Thursday, May 31, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
1.) i was often the last picked to participate in team sports. the directions say "random," not "original :)
2.) i have a titanium plate in my head.
3.) you can feel the screws in my plate.
4.) if i could start over, i would buy in to all the pink and butterflies.
5.) i was (at the time) the youngest certified scuba diver in Florida (at age 11).
6.) i am (boring) writing a screenplay.
7.) no, really.
i tag mark, who will delight w/ his reply.
Monday, May 28, 2007
i was not surprised w/ a birthday dinner at The Paris Bistro (Log Haven was lovely), but we did see Paris last night in Fauteuils d' Orchestre (Avenue Montaigne . . . the translation doesn't exactly compute, it's more "orchestra seats"). the film was, while somewhat formulaic (which isn't always bad) completely enchanting, with all of the "right" Parisian references creating an ambience that charmed but didn't overwhelm w/ sweetness. the theme was mine: "i have always loved luxury, so i got a job at the Ritz. that way, i could be in it" and "i have always wanted to be an entertainer, but i have no talent, so i work w/ entertainers to be close to them" (i am not quoting exactly, but you get the idea). Claudie (Dani ) broke my heart. Catherine Versen (Valérie Lemercier) destroyed me w/ her longing to play Simone de Beauvoir as opposed to continuing on her successful soap (my colleague, Shannon Mussett, at Utah Valley University, wrote this wikipedia entry). I have never seen Albert Dupontel more sublimely disarming. if you don't like films that celebrate love, confusion, longing, enchantment, and Paris, you will not like this film. fortunately for me, i like those films, so this was a treat.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
then, i go to my web space (i just can't call it a b*og) to find a lovely comment in Portugese. a Portugese person has written to me. so there you go. i'm feeling quite international and important (even though i think it was an attempt to sell me a t-shirt).
and we're not going to Sundance for dinner but to a restaurant in Salt Lake City. my husband is surprising me, but i'm betting on The Paris. it's a fabulous restaurant, and, believe it or not, one of the best menu items (here comes the dumb American) is:
i eat about 4 cheeseburgers/year, but this one is worth it. but i know i'll probably go for something fancier (mike can get the burger and we can share). i will definitely get:
Escargots Classique (Cognac,Tarragon & Garlic Butter)
because i'm goofy about getting the snails. i love them. and while it's mainly about the texture (i know, gross), i recognize that they are essentially a vehicle for garlic butter (although i wish they'd shift to using shallots; i have learned to love shallots to the point of banning garlic; maybe they will make a birthday accommodation).
this is fascinating, no? i suppose it's not much in the way of thinking about representation except that it is. my fondness for The Paris Bistro is shaped by my acute franchophilia. i can't exactly trace its emergence because it seems that i've carried this identification with me forever. and i have only been to Paris once, and that was a quick layover at the airport (wow. they sure do smoke in that airport. 10 more minutes and i'd have gone for one of my 10/year cigarettes, or worse. i can't recall if it was CDG or not; i think it was Orly). i remember my republican parents worrying about DeGaulle in the late 60's . . . something going on over there. now i know.
but so my francophilia, it's not exclusively about iconic images like the Eiffel Tower (but yes, i would love to see the exhibit, "The Eiffel Tower in Films"). my favorite Eiffel Tower image is the opening scene of Truffaut's Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows). a short peek at imdb and i find out from the "trivia" section at the 4B site that
. . . i hadn't known that. also, from his mini-bio on imdb:
"His performance as Antoine Doinel in Quatre cents coups, Les (1959) ("The 400 Blows") is ranked #98 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time."
and for those of you thinking about sound and ambience, there's this:
and since i'm trying to figure out why i love the French, here is a clip of Antoine's psychological questioning in 4B. i'm always amazed at Jean-Pierre Léaud's performance. enjoy:
so it's not all about iconic identifications, but then, look at what i'm citing, the Eiffel Tower and Francois Truffaut. but that's okay. there's surely more to it. and even if there isn't, i'm okay w/ that. you have to be okay w/ some things, w/ certain identifications, even if you examine them and find that you are terribly provincial. maybe i'll find something more sophisticated to say about all of this. i think i may find it in reviewing footage of the riots and DeGaulle and thinking about my parents and wondering what it all meant and why i am now making a film called "remove to dispense." mabye not. we'll see.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
metro (it's a cell phone movie, so sit close! and it takes forever to load. i'm working on hosting it elsewhere, but for now, i'm using my friend, Mark Crane's space. ha).
