Viking Eggeling, Symphonie Diagonale

T H E  U N S E E N  F E S T I V A L

Symphonie Diagonale (Diagonal Symphony) is one of the earliest works in abstract film to have been conserved and it is the only one by Viking Eggeling that has survived to our day. During the film white geometric shapes appear, constantly being generated over a black background, in the form of luminous lines that emerge from nowhere. All attention is focused on the line and on the transformation of the shapes, not on their movement, because they remain static. With its straight lines and simple curves, the film shows an attempt to create a language built of basic elements, a kind of sign writing similar to that found in the artist’s paintings and drawings, where certain echoes of Paul Cézanne’s painting can be seen. It is a poem of rhythmic forms, with time intervals that make reference to a visual music already implicit in the title of the piece; but in contrast to the horizontal sense of Western musical notation, the work proposes a diagonal rupture. Watch a trailer.

16mm. B&W. Silent. 1924. 7 min.

This film will screen as part of The Unseen Festival at Counterpath on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.