Readers share their thoughts

The late, great Hollis Frampton

Yo, Bradley “Last Name,” thanks!

Editor’s note: Last issue’s cover story, “The Infinite Hollis Frampton,” stirred strong reaction from readers. One 1973 graduate sent colorful mail art (right), reading, “There are three filmmakers from the media studies department who were taken from us all too quickly. That cover story really brought it all back.” Others used more conventional pathways to respond:

I remember when Hollis Frampton walked into my avant-garde film class and asked if anyone knew how to type. I raised my hand and Hollis offered me the job on the spot. He was brilliant to be around; I remember that he was mostly busy creating. How wonderful it was to see him on the cover and to be reminded of Paul Sharits (who lived in an apartment above me), Tony Conrad (one of my professors) and my college years!

Nancy Elder (BS ’77)
Millburn, N.J.

I came to UB in the late 1970s for graduate work at the Center for Media Studies. It had been my good luck to already receive much recognition for my film work. Now, many decades later, I remain engaged as a film/DVD maker. However, no thanks to Hollis Frampton or the other arrogant professors. They are/were undeserving of their extreme self-love and did their best to discourage students.

David Lee (MA ’79)
Washington, D.C.

What little I knew about Hollis Frampton (other than that he was the late husband of my beloved professor, the late Marion Faller) was that he was an artist so avant-garde that no one quite knew how to categorize him, much less understand his work and its relevance. Thanks to Bruce Adams for an interesting, illuminating and insightful article.

Lynette Miller (MFA ’90, BFA ’87)
Black Mountain, N.C.

Long ago and far away, there was a magical place called the Digital Arts Lab (DAL) on the Main Street campus. It was run by a “mad man” named Hollis Frampton. I hung out there and built my first (working) computer from a bare circuit board and components. It had two 8-inch floppy drives that held a huge 250KB each and cost $400 apiece and it ran CP/M. Others there were working on building a frame buffer from scratch or writing a large image-processing system called Imago (written all in Z80 assembler—I don’t believe it was ever finished). A couple of other people were composing music on their CP/M computer using hexadecimal input. They liked it because it corresponded naturally to sixteenth-notes.

Joseph J. Pollock (BA ’84)
Williamsville, N.Y.

Beautiful bats

Regarding “Gone batty” [“UB Emoji,” Summer 2015], bats occasionally enter human space, but they mean no harm. I hope the one in O’Brian Hall was carefully and humanely removed and released outside.

Amy Hopkins (PhD ’95, MD ’89)
Guilford, Conn.

Editor’s response: Our facilities folks have assured us that bats are always removed humanely and taken to an appropriate location. In this particular case, the bat had removed itself by the time they were able to access it safely.

Sputnik-era film featured UB

I read with interest how decaying films that featured UB were being preserved through digitalization [“Moving Images,” Summer 2015]. Apparently not found was a copy of the 1957 documentary “Decade for Decision” that starred both UB and then-UB Chancellor Clifford C. Furnas. The film was a call to action for more science and math education to confront the threat from the Soviet Union after the launch of Sputnik. UB was highlighted because of the science programs it was offering.

Ronald Balter (BA ’80)
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Praise for At Buffalo

I need to tell you how much I enjoy At Buffalo over my other alumni magazines. I get eight such magazines—four from the schools I have attended and four from my degree programs. This is the best of the lot.

Alan Ehrlich (BA ’63)
Bethesda, Md.

Correction: Michael Johnson (BS ’02) wrote to correct us on the wrong answer regarding the year when UB became a NCAA Division I-A school (“Do You Know UB?” Summer 2015). The year was 1999 and “C” is the correct answer. Thanks for setting us straight, Michael.

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