but then there is this -- impressive, publicized, and imagining/calling itself art (correctly -- it feels to me like Michel Gondry, but isn't):
i found it at rhizome, and here is the accompanying text:
"1982" (2000) is an installation of light and sound at the subway station Gerdesiaweg/Rotterdam. The existing illumination is transformed into a light organ. The lights respond disco-like to the music playing over the intercom. This music consists of hits from 1982, the year the station was built. The replacement of the entire interior is also the end of this installation, which is meant as an ode to the year of the station’s construction."
an ode to a year. reminds me of "The Year of the Whisper Quiet Maytag" or "The Year of the Trial Sized Dove Bar" or "The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment" from David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. hysterical. corporate sponsored time. we're almost there w/ Energy Solutions Arena, Staples Center, etc.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
[remove stuff complaining about administrative smackdown on travel budget]
most of what i care about is live performance. maybe this is why the book is such a struggle. a really fine colleague told me the other night, after we'd shared some champagne as i helped her input her C's proposal at the website, that she would never write a book. i believe that she meant it. and she is incredibly smart and accomplished in the ways i'd always imagined my ideal self (growing own veggies, super sporty, speaks 3-4 languages, publishes in the best journals, etc., etc.). and i heard her. she had decided. and while she might change her decision, i heard that. and i've been tempted to say the same thing w/ the same force, but i know what i do and where i am and what this thing is about. so i keep moving in that direction. i don't know. this makes me want a cigarette. ca va.
i want to work on (and finish) my screenplay (the one most likely to be completed). i don't have big illusions about its success, and i know that everyone writes a screenplay, but i need to do it anyway. just for me. image and text and all about my vision. selfish like that. like smoking.
. . . this is fun because you barely need to ask, 1.) do you have a sense of what this film is about? 2.) which one does that most clearly for you? 3.) why? for some, the third summary is best, but then we examine the ways in which it gestures so desperately at cleverness that we lose track of the plot (this being, after all, a plot summary). and while plot summaries (any summary) can inflect, can't avoid inflecting the summary writer's perspective, they sometimes do so at the expense of clarity. i know, i know . . . i write and speak often about how we emphasize clarity at the expense of complexity, but of course in certain contexts, you want a writer to say it simply (this is my complaint about the Sundance Film Guides . . . they seem to work so hard at selling cleverness that we are often left w/ a description that does little more than impress us w/ big vocabularies; it works for some readers, but i imagine others are left wanting). but so the exercise. after exploring the questions (above) we look at the essential differences and the not so essential but maybe more subtle differences, we debate our reasons for leaning more toward one review than another, and we reflect upon how/when/why we move toward cleverness and sometimes sacrifice a simple meaning that may be more effective, in context (i'm as guilty -- if not moreso -- than anyone; i offer examples of my voluminous mistakes in this area, which is always good for a slightly uncomfortable laugh). and then i ask them to see the film and write a plot summary and/or review (but nobody has ever taken me up on this. nobody. ha. ha.)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
there is this image i carry - have for years - and with it comes a distinct but fairly unfocused sensation. the image is of a metal weight that people who fish attach to their lines. i get this image of the weight sloping down the line, moving heavy down the line and then i'd tip the other end up and it would move back but slowly and like something moving through a heavy liquid. there's a sensation there, a balance that somehow stays with me and feels important. some were egg shaped and some were like a heavy cone. i remember these things because we grew up w/ the ocean , fishing and diving and whatnot. and i remember going early to these cliffs w/ my father; we'd stop at something like a Waffle House and get sunnysideup eggs and toast and i loved that grape jelly that came in my-own-personal-individualized-package-just-for-me, and i loved watching my father open those tinylittlethings, which seemed made for a child and not a grown person. we'd fish at these cliffs, arriving just before sunrise, and he would wear these big people white keds and seemed to be able to maneuver those moss-covered rocks just fine, which really impressed me, but i was always a little afraid and would stop every now and then to pretend that i'd seen something in a little eddy in the rocks (but didn't; it was a dramatic and lonely gesture . . . something i've been drawn to since i was very young). but so i'd stop just because i needed a break and was afraid.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Cranky & Wrongheaded
Recasting Film and/as Writing in First Year Composition (or, Filmwriting in First Year Composition) ??
