Ó, jaj, szegény pilláim álma elveszett,
Add vissza véle együtt elillant eszemet!
Aki a szerelemnek kinyitja a kaput,
Annak bizony az álma a tárt kapun kifut.
(Az Ezeregyéjszaka Meséiből. Ismeretlen szerző.)
DORA MAURER [Idomeres, 1973—16mm film, b/w, silent, SUMUS Wien-Budapest] and [Relative Schwingungen, 1973—35mm film, b/w, sound, Balazs Bela Studio (representative of different branches of art contributed with experimental films to the investigation of the tools of expression in cinema), Budapest (1975)]
“Time is measured by folding a piece of white linen in front of a black background: I fold it altogether seven times, one fold more each time, always starting a new. The proportions of the cloth correspond to the picture-size of a 16mm film, its length is that of my two outstreched arms… I have always felt a certain aversion to‘finished’ artworks of our time; their durability strikes me as useless.” -Dora Maurer-
Timing has a remarkable place among the films of Maurer not only because of its clear structure and its ingenious basic idea, but also it stands on the crossroad of all her endeavours she has hitherto made. Of course, it is a ‘displacement’ like so many works of her, but this is only a modest aspect of the film. Here one is folding a canvas into two, into four… into thirty-two - until it becomes impossible to fold it. This canvas is the same proportion of the cinema screen, and the metaphor ‘the canvas of the painter = the canvas of the filmmaker’ is particularly emphasized by the fact that while folding the canvas, the screen is also dividing itself (and shrinking).
In the Relative Swingings, we were witness to the relativization of meaning related to motion. The only ‘theme’ (or better leitmotif) of the film is a lamp hanging from the ceiling. The ‘action’ is given by the swinging or still standing of the lamp - in relation with the standing or moving camera. We can easily imagine all the variations, from the ‘unmoved lamp + unmoved camera = unmoved image’ through ‘unmoved lamp + swinging camera = Swinging image’ up to ‘swinging lamp + swinging camera = unmoved image’.