Marc Lafia ::
Variable Montage, 2002

software, quicktime video, MAX MSP patch
courtesy Marc Lafia, special thanks to Didi Fire

With this work Marc Lafia discusses the expanded concept of cinematographic montage in the context of structural parameters provided by software and computation inextricably linking projection and recording.

A monitor shows a three part image composed of twenty-seven still frames from a Russian film which are broken into five segments that continually vary and permutate. Each of the five segments has also associated with them a small phrase from Mahler's Ninth symphony and these sounds vary pitch, alternate and overlap as the speed of the images and sequences play.
Whereas in cinema the film projector is a fixed instrument consisting of a single projection, [...] in software 'the projector' is simultaneously a playback and authoring machine. It becomes a variable instrument that can be instructed to play or project the film along particular and varied instructions. This work authored in MAX MSP, translates each image into a number and each set of images are given variables within which they are sequenced and ordered in relation to all other images.

In computational imaging, time and sequence take on an entirely new sense, perhaps it is the difference of becoming rather than unfolding, where each time through the engine of computation a film becomes, revealing something essential about computation as an engine of possibility and something about cinema as a fixed machine of the particular.
So Variable Montage is as much an engine or structure for possible films as it is a film per se.

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