We have been talking about film in Rhetoric & Composition Studies for several decades. Most specifically, we have been discussing the uses of film in various iterations of a First Year Writing/English course. These discourses are characterized by certain inflections of hope, doubt, suspicion, fear, excitement, and other affective registers of meaning that may help us to think about our historical as well as our contemporary work with film.
At present, Rhetoric and Composition Studies is busy worrying conceptualizations of “writing,” “composing,” and other concepts and practices that comprise our field. Much of this concern emerges from our understanding of the ways in which a variety of new media practics and possibilities are shifting literacies, frequently and vigorously, and in ways that make it difficult to imagine, as Douglas Hesse has recently wondered, “Who Owns Writing?” (the question that makes this a disciplinary discourse, the question that makes it matter . . . although alternative lines of inquiry are promising and in many ways shaping our discourses). We find ourselves confused about the nature and status of “academic writing,” a structural concept that has historically provided 1.) A stable notion of our identity and work, and 2.) Sites of conflict that bifurcate a (phantom) notion of coherence for our disciplinary identity. But throughout the various conversations that comprise these conflicts, we find teachers of writing working with film to frame new and engaging questions, imagine new discursive projects, adopt fresh pedagogical structures, and generate new forms of writing with which to help students acquire rhetorical knowledge, skill, and, importantly, a particular disposition to textuality that registers as "critical engagement".
This book wants to examine discourses about film (from within our field) as a way of providing a sense of history for our contemporary work. For, in the present, we find teachers of writing working with their students not simply to understand and enjoy certain films and their complicated content, not simply to raise difficult subjects or reflect upon methods of representation, not simply to tease out narrative and other rhetorical conventions, but instead, today, we are also producing filmic texts, we are writing film, we are filmwriting. We are engaged in Serious Rhetorical Work even as we enjoy learning new technologies and providing pleasurable and communal scenes of writing for our students and ourselves; what is remarkable about this more recent addition to our filmwork is that and we are filmwriting within an academic culture that has traditionally validated only written discourse as its primary form of currency. So, how have we gotten here? What sorts of discourses have enabled us to move confidently into these scenes of rhetorical production via filmwriting? This book wants to speak to these questions by characterizing various discourses that, seen together, give us a sense of motion (in terms of recursion and iteration) toward the present and our increasing acceptance of/passion for filmwriting as valid rhetorical and academic work.
Method: I have chosen to review high profile publications that reach a wide readership as a way of suggesting disciplinary movement. Primarily, I review articles found in two journals published by the National Council of Teachers of English, College Composition and Communication, and College English. I will certainly move away from this imagined center to include other works, but my primary work is to examine discourses emerging from these high profile journals and how they shape our sense of the nature and validity of film work in First Year Composition classrooms. I engage (loosely) in a form of discourse analysis. I examine key features found in the scholarly record in order to tease out central(izing) concepts. These concepts form the chapter headings. Within each chapter, I (re)create a kind of dialogue that spans several decades, a conversation that seems to cohere around a particular affect. I begin with Suspicion, move to Hopes & Fears, gesture toward Momentum, think about Narrative, worry Morals, problematize Culture, and finally work with/in Production.
i promise not to post everything i write. i think i'm mainly posting this to keep myself motivated. we'll see how that goes.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
in my work to generate my book - on film discourses and practices in rhetoric and composition studies - i am reading a lot of old journal articles. i have a huge collection of old CCC and CE, which were given away when ASU's reading library was reconfigured and double and triple copies were up for grabs. i grabbed.
i'm looking today at this creaky 1979 CCC title: "The Full Man and the Fullnes Thereof" by Robert B. Heilman. Heilman is worried about electronic writing and reading practices, how they are making their way into English classes; he "distrust[s] the diversion of time [. . .] from the printed page to records, tapes, films, and the like. This development shows an unconscious distrust of reading, and a failure to grasp the value of the complex experience it affords" (239). He worries that "[t]he respondent is mastered by the medium instead of moving through it to the kind of mastery in which warm participation is mysteriously joined with cool detachment" (241) (i'm seeing someone tending to his nails).
