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23  |   A E A E A
Filmwork, 1989/1993
16-mm optical sound from 35-mm-negative, color
German and English soundtrack versions, each c. 6 minutes
16-mm Film © 1993 ; [ DV-prints, 2000 ] ; DVD © 2003.

35-mm animation photography by Marieluise Gram ( 1989 )
Soundtrack spoken by Emmett Williams (1989, 1992) and Ann Holyoke Lehmann (1989)
Sound recording by Gerhard Jensen-Nelson, Studio des Literarischen Colloquiums zu Berlin
Film processing by Geyer Werke, Berlin ( 1989, 1993 )
DVD by Jörg Jung, Berlin (2003)
With the support of Alexandrow & Glauert, Film & AV, and the Senatsverwaltung für kulturelle Angelegenheiten, both  Berlin.


The filmwork AEAEA was first shown on 28 February 1993, during “Choice & Chance,” an exhibition and series of events at the Literaturhaus Berlin.


When the bookwork AEAEA appeared in early October 1989, just in time to be presented at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, I was in the midst of employing conventional 35-millmeter technique to turn the same material into an animated  film.

The film picture was to consist of two “endless zooms” onto or, rather, into a drawing of the word “AEAEA.” To achieve its all-important seamlessness, each zoom was filmed using twelve separate drawings, of which a consecutive pair stood in the ratio of exactly 1 :2. Working, first at my drafting table and then in the darkroom, I created the necessary drawings of the letters, while Marieluise Gram, using a computer-controlled animation camera, accomplished the intricate work of photographing them: a constantly shifting function of repeated zoom-ins with simultaneous fade-outs and fade-ins. We had decided against filming in video (which would have made the entire process much, much easier) in order to assure maximum definition of the lettering from beginning to end.


After numerous false starts—these due primarily to difficulties with programming the camera (it was, after all, 1989)—we at last finished filming on the very weekend after the Wall had fallen ( I had pedalled my bike to the final session through a fog of two-stroke engine fuel fumes ). Not until January 1993, however, after I’d received a completion grant for the project, were sixteen-millimeter copies of both the German and English language versions made from the original 35-mm negative material. At the end of February that year, both versions were shown for the first time during CHOICE & CHANCE, a series of events Eberhard Blum and I had conceived for the Literaturhaus Berlin. On the German soundtrack, I read the text, together with the American poet Emmett Williams, who also reads the English-soundtrack version. The book and both films are dedicated to him, his wife Ann, and my husband, Eberhard—and hence, to Berlin and the long-gone, enchanted years of our mutual island exile there :  À  E., A., E.—A. 

A E A E A  [English soundtrack], Filmwork, duration 6:06 min., 1989/1993

Today, having, for utility’s sake, made the compromise of transferring the film to DVD, I’m all the more satisfied we made the right decision in deciding to film AEAEA on 35-mm material. There is, namely, no comparison between the crispness of projections of the work from celluloid and the fuzziness of those beamed from digital material. It is a disappointment to have to present the filmwork here in the form of a low-definition videos—yet pleasing to know that the original negative material yet slumbers in the film-lab’s refridgerated storage archives.

A E A E A  [German soundtrack], Filmwork, duration 6:06 min., 1989/1993