The Stan Brakhage
Visionary Title Generator

By Michael Betancourt


1.
The Title Matrix

The Stan Brakhage Visionary Title Generator employs an option-matrix that works like a Chinese take-out menu: Match a word in column A with another on a different line in column B. Any combination of terms is acceptable, as are single-word titles, so long as none of the pairs listed together on the same line are used.

It is a system for creating titles with a “visionary effect” without having to necessarily adopt a “visionary” approach to the work. This title generator was used to create titles for some of the New Movies (2001) and New Movies (2002) modular works. It is derived from the collection of Stan Brakhage’s movies listed in Canyon Cinema Film/Video Catalog #8 (2000), drawing primarily on two word titles. These titles present two terms framed in opposition, and generally have a religious/mythological connotation. Similar title matrixes could be generated from any set of words. The utility of this matrix is that it allows the creation of suggestive, visionary (even auteurist) titles without the need for subjective “soul searching” to achieve the desired effect: the appearance of subjectivity without necessarily using a subjectivist aesthetic as such (although personal preference does play a role in choosing pairs from this matrix).

This title matrix is a template for the creation of others. A matrix of this type allows choices from within a delimited range of possibilities, presenting a framework for making choices. This approach can be applied to almost any kind material, not just the titles for a movie. Any set of conditions can be expressed as a list of yes / no choices or as a permutation matrix (such as the Visionary Title Generator). The creation of work then depends on the parameters consciously chosen, rather than unconsciously adopted. In this regard, The Stan Brakhage Visionary Title Generator, like The__________ Manifesto, is indicative of my entire approach to organizing the creative process.



A
. . . . . . . . . . . .
B
Paranoia
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Corridor
Polite
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Madness
Blue
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Valve
Shockingly
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Hot
Beautiful
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Funeral
Spring
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Cycle
Sexual
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Saga
Earthen
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Aerie
Chartres
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Series
Black
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Ice
Ephemeral
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Solidity
Three
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Homerics
Rage
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Net
Christ
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Mass
Sex
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Dance
Fire
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Tree
Crack
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Glass
Stellar
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Eulogy
City
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Streaming
Egyptian
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Other
Tortured
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Dust
Made
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Manifest
Star
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Garden
Sexual
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Meditation
Zone
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Moment
Wonder
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Ring

 


EXAMPLE “VISIONARY” TITLES:
Paranoia Cycle
Black Eulogy
Egyptian Ice
Wonder Funerals
Tortured Corridor *
Ephemeral Valve

Fire Garden
Spring Ring



2.
Other Possible Systems

The Stan Brakhage Visionary Title Generator is not the only way to use this matrix (or another devised for that purpose). The key to using this type of tool is the elimination of the visionary process as much as possible; this is why having a source for visionary “terms” is necessary in the fabrication of the matrix itself, (although it could be used for producing visionary works as well).

 

“VISIONARY” TITLE VARIANT TEMPLATE
_____________ of ______________
verb/noun                          adj.


EXAMPLE VARIANT TITLES:
Forces of Symmetry *
Run of Dogs
Breath of Waiting
Rage of Ice

All are suggestive in their own ways . . .




* These are titles I used in my own work.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Betancourt is a critical theorist, museum curator, and multi-disciplinary artist. He has exhibited his movies, site-specific installations, and non-traditional art forms in unseen, unusual, or public spaces since 1992. www.cinegraphic.net


 

 

INCITE Journal of Experimental Media
Issue Number Two (Spring-Fall 2010)


 

 


 

 

 

 


 

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