1935-1937 Len Lye – “Kaleidoscope” + “A Colour Box” + “Colour Flight” (highlights mix)

This video is an adaptation of the original works; several fragments were edited together to give a short impression of Len Lye’s creations. Please view (and buy) the originals where available.

Len Lye (05-07-1901 – 15-05-1980) was an artist from New Zealand who made experimental films and kinetic sculptures. In the early 1920s Lye travelled widely in the South Pacific and was influenced by the art of Māori, Australian Aboriginal, Pacific Island and African cultures, He was once expelled from Samoa by the New Zealand colonial administration for living within an indigenous community.

In London he reinvented the technique of drawing directly on film. “A Colour Box” was the first direct film screened to a general audience. Most of his animations are abstract, sometimes with stenciled messages to promote the services of British General Post Office or other employers. The two small vertical bars in this video (part of “Kaleidoscope” refer to cigarettes,as the film was sponsored as a prestige advertisement for Churchman’s Cigarettes. For the first screening of the film, Lye cut the cigarette shapes out of the print, so that the light would project directly through them onto the screen.

A Colour Box won a Medal of Honour at the 1935 International Cinema Festival in Brussels. Having no suitable category in which to award the film, the jury simply invented a new one.

This video also contains a small marine-themed segment of “Rainbow Dance” (1936), of which another edit can be viewed on this channel.

info from Wikipedia and Govett Brewster Art Gallery
Music: “La Belle Créole” by Don Barreto & son Orchestre Cubain