“Robert Todd is the premier lyrical filmmaker working today, with an unparalleled sensitivity to light and emulsion.” – Mike Hoolboom
The films and videos of Vincent Grenier have been at the forefront of the American avant-garde for over three decades. His main focus is on color and light, which he uses to create a rich and nuanced visual poetry of the everyday. In the following interview, he discusses his approach to color in relation to its associative content, and also the materiality of the cinematic image. Along the way, he talks about his wide-ranging influences, from French experimental theater to early Chinese painting.
A lyrical filmmaker as well as a sound and visual artist, Robert Todd continually produces short works that resist categorization. In the past twelve years he has produced a large body of short-to-medium format films that have been exhibited internationally at a wide variety of venues and festivals including the Media City Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Le Rencontres Internationale, Black Maria Film Festival, Nouveau Cinema in Montreal, Cinematheque Ontario, the Harvard Film Archive, Pacific Film Archive, the Paris Biennial, Slamdance Film Festival, and others. His films have won numerous festival prizes, grants, and artist’s awards.
He has taught film production at Boston College, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Art Institute of Boston, University of Massachusetts, and the Boston Film and Video Foundation.
He has also worked as an exhibiting painter and gallery director, and as an editor, sound designer/editor, post-supervisor or music producer on various award-winning broadcast and theatrically-released media programs.
A COLOUR, A SPACE, A MOMENT
18h00 | 43 min
Robert Todd | Spring 2014 | 16mm to HD | 15 min
Spaces between black and white: Obscurities, Vagueries, and Ephemera drifting distantly through the haze of film. This film looks at the alchemy of modernity without seeking answers, only substances that mingle and dissolve: there is a place at the end of the world, and it is the world we have made.
Robert Todd | May 2014 | 16mm to HD | 7 min
A day rises.
CAST: horses, Stowe, MA
Vincent Grenier | 16mm to HD | 1995 | 4 min
Ce film fut filmé avec de la pellicule couleur, mais utilisa le procédé Kinemaclor. Le procédé, inventé en 1915 permettait de projeter des images en couleurs à partir de films tournés en noir et blanc. Il nécessitait une projection synchronisée au moyen de filtres rouges et verts. Surface Tension a été tourné dans le «lower Manhanttan» au début des années 80.
This film was shot in color but using the Kinemacolor process, a process which was used in 1915 to obtain fairly illusionistic colors from black and white films by filming and projecting them through synchronized red and green filters.
Vincent Grenier | 1993-2004 | 16mm to video | 8 min
Tabula Rasa was “one of the absolute stand out of Views From The Avant Garde (NY Film Festival) 04’.” Also on 2004 Top Ten Films List — Michael Sicinski, Online Journal “The Academic Hack”
Filmed in a South Bronx high-school, Tabula Rasa attempts through sound image juxtapositions, digital manipulation and layering to deal at once with the propensity to mislead and eloquence of the recorded image. The ambiguous qualities of appearances, so assiduously cultivated by institutions, the motivations found in the clues that tells the history of objects, colors, textures, architecture and ultimately, psychological states of mind are but some of the players in this poetic and cultural happening.
All the material for this digital video was initially shot on16 mm film, in June of 1993. thanks to a grant from the Canada Council. We hear the voices of mediation counselor Victor Hall and student John Cruz. The filming would not have been possible without the help of an extraordinary teacher Dan Sheehan.
Vincent Grenier | 2012 | Orig AVCHD | 9 min
The pulsating rhythms of fluorescent lighting not quite in synch with those of the video image, create a singular array of drifting yellows. Camera handler and son waiting for a pediatric doctor’s appointment, while playful taunts mingle with the curious decor, the focused patients, slow blurs and daily life unfurl. Chance encounters, accidental time, in spite of everything, small miracles of cinema and being.
Many of my pieces perhaps more particularly have been hovering between home movie and phenomena, transformative space and the ordinary humdrum of the every day, also the intersection of culture and technology (both camera/video/digitality and everyday utilitarian technology). I might add the intersection between the public and my own private space, looking out for new untried ways to engage with these discussions. So to my mind this is another find, another insight into what has fascinated me.