The filmmaker and critic Toshio Matsumoto (1932-2017) was both a pioneer of experimental cinema and video art in Japan and a highly influential theorist, challenging the conventions and exploring the boundaries of documentary art, avant-garde film, and narrative cinema alike. From his collaborations with the collective Jikken Kobo (Experimental Workshop) in the late 1950s, through his expressive “neo-documentarist” and electrifying expanded cinema experiments of the 1960s, to his radical appropriation of emerging video technologies in the 1970s and ’80s, Matsumoto’s efforts to reinvent the moving image at the molecular level resulted in one of the most rigorous and expansive bodies of work in the cinema.
Japan, 1984, 3m
A flicker film made using only intense shock-zooms, Vibration is one of a series of films Matsumoto made in the 1980s that explored proprioception through a mixture of minimalist effects and modernist architecture.
Japan, 1984, 3m
Set to a soundtrack of pulsing synth bleats, Delay Exposure rhythmically deploys a low-tech, in-camera tricks—including lens-flares, whip-pans, and rapid, strobing exposure shifts—to builds an affective sense of place and architecture.
Japan, 1982, 10m
In Shift, Matsumoto utilizes early digital video effects to transform architectural structures into cascading geometric waves and impossibly bubbling surfaces.
Japan, 1971, 8m
This mesmerizing portrait of a toilet was created with an electronic color processor developed for science and medical imaging, resulting in a rhythmic study of color and form with a score by the composer Toshi Ichiyanagi.
Japan, 1975, 11m
Named after the Sanskrit word for the inner soul, Atman frames a masked demon amid a discolored blood-red trees and sick-green landscape through hundreds of quick zooms and reframings, resulting in one of Matsumoto’s most thorough destabilizations of perception.
For the Damaged Right Eye
Japan, 1968, 12m
An explosive reworking of Funeral Parade of Roses, combined with animation, found footage, and a battery of expanded cinema techniques including multiple projections, For the Damaged Right Eye’s blistering pop collage of psychedelic image manipulations and discordant sonic mash-ups is true to its title: a violent assault on the senses.