Dana Hodgdon

Phoneme Frolics, by Dana Hodgdon

In 1978, Northwestern University film professor Dana Hodgdon (above) created an experimental film based on a phonetic alphabet. He recruited 45 students and faculty members to join him in speaking a single phoneme, which he filmed on 16mm color film. Each phoneme had an example that was an ideological loaded term: revolution, theory, language, Marx, Brecht, and so on. Then, using an optical printer, he excerpted the phonemes and edited them into words and sentences. Screenshots of each phoneme's film slate and person are presented below.

Phoneme Frolics was selected to screen in 1978 on the second episode of Image Union, a newly created TV program produced by the Chicago PBS affiliate, WTTW. Image Union featured experimental and documentary work by Chicago-area filmmakers. Its episodes, including works like Phoneme Frolics, were digitized in the 2010s and are available on MediaBurn and Vimeo. The screenshots are of low quality because Hodgdon's original 16mm film was converted to video and then an MP4 file was created from the video copy. With each generation there is a loss of resolution.

Phoneme Frolics may be viewed here.

The Phonemes

1. Language
Ray Narducy
2. Replace
Ellen Seiter
3. Narrative
Dan Curry
4. Marx
Laurie Caron
5. Brecht
Kim Laughlin
6. Structure
Rich Christian
7. Dialectic
Ted Brady
8. Dead
Karen Terry
9. Reactionary
Merilee Weiss
10. Intermittent
Kelly Celmer
11. Revolution
Dana Hodgdon
12. Error
Marcus Perry
13. Failure
Flanagan Loggins
14. Garbage
Val Almendarez
15. History
Sarah Kobs
16. Imitation
Barb Warnke
17. Iconoclast
Lilly Boruszkowski
18. Jargon
Jane Gaines
19. Laughable
Fred Nuccio
20. Metaphor
David Obermeyer
21. Narcissism
Chaille Maddox
22. Forgot
Linda Bechtle
23. Opaque
Joe Megel
24. Torn
Willie Horton
25. Foolish
Mimi Abrahms
25. Crooked
Mario Moussa
27. Foil
Jeff Sugarman
28. Doubt
Diane Greenstein
29. Prepared
Lou Levi
30. Quackery
Susie Cue
31. Relationship
Jon Freedman
32. Selection
Diane Hawkins
33. Text
Bill Vincent
34. Touch
Cathy Upjohn
35. Union
Steve Fagin
36. Eternal
Scott Brewer
37. Verisimilitude
Craig Pettigrew
38. Worthless
Shelly Goldstein
39. Experiment
Sarah Elinoff
40. Yankee
Mike Murry
41. Zero
Kim Bigelow
42. Choose
Gina Marchetti
43. Drink
Laura Bulkeley (Goldsmith)
44. Relinquish
Stuart Kaminsky
45. Theory
Jeremy Butler
46. Leisure
Bill Lafferty