Architectura caelestis

Todeskino completed the film Architectura caelestis
Being the first of a new series called New Film Conceptions, the material for the film was shot in the city of Palmanova in northern Italy, one of the few original european ideal planned cities, built in the late 16th century.

From a central point on the hexagonal main square there are different zoom shots of the 6 star shaped main roads. 6 pannings of 60 degrees are linking the zoom shots in two turnarounds.
The duration of each zoom shot through one position/road as well as the length and therefore velocity of the pannings are composed after the Fibonacci numbers and the golden section. After our work Ars combinatoria, in this new cycle New Film Conceptions, we carry on composing film frame by frame after these architectural principles, expanding certain structural or metric ideas in the history of avantgarde film.

This way of editing mirrors the space itself like in our film Le dernier art, in the case of Palmanova depicting, structurally and metrically, a Fibonacci spiral that is a symbol for a kind of golden proportional celestial or divine architecture reflecting archetypic forms in the human psyche as well.
The zoom shots follow different series of 2-3-5-8-13-21 frames, the pannings increase velocity in steps of 377-233-144-89-55-34 frames, almost geometrically measuring space-time filmically, transcribing it on to the frame numbers of the film strip, an approach that is perhaps quite unique in avantgarde cinema. Moreover the zoom shots put together various jump cut scenes relativating events in the time line, the film is even optical printed backwards and extended to 4 turnarounds, like C.G. Jung explains, in the unconscious everything is taking place simultaneously, life and death, like waltzing clockwise and counterclockwise. And his colleague Karl Kerenyi says, we escape the archetypic reeling in the labyrinth of death and unconsciousness via an aspiration towards the celestial realm (another metaference to the film reel). All that visionary film can be, and that pure digital cinema that is not based on framework and analogue material can not be to the same extend: frenzy, a sometimes enraptured ecstatic experience leaving us in a whirling, lurching dizziness.  
Or to quote the hermetic, alchemic "Emerald Tablet": "That which is below is like that which is above that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing."

Palmanova could be seen as a huge mandala to live in (see bird’s eye view). But for us these symbols are rather means of transgression than neo-religious attemps to reconcile the human psyche with its true „self“ and collective, transindividual wholeness, a neverending approach according to C.G. Jung. With transgression we mean a certain possibility of (inner) mythical experience that is breaking with the cultural forms, but unlike Georges Bataille, who claims that culture is sustained and completed by what transgresses it, we want to emphasize on the part of breaking in the original meaning of the symbol, not on the communication or its suspension (like for instance in deconstruction).   
The golden section and Fibonacci sequence applied to film by Todeskino

still from "Architectura caelestis" by Todeskino

the city of Palmanova, Italy from bird's eye view

Palmanova, the hexagonal "piazza grande"

old city maps of Palmanova
stained glass window of the cathedral of Chartres

the mandala like cross section through the human DNA

the Fibonacci sequence in the human skeleton:


"Modulor" by Le Corbusier, attempt to base modern architecture on objective measures according to the golden ratio and the human body

man in the pentagram that draws the golden section, Agrippa von Nettesheim, De occulta philosophia, early 16th century

it is well known that in the history of architecture many of the most famous and "beautiful" buildings were constructed after the golden ratio, for instance the pyramids of Gizeh, the Parthenon, the gothic cathedrals of Notre Dame Paris or Chartres, the Taj Mahal ...

the Fibonacci spiral in nature, the Nautilus

the Fibonacci spiral and golden section in art, Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam"

Michelangelo Adam Goldener Schnitt

William Blake, "Newton"

New Film Conceptions 1

the golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers applied to film by Todeskino 

stills from Todeskino's New Film Conceptions 1 - "Architectura caelestis"

"…I don't think that 'first' is important, I think it's that it's the first time for you… I mean, that's what originality is all about, because the first sound made was all the music that's ever gonna be played, that's it, that sound, the first sound made had all the notes that there are, so there's nothing about being the first. But being original has to do with it never having been done this way …" — Sonny Sharrock

