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.