Heilman's grand old style is common in early articles lamenting literacy shifts, in [then] new methods of delivery and the powerful reception witnessed in students (as though students were the exclusively culpable force behind [then] new media appreciation). i certainly understand it and have been there myself. and i'm pretty certain that similar attitudes obtain even still. and this is fine, i suppose. it's certainly not going anywhere and in many ways marks a form of disciplinary stasis; we have been talking about these things forever, and thus they provide institutional structuration; what would we talk about at conferences were it not for shifting literacies and how they affect students (or, more precisely, our careers/egos/institutional identities, blah, blah . . .)? in my book, i will be having a little fun at the expense of some of these early (and contemporary) writers, but i am mostly hoping to capture these discourses, to characterize them (awfully simple work, especially in these earlier works, where the stylistic flourish distinguished you as worth reading or maybe simply as erudite enough). in doing this work, i hope/think i may provide a sense of disciplinary history which may be useful for current work in new media (which is to say, all media -- reading and writing and experiencing and being practices). too broad, you think? ha. ha.
Heilman makes a mistake many make; he feels deeply in his bones that new media is supplanting reading, that reading is not taking place in ways that privilege a kind of permanence. but that kind of reading is often (only) supported as a tool for institutional stasis and/or advancement (which is to say, stasis); we can enjoy a piece of writing, but its staying power is related to our staying power (w/in an institutional hierarchy). i love(d) Gravity's Rainbow, but i've moved on long ago; if i had to "teach" that novel every semester or every year or even every 5 years, my sense of it would certainly shift. i can't even read Notes from Underground (which, read at 19 was massively Important and Soul Wrenching) without howling in laughter at its satiric elements (thanks, J. Clark). our readings change . . . thus, the texts change, and it seems to me that Heilman's desire to resist change ("Our most characteristic mode of change is to technologize and specifically to electronicize [electronicize? :)] what we once did by hand, body, mind, or imagination [note: i am using my hand, body, mind, and imagination at the moment]") is about resisting "the audio-visual [as] the real thing, [as if] reading were either non-experiential or not significantly experiential . . . The point is that we are deprived of something important if the audio-visual becomes the sole or chief experience and thus preempts the time and place for reading" (240). i think i'm supposed to agree, here. but i think that to agree implies that electronic or live-performance-based or anything other than solitary reading of "the printed page" is somehow less than that ostensibly "private" and "lasting" experience. and i can't agree, or, i can't agree that there is a "time and place for reading" anymore, although i think can dig up some quaint performative associations -- a certain spot in a library, a particularly slouchy sweater, a scratched pair of tortoise shell glasses and a favorite coffee beverage -- all the usual suspects. but my resistance to what Heilman is doing is more about moving beyond these static associations (static is not all bad) but it's more about seeing new media practices as moving, as moving us, as moving beyond, especially as i think about multimodal texts and my/our powerful reception of them and what it might mean. i'm thinking about D & G's views of sound in cinema as a "deterritorializing force" (which may threaten institutional status but certainly not the stasis we find in these agonistic performances . . . so no worries) and Michel Chion's observation that "sound escapes the frame but has traditionally been 'held in place' by the image" (Pisters 177-8). in thinking about these spaces of potential, which Heilman sees as destructive or capable of disabling Something Permanent, i think also of Mark Augé's non-spaces, but i'm not exactly sure that Augé sees such spaces as unworthy of reflection (well, clearly) or as completely damaging (although a crtiqiue registers). it would help if i read him directly because i'm working from what i've heard friends and colleagues say about Augé (put on list. maybe i can work that in while i'm flying tomorrow, which seems appropriate).
when i was a grad student, i could and would probably have agreed that new media is/was threatening. situated low on the institutional hierachy and living w/ my hopes for what advancement within it could mean, i had to and did agree. i would have been operating as an effect of writing about reading rather than as an active variable within a complex (not necessarily closed) writing/reading/languaging system . . . which is what we are and how we always already operate as readers and writers; but so of course our institutional status inflects this obvious state. we learn to accept our responses to and generation of certain kinds of texts as effects of writing (and especially writing like Heilman's, infused with a gentlemanly certainty of status that enables him to reject change as though he could reject change). but this can change.
note: my title references Heilman's concern for where new media is going, his concern for our potential to bring into classes electronic media that may "smell" (thanks, John Waters).
