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Wheeler Winston Dixon

"Wheeler Winston Dixon is a masterful film editor. His sensitivity to the movement within the frame and of the camera itself allows for fluidity in his editing that is exuberant and refreshing. It is as though his films tap into our collective unconscious by exploring the surface realities that permeate our lives." - Bruce Rubin, Former Associate Curator of Film, Whitney Museum of American Art

"Dixon applies tonal, structural and chromatic strategies, such as color inversion, to live footage to create shifting images that also engage with political and philosophical undertones [creating] film poetry as painting for the twenty-first century." - Sarah Tremlett, The Poetics of Poetry Film (Intellect Press, 2021)

"There are already enough images in the world. In my videos, I prefer to use existing imagery, playing with it to the point of abstraction to create an other-worldly experience. Although the original images are rooted in the real world, the final product exists in a phantom zone, existing only as long as the image is projected on the screen. At the same time, I hope to seduce the viewer into believing that however unreal these images are, they still have some sort of temporal reality. It is this gap between the actual and the imagined that informs all of my work." - Wheeler Winston Dixon

Dixon's films have been screened at The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives, Filmhuis Cavia (Amsterdam), Studio 44 (Stockholm), La lumière collective (Montréal), The BWA Katowice Museum (Poland), The Microscope Gallery, The National Film Theatre (UK), The Jewish Museum, The Millennium Film Workshop, The San Francisco Cinématheque, LA Filmforum (Los Angeles), The New Arts Lab, The Collective for Living Cinema, The Kitchen, The Filmmakers Cinématheque, Film Forum, The Amos Eno Gallery, Sla 307 Art Space, The Gallery of Modern Art, The Rice Museum, The Oberhausen Film Festival, Undercurrent, Experimental Response Cinema and elsewhere.

Dixon's complete film work from 1966 to 2003 is archived in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art. Dixon's contemporary video work is collected in the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Entire contents of this website copyright © 2015 - 2022 Wheeler Winston Dixon. All rights reserved.

  1. Still Life

    "Here’s a new thirty minute film I’ve been working on for the past month or so. It’s called Still Life for obvious reasons; in many of the images in the film, there is some motion, but part of the image remains still. Thus, everything is removed from the real.

    These manipulated images – called videographs – are taken from life; in a sense, they’re cinematic gifs, with more detail and resonance, highlighting the inherent artificiality of any captured image.

    The result forces the viewer to examine the world in a whole new way, and in some cases, find almost imperceptible motion within a seemingly otherwise static frame. Because the world is constantly in motion – even when it isn’t." – Wheeler Winston Dixon

    "Nothing visually captures that sense of awe as much as 'Still Life' did for me. The power of space, sound, time lapse, and visual communication found within this film is stellar. As you watch it, you are taken into various places in our world, and are forced to focus on things that one normally glosses over.

    The world turns. The oceans give and take their power. The trees grow, the sun rises and sets, and we all go through it daily, and yet we don’t think about it.

    In this collection of images, you’re forced to think about it, even if it’s only for a brief time. For 30 minutes, you see both the stillness and motion of life. Watching the film without interruption, with headphones on, you feel as though you’re in your own cocoon, and by the end, you’ll have a new appreciation for the world around you.

    'Still Life' is hard to compare to other cinematic works. But if you view the film carefully, you’ll see why this may very well remind you of how the power of the image and ambient sound alone can move you so profoundly.” - Jorge Orduna

    This video was created using footage and soundtracks in the Public Domain, or released as CC0 Public Domain materials, and is made entirely from recycled, repurposed and refashioned images and sounds.

    Copyright © 2015 Wheeler Winston Dixon. All rights reserved.

  2. What's Behind The Mask?

    "What's behind the mask? What's behind the images used to sell us things every day - from toothpaste to politics? What's behind the mask of the people who try to convince us of this or that?" - Wheeler Winston Dixon

    This video was created using footage and soundtracks in the Public Domain, or released as CC0 Public Domain materials, and is made entirely from recycled, repurposed and refashioned images and sounds.

    Copyright © 2015 Wheeler Winston Dixon. All rights reserved.

