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Lessons in Perception: The Avant-Garde Filmmaker as Practical Psychologist

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Lessons in Perception

The Avant-Garde Filmmaker as Practical Psychologist

Paul Taberham

Full Text Made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from Knowledge Unlatched.

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226 pages, 25 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-641-6 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (June 2018)

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This intense, compact book examines avant-garde and experimental film in an entirely new light…Armed with an authoritative grasp of the subject matter and aided by numerous frame grabs throughout the volume, Taberham …[offers] something new: an exploration into the psychological terrain of the cinematic avant-garde, demonstrating how it completely abrogates the conventions of commercial cinema…Highly Recommended.” • Choice

“This lucid, informative text allows readers to consider the ongoing relevance of—and perhaps the need for—avant-garde filmmaking in a world driven increasingly by the economic demands of mainstream spectacle.” • William Brown, University of Roehampton


Narrative comprehension, memory, motion, depth perception, synesthesia, hallucination, and dreaming have long been objects of fascination for cognitive psychologists. They have also been among the most potent sources of creative inspiration for experimental filmmakers. Lessons in Perception melds film theory and cognitive science in a stimulating investigation of the work of iconic experimental artists such as Stan Brakhage, Robert Breer, Maya Deren, and Jordan Belson. In illustrating how avant-garde filmmakers draw from their own mental and perceptual capacities, author Paul Taberham offers a compelling account of how their works expand the spectator’s range of aesthetic sensitivities and open creative vistas uncharted by commercial cinema.

Paul Taberham is Senior Lecturer in Animation Studies at the Arts University Bournemouth. He is the coeditor of Cognitive Media Theory (2014) and The New Experimental Animation: From Analogue to Digital (2018). Paul has appeared on radio, spoken internationally at conferences, and published articles for several edited collections and journals including Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind and Animation Journal. He is a fellow of The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image.

Subject: Film Studies Media Studies

Lessons in Perception by Paul Taberham is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from Knowledge Unlatched.

Full Text

OA ISBN: 978-1-78533-642-3


List of Illustrations



Chapter 1. The Specter of Narrative
Chapter 2. Ghost Films of the Avant-Garde


Chapter 3. Bottom Up Processing, Entoptic Vision and the Innocent Eye in the Films of Stan Brakhage
Chapter 4. Robert Breer and the Dialectic of Eye and Camera


Chapter 5. Synaesthetic Film Reconsidered
Chapter 6. Three Dimensions of Visual Music



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