Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Edward Miller

Subject Categories

Creative Writing | Film and Media Studies

Keywords

cinema vérité, avant garde film, experimental film, 1960s, Central Park, New York, Civil Rights, rebellion, William Greaves

Abstract

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take X-4 is a zine that analyzes and responds to William Greaves’s 1968 experimental documentary film titled Symbiopscyhotaxiplasm: Take One, in which Greaves performs the role of a bad director in order to compel his film crew into rebelling against him. As a Civil Rights Activist, Greaves was interested in exploring the relationship between authority figures and the oppressed, particularly how this dynamic operates on a film set. The film consists of three channels of footage: the fictional script being filmed; footage of the film being filmed; and footage of everything else occurring on the set. The fictional channel consists of a pair of actors performing the same, awful dialogue between Freddie and Alice. The film crew and audience remain unaware that Greaves intended for the bad script and multi-channel action to frustrate and provoke the crew and audience. The film crew ultimately rebels against their director, by stealing film equipment to film their own conversations about Greaves and his lack of adequate direction.

X-4 is designed to represent and address the various themes of the film in printed form and address the various themes of the film. My own personal response to the film is also incorporated in X-4, to mirror the film crew’s recording of their private reactions to Greaves and the film, and as a response to Greaves’s insistence that everyone should express their opinion on how structures of power operate in society. X-4 is a zine that currently exists in a printed run of 50 copies and is distributed for free.

This work is embargoed and will be available for download on Saturday, October 19, 2019

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