Paul Sharits (1943-1993), Untitled (photocopied typed letter to "p.adams" with handwritten notes), May 1st, 1970; photocopy, colored marker on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches; Gift of Christopher and Cheri Sharits, 2006
May 1, 1970****<----> (correcte"dead" 9-70)
dear p. adams,
well, to start off badly, i am a bit bitter about the AFI independent filmmkrs grants just announced. my own stupidities have cost me my ability to pay film lab bills, buy new film, etc (now, back with the family i hope to control the self-destructive impulses which always seem to cost more than the lessons that they "teach"...for instance, well, best not to mention the "for instances" perhaps)...in any event, i got to the ugly point of asking the AFI for $ again and i didn't get it. that in itself is not why i am "bitter"; what distresses me is that i lost out to the film projects which one would expec tthe disney people or some such $-group to support. there were no hollis framptons or other such deserving and needy filmmakers awarded. instead, grants were given to absurd sounding documentary and abstract-decorative-"nowish" projects. first i had asked for some help in doing the 6 screen version of STREAM:SECTION:SECTIONED (water-to-film-current work which i've been working on since summer 1968) and even though the whitney museum, through annette michelson's most helpful recommendation, would have premented this "locational" work, the costs involved were so high that i finally realized that AFI would not support such a thing (especially since it would no doubt bring no $ returns). then i asked for help doing the single-screen version of the same S:S:S work (considerably less expensive but still too much for me to finance myself) and/or help to do the 30 minute long animated RE:RE:PROJECTION thing i've been planning & making experiments for for the last two years. annette said she recommended me for some grant but no use counting on outside support. now it is certain that i must take a university job; offered a position by chicago art institute and although they are nice enough people, art schools just can't pay enough salary and i don't believe in them anyway so will turn them down; am going to california tomorrow to interview for several jobs there ( one at the davis campus of the univ. of calif. & one at san francisco state) and am shaking in my boots, as "they" say, because i hate looking for jobs and i have grave apprehensions about being so far from nyc. * but i must find someplace where i can settle for awhile, make a decent salary to pay off past bills and mistakes and get back to actual work on my films; and , frances seems to want to go west, so...
all the preliminary tests-experiments have been made and i am ready to actualize S:S:S in the single screen version. but i am reduced now to writing-clarifying some of the concepts involved in that work in a sort of journal-note form. even if i got some money now, because i have to fragment my summer by teaching at skidmore, moving from baltimore to wherever, because it will take colburn lab in chicago a month to do the necessary blow-up from 8mm to 16mm. i will have to suppress my anxiety-urge to work on scratching of lines (white-light imagery), 24 of them, a progressive build-up, into the as yet non-existent 16mm masters of S:S:S. will take enormous amount of time ** and labor to perform this task & naturally i have constant doubts about the viability of what seems to be an erosion of imagery. have to saturate myself with brancusi! (saw a large show of his magnificent works in chicago a week or so ago & am still feeling its immediate presence; the sense of time he spent in refining his volumes is so magically projected outward from those works into my time away from them...an "actuality magician"...impressed also by the possible relevance of his use of "the-base"-to-"the-piece" to the problems of "sound"-to-"image" in cinema). the sonatching will bring me into a film-touching-handling role which i've never "played" before and, as tedious as it will be, i believe it will be an awakening experience of some spiritual significance. the sound work is very complex and will demand excellent sound lab conditions; all this work on film, my first serious non-animated work, which will very probably be very boring (about 40-45 minutes long) and perhaps absurdly banal...but i feel compelled to do it and, given that, what else can i do but continue on, even to what may be an abyss...a non-mandalic structure and i feel like i'm on a tight rope but i sense that a new area of structure and working process is opening up to me....
** "took" 300 hours
Paul Sharits (1943-1993), STREAM:SECTION:SIX:SECTION EP (folder), 1968; standard paper folder, 12 x 9 1/2 inches; Gift of Christopher and Cheri Sharits, 2006