Four Incidents With Translations


Dir. Ken Feingold, 16mm B/W Sound 00:12:00

Page Contents


A penny matchbook is seen on a plain white ground. A hand enters from offscreen, moves it, and withdraws. After a few seconds, the process is repeated. This continues throughout the film with the matchbook being moved to a series of new positions. Meanwhile, a female voice on the sound track reads four texts. Each is in a conversation in dramatic form in which the voice reads both the names of the speakers and the works spoken. Each 'translation' is entirely autonomous, though each is an account of an attempt by the characters to reach some kind of agreement or state of certainty. One, for example, is a Beckett-like conversation between four people who are talking about an object observable through a window, though they all disagree on both the object they are considering and the window through which it can be seen. Another is a dialogue between two people who have read the same book, but who disagree on its interpretation.

[Source: David James "Six Films by Ken Feingold," Journal of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; Number 14, April 1977 ]