A succession of scenes filmed in static shots, appearing behind words letters cut on a black screen, giving the word the function of the frame and therefore rephrasing the link between language and image.
Details shows a succession of scenes filmed in static shots,
sometimes in black and white and sometimes in color.
The spectator has to guess their subject through a black mask. A word, different
for each scene, is cut out within the mask : INSTEAD, BECOMING,
CONTINUE, ALONE, UNKNOWN, ECSTATIC, FORGOTTEN, EXPECT.
The drawing of letters seems to dig a hole in the black screen and then let us catch
a glimpse of the scene shot by the artist. The camera may be set in a
car parallel to the road, perpendicular to the traffic in a New York
street, in front of a museum wall while artist's exhibition is
installed, etc. There is a word corresponding to each suggested
scene. If the relationship between the word's signification and the
corresponding pattern is like an idea association, it is purely
arbitrary and fortuitous.
The rhythm of appearances is marked with a black and mute screen.
This «blackness » gives a break before the opening of the next scene,
whose sound seems to be thus liberated. In a way, this very system
goes back to the silent movies era, the intertitle principle coming
on the top of the filmed image itself. But here, the «carton», that
is to say the word, does not give an indication neither on the action
nor on what is coming next. It is simply superimposed on the moving
By giving the word the function of the frame and therefore rephrasing
the link between language and image, Robert Barry seems to take the
opposite view of FW Murnau according to whom « The ideal film does not
need text ».