Klaus Wiborny


[...] In March 1968, I vacationed in Denmark with Werner [Nekes], Dore [O] and Rainhild. We rented a house near Ringkøbing [...] It was there that Dore's film ALASKA was made in the course of three weeks, and I made two films as well which were pinched later on. One of them was still viewed by Ken Jacobs who told me, 'Klaus, what you show here is simply too muddled.' And he showed me a few sequences featuring Jack Smith which he had made a couple of years ago and which now, due to Ken's characteristic way of showing them, radiated a concentration which stunned me [...]
Werner's way of working at the time already had a lot of that concentration.
Once I sat in a rattan chair in the house; the sun was shining white thru the windows. Werner had positioned his Bolex and had selected a frame showing [just] a segment of the chair which meant that only the lower part of my body wd be visible / close to the edge of the image.
The floor was the main actor.
Perhaps I was smoking a cigarette. Sometimes my hand was moving. Possibly somebody crossed in front of me, moving thru the picture. There were no director's instructions; the camera was running uninterruptedly for two minutes.
But how much did occur when I saw the material two years later, having already forgotten abt. it!
I believe that this shot was included in PALIMPSEST, a film I have never seen, and then it was also included in ABBANDONO.

Having returned from Denmark, I began to cut a film I had shot in fall [...] The cuts were to be independent of any continuous movement of the actors, being derived entirely from a pattern of numbers which were prescribing the length of each sequence. The film was called GOING TO STUTTGART, and it looked great with the music of the 'Mothers' turned on. But I saw no possibility at the time  to incorporate the approach into a larger structure, and so I developed into a different direction. Perhaps this was because of the complete absence of any theory of film which might deal with non-continuous montage. [...]

During the summer of '68, I shot 10 films, all 8mm, and arranged a screening in the Brüderstrasse [in Hamburg], attended by quite a few people. This encouraged us to start a sort of movie theater which we opened in Werner's basement. We fitted it with some benches and mattresses and drew up a few  programs that mixed Werner's and my films. And usually we made abt. a hundred [Deutsch-]Marks, which was far above the production costs of my films. Werner probably was more ambitious in this respect.

[...] In the meantime the [Hamburg] filmmakers' cooperative had been founded, the first Hamburg film show had taken place, there was the scandal concerning [H. Costard's] BESONDERS WERTVOLL, and the amazing solidarity among filmmakers in Oberhausen. But all those events do not stand out sharply any more in my memory: [...] in Sept. '68, I left Germany in order to work in New York as a physicist. [....]

It was difficult to get used to Hamburg again. [...] I got a room in the coop, and there I assembled, like a madman, DÄMONISCHE LEINWAND, an 8mm movie that has a  duration of 6 hrs. 
I met Werner and Dore again when we drove to the Intermedia in Heidelberg. There I saw ALASKA, the beauty of which was to overwhelm me time and again during the years to come. [...]

Maybe it is the revelation that I owe to [Werner's film], KELEK, which was at the root of my incapability to face NEBULA and T-W-OMEN intensely. I always had a slight aversion against these films. I quickly found a terminology which 'solidly' underpinned this aversion. Terms like 'contentwise bourgeois' came to mind [...] Undoubtedly, the guy shown in NEBULA who is tying himself up is an image from the bourgeois arsenal, as is the chap turning [ladies'] shoes into a fetish [...], and surely the constellation of women in T-W-OMEN is solidly anchored in a bourgeois surplus economy. But these terms, which describe my uneasiness, are focused unambiguously on content-related systems. The formal structure of NEBULA is not different enuf from that of KELEK to provoke a rejection, and especially T-W-OMEN is an extremely progressive, explorative work in terms of its structure.
My critique thus concerns the motif, and the motif is an aspect of content. In so far my aversion appears to me at times as absurd. 
Now we can easily discover in the Confessions of Rousseau how the path into an autogenously oriented content-focusedness is a path leading to loneliness.
I suspect that nothing much changed in this regard in the last two hundred years. NEBULA and T-W-OMEN are, as films, content-focused. Content-focusedness, in works of art, has always the unpleasant smell of sermons. It may be that there are acceptable Socialist sermons; the bourgeois preacher, however, is alone. In a society of commodity producing competitors, he is isolated from all the other preachers.  And therefore I'm basically incapable to write something abt. NEBULA and T-W-OMEN, because the content-focusedness of my own films excludes me from identification with them...
But I want to write: ABBANDONO I love so much that I wish I had seen it when I was twenty-one. [...]

In all of Werner's 'narrative' films there exists a fascinating quality, and that's his treatment of the simple, disjunctive, associative cut. I believe there is no other filmmaker in the world who knows how to use it in such a sensitive and discrete way. It can be found in all of Werner's films since KELEK (all, that is, except SPACE CUT, but abt. this later) [...]

Dec. 1973

* These are excerpts from a text by Klaus Wiborny that was included in WERNER NEKES 1966-1973, Eine Dokumentration, ed. by. Reinhard OSELIES and Ingo PETZKE, Bochum 1974, pp. 94-101. (The excerpts published here were chosen and translated by Andreas Weiland) - The title, "A Look Back...",  has been added by the editor.

LINK:  http://www.typee.de