In the early 1960s, the protagonists of Viennese Actionism moved their own bodies (and those of other 'players') into the centre of their art, doing away with the tableau on the wall. In some ways similar to other movements of this decade (Happenings, Fluxus etc.), Viennese Actionism did however focus much more aggressively on pain, sexuality, bodily fluids, ritual and the (self-)destructive or 'liberating' role of the artist/creator himself. Film played a vital role in this endeavour. As in most cases photographic and cinematographic 'documents' were the only way to preserve the actions for posterity, the artists Günter Brus and Otto Mühl turned to film-makers like Kurt Kren and Ernst Schmidt jr. to record their performances. At that point Austrian Avantgarde film-makers had already established a lively, innovative culture, producing some of the earliest structuralist/materialist films in Europe. Clearly, the confrontation of Kren and Schmidt jr. with the Actionists would not simply result in 'naked reports' but in autonomous, highly charged and very individually constructed works of film art. Dissatisfied with the lack of 'documentation' in these films, Brus and especially Mühl later turned to film-making themselves and recorded their actions more 'objectively', lessening the impact of film language, but heightening the viewer's sense of voyeurism or uneasy participation in illegitimate acts. The seed of this era was soon developed by other film artists. Valie Export, working in all media (including performance-action and film) added a distinctive conceptual and feminist slant to this tradition, concerned with the social functions of their own body. In the 1980s a whole new generation of Avantgarde film-makers - Dietmar Brehm and Mara Mattuschka among them - used it as a springboard to jump off towards intensely 'horrific', 'painful' and very private landscapes of their own. One of Otto Mühl's longer films is called Sodoma, but this programme will instead conclude with an American confrère of the Viennese action artists: from a different viewpoint but with a similar charge, Luther Price's film Sodom comments on a territory of cinema that is part of 'The Cruel Machine': real bodies working out, 'body-building', working on themselves - some pretty funny games, played out in the company of men. Alexander Horwath Programme 6/64 Mama und Papa (Kurt Kren, 1964, Colour, 16 mm, 4 min.) 9/64 O Tannenbaum (Kurt Kren, 1964, Colour, 16 mm, 3 min.) 10/65 Selbstverstümmelung (Kurt Kren, 1965, B&W, 16 mm, 5 min.) 16/67 20. September (Kurt Kren, 1967, B&W, 16 mm, 7 min.) Bodybuilding (Ernst Schmidt jr., 1965-66, Colour, 16 mm, 9 min.) Strangulation (Hans Christof & Rosemarie Stenzel, 1968, B&W, 5 min.) Oh Sensibility! (Otto Mühl, 1970, Colour, 16 mm, 15 min.) Remote...Remote... (Valie Export, 1973, Colour, 16mm, 12 min.) Kugelkopf (Mara Mattuschka, 1985, B&W, 16 mm, 6 min.) Blicklust (Dietmar Brehm, 1992, B&W, 16mm, 18 min.) Sodom (Luther Price, 1989, Colour, 16 mm, 25 min.)

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