Posts Tagged ‘derive’
Gritty short films, music videos and docs from Kourtrajmé Productions, a Paris-based collective of emerging visual artists, filmmakers, actors and musicians.
Kourtrajmé Productions is a collective of emerging French and Francophone visual artists, filmmakers, actors and musicians. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed directors Mathieu Kassovitz and Vincent Cassel, this production house and artist collective has garnered increasing attention and acclaim after getting millions of hits on online sites like Dailymotion and YouTube. Founded by Kim Chapiron, Romain Gavras and Toumani Sangaré, Kourtrajmé produces playful innovations and cutting interventions in popular culture and society that represent the cultural dreams, lives and crises of transnational urban and peri-urban French youth today.
Drawing attention to Karen Pinkus from USC’s Comparative Literature Department and her latest book, Mercurial Alchemy: A Theory of Ambivalence. Quoting Gilles Deleuze from an interview I saw on Youtube, in which he was (apparently) addressing filmmakers: “filmmakers invent films. Philosophers invent concepts.” Extrapolating theorists/critics from philosophers, then weaving alchemy and ambivalence together seems (at least the suggestion of it) to open up delightful new fields of theoretical imagination…interdisciplinary is the word.
“How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy’s ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but “alchemy” is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. What emerges as the least common denominator or “intensive property” of alchemy is ambivalence, the impossible and paradoxical coexistence of two incompatible elements.
Alchemical Mercury moves from antiquity, through the golden age of alchemy in the Dutch seventeenth century, to conceptual art, to alternative fuels, stopping to think with writers such as Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is the first study to consider alchemy in relation to literary and visual theory in a comprehensive way.”
“A simple example will clarify this: the beginning of Le Chiendent. A man’s silhouette was outlined, simultaneously thousands. A realist novelist would have written: Jules came along. There was a crowd. But in writing this, the realist novelist would only have shown that he was confusing the concreteness of things with literary concreteness, and that he was counting on quashing the latter in favor of the former. he would have claimed to have rendered his sentence wholly transparent to that which it designates.That is literature according to Sartre, and transitive language. In literature, the smallest combination of words secretes perfectly intransitive properties”.
“Language doesn’t manipulate notions, as people still believe; it handles verbal objects and maybe even, in the case of poetry, sonorous objects.”
“Nine or ten centuries ago, when a potential writer proposed the sonnet form, he left, through certain mechanical processes, the possibility of a choice.”
Jean Lescure, Brief History of the Oulipo
still in the room. player squeezes a knob when he hears a prompted word (s) a voice speechifies on possibilities
determines which set of footage from the database will be edited into another set of footage (not completely haphazard) or running simultaneously on different screens??
editing algorithm, blackout, obeys a subterranean rhythm, cuts words in midstence, faces in mid-expression
cutting between this, this, and this ? CLOUD OR SHAPE, SPECTER OF SENSE – sampling of the cultural whirl – not quite arbitrary drops (it’s all water)
Peter Greenaway – Prospero’s Books ; David Bowie ; Jem Cohen: sea change, becoming, wishing, wish fulfillment, riffling through, collecting books, collecting memories, collecting personalities. databases all.
pull that rope if you see liquid in a pan, tilt that pan if it’s labelled “SQUEEZE ME”, squeeze it if you want to touch, TOUCH and the SCREEN comes to life, the ROOM lights up with MUSIC, WHISPERS, INVECTIVES establishing a physiological sentier (un sentier pour SENTIR), path to the eyes and the ears _ plugging into a mind, minds into the DATABASE OF IMAGES…It’s not work, it has nothing to do with freedom of choice, it’s VISCERAL, COMPULSIVE PLAY
YOU JUST CAN’T HELP YOURSELF SO WHY RESIST?
eatmeeatmeeat me eat me eat me eat me eat me eat me eat me there is much to be said about a form of aesthetic engagement that like famously cinema engulfs you, seduces you, gives you no choice in the matter and yet requires much much deliberate action on your part it tricks you into PUTTING A WHOLE FLOATING MECHANISM IN MOTION, SENSORIAL FRUIT HANGING FROM THE DATABASE!
commentary and excerpts from: Gaston Bachelard, “The Poetics of Space”
On the possible phenomenological interchangeability of lived space and lived time – “living” as temporal endurance in space/of space, equally meaning the spatialization, actualization of temporality. The present is always a spatial configuration:
We sometimes believe we know ourselves in time, when all we know is a sequence of fixations in those spaces that offer our being stability _ a being who refuses to pass, to flow away, to run out and who, even when looking for lost time in the past, wishes to “suspend” time’s flight. In those thousands honeycomb cavities, space lends itself out as compressed time. That is the purpose of space.
