Bronson Caves Stills & Sequences - Artist's Book

Introduction to Bronson Caves Stills & Sequences

  • Bronson Caves Stills & Sequences chronicles the 100 year cinematic history of the Bronson Caves through film stills and short sequences. Loosely chronological, the book follows the passage of time at the site through a variety of histories and genres in cinema.

    Here I would like to amend Robert Smithson’s original proposal, “Towards the Development of a Cinema Cavern”, that was first introduced in his essay “A Cinematic Atopia”, 1971. In the proposal Smithson writes he wants to build a cinema in a cave or an abandoned mine, carving back the rock to create a screen and fixing boulders as seats. The audience/prisoners, Smithson’s “ultimate film goers”, sitting on the boulders would be perpetually captive in the cinema cave1 where “his or her perceptions would take on a kind of sluggishness. Films would follow films, until the action of each film would drown in a vast reservoir of pure perception. He or she would not be able to distinguish between good films and bad films, all would be swallowed up into an endless blur. He or she would not be watching films, but rather experiencing blurs of many shades. Between blurs he or she might even fall asleep, but that wouldn’t matter…This dozing consciousness would bring about a tepid abstraction.” I believe I have found the Cinema Cavern Smithson writes about, the Bronson Caves. Here Smithson's “ultimate film goer” would endlessly observe not a screen playing films but the very creation of films dancing before them, performed throughout the history of the Bronson Caves.

    -Brice Bischoff, Los Angeles

    1 Similar to the prisoners chained in the cave unable to turn their heads in Plato's “Allegory of the Cave”