Vincent Grenier
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(1993-2004) Video HD (Orig. 16 mm), 7:30 min. color, sound.
Camera, production and editing by Vincent Grenier. Additional camera by Bill Rowley. Sound recording by Joel Schlemowitz.

Tabula Rasa was “one of the absolute stand out of Views From The Avant Garde (NY Film Festival) 04’.” Also on 2004 Top Ten Films List -- Michael Sicinski, Online Journal “The Academic Hack”

Filmed in a South Bronx high-school, Tabula Rasa attempts through sound image juxtapositions, digital manipulation and layering to deal at once with the propensity to mislead and eloquence of the recorded image. The ambiguous qualities of appearances, so assiduously cultivated by institutions, the motivations found in the clues that tells the history of objects, colors, textures, architecture and ultimately, psychological states of mind are but some of the players in this poetic and cultural happening.

All the material for this digital video was initially shot on16 mm film, in June of 1993. thanks to a grant from the Canada Council. We hear the voices of mediation counselor Victor Hall and student John Cruz. The filming would not have been possible without the help of an extraordinary teacher Dan Sheehan.

Curated screenings & Awards:
• 2nd Prize, Media City 11, Windsor, Ontario
• Jury’s Citation (2nd Prizes), Black Maria Film & Video Festival, & tour Jersey City, NJ
• Views from the Avant-Garde, NewYork Film Festival, 2004, Lincoln Center, NYC
• 2004 Onion City Experimental Film & Video Festival, Chicago
• Images Festival, Toronto, Ontario
• San Francisco International Film Festival, PFA
• Athens Int’l Film & Video festival, Ohio
• Oberhausen Film  & Video Festival, May 2006 Germany.
• Best Avant-Garde Films & Videos of the Decade, "Century Limited", Confidential Program, Walter Read Theater, NYC, 9:30 PM July 27, 2010.

Distributed by CFMDC, Light Cone.
Availale as QTHD and DCP

Verbal descriptions of fictional comic book characters are interwoven with elegant abstracted shots of a South Bronx high school's walls and corridors (which according to the filmmaker is an "...attempt to sort through and take to task the enormity of that institution... to engage in a real discourse...with the clues that tell the history of objects, colors, texture, architecture and ultimately, psychological states of mind that are but some of the players ..." A possible undercover study on institutional formatting of minds not yet affected by experiences.” Black Maria Film Festival

“Revisiting footage he shot more than ten years ago in an American high school, Vincent Grenier combines deftly manipulated and layered images with oblique commentaries delivered by students and instructors. The socializing process of education is made visible in the architecture, surfaces, and colours of the school, “in the ambiguous quality of appearances so assiduously cultivated by institutions” (Grenier). Images Festival

Tabula Rasa transcript:

1st voice:
Watch. Watch this wall respond to me. You Hear it? Watch this one. Watch this wall respond to me. Watch. See this wall respond to me because I’m looking at it this way. Now watch this wall come and bother me because I’m looking at it. Did you hear the wall say something to me? Watch. See? See how the wall’s responding to me looking at it. See? Watch me look at the wall wrong. Watch.

2nd voice:
Then he… he gets to the point where… umm he has … he does his duty. He saves the earth of this big menace because there’s this person who wants to take all the powers, as in the power of you know… of being able to control time and the power of reality… being able to change reality, change space. It’s power. Time, reality, soul, mind and space.

1st voice:
I’m just trying to give you an example… uh, it’s just a look and as long as someone doesn’t approach or touch you physically, okay, a look should not matter. Now if I have an example of space encroachment, I’ve given an example of looking at a wall and I say, “Watch me look at this wall”. Now watch this wall come and bother me because I’m looking at it. And I’ll look at the wall like… and I’ll say did you hear the way say something to me? Watch.

2nd voice:
The characters name… um his superhero name is Red Heat. His um, secret identity is an ahhh… John Cruise. That’s actually my name. Ah, he’s six two he weighs about 320 lbs. His skin is made of … um … I don’t know if you ever heard of the superhero um called um Colossus.  You know who Colossus is from X-Men? His skin is somewhat like that in plated alamantium. Almost invulnerable but not invulnerable.


This page was updated on 8/07/2019