  3. Serial Metaphysics

    “Serial Metaphysics — a thirteen-minute experimental 16mm film which has been described as 'an examination of the American commercial lifestyle, recut entirely from existing television advertisements' — was edited by Dixon himself, on a single night, New Year’s Eve 1972, culled down from 72 hours of American TV commercials. The film is a fever dream as seen through our existing television advertisements, foreshadowing for hopeful future generations a promised future life of happiness and security in the land of plenty.

    The Whitney Museum of American Art screened the film in 1973, and then screened it again the following year. The film was also shown at the Oberhausen Film Festival and several other film festivals. In 2003, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, acquired all of Dixon’s experimental films — which include the following: Quick Constant and Solid Instant (1969) Madagascar, or, Caroline Kennedy’s Sinful Life in London (1976) — for a career retrospective.” – Bryan Thomas

    "Wheeler Winston Dixon is a masterful film editor. His sensitivity to the movement within the frame and of the camera itself allows for a fluidity in his editing that is exuberant and refreshing. He is skillful not only in manipulating the flow of images but the flow of ideas as well. He has assembled his images mostly from television commercials and juxtaposed them in such a way that their very ordinary nature suddenly becomes extraordinary. Through the editing process he reveals secrets of our culture that have always been sitting on our television screens but we have never seen them be fore. It is as though his film taps into our collective unconscious by exploring the surface realities that permeate our airwaves. Magical realms, pubescent fantasies, dreams of wish fulfillment, all so innocuous and tame on the television set, assume strangely mythic proportions through Wheeler's editing and even the mundane world we accept so readily begins to look somehow dreamlike and unreal. This fusing of dream and waking consciousness creates the magic of Serial Metaphysics." - Bruce Rubin, Former Associate Curator of Film, Whitney Museum of American Art

    "It’s all about the American commercial vision that offers you of an endless dream of a life of plenty, security and happiness, and how this dream is merchandized, especially to children. The images in Serial Metaphysics that I think that are the strongest are the images of beauty, and the way that they’re underscored and repositioned. One woman looks impassively at the camera, and then suddenly blows a huge bubble of bubble gum. Towards the end of the film, a group of children are playing organized sports at a school. When they go back to classes, we discover that the school is really a prison, and they’re all locked into individual cells. Everything in Serial Metaphysics is for sale. The way that I made films at that time, I would think about them for a week or two and then I would make them. And this, I thought, this is what I’m going to do with the commercials. And suddenly, the structure for Serial Metaphysics came to me. You look for the structure that arises out of the material." - WWD

    Read an Interview with Dixon here: sensesofcinema.com/2003/feature-articles/wheeler_winston_dixon/

    This video was created using footage and soundtracks in the Public Domain, or released as CC0 Public Domain materials, and is made entirely from recycled, repurposed and refashioned images and sounds.

    Copyright © 1972 Wheeler Winston Dixon. All rights reserved.

  4. Bits & Pieces

    "Late one night in the Time/Life Building in 1969, the television speaks." - Wheeler Winston Dixon

    Read an Interview with Dixon here: sensesofcinema.com/2003/feature-articles/wheeler_winston_dixon/

    Copyright © 1969 Wheeler Winston Dixon. All rights reserved.

  5. Visual Jazz for Record Player

    "A brief music video with music by Michael Downey, and images by Wheeler Winston Dixon - just something enjoyable on a summer's day." - Wheeler Winston Dixon

    This video was created using footage in the Public Domain, or released as CC0 Public Domain materials, and is made entirely from recycled, repurposed and refashioned images.

    Copyright © 2015 Wheeler Winston Dixon. All rights reserved.

  6. Timed Out

    "As C.S. Lewis observed, 'the future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever s/he does, whoever s/he is,' and in the cinema, at least in the pre-digital era, one moves into the future at the rate of 24 frames per second - one second at a time." - Wheeler Winston Dixon

    This video was created using footage and soundtracks in the Public Domain, or released as CC0 Public Domain materials, and is made entirely from recycled, repurposed and refashioned images and sounds.

    Copyright © 2015 Wheeler Winston Dixon. All rights reserved.