Tuesday, August 28, 2007


My blogroll, to the right of these entries, needs updating. It's just the sort of thing that always gets pushed back and never makes its way to the top of the "to do" list.

One blog I will not be taking off the roll is Pinocchio Theory. Shaviro's wonderfully rambling homage to Antonioni is just one of the recent examples of why I always go back and read his blog, even when I really don't have time to read (information gather, yes, always, but read? Seriously, though, I exaggerate. I have just finished two great books, totally different in their style and intent, but that are also very indicative of where my head is at these days: Rings of Saturn and Herzog. Go figure.)

Here's an excerpt from the PT blog entry on Antonioni:
I may not be remembering these scenes quite accurately; it’s too long since I last watched any of them. But even if I have distorted them in my mind, the very fact that I am groping after them like this, that they have the sort of insistence they do in my memory, and that my remembrance of them, however inexact, stirs up all sorts of emotional currents, is a testimony to how visionary a filmmaker Antonioni was — meaning this word in the literal sense of ‘having visions’ as well as in the sense of an obsession with the visual, with the visible (and the invisible)[...] Antonioni shows us the world — sometimes the “natural” world, but more often the human-built world, including the human beings who are figures in that world — as we scarcely ever see it: he shows us the world as image, the world retreated into its image, the world “made image” (in precisely the way that the Word is “made flesh”). Which is why one gets the vertiginous sense, watching Antonioni’s films that what we are seeing is not the least bit objective, since everything we see is inflected, affected, by the characters’ catastrophic subjectivity, by their narcissism, their neuroticism, their (yes) ennui and anomie; and yet, at the very same time, that what we are seeing is entirely separate from human subjectivity, that in fact we are seeing inhumanly, from an entirely alien sensibility, as if the camera were a being from another planet, for whom human behavior is as distant and enigmatic as insect behavior is for us. It’s the impossible combination of a subjectivity so excessive as to be sick unto death, and an inhuman distance so great as to defy explication, that makes Antonioni’s films so compellingly enigmatic, so alluring for their surfaces or their look.
And then this about A. being the cinematic artist of the "body":
Antonioni is also — paradoxical as this may sound — a great poet of the body. As Deleuze says, Antonioni is very largely about “the immense tiredness of the body”, as well as other “attitudes or postures of the body.” In these attitudes or postures, Antonioni portrays “no longer experience, but ‘what remains of past experiences’, ‘what comes afterwards, when everything has been said’.” (Cinema 2, page 189). Antonioni gives us the vision of what is stirring when nothing has yet appeared, and of what remains when everything is gone: and this vision is embedded in the flesh, or at least in a certain sort of flesh, in attitudes and postures which are devoid of consciousness, and perhaps entirely inaccessible to thought. That is to say, Antonioni is a poet of the body, because he shows us what cannot be said, captures on screen what the body feels but does not know.
Can capturing what "the body feels but does not know" be transmitted over the Internet? Can it be experienced by watching vids on Youtube? Probably not. But what will the Youtube aesthetic of the future (even ten years from now) look and feel like? I'm trying to steer clear of VR/immersion theory and instead wonder if it's possible for what we might call Antonioni's visionary "enframework" to survive a post-arthouse cinematic culture and if so, how? A convergence of the auteur and the amateur (in the best sense of both of those words?)?

I'm working on that stylistic "convergence" with Immobilité but it's very difficult and, for now, requires a great deal of self-effacement while engaging in the postproduction process.

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