Zorns Lemma 1970

This is a movie which is reported to have driven the audience mad. For more, see the Wikipedia entry on the movie. Indeed the goal had been to "empty the mind" of the audience. The first 45 minutes are silent and feature a reading of the Bay State Primer, a puritan work for children. The second part is silent. It starts with a 24 letter alphabet, each shown for 1 second, then looping, gradually replacing letters with words and then with moving pictures. In the 10 minute conclusion, six women read a text of Robert Grosseteste (1225-1228) each word is spoken for 1 second. The movie of Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) is structural and poetic. The first part reflects childhood, the second part maturity, the third part old age and death. Grosseteste, the author of the text read in the third part, is by some considered a superstar of medieval science, even if not the founder of modern methods. He was a medieval polymath looking for the origin of the cosmos. He used light as the fundamental principle of existence. Obviously he was very much influenced by Aristotle but he had some original ideas like spheres of lights creating space. A translation of that text is here.
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The first part contains no pictures at all. It is not included here (I actually thought myself that the movie is corrupted but having no picture had the aim to empty the mind of the viewer....) The second, completely silent part of the movie with pictures is here sped up by a factor 20 (!) (otherwise it is completely unbearable to watch). The last part is sped up here by a factor 2 so that the 10 minutes (also unbearable) have been sped up to 5 minutes. Every word is spoken now in exactly half a second (rather than 1 second of the original). Also here, going through the movie in the original is torture. The medieval test sounds like written by a mad person. I have transcribed it below.

The actually spoken text is a bit different. Here is my own transcript of the film's version of "De Luce":

The first bodily form I judge to be light for light of itself diffuses itself in every direction, so that a sphere of light as great as you is born instantly from a point of light. But form cannot abandon matter because form is not separable and matter can not be emptied of form. Form is light itself or the tour its work and the bringer of dimensions into matter but light is of a more noble and more excellent essence than all bodily things. Since light which is the first form created in curved matter could not abandon matter in the beginning of time. It throw out matter alone with itself into a mass as great as the fabric of the world. When the first sphere has been completed and this way it spreads out its daylight from every part of itself to the center of the whole. This daylight in its passage does not divide the body through which it passes, but assembles and disperses it. And this semblance which disperses proceeded in order until the nine celestial spheres were perfected. Matter or the four elements was assembled within the nine sphere which is the sphere of the moon. The ninth sphere and rendering day light from itself and assembling the mass within itself has brought forth fire. Fire engendering life has brought forth air. Air and rendering from itself a bodily spirit has brought forth water and earth. But earth is all the higher bodies because the higher daylights were compressed together in the earth and the light of any sphere may be drawn forth from the earth into at operation. Whatever god you wish will be born of the earth as of some mother. The form and perfection of all bodies is light. But the light of the higher is more spiritual and simple while the light of the lower is more bodily and multiple. Nor are all bodies of the same form though they have their origins in a simple light. Just as all numbers are not of the same form. Though they are greater or lesser multiplies of unity. In the highest body which is the most simple, there are four things to be found. Name form, matter, composition and entirety. Now, the form as being more simple has the place of unity. On account of the twofold power of matter, namely the ability to receive impressions and to retain them And also on account of identity which has its beginning in matter. Matter is allotted the nature of the number 2. Composition makes up the number 3. Because in composition are evident formed matter and material. Form and the things about composition which is its very own. And that which besides these three is proper two. Entirety is included under the number 4. When the number 1 of form and the number 2 of matter and the number 3 of composition and the number 4 of entirety are added together, they make up the number 10. 10 is the full number of the universe, because every whole and purpose has something in itself like form and unity and something like matter and the number 2 and something like composition and the number 3 and something like entirety and the number 4. And it is not possible to add a fifth beyond these four. Therefor every whole and perfect thing is a 10. But from this it is clear that only the 5 ratio found between the four numbers 1,2,3 and 4 are fitted to that harmony which makes every composition steadfast. Therefor, only those 5 ratios exist in musical measures. In dances and rhythmic times.

Oliver Knill, Posted March 19, 2022,