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Out of Tarr's Universe

An uncompromised vision (FW34)

EXPANDED CINEMA - AND ‘CINEMA OF ATTRACTIONS’
JACKIE HATFIELD
EXPANDED CINEMA - AND ‘CINEMA OF ATTRACTIONS’
‘One must free the cinema as an expressive medium in order to make it the ideal instrument of a new art, immensely faster and lighter than all the existing arts. We are convinced that only in this way can one reach that polyexpressiveness toward which all the most modern artistic researches are moving.’1

Not without ambiguities, expanded cinema as a term generally describes synaesthetic cinematic spectacle (spectacle meaning exhibition, rather than simply an issue of projection or scale), whereby the notions of conventional filmic language (for example, dramaturgy, narrative, structure, technology) are either extended or interrogated outside the single-screen space. When in the ‘Preface’ to his book Expanded Cinema of 1970, Gene Youngblood stated ‘expanded cinema isn’t a movie at all’ and ‘when we say expanded cinema we actually mean expanded consciousness’2, he was acknowledging that the term did not fully express the conceptual ambition and technological diversity of artists cinematic experiment practiced throughout the 20th century. Expanded cinema stems from expanded histories (see below), although the term a) implies a cinema (by implication narrower) that it has expanded from, and b) includes the word ‘cinema’3, which is sometimes mis-understood to mean film.