Tuesday, October 13, 2009

my hand outstretched to the winged distance and sightless measure: a confluence of fragments

"For a long time I have wanted to try and see if I could create a drama with the simplicity of action which the Ancients so favoured. There are those who believe that this very simplicity is a sign of a lack of inventiveness. They do not consider that, on the contrary, all invention is to create something out of nothing." [Racine, in the preface to Bérénice (1670), revisited in Jean-Claude Rousseau's De Son Appartement (2007).]

I started filming myself. A hand, a foot, what was nearest at that moment. Then I started filming other people and the character of the hands and feet turned into another character, whose whole figure never appears, I don't know why. I didn't make any toil in this film. Places appeared, actors appeared, music appeared. Nothing was foreseen, everything appeared, like in a dream. (Adolfo Arrieta, on one of his recent films, Vacanza permanente).

The words of Philippe-Alain Michaud, on the 16mm short films of Hannes Schüpbach: "The distribution of the figures, isolated by black intervals and placed in a network switching and repetition, sets out a formal link from assembly work to the gesture of weaving. Cinematographic images, which often caught detail and are sometimes blurred, overlapping or colored with a filter as if they were dyed, succeed and meet each other in the distance, and thus act as a distinct events color and placed in a temporary canvas. "

Nathaniel Dorsky in Devotional Cinema: "If you have ever looked at your hand and seen it freshly without concept, realized the simultaneity of its beauty, its efficiency, its detail, you are awed into appreciation. The total genius of your hand is more profound than anything you could have calculated with your intellect. One's hand is a devotional object."

If a film fails to take advantage of the self-existing magic of things, if it uses objects merely to mean something, it has thrown away one of its great possibilities. When we take an object and make it mean something, what we are doing, in a subtle ot not so subtle way, is confirming ourselves. We are confirming our own concepts of who we are and what the world is. But allowing things to be seen for what they are offers a more open, more fertile ground than the realm of predetermined symbolic meaning. After all, the unknown is pure adventure."

(Gregory Markopoulos: It is in the insignificant moment that significance becomes disturbed and the power of filmmaking is established.)

(Robert Beavers: Sustained by the awakening of emotion united to strength, I reach beyond the life-likeness of the actor and the shadow of performance to the figure gathering the light-- the life itself of the image.

How was the strength found to gather the images? From within a solitude of being, enduring/accepting the moment when a single color is the only sign of feeling in an environment of which all else is opposition... )

"Never mind where we are, we see things. And, within these all things we do see, there must be something that is of the order of vision. In Spanish there is the same ambiguity as in French with respect to the “vision”. In French it is said “to have visions”. The vision is to see; but also, in a way, it is to lose vision. Having a vision is to be absent. It is the look directing to a non-concrete object. Image is, for me, that. It is an absence, and the prefect picture is the one that keeps the look in a sort of vision that makes the look go through it; that does not hit against what is being shown and can be indefinitely kept, because it is not just placed on anything." (J-C Rousseau)

The movement of atoms is eternal.
Thrown through the void,
either by their own weight
or by the impact of other atoms,
they wander
until chance brings them together.
Some of them manage to cling together;
they form the most solid bodies.
more mobile,
are separated by a greater distance;
they form the less dense bodies,
air and light.
Some have not been admitted to any group;
they move around uselessly in space
like dust motes lit up by rays of light in a dark room.

[from Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, recited by Rousseau in La vallée close.]


Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

[Images from J-C Rousseau's Les antiquités de Rome (1989) and Faibles amusements (2004), Adolfo Arrieta's Les intrigues de Sylvia Couski (1975) and Tam Tam (1976), Hannes Schüpbach's Falten (2005), Gregory Markopoulos' Christmas U.S.A. (1949), and Rousseau's La vallée close (2000).]

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Edwin said...

Wonderful post, M, and really connecting with many ideas we've been discussing lately. I had no idea Rousseau, on any occasion, had cited Lucretius - now there's a thinker to anchor an aesthetic in..

1:51 PM  
Anonymous jmac said...

I love this post! "After all, the unknown is pure adventure."

3:27 AM  
Blogger Daniel Kasman said...

So glad to see you posting again Mubarak!

11:57 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

I love the quotes of Nathaniel Dorsky and Gregory Markopoulos very much. I hope you don't mind it if I copy them and post them on my blog, too. :-)

5:25 PM  
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