"A true world sensation, Pandora's film box has been found. Experience a completely new way of looking at film with Pandora. The world in its polyvisual multiple! Follow Pandora on her way through film history. A challenge to anyone who doesn't want to close their eyes. Ninety minutes of excitement and entertainment in the storm and whirlwind." This is not a promotional text from some publicity agent, but the presentation text of Europe's greatest eksperimental filmmaker, in this case Werner Nekes. It is perhaps more important to discuss Nekes' character, as this illustrates his view on film, rather than just writing about HURRYCAN, a film that is actually only a moment in Nekes' film oeuvre.
Important are the proportions of image/sound: sometimes they are captured in a scientific manner, sometimes isolated to one unique photogram ( = 1124 of a second). But before achieving such mastery in handling film matter, he carried out all kinds of experiments, ranging from slowing down to overprinting, from re-filming to hyper-speed editing. In a film like T-WO-MEN ('72) this is captured, there he creates a visual ballet that has no equal in the art of film, in short a perfect symbiosis that another master like Stan Brakhage has never been able to achieve. In his first film, BOGEN ('67), he filmed one isolated image in a landscape, every other minute. This already incorporates one of Nekes' basic principles: concentrating, stretching, scrambling the idea of time in a given space. Very early on, too, he began working on and experimenting with accelerated editing, with the alternation of images, dividing the screen into different parts, colouring the pellicle. In '67 he started to work on the idea of "expanded cinema" with a double projection of one image above another. Also totally new was the idea of OPERATION ('67), where, on Nekes' bare torso as a screen, a projection is shown of an open-heart operation: a nice way to show how the image should enter the body, the heart of the viewer. All Nekes' works question us about film, about montage and about the perceptions of the human eye. For instance, he sometimes uses a large number of mirrors that break up and pulverise the image and, due to the great speed at which the images pass by, give the illusion of blinking one's eyes. In this maximum compression of time, Nekes interweaves different stories that alternate and overlap.
In HURRYCAN, therefore, the experiment is once again carried out swiftly, now with the use of stroboscope, multiple overprinting and ultra-fast editing. Here the illusion, to which the film medium owes its origin, is constantly being punctured and confirmed. In fact, there is only one figure in the picture at a time, but the technique used and the slow reaction of our retinas do the rest. So the basic idea is speed. Nekes here goes to the extreme limit of visual perseption, with the minimal unit of film: the photogram. With the help of covers, he creates in a series of images small narratives that support each other in order to bring about a fiktic about film. The pellikule used for the final wish simply ran through the camera seven times, so that for four minutes the viewer observes an energetic ballet of movements, a sympathetic organ point of this (short) film sequence strung together with loose fragments. In the HURRYCAN songs, film history, cinema and technical inventions pass in review at the same time. In his HURRYCAN, Nekes argues: "Let's say goodbye to the magic, the dream-bringing film, since it remains first and foremost a machine. Let's take a closer look at it."
Christa Brands, Birger Bustorff, Uli Gersmann
Werner Nekes, Bernd Upnmoor