Whole Grain: Experiments in Film & Video — Handmade Films

Film still of Stan Brackhage’s Mothlight, 1963

Handmade Film explores various ways in which experimental filmmakers have created films without using a camera. From affixing the wings of dead moths directly onto the filmstrip (Stan Brackhage’s 1963 classic Mothlight) to using nail polish and bleach in order to transform ‘70s softcore porn into a satire on the male gaze (Naomi Uman’s 1999 film Removed) these playful and mesmerizing works challenge traditional conceptions of how to make a film.


  • Aleph (untitled) (Wallace Berman, US, 1958-1976, 9 min., 16mm)
  • Color Cry (Len Lye, US, 1952, 3 min., 16mm)
  • Rhythm (Len Lye, US, 1957, 1 min, 16mm)
  • Free Radicals (Len Lye, US, 1958-1979, 5 min., 16mm)
  • Tal Barlow (Len Lye, US, 1979-1980, 6 min., 16mm)
  • Particles in Space (Len Lye, US, 1966, 4 min., 16mm)
  • Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, US, 1963, 4 min., 16mm)
  • At the Academy (Guy Sherwin, US, 1974, 5 min., 16mm)
  • Removed (Naomi Uman, US, 1999, 6 min., 16mm)
  • Black and White Trypps #1 (Ben Russell, US, 2005, 7 min., 16mm)

Additional Programming:

About Whole Grain

The Tang Teaching Museum’s new series Whole Grain: Experiments in Film & Video explores classic and contemporary work in experimental film and video. This is the first of our three inaugural programs this spring, which are thematic and director-focused collections of canonical films that will serve as an introduction to experimental filmmaking practice. The themes for upcoming programs are Subversion (April 1) and Soft Fiction (April 8). These films subvert, challenge, and play with classical Hollywood narrative and stylistic conventions.

Whole Grain is programmed by Sean Fuller, Store and Publications Manager, Tang Teaching Museum; Nicky Tavares, Visual and Digital Media Mellon Fellow, Skidmore College; and Tom Yoshikami, Educator for College and Public Programs, Tang Museum. This event is free and open to the public.

Pattern by Monica Andrews '19
Inspired by the exhibition 3-D Doings: The Imagist Object in Chicago Art, 1964-1980
The Tang Pattern Project celebrates the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Organized by Head of Design Jean Tschanz-Egger, past and current Tang Design Interns created patterns inspired by the Museum’s exhibition and event history.