, 16mm, 1965) with Mary Oliver on violin

A film that explicitly shows Schneemann and her partner having sex. She painstakingly etched, coloured and reassembled its frames to form a joyous collage, aiming to capture the equitable, erotic splendour of everyday sex “with shameless regard”. This was at a time when movies couldn’t show pubic hair and the word “vagina” was taboo. Schneemann had to get the footage developed in a secret lab usually used for pornographic films.

Schneemann’s self-shot erotic film remains a controversial classic. “The notorious masterpiece… a silent celebration in colour of heterosexual love making. The film unifies erotic energies within a domestic environment through cutting, superimposition and layering of abstract impressions scratched into the celluloid itself… Fuses succeeds perhaps more than any other film in objectifying the sexual streamings of the body’s mind” — The Guardian, London



24 Mar, Blindness and Cinema : Research-lab van de Master van de Filmacademie


The goal of this evening is to challenge the traditional perception of a film and explore the possibilities of interactivity between an audience, a space, cameras and a filmmaker. For the occasion, the traditional film theater will be transformed into a black box.

It is the starting of a project that you will experience as both witness and actors.

O.Delebecque ÔÇô Sketches (2014)

I am inviting you to be part of a live film performance. I am inviting you to explore, with blind person and visual impaired persons, what is an experience on vision. I am inviting you to a critical journey about blindness and cinema. I am inviting you to participate, to question and to activate the first part of an on-going process which starts as follows : to what extent can the technology of the cinema apparatus, be challenged by the performativity  of a live film performance ? I welcome you to participate but remember that you should be prepared to be filmed and blind people will help you.


5 Mar, This is Film! – Film or performance: Nicholas Ray’s We Can’t Go Home Again

From 12 February to 19 March, EYE and the University of Amsterdam are presenting a series of public lectures on film restoration at EYE: This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice. Each lecture is accompanied by film screenings.

On Thursday the 5th of March (at 16:00h, Cinema 3), the challenges of restoring and presenting experimental films will be addressed. Taking Nicholas Ray’s last film We Can’t Go Home Again as a leading case, professor Giovanna Fossati will discuss what the possible restoration and presentation strategies are, when dealing with a film that does not fall into the standards of filmmaking and theatrical film presentation. She will discuss a number of technical, ethical and institutional issues with guest Anne Gant (Head of Conservation and Digital Access, EYE), who worked on the restoration of We Can’t Go Home Again on behalf of EYE in close collaboration with Susan Ray and The Nicholas Ray Foundation, the Archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, and Cineric film laboratory.
Guest: Anne Gant (Head of Conservation and Digital Access, EYE).

Films: We Can’t Go Home Again (35mm)

3 Mar, Masters of the Avantgarde: Out of my Skull

Louis van Gasteren is a Dutch film director, film producer, and artist.
He grew up in the world of theatre and became fascinated by film.

After attending technical school for three years, he went on to study electrical engineering. In the first few years after the Second World War he worked first as a journalist and film critic.

At the advice of the filmmaker Alberto Cavalcanti he decided to enter the world of film through electrical engineering as a sound technician. In the late 1940s, he was an apprentice sound technician at the Epernay Studios in Paris and went on to work for the Polygoon Newsreel in Haarlem.
As a member of the Amsterdam Filmliga he organized successful film evenings and a film-music concert in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Houtrusthallen in The Hague. In 1951, he founded his own production company Spectrum Film.
Van Gasteren produced and directed around 80 films. His main subjects are water management, architecture and the survival syndrome.
He produced his first film BROWN GOLD in 1952, (directed by Theo van Haren Noman), a documentary about cocoa and chocolate commissioned by the Van Houten company, filmed on location in Ghana and the Netherlands.
His most recent film THE GRIEF OF ROERMOND (2005/2006) is about the execution by the Germans of 14 civilians from Roermond on Boxing Day in 1944.

Out of my skull
Louis van Gasteren, 1965, 15 min.
Experimental film with stroboscopic effects and the sound surrounding the audience. Louis van Gasteren made this film when he was visiting professor at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts at Harvard University at the invitation of Robert Gardner.

The film is introduced by Patricia Pisters, professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, who is working on a book about Van Gasteren. She will be interviewing the filmmaker following the screening of his film.

While researching Louis van Gasteren’s personal archive for her book on his work, Pisters came across documentation about the cult film Chappaqua, directed by Conrad Rooks.