Gargoyle at Dornoch Cathedral (image). Google images. May 8, 2007. <Image:Gargoyle, Dornoch Cathedral.jpg>
Pisters, Patricia. The Matrix of Visual Culture. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2003.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Saturday, May 5, 2007
so i find, at UT Austin's viz. site, some assignments. one, a semester-long storyboard project. i see this: "Films can only truly make their arguments when ideas and words are translated into moving images. But before they can be shot, they must be developed and pre-visualized." pause. breathe. sigh. breathe again. now. i have to intervene. because it's simple: working in film may involve storyboarding, and it certainly does and has, but it need not do so (see this indieWire interview w/ Patrice Leconte . . . or the excerpt, below*). independent film and radically independent film (beyond Sundance, Telluride, etc. . . . i'm talking about the free form film festival, for example) wouldn't happen or exist, certainly not w/ any momentum, were it not for filmmakers who decided that they had to shoot some scene, happening, etc. many filmmakers will tell you that they work it out in editing; writing is revision. there is to some extent, "previsual" conceptualization, but, as w/ writing, filmmakers often discover that the story they thought they would tell is not the one they are telling, that they shift, and they shift in production.
sometimes, a film begins w/ one simple image that feels important or provocative, and shooting begins. maybe this advice about planning it all out in advance is coming from a sense that this is what polished productions do, and many do, but for students or new filmmakers (who can now do things with greater ease and speed) let's just say that this viz. advice feels so factual and certain ("they must be"), and it's just not right. and then, this is supposed to be a "semester-length" project, but students are not asked to film anything. but why? in the course of a semester, surely they could produce a film they "invented," the film (argument) they imagined or simply found? (on "finding" your film, go read this Paul Thomas Anderson interview, or the excerpt, below **). what i am suggesting is that storyboards are not absolutely necessary ("must") but that following a vibe can produce an interesting piece of work just as easily (more easily?) than can a project that emerges from analyzing other people's work and then imitating it w/ a storyboard. it's funny, the prompt says, "Although this assignment does not ask students to actually shoot their films, they will experience the early rigors of producing a moving argument." it's almost as though the framers realize that if students actually produce a film, they may undo the advice they are being given about the necessity of "early rigor"; they may learn that they have stories to tell and images to produce and affects to engage, all of which can be told and produced and expressed quickly and with rigor that extends throughout a process that is inclusive of, that privileges shooting and editing. it's as though the framers of this assignment don't, 1. trust that it will "count" as a valid academic assignment unless it can properly be called an "argument" (which somehow seems to mean early rigor but not production??) and that a filmic argument must follow Big Studio Conventions, and/or 2. that they do not trust their students to make anything meaningful. but it will be always already meaningful, possibly "overfull" of meaning, and maybe that's what's at issue, the "subtractive" role of language that claws at "coherence" or "clarity" or something called an "argument," this thing that does not shape shift but is stable. and. that's. nearly. impossible.
all that said, i'm happy to see that people are doing this work, and it's certainly true that storyboards are especially helpful for certain kinds of projects, especially large-scale projects that require massive funding (and thus, trust, and thus, a sense that someone's in control of the thing). so of course, work like this is incredibly valuable for some teaching and learning and filmmaking scenarios. i think i'm just stuck in this space of resistance where i don't want to have everything neatly lined up, and i don't even want to imagine a supershinysmoothe product, and so i'm trying to comment upon my particular reading, to think against the concept of control that storyboarding wants to be about. and, well, i wonder if student projects need to be treated like massive studio projects, with that level of control, and so but i hope that comments like these help move (certain kinds of film) projects in the direction of a rhetoric as art rather than an art of rhetoric (a phrase i'm playing around with lately). mainly, i hope they move toward film production that is inclusive of, um, production (even at some tiny level).
