Joseph Bernard

Posting #17

Posted on March 03, 2017

PRISMATIC MUSIC series of screenings closes in London

The final program of PRISMATIC MUSIC is scheduled for March 30, 2017 at CLOSE-UP FILM CENTRE in London, England. This show is under the auspices of Brand New Blinkers; co-founded by Jack Wormell and Andy Sowerby. 




Over the past two years, these solo screenings have generated a positive response to the small, silent works in this Blu-ray collection. The scheduling and presentations have been uniquely curated for each venue with running times ranging between 70-90 minutes.

I’m grateful to the programmers in England, Spain and numerous American cities who’ve made these screenings possible, and of course to Jeffery Plansker, who brought this project into existence.


Posting #5

Posted on March 15, 2015

After close to three years of collective efforts, I’m proud to announce the impending completion and release of the remarkable, Blu-ray collection; PRISMATIC MUSIC  The Super 8 Films of Joseph Bernard




This 40-film package, with a total running time of 5 hrs. 47 mins., includes a 24-page booklet with essays, film notes, historic documentation and images in color. The set itself is part of a series called, Beneath Detroit, a project by Jeffery Plansker, celebrating under-recognized area artists.

These films date back from the mid 1970’s to mid 80’s and all of them are purely visual and intentionally silent. There’ve been occasional screenings of selected titles, most recently at the 2014 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival. Over 100 works were originally produced and although prints were made in both S-8 & 16mm, none were either in distribution or had been sold. Owning this collection will soon be possible. After the April 15th Premiere Screening & Release Event at the College for Creative Studies, in Detroit, the specifics for purchase will be available on this site.

About the set - - this particular digital 2K version will make the viewing of these films much more accessible in that the Blu-ray Disc (1920x1080p), dual-layer format is “Region/Code-Free”; playable throughout the world. It breathes new life into these small gauge, highly hand-crafted entities. The enclosed booklet’s essays are written by L.A. and NYC filmmakers, a director, a cinematographer and an architect. They provide valuable insight and access to the work. The menu treatment and overall packaging design has been fastidiously fine-tuned. 

Paramount to all of this, of course, is preservation. When film sits on a shelf in unstable conditions, the fragile combination of plastic, chemical emulsion and adhesive splices, (along with added elements of inks, bleach & tape) - - all rolled somewhat tightly against itself on spools - - risks deterioration. Extremes in temperature and humidity rapidly affect film’s properties. Two offers came to the rescue.

A few years ago Jeff Plansker proposed putting a group of my films onto a DVD set, along with a booklet of informational notes about them. Working with limitations in mind, the choosing of which titles would be saved was difficult. Each one was looked at numerous times on a hand-cranked viewer (my projector had been stolen), selections were made, every splice was tested, leaders & trailers replaced, relabeled, then all were cleaned and rejoined onto nineteen 400’ reels & cases. That original footage flew with me to Los Angeles where, at the Cinelicious (Hollywood) lab, all was digitally scanned, color graded shot-by-shot, then electronically filed. 

During the week overseeing this process, the lab’s owner called in Mark Toscano, the Film Preservationist/ archivist/ curator for the Academy Film Archive (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Mark looked at the films and made an offer to allow the totality of my work be perpetually preserved in the climate controlled vaults at the Academy. My original film & prints, while now in ideal safekeeping, are also available for scholarly study. 

With the release of PRISMATIC MUSIC, my old & fragile footage can now be viewed easily, repeatedly and in high definition, well into the future. The next plan is to explore venues to exhibit and distribute the films widely.



Posting #2

Posted on October 19, 2014




Faster than a glacial bullet... I now offer up blog posting #2. Intentions were never to have this be a frequent sharing of personal minutiae, but rather occasional entries of notable additions. There are three such updates. Slowly, I’ve been including small groups of early paintings - - decades-old, 35mm slides scanned on a borrowed, portable device of less than premium quality. These images serve historic purposes only, giving a sense of how things evolved. 

Under Photography, a sub-category has been added following a recent trip to Cleveland to see five films by Agnes Varda and a catalogued installation of manipulated photographs by HEINECKEN, POLKE, AND FELDMANN. I was equally impressed with the Museum’s architecture, grounds and permanent collection. 

The most exciting entry is my show, Melons Galore!, on Jeffery Plansker’s PocketRadio, a long-running series of one-hour music programs, often recorded live in his Pasadena studio. These eclectic mixes, available for download on his site are labors of love by Jeff and those invited. Even with all the variables built-in, there’s a personal constant to these shows that goes well beyond what conventional broadcast music radio seems capable of delivering. There’s truly so much more out there than what’s on the dial. Partake!