Conrad Rooks was an American writer, director and producer most renowned for his 1972 filmed adaptation of Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha.
In his early twenties, he became a troubled substance abuser (alcohol, cocaine, heroin, et al.). After years of addiction, he traveled to Europe seeking a new “sleeping cure” being offered by a medical doctor at a clinic in Zurich, Switzerland. According to Rooks, the cure was successful and he never abused substances again.
Conrad spent much of his life traveling the globe, living abroad for many years in such places as New Delhi, India and Pattaya, Thailand.
In 1966 Rooks wrote, directed and starred in his first film, Chappaqua, a semi-autobiographical exploration of the perils of drug addiction, the agony of withdrawal, and the author’s journey to Europe and success with the aforementioned “sleeping cure.” Starring William Burroughs as the medical director of a rehab clinic. The film won second prize at the Venice Film Festival.
louis vg
Conrad Rooks, 1966, 82 min.


Interesting interview with Louis van Gasteren. (Language is in dutch):

17 feb, KABK Researchlab: Blind Spot

Please, keep on lying to me, don’t make the room too bright too fast.
We are obliged by an unwritten contract, to create myths and images wrapped into a sequences for you to glance at in the dark.
Don’t close your eyes, avoid deliberate blindness — see between the lines.
The brain interpolates the blind spot based on information from the other eye, so, the blind spot is not normally perceived.
We had the opportunity to stare at that the blind spot of history, we met the sighted people who create it, the archivists, the curators, the film preservationists who decide what our collective blind spot will be.
A barrier that by choice we will interrupt, is it removable or is it permanent? We almost reached the limit, we sought the forbidden and when we asked for it we were told to look elsewhere.
What makes us curious, what are we afraid of? Why do we close our eyes? Why do we keep staring when we no longer can?
Whether in the depiction of the world around us, in social or political roles, or the medium itself, film is full of blind spots.
And if we are allowed to say so, we collected them for you to see..

Why men don’t leave – Sarah Abelnica
Nitrocellulose – Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou
The Bait – Flor Renzik

Over the fall of 2014 a group of students from different departments of the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague had the opportunity to work with the film collection of the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam and explore it under the of theme ‘forbidden look’, the students glanced at found footage and used it as the basis to create new work.
Spanning from performances to installations and films the students created a programme combining their own work with found footage to best reflect their explorations of taboos in the cinematic field of the avant-garde.

Work by: Sarah Abelnica,Lydia Buijs,Victoria Douka-Doukopoulou,Tanya Eftal,Sanne Glasbergen, Hans Poel,Flor Rezink and Zindzi Zweitering
Under the guidance of Anna Abrahams and Jan Frederik Groot

3 feb, Maya Deren – Voodoo Priest


This season, EYE will take a tour through some of the highlights of experimental and artists’ film. This time we will feature excerpts from the never released Witch’s Cradle and Divine Horsemen- Living Gods of Haiti by ‘grand dame’ Maya Deren. This presentation will include a voodoo act and live music.

Witch’s Cradle outtakes
Maya Deren, USA, 1943, 10 minutes

Maya Deren made Witch’s Cradle in 1943 but never released it. It was photographed in an environment based on Marcel Duchamp’s string work for the New York Surrealistic exhibition of 1942.. Since no copy of Witch’s Cradle as yet turned up, this assemblage of Deren’s outtakes, including a very brief image of Duchamp himself, constitutes what little we presently know of this complex film which seems to have assimilated Duchamp’s string gesture to Deren’s interest in witchcraft – Anthology Film Archives.
My films might be called poetic referring to the attitude towards these meanings. If philosophy is concerned with understanding the meaning of reality, then poetry – and art in general – is a celebration, a singing of values and meanings. I refer also to the structure of the films – a logic of ideas and qualities, rather than of causes and events.
My films might be called choreographic, referring to the design and stylisation of movement which confers ritual dimension upon functional motion – just as simple speech is made into song when affirmation of intensification on a higher level is intended. My films might be called experimental, referring to the use of the medium itself. In these films, the camera is not an observant, recording eye in the customary fashion. The full dynamics and expressive potentials of the total medium are ardently dedicated to creating the most accurate metaphor for the meaning.
In setting out to communicate principles, rather than to relay particulars,and in creating a metaphor which is true to the idea rather than the history of experience of any one of several individuals, I am addressing myself not to any particular group but to a special area and definite faculty in every or any man – to that part of him which creates myths, invents divinities and ponders, for no particular purpose whatsoever, on the nature of things.
[…] I am content if, on those rare occasions whose truth can be stated only in poetry, you will perhaps recall an image, even only the aura of my films. And what more could I possibly ask, as an artist, than that your most precious visions, however rare, assume, sometimes, the forms of my images. – MAYA DEREN, from A Statement of Principles.