Leconte: I just feel deeply that it's one of the secrets of life, to live like that. It's just an observation that I have. Years ago, I thought that as life goes on, as we get older, we will do this more. But I see it's not happening. I see people growing more and more isolated in their lives. It's not like it's a new thing, but it's more preoccupying now as you can do so many things without leaving your home. You can work, shop, do everything from home, and I find this unsettling. [emphasis mine]
iW: From a screenplay standpoint, your films to have a very strong sense of structure, yet the filmmaking seems very loose and almost effortless. How does your mindset differ when approaching the two things? [emphasis mine]
Leconte: I like films that are well-written and concise and with not a lot of room for improvisation. I like films to be complete in their written form. If a film is very clever and well-written, that's what gives you freedom as a director. Part of the freedom in directing, for me, is that I'm also the camera operator [ . . . ] That's the place where things are less rigid, where I can adjust as I go along [ . . .] I can zero in on subtle things because I'm holding the camera [ . . . ] I never storyboard. I hate it. I don't understand why so many directors want to make comic strips of their films. How can they decide shots before getting to the set? I don't get it. The only time I ever did storyboards is for the action scenes of "Une Chance Sure Deux." I have colleagues in France who will storyboard a scene between two actors! For me, it's crazy! [emphasis mine]
Leconte: I take this as a compliment because it's an illusion of spontaneity that I strive for. I'm not one to dwell on rehearsal or preparation. I like to just go out and do it. Of course, that doesn't mean actors are free to do whatever they like, they're always being directed. But sometimes it only takes three words, so long as they're the right words, to direct an actor in the right way." [emphasis mine]
**here is the interview w/ Paul Thomas Anderson (on "finding" your film in the process of making it, in production)"I ask him about some of his choices for Magnolia (beyond "masterpiece"), which is dense with symbolism and populated by grief-stricken and shell-shocked characters. He was inspired in part by his close friendship with John C. Reilly, who plays the LA cop Jim Kurring. 'That stuff,' he remembers, 'happened about three or four years ago, during one summer when we were really bored, and he had grown a mustache and it just made me laugh. He would do this character, this guy who was on Cops, and I had a video camera and we'd drive around and improvise, and call up actors who weren't working at the time, so we'd call up Phil Hoffman and say, go to Moore Park and fuck with the trash cans and we'll drive by in ten minutes and catch you doing it. Then we got a cop uniform and improvised all these altercations. And eventually I started writing all that stuff down. A lot of Jim's dialogue is based on that improvisation, like the Mike Leigh style. It really is a pretty fucking cool way to work. We've gotta try that again.'" [emphasis mine]
Friday, May 4, 2007
Thursday, May 3, 2007
so Massumi’s autonomy of affect, the missing ½ second . . . the plane of immanence, the cuttlefish’s shape shifting . . . beyond cognition (?) . . . this is the space where you need no language to explain your art . . . is this intuition? aesthetics? (vibratory pleasure/power). things . . . sensations . . . register in the brain but outside of consciousness . . . or prior to consciousness . . . so this feels like intuition . . . it feels like the guess you have at meaning or maybe it’s just being in pleasure or affect (however it is shaped w/r/t a particular work of art). so, language, then, linearizes the sensation, lines it up causally w/in a comprehensible and expressible chain of events . . . this language is, for Massumi, “subtractive.” this is exploding my head . . . in the very best possible way . . . this feels like something i’ve been thinking about for a while now . . . the subject of my second of 2 (someday) books on film . . . so but this feels, this “subtractive language,” like the “metadiscursive step back” that i’ve been theorizing. i’ve been thinking that when you make films or other multimodal texts, your writing about it is always retrogressive, diminished, small, and, in many ways, easy, (or easier than writing alone, A Writing Project) . . . because nanoscopically (i'm making that up) prior (?) to or transcendent of the moment of articulation . . . we find our registers of meaning (the space desiring expression) “overfull” w/ meaning and complexity (as is the entire process of generating a film). i like it.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
