Script-Diagram for Prima Materia

By Michael Betancourt

Click to enlarge

My movie Prima Materia (2005) is based on a visualization of the alchemical process of distillation. All aspects of the visual materials, their progression and their relationship to each other result from the script-diagram. Because alchemy is dialectal — the combination of oppositions — and at the same time mapped to a number of other phenomena such as the seasonal cycle, the appropriate way to understand this diagram is not as a circle, but as a moebius strip that is read in sequence: spring-summer-autumn-winter. The set of oppositions and this sequence function as the organization of the finished work: each element is introduced, they are combined as oppositions, then those opposition-pairs are combined again.

This diagram was essential in the production of the movie. It identifies the various elements to be used, their color, their motion, and their combination in the subsequent sections.




Michael Betancourt is an artist, media historian, critical theorist, and curator. His essays have been translated into Chinese, Italian, Greek, Persian, Portuguese, and Spanish; he has exhibited his movies, site-specific installations, and non-traditional art forms in unseen, unusual, or public spaces since 1992. The second edition of his book, Structuring Time, came out in 2009; he teaches motion graphics and media theory at the Savannah College of Art & Design. He primarily makes abstract, geometric movies.







contact information
guidelines for contributors

current issue
issue #7: sports

past issues
issue #1: manifest
issue #2: counter-archive
issue #3: new ages
issue #4: exhibition guide
issue #5: blockbuster
issue #∞: forever

back and forth
michael robinson
takahiko iimura
anders weberg
jim finn
jacqueline goss
benj gerdes and jennifer hayashida
sam green
oliver laric
thorsten fleisch
jennifer montgomery
stephen connolly
deborah stratman
bill brown
jon rafman
jennifer bolande
evan meaney
sabrina ratté

john lurie
stephen broomer
vanessa renwick

jake barningham

mike stoltz
molly surno
gwen trutnau
pablo marin
margaret rorison
jodie mack
leslie supnet
jesse mclean
kelly gallagher
jenni olson
taravat khalili
nazlı dinçel
mary helena clark
jim hubbard
margaret honda
alee peoples
jesse malmed
paul clipson
stephanie barber
sonya stefan