Divine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti by Maya Deren
Maya Deren, USA, 1947-1951, 55 minutes

The experimental filmmaker Maya Deren spent significant periods of time in Haiti between 1947 and 1951. The footage she made of Voodoo rituals and rites was left unedited on her death and only assembled later as the film Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti 1947–51. The commentary, composed of extracts from the book of the same title Deren published in 1953, was also added posthumously.

Conceived of as a ‘film-poem’, Deren’s film reveals the ongoing merging of art and ethnography which was one of the legacies of Surrealism. Nevertheless, it also stands as an important cultural record of Haitian Voodoo – a religion based upon West African beliefs and practices, combined with aspects of Roman Catholicism.

Deren’s intention was to use montage editing techniques in order to contrast Haitian dance with ‘non- Haitian elements’ in a series of dream-like sequences – an approach which testifies to her Surrealist interest in alternative realities. As the project progressed the focus of her interest shifted from dance to the complex nature of Haitian ceremonies. Thus the film celebrates Haiti for its hybrid culture as well as for its symbolic importance as the site a successful slave revolution in 1791–1804, which resulted in Haiti becoming the first modern black republic.

Performance by Samira Elagoz and Jeanette Groenendaal

Live music by Mola Sylla – voice, kalimba. Vincent Pino – electric guitar.


More information about Maya Deren can be found here:

20 jan, UvA and HKU present: I would prefer not to…

This special evening at EYE has the topic of labour and labour resistance, with artworks from the HKU curated by students of the UvA. Inspired by Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Herman Melville, students from the UvA and the HKU have created their own visual critiques of labour practices, contemporary and historic. The evening is divided in five ‘work shifts’, each addressing a different aspect of labour – from the commonplace, to the unseen and forgotten.

Shift One begins with the striking Homo Commoditus, a multi-modal piece exploring the interplay of the human body and technology. With unseen footage from the EYE archives, we move to the first of our film ‘remixes,’ Cycles of Control and Release, which takes its cues from the processes of standardisation which defined the industrial age.

Shift Two takes us into the realm of work and play, and how it can be increasingly difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. The modern proliferation of ‘free labour,’ and the monetisation of leisure time, blurs this divide even further. WORK/PLAY is a social-experiment-cum-art-film which turns the conventional office workspace on its head and records the results. (Un)skilled, the second remix, looks at the dehumanising processes of factory work, and the crossover between skilled and unskilled labour.

Shift Three takes a cheerful look at the crushing effects of modern labour on the mind and body. The Phoenix Phenomenon simulates the experience of a stress-related anxiety attack. And in Shift Four, The Vanishing Men casts a critical eye on labour regimes by means of visual material from the Dutch East Indies. As images of bodies, landscapes and (hidden) labour blend until they become an indistinguishable multitude, the move from the invisible to the visible is explored.

Shift Five rounds of the working day with Herman, or the Unbearable Lightness of the Hammock, a wry and absurdist animation which charts a harrowing tale of the nominal hammock’s existential crisis…


As part of Antony McCall – Solid Light Films exhibition, this program will be all about the physical presence. With films about light and the body, selected in collaboration with Malcolm Le Grice, filmmaker and theoretician of the avant-garde and experimental film. We will start the evening with a couple of classic Dutch performance films, followed by not only Le Grice’s performance Threshold (1971), but also Horror Film (1971-2014), one of his most simple, most legendary and magical pieces. The evening will be introduced by Anna Abrahams, EYE programmer, experimental film director and teacher at KABK.

The Film Program:

Marinus Boezem, Het beademen van de beeldbuis (1971, video, 3′)
Boezem’s own face appears on the screen, stares at the viewer, and begins to breathe on the picture tube. After some time passes, the image begins to blur through the moisture deposited and the artist disappears from sight for several moments. While the vapour clears Boezem keeps his gaze directed on the camera, motionless, until his face is again clearly visible. In this video work Boezem makes the, normally invisible, border between maker and viewer visible by breathing on to the screen. He then plays a game with the distance between maker and viewer by calling his work ‘Breathing on the picture tube’, which implicates he is inside the television.


