Derek Maxwell

15 September 2007

After viewing Transitions, I remembered a Quicktime video I had seen on an avant-garde art website. The film was Hans Richter’s Rhythms 21, from 1921. The two films are quite similar at times, as both feature wipes from white to black and black to white. But Transitions is composed of reductions. Content, duration and sequence are reduced to their simplest form by using the structure of the PowerPoint software. On the other hand, Rhythms 21 is about expansion. Previous to the creation of Richter’s movie, the art of film had been pictorial, almost classical, compared to what was happening in the other arts. When Richter removed the actors and scenes that ordinarily dominate film he expanded the notions of film, painting and, generally, visual art. Transitions reduces the visual overload we now live with to its most basic elements. In my opinion, both films make a clear statement on their respective time periods. They are like two points travelling on the same spiral— 
one inwards and one outwards.