so i'm thinking, of course (regrettably) i have to provide language. of course all artists want their art to speak for them . . . and it does and it can and it will . . . but surely . . . not to everyone. for some robots, vibratory pleasure transcends verbal/lexical/written/spoken-as-words language (hereafter VLWSAWL). . . it travels differently. but so for others, for patrons and banks and tenure and ratings review boards, language (VLWSAWL) becomes necessary (Brian Massumi might have it that this language is "subtractive"). with hope, an artist can choose a method of articulation that does not crush her vision, and maybe this is the promise of new media networks (i'm just shining it up, here; of course, there are and have been alternative methods . . . flyers, graffitti, word-of-mouth/buzz, clubtalk, zines, etc.). but it's not even this that i want to talk about or even think about. and it's so horridly arrogant of me to think that we, that i can take it up, that i can gesture toward coherent thoughts regarding the role of/need for OR valid and acceptable resistance to (generating) VLWSAWL language in the context of attempting to make/use/distribute art . . . its central rhetorical/structural/aesthetic concepts and its tangential associations and whatnot. on the one hand, i don't always see the need to attempt to control the central conceptualizations (and some will argue that this makes the work arhetorical) . . . because of course i can never control the central conceptualizations . . . never completely and this has always been true (frustrating to many to imagine their/our discourses of power in this light, i suppose. right). see, so here it seems that i desperately need language to sort out my distinctions, but it is actually true that i've developed a disposition that, activated in certain production cycles (usually in filmmaking) disallows me from thinking strictly in these terms (although neither can i avoid it completely). and i think it must be true that i would not have seen myself emerging w/ this disposition were it not for my work in production, in making films. so whereas this post wanted (earlier) to be my apology for my arrogance, i'm pretty certain that i can't offer it. i can concede that it's arrogance, this desire to explore methods of articulation beyond language (beyond VLWSAWL, that is . . . although look at my last post about my latest film . . . inspired by written text. ha. ha.) . . . so but back to pleasure: go watch this video. better, watch the video for "hell yes" at the beck site. or watch this version. watch the whole thing before reading any further. no cheating.
imagine filming your response.
here's my homework.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
so i'm excited because i've decided that i will go to the PSU conference. i've been accepted for the first time (first time submitting, so that bodes well, i guess). i'm doing a little film about film, multimodal textwork as something i'm calling rhetorico-kinetic sculpture (it's a little precious, but i'm sort of going for an association w/rhetoric as art rather than an art of rhetoric). i'm thinking "performative" in that the film wants to be the argument, the art.
i have never simply shown my film as my argument, and this is because of where we (still) are in our field . . . beholden to written discourse (even if it's spoken . . . at the conference gig, it's assumed that you've written something). i got completely ripped apart at a recent conference out West . . . and i had even intro'd the film by saying that "i wish i didn't have to explain this, but since we're not there yet . . . " (and i proceeded to explain what they would be seeing, which i often find so sad) . . . . but even having said this, i was attacked, ripped apart, . . . dismissed for assuming that image can operate apart from written discourse.
maybe it's an acquired disposition that emerges as one feels more and more right in calling herself "a filmmaker," as she discovers a joyful way of seeing and being that evolves from production, from making films . . . from working with more than one track (sometimes multiple video and audio tracks) . . . maybe it's this stance that allows me to find this (conference) attack absurd (then and now, although then, i was fairly speechless . . . they were comp luminairies attacking me, one on one side and one on the other. Chuck Bazerman sat near me and occasionally attempted to temper the attack with his gentle understanding. thank God i had him star in my first film . . . God love Chuck. ). and i realize that we are called upon to work it out in written discourse, especially given the turf wars w/ film studies, communication, multimedia, etc. . . . but so i like to think w/ Jean-Luc Godard, who, speaking in terms of production on his work as critic, writer, and filmmaker, identifies “a clear continuity between all forms of expression” arguing, “It’s all one. The important thing is to approach it from the side which suits you best” (qtd in Narboni and Milne 171). so i'm thinking that the visual suits me best and i'm thinking about how we work that out . . . the autonomy of the image-text (but why the need to write it? why can't we work it out in our image-texts? . . . i plan to try and i believe that we, as rhetoricians and rhetors and filmmakers and artists have skills sufficient to the task of finding the available means of [visual, extra-textual] persuasion in/for a given situation . . . looking forward to PSU, where i'm thinking/hoping that my audience will accept my image-text, my film as my argument . . . my art). i'll unpack later . . .
on Godard: Critical Writings.
Ed Jean Narboni & Tom Milne.
Introduction, Richard Roud.
NY: Da Capo Press, 1986.