How imagination uses space as a template for the building of being, in order to create a home out of one’s own mental processes:
We will see our imagination build “walls” with impalpable shadows, confort itself with illusions of protection – or, vice versa, tremble behind thick walls and doubt the solidity of a fortress.
On TOPOPHILIA / TOPO-ANALYSIS:
“we want to examine very simple images, the images of the spaces of happiness/fortunate spaces”, éspaces heureux. Fortunate/happy: the joy emerging from happenstance, from the present. In french, fortunate and happy are one concept: heureux.
On IMAGES and their resistance to psychoanalytic explanation, origination:
“The life of the image is all in its lightning brillance, in the fact that an image is the superseding of all sensible data.” _ “It is inversely not in causality but in the concept of resonance or impact that we think we find the true measure of a poetic image”
“l’inconscient séjourne.” The unconscious remains in places.
Space: the site of “imaginary” action (rèverie). “On oriente l’onirisme, on ne l’accomplit pas” / We can orient oniric states, not accomplish them.
These texts and clips had me thinking about the relationship between the modernist concern with contingency (starting with the ubiquitous presence of photographic arts from the early 20th century onwards) and the movement of situationism as it flourished in the late 50s and 60s – I see another line or relationship between the flaneur, the nomad, the cyborg and the situationist as precursors of immersive arts/installations practitioners…immersion is basically the design of playful space.
Debord advised drifters to allow themselves to be guided by those features of the street neglected by most pedestrians, like “the sudden change of ambiance in a street within the space of a few meters” and the “path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the contour of the ground)”. the determinants of drift, apparently, were alternations in emotional and ambient intensity; “the appealing or repelling characters of certain places”; and the drifter’s tendency to “drain” along relatively unresistant paths, “the fissures in the urban network”. The Lettrist International even “envisaged a pinball machine arranged in such a way that the play of the lights and the more or less predictable trajectories of the balls” would represent the “thermal sensations and desires of people passing by the gates of the Cluny Museum around an hour after sunset in November,” as though drifters were like ball bearings, propelled through the city’s channels by the energized “pins” of the unities of ambiance.
Simon Sadler, The Situationist City
New edits for my animation short “NO/PLACE’, still using proxy music (mixes of Aphex Twin tracks) – this time adding sound effects.
The clips look better if you chose the HD option on the Youtube toolbar!
First animation edits for “NO/PLACE” using proxy music – including one styleframing the live-action actor.
Music used: Aphex Twin
Walter Benjamin, The Poet of Modern Life
Tim Cresswell, Imagining the Nomad: Mobility and the Postmodern Primitive (from Space and Social Theory, Interpreting Modernity and Postmodernity, edited by George Benko and Ulf Strohmayer)
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life
Tim Cresswell traces many postmodern theorists’ (De Certeau, Deleuze and Guattari, Ian Chambers) enthusiasm for the trope of the nomad to Benjamin’s articulation of flanerie, i.e. the activity of wandering through the crowded city, exercising one’s gaze on the varied, ephemeral spectacle of urban life and being gazed at in return, as a preeminently modern experience of social space.
What differentiates the ‘modern’ flaneur from the postmodern nomad (where, for argument’s sake, we understand nomad as a theoretical construct rather than as a ‘real’, historical subject) ? Despite the mobility and anonymity of the flaneur as a subject/object of desire (consumption) steering a course in the flow of urban lived space (or representational space in Lefevrian terms), he remains a contextualized entity, culturally and metaphorically ensconced in a proper place, namely 1860s Paris and its geography of flaneur-friendly arcades. Baudelaire’s poetry, which Benjamin mines for clues of the flaneur condition, is evocative because it refers so concretely to the representational/lived space of Paris, a space that can be characterized as having a multiple, ambiguous (Baudelaire depicts nameless streets vs. landmarks) but nevertheless very tangible identity.
The flaneur is at home in the shifting, fluid unwinding of urban spatiality. This space, which he traverses according to personal habit, endows him with a certain flavor, attitude, a point of view that constitutes a form of identity – an identity that Benjamin argues is that of a commodity. There is nothing reified, however, about Baudelaire’s precise, concrete, rich description of the flaneur’s experience, which emphatically contradicts the notion that mobility is necessarily tied to the experience of space as abstract, empty, or isotropic (Deleuze and Guattari). The flaneur embodies that very modern idea of at-homeness within the fractures of society, of working with the destabilizing forces of space-time compression that shake up fixed places.
