This series surveys several of the most influential experimental filmmakers who have worked with found footage over the last half-century. Found footage, not to be confused with the horror subgenre, is when a filmmaker appropriates preexisting footage from another source, whether carefully selected or literally "found" by accident, and alters it through editing, montage, optical printing, or chemical manipulation.
Since its inception in 1936 with Joseph Cornell's oneiric masterpiece Rose Hobart, found footage has become a popular means for experimental filmmakers to deconstruct cinematic language, to analyze the materiality of film, and to satirize mass culture.
Organized into nine roughly hour-long programs, this series features many key figures of American avant-garde cinema including Bruce Conner and Ken Jacobs, as well as the Austrian filmmakers Peter Tscherkassky and Martin Arnold and the German Matthias Müller. Several of the films are quite rare and have not screened in Chicago for over a decade.