“Free Radicals” by Len Lye (1958)

“Created in 1958, Free Radicals is arguably one of American avant-garde artist Len Lye’s greatest film works. ‘Every film [I made], I tried to interest myself in it by doing something not previously done in film technique’, said Lye. Working across the mediums of painting, poetry, and film, Lye was a prolific and important kinetic artist. With a maverick character and obsession with movement, Lye pioneered experimental film and animation techniques with his influential invention of direct (camera-less) film-making as early as the 1930s. Though never associated solely with one movement, Lye’s work merged aspects of Surrealism, Futurism, Constructivism and Abstract Expressionism into his own breed of moving art.”

Sophie Pinchetti

Watch here.

“I, myself, eventually came to look at the way things moved mainly to try to feel movement, and only feel it. This is what dancers do; but instead, I wanted to put the feeling of a figure of motion outside of myself to see what I’d got. … I didn’t know the term ‘empathy’ – that is, the psychological trick of unconsciously feeling oneself into the shoes of another person – but I was certainly practising it. I got so that I could feel myself into the shoes of anything that moved, from a grasshopper to a hawk, a fish to a yacht, from a cloud to the shimmering rustle of ivy leaves on a brick wall. Such shoes were around in profusion. …”

Len Lye

 

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