Sidewinder's Delta

1976-1976

Dir. Pat O'Neill, 16mm Color Sound 00:21:00

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Sidewinder’s Delta (1976) by Pat O’Neill; 16mm film, color, sound. © Pat O’Neill Sidewinder’s Delta (1976) by Pat O’Neill; 16mm film, color, sound. © Pat O’Neill

From an excerpt of an interview with Pat O'Neill by Frank Fearless: [Sidewinder's Delta] was generally built up as a series of parts, related at first only by a consistent choice of locations. As the individual parts were finished, they began to assume a position within the whole, and sometimes to suggest a piece to be made either to follow or precede it. Other sections asked to be excused, so as to follow their own course separately. I made several trips to Arizona to do time-lapse filming of light changes and cloud shadows on sandstone formations. I had only the vaguest idea how to use the footage I was collecting. There is a satisfaction that comes from having a nugget in your possession just asking to be used, to be put into a context that doesn't' yet exist. At the same times, I was continually dogged by doubts: the footage is too 'beautiful;' I am making a dumb travelogue; the consequence of these combinations may be trivial, etc. The 'trowel' scene was one of the first sections I got into a composite state. I liked the way the weather was revealing and obscuring the horizon and its peaks. It kept repeating the tabula rasa, the blank whiteness of the screen, suspended out o the sky. It was becoming a reflexive situation, talking about the anxiety of image making. The musical reverberation of the cement finishing tool had to do with passivity, about waiting - waiting and playing with the tools. It is a reference, an homage, to Jim Dine's endless tool collections as well. The cactus and light bulb piece was also finished early on. The cactus is near Wickenburg, Arizone; the stone house is in Indio, California; the interior seen through the windows is in our kitchen; and the light and hand were shot in front of a blue screen. The composite is technically pretty rough, due to the fact that the original photography on all the elements was done in cameras without register pins. That is why they jiggle from time to time. I have been accepting this problem for awhile, but chafing at it at the same time. [Source: Filmforum program notes, 1/28/77]

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