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Anthony McCall
In the early seventies, McCall incorporated film into live performances and used it to document a series of events he called "conditions" (distinguishing them from both objects and performances).

But the relationship between these events and the photographic records McCall made of them evolved, becoming interdependent - the pieces were designed for the camera, and the act of documentation was inscribed into their structures. The resulting films reflect on the nature of filmic representation, a line of inquiry that led McCall into territory then being explored by avant-garde filmmakers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Circulation Figures and Landscape for Fire (both 1972) document McCall's conditions and forecast the major concerns of his later, better known films. Both are tentative steps toward cinematic abstraction; Circulation Figures records a private event in which McCall and several artist friends wander about a large room taking still and moving pictures of the space, each other, and their picture taking. A large mirror stands in the center of the room, which, combined with disorienting framings, destabilizes the space and creates confusion as to what is real and what is reflected.

Landscape for Fire documents one of a series of open-air performances of the same name that McCall executed from 1971-74. Performers moved through a grid of gasoline pans, lighting and extinguishing them according to a score. Though the film was originally intended solely as documentation, McCall altered the footage through editing, organizing the performers' movements into formal patterns that either didn't exist in the performance or were rendered imperceptible by its expanded temporal and spatial scale. He created sudden reversals in the direction and orientation of people and actions in the frame by flipping shots left to right or top to bottom.
Interestingly, the film simultaneously calls to mind the early European avant-garde's preoccupation with the "orchestration of movement" (Hans Richter's phrase) and the contemporaneous "structural" filmmaker's quest to "orchestrate duration" (P. Adams Sitney's phrase). Indeed, McCall's experience editing Landscape for Fire likely suggested that a major dimension of cinema was the organization of time and movement. The movement here was that of a profilmic event, but thinking about this feature of film through the expansive framework of post-minimal art and avant-garde cinema must have suggested other forms of organization. This would, in fact, become a major focus of McCall's subsequent films: the structuring of spectatorial activity and experience in relation to the films' spatio-temporal unfolding.

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