Ars combinatoria

Todeskino finished part 7 of the Chromophony series

Chromophonie VII - Ars combinatoria

To our knowledge of film history which is quite profound, it's probably unique that this piece is composed after the principles of the GOLDEN SECTION. As we already pointed out earlier, a constant geometric architectonic treatment of measure on the film strip itself is still to be done regarding the art of avantgardistic film. The advancements of what is called structural or metric film is a beginning that confronts us with composing film frame by frame or even continously deframed like the soundtrack (visual sound) after principles like for instance GEMATRIA in the frame numbers applied in former projects and in this piece again, as well as now and for the future after principles like the GOLDEN SECTION or the FIBONACCI NUMBERS. These "classic" means of construction have been well applied perhaps in all art forms in multifarious ways also by the avantgarde as a possibility to evoke affections of a certain "beauty" as well as spiritual perceptions. But in film combinatorics have scarcley been explored, not to speak of the Golden Section. For instance a somewhat "ideal" measure of duration for a section in film - e.g. the ordinary film second 24 frames -  would be 15 to 9 frames (see illustrations).
Furthermore the entire film is composed, even more than "Le dernier art/The Last Art", after a score, like music. The basic elements are 6 colours of the spectrum, to each colour corresponds a sine wave, the most basic and pure sound, to the white light summing up all colours of the spectrum corresponds the WHITE NOISE. Clear leader lets the white light pass, whereas black leader means the absence of light and colour. The colours are handpainted on clear leader with acrylic ink to achieve outstanding luminous colours. The basic geometric shapes circle, triangle, rectangle/square as well as free forms are bleached into the black leader, then filled out by hand with colours. These arrangements of colours, shapes and sounds go through transformations of all possible combinations. The film ends in green or f (352 Hz), according to Kandinsky the colour of accomplished "indifference".

pages from the film score

stills from Chromophonie VII - Ars combinatoria by Todeskino

Kandinsky, the 3 basic colours and shapes (1923)

Eugen Batz, correspondence between colours and shapes (1929/30)

In Architektur und Bildender Kunst wird das Prinzip des Goldenen Schnitts seit tausenden Jahren angewandt. Der Film Ars combinatoria ist wahrscheinlich die erste Arbeit, die dieses mathematische Prinzip, das eine mysteriöse Schönheit evoziert, auf die Filmkunst und das Filmmaterial anwendet. Solcherart entsteht eine neue Perspektive und Konzeption für den strukturalen oder metrischen Avantgardefilm. Der Film ist Kader für Kader nach einer Partitur komponiert und die Verhältnisse der Kaderzahlen, in anderen Worten der Dauern, folgen dem Goldenen Schnitt oder den eng verwandten Fibonacci Zahlen. (Zum Beispiel ein solches „ideales“ Längenmaß für die Dauer eines Filmabschnitts – die Filmsekunde 24 Frames – wäre 15 zu 9 Kader). Arrangements von Grundfarben des Spektrums, geometrische Grundformen (handcoloriert auf Film) und dazu korrenspondierende Sinuston Frequenzen passieren Transformationen in allen möglichen Kombinationen, wie in der seriellen Komposition.

Synopsis in english:

In architecture and fine arts the principle of the Golden Section is well known and used for thousands of years. The film „Ars Combinatoria“ is most likely the first work applying this mathematical principle, that is evoking a mysterious beauty, to the film art and material. This adds a new perspective and conception to what is known as structural or metric avantgarde film. The film is composed frame by frame and the proportions of the frame numbers, in other words the durations, follow the Golden Ratio or the closely related Fibonacci numbers. (For instance a somehow "ideal" measure of duration for a section in film - e.g. the ordinary film second 24 frames -  would be 15 to 9 frames). Arrangements of basic spectral colours, geometric shapes (handpainted on film) and corresponding sine wave sounds go through transformations of all possible combinations like in serial composition.

