Jordan Belson Characteristics


Jordan Belson's films all seem to have similar feelings and images. They all contain abstract images and busts of colors. A sense of spirituality is portrayed in each film. Being and abstract artist, Belson's work is very unique and beautiful. Belson's films deal with the spiritual experience of the earthly human being. They emphasize the universal and the general rather than the specific. Belson's works are philosophical reflections on life, death, and the universe. When watching Belson's films, it is easy to get hypnotized and caught up in thoughts that are triggered from the imagery presented. Watching Belson's films provides the viewer with an emotional and entertaining experience.

Belson's earliest films were made from drawings that he made on cards. Initially being an abstract expressionist painter, this was an easy and comfortable way for Belson to begin making films. Another technique that Belson used in his early films was painting on long scrolls of film in color. This allowed him to not only create motion from frame to frame, but also textural differences from frame to frame. He also filmed these long scrolls through a kaleidoscope giving the images a sparkle effect. One repeating image that can be seen in Belson's films is the planetary disc. This appears in many different forms and contexts throughout his works. This disc can be thought of as the general world and galaxy. Another image that is seen throughout his work is the use of color. Belson plays with colors by combining them and fading them in and out of each other. In general Belson's work can be described as spiritual and sacred. The films that Belson has created all capture a mystical sense.

--Erica Ferry


Jordan Belson's films all seem to have similar feelings and images. They all contain abstract images and busts of colors. A sense of spirituality is portrayed in each film. Being an abstract artist, Belson's work is very unique and beautiful. Belson's films deal with the spiritual experience of the earthly human being. They emphasize the universal and the general rather than the specific. Belson's works are philosophical reflections on life, death, and the universe. When watching Belson's films, it is easy to get hypnotized and caught up in thoughts that are triggered from the imagery presented. Watching Belson's films provides the viewer with an emotional and entertaining experience.

Belson's earliest films were made from drawings that he made on cards. Initially being an abstract expressionist painter, this was an easy and comfortable way for Belson to begin making films. Another technique that Belson used in his early films was painting on long scrolls of film in color. This allowed him to not only create motion from frame to frame, but also textural differences from frame to frame. He also filmed these long scrolls through a kaleidoscope giving the images a sparkle effect. One repeating image that can be seen in Belson's films is the planetary disc. This appears in many different forms and contexts throughout his works. This disc can be thought of as the general world and galaxy. Another image that is seen throughout his work is the use of color. Belson plays with colors by combining them and fading them in and out of each other. In general Belson's work can be described as spiritual and sacred. The films that Belson has created all capture a mystical sense.
-- Mike Kulbieda, 2003 My films are more like looking at a painting than looking at a Cinemascope screen. That my origins are in painting has brought a painting consciousness to filmmaking, and that's a different kind of picture than long-shots and panoramic views and things like that. One looks at a painting and doesn't question the focus. If the artist chooses to be soft, heavily textured, smeary, or whatever, it's accepted, not held up against a standard of whether it's in focus and how much detail shows.

You have to realize the camera lies. And the fact that the photographic image is accepted as a close facsimile of reality is not so much the propaganda from Eastman Kodak as the logical culmination of the perceptual history of our civilization. Maybe it's unfortunate that film somehow got in the grip of narrow-minded people not intellectually or aesthetically capable of comprehending that reality is more than a photographic image. For them, the medium is used for storytelling, as an off-shoot of theatre or literature, and the whole technology has been designed to substantiate that.

A film like Samadhi, for example, is intended to be a real documentary representation, as accurately as it was possible to make, of a real place and a real visual phenomenon that I perceived, just as I'm looking at you right now. Even on a superficial level everyone is willing to grant the existence of what they call phospheres.

Ok, now go deeper than those superficial things and allow that there are even deeper levels where visual perception still exists. A new language has to be developed which acknowledges and can speak from that awareness. And I think my kind of work has sort of opened up the means for doing that, a way of doing it which the storytelling film has neglected. They're just telling the same old thing over and over again, not really trying to break into more expanded areas of awareness or understanding. Bergman's a good case because he's such a beautiful film-maker that you almost forget he's still just telling his stories with the same old pictures, not only disallowing other aspects of reality, but not even hinting at them. (1975)

Ernest Callenbach on Belson

Samadhi is Sanskrit for "that state of consciousness in which the individual soul merges with the universal soul." This ultimate condition of consciousness is hence nonsensorial; the film is about approaches to it. It begins with a blast of red-yellow cloud, with huge wind noises, the turmoil of creation? Blue cloudy shapes emerge, revolving in space. Slowly a strong central orientation develops in the images: holes which transform into spherical shapes, whirls of filamented gaseous forms. A globular mass of light, insubstantial yet solid, liquescent, with boundaries yet impossible of definition, slowly and majestically revolves. This echoes the last image of Phenomena, which was, Belson says, what gave him courage to attempt Samadhi. This magical shape is perhaps the world, or is it an atom or some other elemental particle? It spins with an implacable grace. Then it is surrounded by a blazing ring of unbearably intense red; flames and pulses of movement pour out, with loud shrieks and gong-like noises on the track; the colors become incredibly delicate and lovely, and we see through a hole, the eye of the world? Then the whole screen is in huge movement, turning.

Collected by Mike Kulbieda, 2003

Jordan Belson