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Metaphysical TV

3 March 1987

A screening of Super 8 films under the title Metaphysical TV at the Chauvel Cinema, Paddington Town Hall in Sydney.


As part of a series of events entitled No Where/No Here presented by the group Artists in Direct Support, Mark Titmarsh curated Metaphysical TV, a program of films that had, either in part or in whole, used appropriated visual and audio material taken from various sources through a process of refilming a TV screen.

To accompany the screening Titmarsh had also written a manifesto entitled Metaphysical TV: Or How To Make Films with a Hammer. Arising in part from the contemporaneous theoretical debates on the nature and effect of appropriation in artistic practice, Titmarsh sought to define the common features of the work of a number of Sydney Super 8 filmmakers.

“At first glance Television seems all full of stuff and nonsense, pervaded by rigid production values and commercial interests totally antithetical to the world of the artist-filmmaker”, wrote Titmarsh. “But it’s not the institution of TV that interests us here; rather it is the breadth of spectacle, the sheer quantity of appearance that it provides. [...] From this side of the screen, from a viewer’s distance, TV need only be judged as an aesthetic phenomenon. [...]”

“Just as in Zeno’s paradox, where a finite line can be divided into an infinite number of points or measures, so too any day or hour of Television, any midday movie or sports telecast can be divided into an infinite number of audio or visual fragments. There is no project of deconstruction here since there is no resentment towards TV, no moral prejudice — rather a goodwill to its appearance and a titanic striving to sift through its constituent parts and cast conceptual nets over the whirl of phenomena ...”

The manifesto was later published in On the Beach, issue 12, Spring 1987. 

The program and running order was as follows:

SSS, Andrew Frost

Hoard, Stephen Harrop

Square Bashing, Stephen Harrop

Resistance Today, Gary Warner

All My Life, Michael Hutak

Macbeth's Greatest Hits, Michael Hutak

Shock Corridor, Mark Titmarsh

Legion, Mark Titmarsh

The program subsequently toured to the following venues:

The 15th International Festival of New Super 8 and Video, Caracas, Venezuela, 29 August 1988.

George Paton Gallery, Melbourne, 27 and 28 April; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 13 May; South Australian Media Resource Centre, 25 September; Art Forum Fringe, Canberra School of Art, 22 October 1987.

Andrew Frost
Selected objects
Resistance Today
Resistance Today, – via YouTube 
From Macbeth’s greatest hits, via d'archive
From Macbeth’s greatest hits, via d'archive – from Macbeth’s greatest hits, via d/Archive 
From S.S.S., via d'archive
From S.S.S., via d'archive – from S.S.S., via d/Archive 
From Resistance today, via d'archive
From Resistance today, via d'archive – from Resistance today, via d/Archive