De Certeau adds miltary metophors to the poetic aura of the flaneur – Tim Cresswell dubs this new figure “pedestrian hero”, the tactician of everyday life, the lone consumer who is engaged in recapturing the representations of a space daily traversed from the “strategists” or masters of abstract space (the producers of capitalist space/power structures) through an infinite series of tiny narrative gestures or metaphorical inscriptions of one’s footsteps/traces in the city. This figure, more so than the flaneur, takes part in a spatial politics as a sort of everyman guerillero, producing infinite spatial possibilities – Borges’ aleph, what Edward Soja would call Thirdspace – from reified spatial product.
The term nomad more properly applies to De Certeau’s pedestrian than to the flaneur insofar as the pedestrian is not embedded in a place (19th century Paris) but produces ephemeral, personally specific places wherever he or she goes. The identity of such a pedestrian is mysterious – the making of “spatial stories”, as De Certeau puts it, is a means to produce a richly significant experience of the everyday, but what imprint does this plethora of microscopic narratives leave within the pedestrian’s sense of self? Does this pedestrian have any allegiance other than to himself?
Tim Cresswell, Imagining the Nomad: Mobility and the Postmodern Primitive (from Space and Social Theory, Interpreting Modernity and Postmodernity, edited by George Benko and Ulf Strohmayer, Blackwell Publishers, 1997)
Edward Said, The World, the Text and the Critic (Harvard University Press, 1983)
Diana Fuss, Inside/Out (from Inside/Out, Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, edited by Diana Fuss)
Tim Creswell, Edward Said and Dianna Fuss all seem to hone in on a key issue in the discussion of postmodern notions of spatiality (centering around the nomad, the tactician, the embodied self) and which Said specifically places at the heart of the theorist’s identity. To what extent do theorists, in making sense of their world, inevitably “reify” it, turn lived experience, and in this case, the experience of space/place into an abstraction, either by institutionalizing the theory and cutting it off from its social and historical context or by practicing theory “for theory’s sake”, as itself a form of literature?
Cresswell rightly points out that under the horizon of theorists’ successive attempts to either exalt or demonize the figure of the nomad, the nomad herself, as an embodied subject, remains unknown. Deleuze’s and Guattari’s nomadology subtracts the historical and economic substance of the nomad to extract an elegant and poetic ontology of postmodern society as a utopia structured by no-structure or freedom of movement. Lines of flight or trajectories through space replace a now intolerable fixity of points, of subjects rooted in place. In a revealing parallel with Lukacs, according to whom contemporary society has catastrophically abolished the historicity of subjects to better control them as empty objects circulating through empty space, Deleuze and Guattari’s metaphysics imply that the postmodern subject/nomad only acquires total mobility in space by becoming immobile in time, unmarked by the passage of time. “Unmarked by the traces of class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality and geography” – Cresswell argues that it is precisely those markers that give reality and substance to a subject, a reality that theoretical obsessions with the nomad clearly lack.
Contra theorists of Deleuze and Guattari’s ilk, Said asserts the following: “the work of the humanist critic is to materialize rather than spiritualize the culture in which we live”. This notion travels closely with Lukacs idea that the practice of theory engages on a fundamental level our awareness with the material conditions of the world and therefore serves as a basis for social action. But does “materializing” versus “spiritualizing” culture necessarily go hand in hand, like Lukacs, with reestablishing the theoretical primacy of place i.e. a lieu, or proper place to quote De Certeau and all the historical, economic, political specificity that attach themselves to place, over the attention also due to space, which in its own way, also carries with it definite political and economic implications.
After all, the ideal of spatial mobility, of transience, of boundary transgression is one that carries, not only for Deleuze and Guattari, but for De Certeau (who is concerned with the condition of the consumer) and for Fuss (who is concerned with the theoretical context of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender – and by extension, ‘heterosexual’ – experience of sexuality) the promise of a social space that is no longer delimited and limited by hierarchy, by top-down design, by notions of inclusion and exclusion. We are invited to consider the theoretical transfer from a (modernist) society in which everyone has a place or stays in their place to a (postmodernist) society in which no one is chained to/oppressed by a “proper noun” (De Certeau), but instead is a “poet of their own affairs”, slipping in and out of places according to a logic of the opportune moment. In this sense De Certeau, contra Deleuze and Guattari, does not abolish the “place” of time in the human experience, but argues for a different notion of time, one that is not structured by narratives about past and future but that seizes the story (of life) in the present, in the moment of experiencing the world.