I met Patrick Halm in 2003 at plays I produced in which our mutual friend Barry Del Sherman performed. Patrick and I spoke a few times before he let me know he made films himself. When I asked if I could see some of his work, he showed me Pulse. I found it intriguing. The imagery is instantly arresting, but what struck me most is the coherence of the piece as a work of art. The challenge with experimental films of this kind often has to do with completion and closure. The sudden contrasts and juxtapositions create the moments of surprise we look for in art, but we also want the full trajectory of a piece to have a revelatory quality of its own, the sense of an organized, cumulative impact. And Pulse had that for me. It formed a single and unsettling thought about perception and mortality, and the relationship between them. This year I looked again at Patrick’s films, and found they had only gained in relevance, as has the Brackage-Frampton tradition they continue and extend. It’s as if the steady flood of conventionally structured visual narratives has created a need for the associative openness these films embrace. The experience of viewing them raised several questions, and Patrick was kind enough to answer them.
Guy Zimmerman is Associate Editor of Times Quotidian. Reposted with permission.
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