[FILM] Scenes for iPods
- In praise of a tiny thing
Filmmakers make iPod-ready shorts that fit in your pocket.
By John Patterson, Special to The Times
Most directors believe movies deliver their strongest impact when
splashed across 40 feet of widescreen, but Jonas Mekas, the 84-year-
old poet, avant-garde film diarist and former columnist for the
Village Voice, is praising a new and to him perfect 1-by-2-inch
outlet for his work.
"I call it the Eye-Pod," he says.
Mekas has been filming himself, his friends and colleagues almost
daily since 1949, on film and then video, every so often editing the
results into lyrical essay/diary-style movies such as "Walden"
(1969), "Lost Lost Lost" (1975) and last year's "A Letter From
Greenpoint." On Friday, the Maya Stendhal Gallery in New York and the
website JonasMekas.com are hosting a 365-day exhibit of Mekas' iPod-
ready shorts, inspired by similar calender-based projects by artists
like Pirandello, Petrarch and the late Hollis Frampton. Also promised
are homage-style contributions from Mekas' longtime admirers and
fellow New Yorkers Jim Jarmusch and Martin Scorsese.
"Often in my films," Mekas says, "things run in one- to four-minute
segments, like little haikus, so it fits perfectly on the iPod. It's
right there in your hand, not the same as in a theater.
"It's a much more private, intimate experience, like reading a book
or a poem. It's like a postcard versus a letter, or a text message,
even. A letter is more grammatical, sensitive or polished; with a
postcard you just jot some notes. The same thing happens on the iPod,
and it's more personal, more condensed."
Screen size, Mekas believes, doesn't matter.
"I had a friend, [artist] George Maciunas the father of the Fluxus
movement, who died in 1984 an insomniac who kept this tiny Sony 8-
by-5-inch TV going all night. Watching it, I'd get so involved, I
found that the size disappears, the screen is forgotten, and you are
as involved as you might be watching it at Radio City Music Hall.
Even if it's an action movie or a western all the spaces are