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La Region Centrale

Michael Snow (Canadian, b. 1929)


Medium 16mm film; color, sound; 180 min. Measurements No Measurements Credit National Endowment for the Arts Purchase Grant for the Acquisition of Films by Living American Film Makers, and Director's Discretionary Fund with Monies Given by the Women's Committee Accession Number 77.24.70.A Location Not on View


The landscape images of La Région Centrale were filmed from a mountaintop overlooking a lake in a remote region north of Sept-Iles in the Québec Province of Canada. Snow used a motor-driven machine of his own design to rotate the camera in continuous sweeps in very direction across the landscape and sky. The directions and speeds of the machine's movement were planned in advance and were at times controlled automatically with electronic sine wave frequencies and at others with manual controls. The machine itself is not visible in the film, although its shadow occasionally appears. The film is divided into seventeen parts that range in length from thirty seconds to thirty minutes and are separated by leaders marked with a yellow "x." The film approximates the cycle of a day, proceeding noon through sunset and from dawn to noon. The sound track, added later, replicates the sine wave frequency modulations used to control the machine; at the end of the film, however, the relationship between the sound and camera movement breaks apart. The three-hour completed film was edited from material that Snow shot over a period f five days in the wilderness. Snow, who represented Canada in the 1970 Venice Bienale, is a painter, sculptor and photographer, as well as an influential experimental filmmaker, who worked in New York City throughout much of the 1960s. La Région Centrale is related to the 1960s and 70s work of such artists as Michael Hauser, Robert Smithson, and Richard Long, who marked and excavated remote areas of landscape and also collected rocks and other landscape materials to incorporate into gallery works. Rather than using actual landscape materials, Snow uses the dynamic properties of film to "mark" the landscape through camera movement, transcending gravity as he pursues a visual journey through landscape space.

Artist Bio

December 16, 1971
Ernie Gehr
272 Degraw Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11231
Dear Ernie:
Many thanks for your good letter to me, and such a thorough information sheet. I’m very sorry to be so long in answering you, things have simply piled up here lately. Ernie, we are completely programmed for the rest of thi3 season so will not be able to consider having you here for a screening and lecture until after next September. However, what I mentioned to Michael was that as soon after the l3t of the year as possible we are planning to send out a letter from our newly established film makers workshop offering it as a teaching facility to any film maker who wishes to teach (workshop, seminar or whatever). You will write up course descriptions, fee, dates, etc. We will publicize, then if enough students sign up, you fly into town and teach, if not, nothing is lost - everyone stands to gain. Various members have spare beds and are willing to house those who come, so no expense there either. We see it as a really good thing. You teach what you like (your speciality) they take what they like etc., etc., etc. The workshop includes 2 still labs, 8, super 8 and l6mm editing equipment (a Somembeck horazontal editor), sound mixing stuff, a fandberg and an animation stand.
I haven’t seen "Serene Velocity” yet Ernie, but keep hearing from Hollis, Michael & Stan Brakhage how very beautiful it is - so I’m eagerly looking forward to it.
Have a lovely holiday and do please forgive the delay in hearing from me. Sincerely,
Sally F. Dixon (Mrs.) Film Coordinator

November 19, 1971
Ernie Gehr 272 Degraw Street Brooklyn, N.Y. 11231 Tel.:212—62li—3177
Mrs. Sally Dixon Film Section Museum o f Art Carnegie Institute 44OO Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, Pa. l5213
Dear Mrs. Dixon,
Michael Snow has asked me to write to you regarding the possibility of a lecture and/or teaching film at the institute. I would very much like to come.
Since I don't exactly know the kind of information you wish, I hope the attached will help. I assume that you already have Film Makers' Cooperative Catalogue #5.
If you wish to call me, I can be reached best in the morning. Evenings only after 11:30PM

272 Degraw Street Brooklyn, New York 11331 Tel.: 212-624-3177
Age: 27
Formal education: High School Graduate.
Living and working in New York City since 1966. Primarily engaged in film since 1967. Prior to that theatre and music.
Theatre productions or mixed media productions in which I participated:
1967: 30's Man: Chapter One of the Big Blackout of 1965, Ken Jacob's
Apparition Theatre of New York.(shadow plays)
1968: Evoking The Mystery: Chapter Four of the Big Blackout of 196$,
Ken Jacob's Apparition Theatre of New York.(shadow plays)
Paper Concerts, Fluxus Group.
Angel Face, Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre.
1968/70: Elephant Steps, Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre.
(Obie winner 1970. Performed at Tanglewood, Lake George and Hunter Coll.) 1971/72: Hotel China, Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre.
From 1967 to early 1971 earned living as assitant manager for the Film Makers*
Cooperative, 175 Lexington Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016.
Teaching: Harpur College (SUNY-Binghamton) Summer 1970 (Introductory Filmmaking)
Brandford College (Yale University) Spring 1971 (Advance Film Seminar)
(course shared with Michael Snow)
Harpur College (SUNY-Binghamton) Summer 1971 (introduction to Cinema)
Lectures: Yale, Chicago Art Institute, Harpur College, St. John's University,
Bard College, New York University, New School for Social Research,
Museum of Modern Art, Rutgers University, Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut at Storrs, Millennium Film Workshop.
Invited to the Haniburer Filmshau in Hamburg, Germany, September 2-6, 1971.
One man shows: Gallery of Modern Art,NY; Jewish Museum,NY; Contemporary Art Center,
Ohio; Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Selected group showings: Utrecht Museum (sonsbeek ’71), Holland; Foundation Maeght
Festival at St. Paul de Vence, France; Paula Cooper Gallery, N.Y.; Univ. of Washington, Wash.; Woodstock College, Md.; New School for Social Research, N.Y.; Rutgers Univ.,NJ; Bleecker Street Cinema,N.Y.; Elgin Theatre,NY; Univ. of Northern Iowa, Iowa; Telegraph Repertory Cinema, Ca.; St. John's Univ.,NY; Janus Film Society, Wabh.D.C.j Aspen Photography Workshop, Col.; Southhampton College, N.Y.; Fordam Univ.,NY; Seattle Art Museum Pavilion, Wash.; Trinity College, Conn; Maryland Institute,Md.; Vestal High School, NY; Flaherty Film Seminar, Conn.; Ohio Univ., Ohio; Iona. Preparatory School,NY;