Jan van Munster, Zelfportret (1972, 16mm, 3′)
Jan van Munster’s face fills the image, confronting the viewer, looking into the camera with a stern gaze. He has something in his mouth. After a while, red lights start to blink symmetrically in each of his cheeks.

Jan van Munster, Cirkels (1972, 16mm, 3′)
In ‘Circles’, Van Munster himself is standing frontally in the middle of the image, gazing stoically into the camera while holding a light bulb on a long flex in his hand. With regular movements, he swings the bulb round and round.

More about Jan van Munster’s work can be found here: http://janvanmunster.nl

Ger van Elk, Some Natural Aspects of Painting and Sculpture (1970-1971, video, 12′)
A video of his own body, which alternately perspires or gets goose bumps.

Bas Jan Ader, Nightfall (1971, 16mm, 4′)
Bas Jan Ader manipulates gravity to his own ends in NIGHTFALL. Ader, lit only by two bare light bulbs, simulates the actual fall of night as he let’s drop a heavy paving stone onto both lights, plunging the frame into darkness. Ader’s calm and the film’s silence make the violence of his act much more startling. – Tom Fritsche

The filmmakers website: http://www.basjanader.com

Malcolm Le Grice, Threshold (1972, live performance with 3x 16mm, 17′)
Le Grice no longer simply uses the printer as a reflexive mechanism, but utilizes the possibilities of colour-shift and permutation of imagery as the film progresses from simplicity to complexity. The initial use of pure red and green filters gives way to a broad variety of colours and the introduction of strips of coloured/celluloid, which are drawn through the printer, begins to build and image which become graphically and spatially complex – if still abstract. – Deke Businberre


Malcolm Le Grice, Anthony Dundee (2004, video, 2′)
Made from still images shot during an exhibition in Dundee, Scotland.

Malcolm Le Grice, Self Portrait After Raba Takes Measure (1999, video, 8′)
Three projectors (three screen) video piece Self Portrait looks for an approach to a specific relationship between the duration of a work and material conditions in the projection, as did William Raban in the film performance Take Measure. The main difference is that Raban’s work was made when cinematic media had distinct physical properties linking medium directly to image – this self portrait recognizes that there is no such simple materiality for cinema following the emergence of digital processes. Instead the work takes a conceptual base – the speed of light and the time taken for light to travel from the sun to illuminate objects on earth – thus the duration of 8 minutes 20 seconds.

Malcolm Le Grice, Horror Film (1971, live performance met 3x 16mm, 20′)
A performance with three film projectors. All are superimposed on each other and create a continually changing colour light mix. Le Grice interrupts the beam with a series of formal actions creating a complex set of coloured shadows. The intention is to build a complex visual experience out of simple and readily available aspects of the projection situation. M.L.G. from ‘Real Time/Space’, Art and Artists Dec 1972.

Horror Film

Documentation of the performance in Eye (click below):

Video of the performance


Born in May 1940, Malcolm Le Grice started as a painter but began to make film and computer works in the mid 1960’s. Since then he has shown regularly in Europe and the USA and his work has been screened in many international film festivals. He has also shown in major art exhibitions like the Paris Biennale No.8, Arte Inglese Oggi, Milan, Une Histoire du Cinema, Paris, Documenta 6, Kassel, X-Screen at the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, and Behind the Facts at the Fondacion Joan Miro, Barcelona. His work has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London and is in permanent collections including: the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Royal Belgian Film Archive, Brussels; the National Film Library of Australia, Canberra; German Cinamatheque Archive, Berlin; Canadian Distribution Centre, Montreal and Archives du Film Experimental D’Avignon. A number of longer films have been transmitted on British TV, including ‘Finnegans Chin’, ‘Sketches for a Sensual Philosophy’ and ‘Chronos Fragmented’. His main work since the mid 1980’s is in video and digital media and includes the multi-projection video installation works ‘The Cyclops Cycle’ and ‘Treatise’.
Le Grice has written critical and theoretical work including a history of experimental cinema ‘Abstract Film and Beyond’ (1977, Studio Vista and MIT). For three years in the 1970’s he wrote a regular column for the art monthly Studio International and has published numerous other articles on film, video and digital media. Many of these have been collected and recently published under the title ‘Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age’ by the British Film Institute (2001).
Le Grice is a Professor Emeritus of the University of the Arts London where he is a collaborating director with David Curtis of the British Artists Film and Video Study Collection.