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EXCERPTS FROM ALPHAVILLE Philip Zimmermann (1977)

Artists' book. Silkscreen printed in edition of 50. Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY in 1977.


I went to an all-boys Jesuit college prep school in Washington DC and hated every minute of it despite the fact that I knew that it was a very rigorous and thorough education. To escape, a friend and I would go almost every day after class to the Circle Theater in Washington DC. It was one of the first repertory and art movie houses in the United States and showed many European art films like those by Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Ingmar Bergman and Jean-Luc Godard. Every day there was a different double feature and we would go to almost all of them. I fell in love with the French New Wave as well as all of the classic films of Ozu and Kurasawa -but a special favorite of mine were the films of Godard. And I had a terrible crush on Anna Karina, Godard's primary heroine in all of his early films.


When I started graduate school at VSW I made a book for Keith Smith's silkscreen class that was an homage to one of my favorite Godard films, the futuristic noir film Alphaville. The book has representative images with some of the great voice-over text from the movie. It was published in a self-covering edition of 50 copies and bound simply with saddle-stitched staples.


Keith taught me how to create interesting special effects in silkscreen which would create ink effects by flooding the ink through the screen several times and then lifting it up to create unusual veined effects that looked like erosion. That is how I created the streaky-looking tan color that appears in the protaginist's image.