Strange Sinema 102: Experiments in Electronic Arts - Fri. July 29th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Strange Sinema 102, a monthly evening of newly discovered, old finds and rarities from the stacks of the archive. Drawing on his collection of over 50,000 16mm film prints, Oddball Films director Stephen Parr has compiled his 102nd program of classic, strange, offbeat and unusual films. This installment, Strange Sinema 102: Experiments in Electronic Arts is a heady, techno-cultural look at the art, sound and early electronic art forms that jump-started the 60s and transformed the way we create and experience art and technology. Films feature documentaries that survey tech art and music innovators as well as experimental and avant garde shorts showcasing early analog and computer assisted animation and graphics.  Art For Tomorrow (1969) is an eye-popping exploration of experimental tech-oriented art incorporating early IBM computers, cybernetics, heart beat triggers, invisible art by magnetism featuring famed artists such as Yaacov Agam, Wen-Ying Tsai, John Mott-Smith, Jean Tinguely and Victor Vasarely’s early experiments with IBM computers. Get in a moogy kind of mood with Discovering Electronic Music (1983) an introduction to the synthesizers and computers used to create electronic music, including the legendary Fairlight CMI, one of the first sampling synthesizers used in music production. Bell Laboratories brings us Incredible Machine (1968) which previews the latest developments in computer-assisted imagery, electronic music, and voice processing. Catalog (1961) features computer graphics pioneer and cinema innovator John Whitney’s kaleidoscopic demo reel made with equipment salvaged from WWII. Ken Rudolph takes us through the history of Art in eight pulsing minutes in Gallery (1969) with electronic music sound score by Clockwork Orange composer Wendy Carlos. We follow that up with the astonishing Peter Foldes' Hunger (1974), one of the first computer-generated animated shorts and a metamorphic nightmare of greed, gluttony and lust. Languid rhythms of fades, dissolves and superimpositions permeate 7362 (1967) a masterful avant-garde film by the auteur of the optical printer (and sometime Star Wars special effects wiz) Pat O’Neill. Experiments in Motion Graphics (1968) once again features early computer motion graphics by John Whitney and a discussion of the computers prospect as an art making tool. Plus! The Critic (1963), an animated Oscar winner from the great Ernie Pintoff with comedy legend Mel Brooks relentlessly ragging on the experimental animation he's shown to hilarious effect.

Date: Friday, July 29th, 2016 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


Art for Tomorrow (Color, 1969)
“The artist is beginning to react to the impact of science and technology and beginning to come to terms with it. The artist better be rather careful or he will be losing his job and the engineer will become the artist of the future.”
In this film, from the Twentieth Century television program narrated by Walter Cronkite the art of the future is foreseen in new techniques demonstrated by artists and engineers using distinctive methods and new technology including computers, cybernetics, heart beat triggers, invisible art by magnetism, prisms, lights, moving objects, converging lines, and number patterns. This fascinating look at the “future past” features a kaleidoscopic portrait of avant-garde art works by Yaacov Agam (who uses strobe lights), Wen-Ying Tsai (vibrating steel rods), John Mott-Smith (computer-generated ideas), *Jean Tinguely (machine-made sculpture), Victor Vasarely’s early experiments with IBM computers, Jean Dupuy and many more.
*Here’s a link to a clip from Tinguely’s mind-blowing Homage to New York (1960)

Discovering Electronic Music (Color, 1983)
An introduction to the synthesizers and computers used to create electronic music, including the legendary Fairlight CMI, one of the first sampling synthesizers used for pop music production. Directed by Bernard Wilets, a veteran educational producer and particularly known for his “Discovering Music” series. You'll get a crash course on a vintage modular synthesizer. Envelopes, sine waves, oscillators, filters, galore!

Incredible Machine (Color, 1968) 
The crew from Bell Laboratories demonstrates novel uses of the computer in audio-visual communication research: computer generated graphics; computer-assisted design of an electronic circuit drawn with a light-pen on a cathode-ray tube; simulation of human speech and singing; and composition of music and of abstract or figurative color pictures and animation films.

Catalog (Color, 1961)
Famed cinematic innovator John Whitney's demo reel of work created with his analog computer/film/camera machine he built from a WWII anti-aircraft gun sight. Whitney and the techniques he developed with this machine were what inspired special FX wizard Douglas Trumbull) to use the slit scan technique on 2001: A Space Odyssey. An eye-opening and inspiring work of early computer generated imagery.

Gallery (Color, 1969)
The fastest Art History course you’ll ever take. A pulsing, speedy slideshow of some of the most important pieces of art, shown chronologically from DaVinci to Dali. With a Moog soundtrack by infamous Clockwork Orange composer and synth Goddess Wendy Carlos. Directed by Ken Rudolph.
Hunger (Color, 1973, Peter Foldes)
At an extremely rapid pace, images dissolve, move, morph and/or reappear into things or objects that become more and more exaggerated and absurd in this witty and disturbing cartoon by Hungarian director Peter Foldes. One of the first computer-generated films, this Jury Prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival and Academy Award Nominee is a satire focusing on the self-indulgence that plagues our ‘hungry’ world, and depicts a man as he continues to eat, and eat, and eat!

7362 (Dir. Pat O’Neill, Color, 1965-67)
A mind-blowing visual and sound experience by famed experimental filmmaker (and sometime Star Wars special effects wiz) Pat O’Neill with sound by cult musician/early synthesizer artist Joseph Byrd (The United States of America). Described as “a bilaterally symmetrical (west to east) fusion of human, biomorphic and mechanical shapes in motion. Has to do with the spontaneous generation of electrical energy. A fairly rare (ten years ago) demonstration of the Sabattier Effect (re-exposing partially developed film to light during the processing) in motion. Title refers to the film stock of the same name.

Experiments in Motion Graphics (Color, 1968) John Whitney, Sr., legendary American animator, composer and inventor, is often considered the father of computer animation. In this early profile, he expounds on the process and philosophy behind his pioneering work at IBM and demonstrates some of the fundamental concepts of motion graphics.

For more information about John Whitney’s work:

Macintosh HD:Users:stephenparr:Desktop:The_Critic_By_Mel_Brooks.jpgThe Critic (Color, 1963)
An animated Oscar winner from the great Ernie Pintoff- the “Critic is Mel Brooks, sitting in a movie theater. Loudly describing/deriding what he sees on the screen (a spoof of a Norman McLaren-styled animation). Brooks' old man character relentlessly rags on the experimental animation he's shown to hilarious effect.

Macintosh HD:Users:stephenparr:Desktop:images-1.jpgCurator Biography:
Stephen Parr’s programs have explored the erotic underbelly of sex-in-cinema (The Subject is Sex), the offbeat and bizarre (Oddities Beyond Belief), the pervasive effects of propaganda (Historical/Hysterical?) and oddities from his archives (Strange Sinema). He is the director of Oddball Films, a stock film company and the San Francisco Media Archive (, a non-profit archive that preserves culturally significant films. He is a co-founder of Other Cinema DVD and a member of the Association of Moving Archivists (AMIA) where he is a frequent presenter.

About Oddball Films
Oddball Films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like The Nice Guys and Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Transparent and Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.