Film and Digital History / Theory / Criticism
Wheeler Winston Dixon
In addition to my work as a writer, I also make films.
"Though he’s best known today as a scholar (his1997 book The Exploding Eye provides a who’s who of 1960s experimentalists), Dixon’s short films…are themselves visual catalogs of underground techniques: snarky Bruce Conner-ish montage, psychoactive Conrad/Sharits flicker effects, and Mekasian home-movie diaries. The distinctive Dixon kick comes from witty edits to far-out music. His loopy Americana remix Serial Metaphysics (1972) grooves to an increasingly trippy reverb and teen portrait The DC 5 Memorial Film (1969) prowls through Charles Ives, while the magnificent acid-structuralist London Clouds (1970) rocks to a Henri Pousseur electronic psych-out. The rich filmic collapse of personal memory into cultural history is summed up at the end of Quick Constant and Solid Instant (1969), a Fluxus performance set to a Gerard Malanga poetry reading. 'It will take you a long time,' intones Malanga, 'to understand why I wrote poems for you.'" - Ed Halter, The Village Voice
"Wheeler Winston Dixon, the prolific author of books on François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, American experimental cinema, and film theory, has also been making experimental films of his own for the past three decades. This three-program retrospective traces Dixon's career from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s, with rare screenings of early works like The DC Five Memorial Film (1969), which interweaves home movies of Dixon's 1950s Connecticut childhood with footage shot in 1969 in New York City and at a farm upstate; Quick Constant and Solid Instant (1969), featuring a Fluxus group-performance piece and a poetry reading by Gerard Malanga; and Madagascar, or, Caroline Kennedy's Sinful Life in London (1976), in which a fictional Caroline recovers from a hangover. Also shown are Serial Metaphysics (1972), an examination of the American lifestyle recut entirely from existing television advertisements, and What Can I Do? (1993), a rigorous, tender portrait of an elderly woman who holds dinner-party guests in thrall to her difficult family life. Dixon, who will introduce all three programs, is generously donating the originals of these films to MoMA." - Joshua Siegel,The Museum of Modern Art