Scott Stark is not excited by questions of meaning. On Wednesday, Stark, the first guest of the Harpur College cinema department’s “Visiting Film and Video Artists/Speaker Series,” humbly introduced himself to the students and professors in attendance. He had a serious expression, which every so often divulged a gleam of the sense of humor we see in some of his films. With his elbows always at his sides, he spoke with a quiet eloquence about the nature of his work. Stark has made more than 65 films since his career began in the ’80s. While his films can be construed as possessing some social or political statement, his interest lies mostly in the power of film to explore and challenge perspective, as well as to transport the mind to different states.

In accord with the cinema department’s experimental lean, Stark’s films seem to have in common a conception in the question “what if?” From the earlier films he showed, it is clear that this question has brought out his creativity in the face of even the most mundane tasks. The first two films showcased were made at his earlier jobs — one in the accounting sector, one in a hotel. The first, called “Corporate Accounting,” Stark made at work by running canceled checks through a machine which took images of them on 16 mm film. The checks fly vertically down the frame and blend together into two columns which wave side to side. The result is hypnotic, an effect that he excels at creating.

This first film also introduces us to his interest in the found image. In “I’ll Walk With God,” Stark manipulates and strings together images out of an airplane safety booklet. He has also found his material in more provocative sources. Eyes were wide open during his film “NOEMA,” for which pornography served as his source. The film is comprised of short repeating bits of footage taken from porn, most of which depict the liminal spaces of sex and porn: the changing of positions, a painting in the background. This film raised many questions for the audience, who seemed to be digging for a meaning. Stark explained that he was not trying to send a message, but to draw attention to the pieces of pornography that a person watching it would not see or look for.

After seeing this, we would not be shocked by his more recent film “Speechless,” in which an extreme close-up of a clitoris is superimposed with shots of grass and other elements of nature, with interesting geometric patterns and colors. Well, maybe a little shocked. Together the superimposed images vibrate, pulse, and rotate, blending into each other and creating again his token hypnotic effect.

Stark seems to have a special enthusiasm for the most socially charged of his pieces, “More Than Meets the Eye: Remaking Jane Fonda,” in which he himself does Jane Fonda’s workout video in a variety of areas — a parking lot, his balcony and in front of a baseball field, to name a few. As he jumps and flails to Fonda’s enthusiastic instructions, quotes from her biography scroll across the screen on the topic of her transformation from an innocent to a sexualized icon and the public’s response to it, as well as her feelings on the war in Vietnam. This film reveals his taste for social debates as well as his sense of humor. As he jumps and waves his arms to the video, he hops a little to the right to make room for two people to walk by as he keeps his eyes on the screen. This is an example of the unplanned element he welcomes in his films.

“I like to go into an environment and not be in control of it and see what happens,” Stark said.

The series will continue through November. The second speaker, Jem Cohen, will show and discuss his film “Museum Hours” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5 in Lecture Hall 6.