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  • When Worlds Collude
  • Fred Worden: "...modern masters at mid-career"
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  • REVIEWS of Fred Worden Films:

    THE ACADEMIC HACK
    Writings by Michael Sicinski, 2008
    Post-Dated Selections from the 2008 New York Film Festival VIEWS FROM THE AVANT-GARDE "sidebar"

    When Worlds Collude by Fred Worden

    A very bizarre work from Worden, and seemingly by design, When Worlds Collude is a montage piece that strives to defeat the inherent banality of its source material through a focus on shape, movement, gesture and tone. In a sense, the "lesson" of the work (although that sounds far too didactic -- it's actually a very funny video) is that it's usually impossible to defeat the lexicon of popular imagery, but it's also not exactly a fair fight. After several truncated aerial pans around a snowcapped mountain (about as "natural" as this highly processed film ever really gets), Worden begins with darting eyes, a waterscape in long shot, and a floating speedometer, all in rapid-fire alternation, and this looping sequential rhythm lays down the basic beat of the piece. But the audio track is remarkably consistent.

    We hear brusque, authoritative voices in a control room -- "Chevron One, online," etc. -- which imply that we're in some sort of military action film. So in a way, Worden's use of the audio baseline insures that these slick, seductive-to-some-hypothetical-someone images will never transcend their salesmanship. There are fascinating collisions which demonstrate aspects of the glossy lingo of junk-media production. For instance, the flickering back and forth between an exoticist, burnt-orange set of pseudo-Hindi goddesses in motion and a blonde woman on a jetski highlight both the disparity in color temperature between East and West, and the similarity in seductive pose. Other, more naturalistic material, such as apparent ethnographic footage from an urban center in the developing world, dramatizes the quick, stereotypical modes of "bustle" we're expected to associate with public life in places where cars and rickshaws intermingle, a hectic pace that is supposed to scan as spatial chaos and instability. At these moments Worden's work harks back to the high-synapse semiotics of Abigail Child and Henry Hills, although their work relied on jump cuts in the soundtrack as well. What's more, Worden's use of the loop tends to smooth out the thinking process, offering time for the brain to process these forms as objects in the world apart from any phenomenological reduction.

    By the end, when Worden is incorporating older found footage and organizing actual sound/image sync events, the hat-tip to Peter Kubelka is unmistakable, and so is Worden's implicit film-historical argument. There can never really be a "pure image" apart from signification, and if you're dealing with images taken from real life, maybe there shouldn't

    REVERSE SHOT Issue #23, "Shadows and Outlaws," The 12th edition of the New York Film Festival's Views from the Avant-Garde by Genevieve Yue. Oct 2008

    With Fred Worden’s When Worlds Collude (2008), on the other hand, the found footage traces are far more ominous because they’re left to speak for themselves. “What the hell is that?”—it’s a familiar, even banal question uttered all too often in sci-fi and horror films, but here, without knowing what monster lurks around the corner, the terror in the sampled voice sounds different. It suggests that we don’t know, or maybe we can’t know, what’s coming next.



    When Worlds Collude

    When Worlds Collude

    When Worlds Collude

    When Worlds Collude