Chris Langdon's film work (1973-76) is crucial in this regard - it was a very 
concerted attempt on her part to bring aspects of supposedly lowbrow culture 
and humor into the supposedly highbrow form of art/film.  She even made 
grindhouse-style trailers (about 8-10 total) for some of her films, which 
themselves were only 3 minutes (and sometimes single takes) to begin with.

Mike Henderson is a painter and blues musician who also made about two dozen 
16mm films between 1969 and 1985.  His painting and music background strongly 
inform his approach to filmmaking, and his films range from humorous and 
anarchic performative works that sometimes touch on Black experience, nearly 
abstract works that play on audience perception of what they're seeing/hearing, 
and works that touch on the relationship between perception and meaning, which 
incorporate narration, story and character elements, and play with the 
structural conventions of cinema in a way that seems to me uniquely painterly.  
Films like The Rocking Chair Film, Pitchfork and the Devil, How to Beat a Dead 
Horse, and others...

Jessie Stead's work in general, with Poor Man's Puce Moment being a random but 
fairly representative example of how she works with notions of high/low.  
There's also a piece where she nails a cookie to the wall with tons of nails 
over the course of an hour, which for me evokes Thom Andersen's Melting (1965), 
another film that would be of interest, especially alongside Morgan Fisher's 
very interesting text on it.

Speaking of Morgan, his film ( ) may be appropriate, a collection of insert 
shots taken from mainly B-movies, arranged together, abstracted from their 
original contexts as narrative elements to free them as individual objects of 
intrinsic interest/beauty/etc.  His long note on this film is fascinating.

John Smith's Associations (1975) pits a highly academic text on linguistic 
theory against images that pun on the various words used in the text.

Pat O'Neill's work is rich with interminglings of this sort.

Dan McLaughlin's God is Dog Spelled Backwards (1963), though a whimsical and 
jokey movie, takes as its concept "if you combine the world's greatest art with 
the world's greatest music, you should produce the world's greatest film".  
Probably significant as a historical reference point.  Easy to see online.

I liked Steve Reinke's Beaver Skull Magick (2010), which I saw at FLEX a couple 
of years ago.  I don't know much of his other work, but he's probably an artist 
worth looking at in this regard.

Wouldn't normally suggest my own stuff, but I have some work that speaks to 
this area too, as it's something I'm definitely interested.  (I feel dirty now.)

Mark Toscano

 From: Brent Coughenour <>
To: Experimental Film Discussion List <> 
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 9:49 AM
Subject: [Frameworks] Films/videos straddling high- and lowbrow divide
Hi there,
I'm interested in suggestions of films and videos that make an effort to occupy 
the "dialectical gap" between so-called lowbrow and highbrow culture; in 
particular, work that addresses both mainstream popular culture as well as more 
esoteric academic or artistic history. I'm not thinking so much of work that is 
situated firmly in one or the other camps and makes an allusion to the other, 
but rather work that makes a pretty concerted effort to split the difference. 
Cory Arcangel's  work would be a good contemporary example. I'm particularly 
interested in historical examples from the experimental film world and 
suggestions of specific pieces. Also, if there's writing on this topic floating 
around, lemme know!

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