Pinturas negras

Todeskino completed the handpainted film "Chromophonie VIII - Pinturas negras". By using a similar palette of earthy and blue-greyish hues dominating, the work is referring to the series of paintings that the late Francisco Goya (1746-1828) painted on the walls of his house "La quinta del sordo" between 1819 and 1823. Red only appears occasionally when blood is shed. Retiring to the countryside after an eventful artist life as a painter for the spanish court, the deaf Goya painted this cycle of pictures just for himself. With this inner directed late style of his and the drab, gloomy, existential sujets haunting like nightmares or expressive visions, he became one of the forefathers of modernity.
Todeskino is now in a situation where this reference is helpful, because all new film or video works will be released very selectively into the contemporary forms of art presentation and not uploaded to the internet any more.
(The art of classical chinese shadow and puppet theatre for instance, is not performed for humans but as an offering for the gods. That left an important mark on my/our own understanding, hearing and witnessing this recently in Paris, that's what was always the case with my/our art too, and here I/we felt reminded again and overcame the sickness all these years regarding the worlds of the contemporary art scenes - my/our films are not made or shown for the people, but for MANCREATED GODS.)*
As a soundtrack we chose ancient greek music from Gregorio Paniagua's singular recording that presented the only surviving fragments on inscriptions, papyri etc. The second piece we used is a transcription of the beginning of Pindar's first pythic ode by Athanasius Kircher. In greek mythology Apollon, although god of light and guide of the muses and artists, also had a byname "the black" (mélanos). Like with his egyptian pendant Horus the luciferian gift of light is also surmounted essentially by a certain darkness.


still from "Chromophonie VIII - Pinturas negras" by Todeskino

the sabbath scene from Goya's cycle

floating haggish fates
la quinta del sordo
la "quinta del sordo"

*Auch die unabhängige amerikanische Generation der sog. "Abstrakten Expressionisten" produzierte nicht von ungefähr eine Reihe von "Black Paintings". Einige Aussagen des eigenbrötlerischen, cézannenesken Clyfford Still stehen hier, auch im Hinblick auf Goya, für mich/uns Pate: 

Bilder seien nicht nur dazu da in Schulen eingeteilt, in Museen präsentiert zu werden, Päpste und Könige zu glorifizieren und die Wände der Reichen zu schmücken, so Still. "Man gewöhnt sich daran, allein zu sein, ohne es zu merken. Ich habe meine eigene Art der Emanzipation geschaffen." Still sprach davon, daß er "alle kulturellen Opiate der Vergangenheit und der Gegenwart zu durchbrechen und ein direktes, unmittelbares, wirklich freies Sehen zu erreichen suche." Sowohl für Rothko als auch für Still war die Malerei keine rein ästhetische Disziplin mehr, sondern ein "Instrument" des Menschen, mittels dessen er sich unbeirrt einen Freiraum zur persönlichen Emanzipation schaffen konnte, damit "der ganze Mensch ohne kulturelle Verstellung existieren kann." Malen drückte etwas aus bzw. schuf etwas, was außerhalb von Geschichte und Gesellschaft stand.
mit Veränderungen zitiert nach Breslin, Mark Rothko, Eine Biographie, Ritter Klagenfurt, S. 288ff.  

The Todeskino color circle

Quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius, et quod est superius est sicut quod est inferius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius. (Tabula Smaragdina),%20dem%20fehlt%20es%20an%20Weisheit.

(copy this ULR into your browser or use the hyperlink and a speech synthesizer will read the sentence above to you)

Todeskino at VIDEOEX

"The Lost Works and Masters" is screening at the VIDEOEX Festival Zürich Switzerland

monday and tuesday, 28./29. 5. 2012

the program of the festival

Here again the description of "The Lost Works and Masters" that has been mistranslated so cutely by the videoex festival:
The structures of the human self are breaking at the dike of a fundamental solitude, and the dreams, the ephemeric visions of mind in its corporal mode are nothing but the traces of its broken shells, left behind on the shores of reason. They may be significant products of the unconscious but, what is more important, they are the blind testimonies of the only act that exists in nature, the act of breaking of reality that is the only reality as it appears. The feeling of that singular loneliness is the one desire of the illusive self, its symbolic relativity in a simultaneous space and time, the desert of being.