The Book of Lemons
Buch, Hardcover,
mit Lesebändchen, 1100 Seiten


Transcript of an interview between Robert Gardner and Hollis Frampton
(Screening Room with Hollis Frampton, by Robert Gardner, Jan 1977):

Robert Gardner: Let’s look at Lemon now, another film we may…ur…do you want to make a little voice-over in this…?
Hollis Frampton: We can talk on through it … it’s a silent film.

(Film starts)

RG: For those who are just tuning in, Hollis, it’s fair to say that the image is emerging … of a lemon and that they needn’t worry about their sets not reproducing the sound, because there is no sound, right?
HF: One of the options that one has had as an independent filmmaker is to make silent films for the first time in decades…you see? There is a choice!
RG: Which is, historically speaking, somewhat regressive, but maybe in terms of what’s been coming up for the last few years a little progress?
HF: Well, I now of course, have been making sound films, as I felt they needed sound, for ten years. But if the image seem to require no sound, if the sound was merely decorative or just explanatory then there was a certain pleasure simply of seeing - especially on a large screen: a forty foot lemon is a magnificent… huh…
RG: The most anybody is getting out of this is is about a two foot lemon I guess, which is again one of the problems with television that doesn’t give you the scale that you would like to have…
HF: Which is something I think that filmmakers build into their thinking as they go along you see. still at all though I mean it’s the size of a basketball or something like that where there’s… there’s… there’s some magic in that scale already… ur… in the intimacy of that concept.
RG: It’s clearly the choice of a lemon over an orange or the lemon over a pomegranate has some significance to you, I mean, you could have chosen any fruit or any vegetable I suppose. Are you trying to stay in the acid end of things with this…uh?
HF: Well, truth to tell there is a story about it. A little later on we’ll see that there is a dedication to a friend of mine, a painter named Robert Huot, who was at that time one of the most severe of the minimalist painters. Eventually he eliminated the canvas itself and painted the wall and now functions in a different mode. But he had undertaken for the first time to read James Joyce’s Ulysses. And the word lemon is a word that appears only once in that book …
RG:… Really?
HF: And someone had told me, although I would never verified it, because it would require counting, that there is an odd number of words in Ulysses and that the word lemon stands exactly in the middle.
RG: Somebody has done that concordance to …
HF: Oh yeah, it was done at Wisconsin very long time ago. I then told this to Bob Huot and he said: “Do you mean to tell me”, you see taking it very literally,”that Joyce could have written the word lemon and then written in this long funny intricate novel, written the first word to right and the first word to the left of it as it were built it up from the middle?”
So he gets the dedication for it. The fact is of course that I also, when I went to the market to purchase the star of the show, found a lemon that was as breast-like as possible.
RG: I was gonna ask about the memory implications here?
HF: Oh sure. Well, you have to remember that this was made at a time when … when we were still urr … um … feeling pretty concupiscent about the female breast in the movies and so forth, huh? I thought I should make…
RG: You hadn’t been programmed by playboy yet?
HF: No, No but I thought I should … I should make a little … a little contribution to the hollywood mythology after my own fashion, it’s pretty distant but … (short pause)… And now the light that once revealed and devours it, turns it into a fret graphic outline. So that the film has existed in two spaces. One in which there is an illusion and another that’s like a poster. (Film ends)

(Das Transkript des Interviews erschien 2010 in Achim Lengerers SCRIPTINGS #11 Otherwise Unexplained, mit freundlicher Unterstützung von Robert Gardner).