His shoes are shining and they are black, the tuxedo is black. And yet he is not a man, despite those hands. He is a bird, he is turning. Near him there has been a dead bird already.



Follow-up to a previous proposal that was not forgotten:

See above for source material.  Text in progress.

[Brief note: the specific prose of cinema, or at least its time signature, must turn on the has been.  At least insofar as we are talking of cameras that can track or pan, and especially of the moves that came to be called decoupage: the dissection and plotting of spaces already present and not constructed from scratch, not a montage of disparate elements.  That white bird has been there.  It turns out to be still.

Where cinema hits us bodily, uneases the guts, is the fact that it was here in front of us, triangulated somewhere between where we look and the eyes of the bird mask, and we could not see it.  Even if one were to protest and say, yes, but we didn't see the full field first, that close framing on those shoes means that the appearance of both the mask and then the white bird are of the order of different shots, such that camera movement performs the same work of splicing, one would protest back: who ever said that any shot could ever establish the full field?  As if there weren't always things off to the side, waiting in the wings, or, lest we forget, directly behind us.

And what's wrong is to think this has much of anything to do with realism.]

3 comments:

Gabriel Idaho said...

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is really good. You should watch it if you haven't.

socialism and/or barbarism said...

I have seen it. Will be writing something on it, along with the other reams of particle effects and particular destruction, that made up this summer.

Miguel C said...

But it does, it does have something to do with realism. I know that's the obvious, canonical answer it is sometimes useful to push the obvious a bit further before flipping it.So here's a few incoherent thoughts, trying to do a bit of that. Realism is nothing without the undoing of vraisemblance, which is what holds the frame and frames one's hold on the world. When the camera pans to one side or the other, it merely stretches verisimilitude, forces it to be on the move – which it doesn't like to do. Verisimilitude then strains its sense of decorum to pull stuff (and stuff that isn't even stuff proper) back to the diffuse comfort of tautology, this is what is, what had been and has to be. A bird's head on a tuxedo, a bit more wall, some air. Without realism, an assemblage of disparate elements. Because of realism, its retroactive necessity, the "has been" of that assemblage. But the empty "has been": once it has indeed been, and is, realism recedes into the background or the edges of the frame. That the camera turns is not realism, but that it can keep on turning is realism. That and the dead eyes of the bird, because they say something about its deadness, about how the most visceral can have a cold face, because it goes on, pointlessly, and doesn't look back at you. Realism's love affair – cold, yes, and vulgar – is with the whatever. And not the whatever of metaphor, of its coming and going between proximity and distance, of the assigned slot for something else. The whatever does not come in through the door. The only thing we can do to avoid it is to stand still, avert our eyes, chat among friends, revert back to humming benign clichés, give up on the world. Or, alternatively, be too busy for it, i.e. being militant and being more than one of you. Because of course you need some form of giving up on the world to avoid the trick of realism, its bad ontology, which is a non dialectical oscillation between plenitude and void. To use your own terms, one must turn terror to horror. Terror is the mindless ground bass of metonymy. Vicious permanence on all sides. A surplus that sucks the “mere” out of Hegel's “mere alongsidedness” but doesn't want to do anything with it. The air that thickens, but indifferently. We need to remove ourselves from this. And we can and should use realism's indifference, be realists to the extent that we turn this indifference into a weapon against necessity. And if we are many, necessity becomes something else, beyond any kind of ethics, beyond the recalcitrance of the real and other excuses for mourning. As to indifference, which probably stays there, on the edges of our vision and behind our backs, we go there once in a while to pull things into view, or wrench them into use. Or whatever.