Interlude (Homage to Bugs Bunny)

Still from "Interlude (Homage to Bugs Bunny)", 1983

Interlude (Homage to Bugs Bunny) (1983) was one of my ‘personal experiments’ and originally I had not intended to release it for distribution. Initially I had been interested in the soundtrack and its relationship to the images, editing the ‘pirated’ sequence of Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam by listening to the patterns made by the repeating musical phrase. Fascinated by the work of  the American “minimalist” composer Steve Reich.  I became increasingly interested in the relationship between the repeating musical rhythms and the looping cycle of the cartoon characters, as this relationship began to suggest a structure. I liked the idea that the repetition, though very noticeable, was not immediately obvious and that the musical structure influenced the decisions about where and when to cut the sequence. The accuracy of my editing (and my edit suite) was tested, and in this sense I saw it initially as a kind of technical exercise.

These ideas notwithstanding, I had also had some preliminary plans to make a piece of work that was ‘about’ the experience of watching television. As a child (and into my teens!) I had been an avid Bugs Bunny fan, and as I had watched the programme unfailingly every week, I had seen this particular episode (Irate Pirate, dir. Chuck Jones) many times.

For me Interlude (Homage to Bugs Bunny) was significant because the work became ‘physical’, both because of the use of duration, which I had learned from the structuralist film-makers, and rhythmically because of what I had learned from listening to Reich. It was also nostalgic, because it referred back to my childhood television viewing, and conceptually interesting to me because it referred to the ‘flow’ of programming which by now seemed to define the medium of television so specifically.

The pun here was intentional, this tape was made before the brief vogue for ‘Scratch Video’, but was in fact, shown as part of a survey of British scratch video work in 1986, (“New British Video” Atelilier de Pedegogie et d’animation, Strasbourg, France.)