Paul Sharits and Carl E. Brown. Scopic discharge

Paul Sharits developed a materialist, stroboscopic cinema based on the technique of flickering images and colours, denying the illusion of film and stressing the subjective perception of the spectator. Carl E. Brown, conversely, has explored the expressive nature of cinematographic material by reinventing procedures and tools. This session brings together two of their films that address the experience of various individuals with mental illnesses and the electroshock therapy they receive. Alternating monochrome stills and images of patients with epileptic attacks taken from a medical study of the activity of brain waves during convulsions, in Epileptic Seizure Comparison Paul Sharits presents the spectator with the experience of the electric shock of these disorders. Inspired by the book The Myth of Mental Illness by psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, in Full Moon Darkness Carl E. Brown juxtaposes expressionist views with Szasz’s accusation of his profession of abuse of power, and interviews with patients who “survived” his treatment.

Epileptic Seizure Comparison, Paul Sharits, 1976, 30 min; Full Moon Darkness, Carl E. Brown, 1985, 90 min. [16 mm screening]

6 March 2014


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