Thursday, May 31, 2007

dust


i am literally cleaning the dust off the walls in my house. it's horrifying. how does so much dust accummulate? where does it come from? how much of it am i breathing? who invented swiffer?

friends come to our house and comment upon how clean it is and how nice it must be to not have kids messing it up (no comment). on the clean part, i'm glad that my friends think my house is clean, but i know better. i can hide dirt, or, not recognize it, not disallow awareness of it as well as anyone can, despite my intentions (clean minimalism). i think it's about procrastination (isn't everything?).

and then i think of x-ray spex' fabulous track "germ-free adolescents,"which parodies our obssessions over cleanliness. and that's nice, but i'm still freaking out. so now, in addition to making this little film and writing my book and trying to finish Massumi and begin Chion (Murch's foreword is so good that i keep circling about and have not yet gotten to Chion, except by way of Pisters).

there is maybe a trace of "white page" mythos enabling this procrastination's stubborn stance in the midst of all this dust; it refuses to exit until this dust is gone. maybe it's telling me something about my priorities that i, a.) need to learn, or b.) need to ignore as mythic bullshit, or c.) i'm getting it all wrong. it's not about waiting for to clear the dust; it's about letting the dust settle and moving ahead (working around) regardless of it. and that sounds really groovy. but it does-not-feel-right.




Tuesday, May 29, 2007

celebrity fear

from David Byrne's web space. i fear someone writing, saying, or thinking about me:

". . . and I have dinner by ourselves at a hip restaurant where she is spotted by another former gallerist who later says he was dying to introduce her to Lucien Freud, who was also dining there. We are sitting next to a largish couple from Northern Ireland who, to be honest, don’t seem to belong in such a groovy temple. (Here I go applying my own class evaluation.) He’s an IT functionary in town for business meetings and she’s riding on the expense account tab, or so I would guess. They look like northerners on holiday in the big city, but they mention that they’re staying next door at the Ritz, which is more than an ordinary branch manager could afford. They explain some of the local dishes — Jersey Royals are a miniscule type of potato only available at select times of year. Either from a glass of wine or something medical the woman has turned bright red — all over, face, neck, arms — but they’re so unassuming and easygoing and lacking all pretense that her redness doesn’t register after a minute or two."



i realize that it's absurdly narcissistic to imagine someone talking about me, but i know it's done, and i figure i'm as vulnerable as anyone else. and although i have a blustering love of luxury, and -- it's true -- when on vacation, i force myself to believe that i belong at a gallery or at a restaurant i can't actually afford, i still hear their voices in my head. in a way, it's nice to see it confirmed because then. i. won't. be. crazy.

7 random things meme

john tagged me (which makes me very happy; is that #1?):

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

fauteuils d' orchestre


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

fresca

i love fresca. i am working on writing to implore them to make the black cherry fresca in a 2-liter bottle option (currently only available in cans, to my knowledge).




i found this lovely fresca site. it's quite enchanting. i especially enjoy the 4 ad samples under the "media" setting; lovely design.

presents!

i woke up at 3:30 a.m. on one of my many night wakings (the di wakes me a few times in the night), and i went out to get a drink (another di feature, thirst), and there were a dozen beautiful white roses (my favorite) sitting on the table. underneath was my new home theater system!! you'd think that someone who watches as many movies and as much TV as i do would already have a nice theater system, but no, not until now. i'm very happy.

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:

The Paris Cheeseburger (Grilled 8-ounces Ground Sirloin [Utah Open-range, Grass fed], Gruyère Cheese, Classic Accoutrements & Pommes Frites) Add Maytag Bleu Cheese & Pancetta.....2.00
$13.95

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)
9.95


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



"The title of the film comes from the French idiom 'faire les quatre cents coups', meaning 'to raise hell'"


. . . 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:


"All spoken lines in the film are dubbed over again by the actors themselves, save for a few minor and trivial parts. For instance, during the last scene, the sound of Antoine's footsteps was added during editing--the truck that the camera rested upon produced too much noise. Shooting on the streets of Paris, as many films of the French New Wave did, was often hectic and re-dubbing everything allowed Francois Truffaut to not have to worry about lugging bulky and expensive sound equipment around, and more importantly he would not have to worry about a street scene having too much background noise. This made shooting faster and easier."



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

the plan is not (?) the thing


ever since i started rendering my plans in writing, publicly (i'm talking about my book, but also, to a smaller degree, 2-3 film projects), i feel as though i am getting it done. it's great, this feeling of accomplishment. but, um, i haven't done much. but see, that's wrong. all wrong. because i've been thinking through a lot of things, preparing moves, making some (however tiny), and it's all moving the project(s) forward. i've got some pages . . . some new scenes mapped out, some hope that some of this stuff i do matters.

while i'm on the self-pity note . . . it's about time for the Sundance Filmmaker Labs to begin (warning: preparing to whine). i've been lucky to get to participate a couple of times, saw some fabulous work, established figures and emerging new talent. but this year, i'm not expecting anything. i think i'll even have to develop a nasty attitude about it (but i don't have one, in reality . . . maybe just a little). you see, two years ago, i was supposed to have a role at the Labs. i was pretty much promised an audition, at least. my hopes were soaring. i had begun studying acting thinking primarily about getting a gig at the Labs because i do not have delusional thoughts about my acting career. just wanted to work, and the local gig i wanted was w/ some emerging filmmakers and their evolving projects. at the Labs. you probably know by now that i did not get the audition; i was told very little by way of explanation, and i spent the whole summer angry and sad and really deflated over it. the following summer, i was positively supposed to get the gig as Meryl Streep's standin during the filming (on our campus!!) of Dark Matter. my agency didn't get me the job. later, extra-ing on a local project, an older, blonde extra said to me (she had been quietly staring for some uncomfortable time), "you should have gotten the job i just did." yes. she. had been. the standin. she looked nothing like MS but it was, i think, about height and someone she knew. so but even the woman who got the job thought i should have had it. it was horrible, driving past the set to my office every day. i kept thinking about what it might be like to get to watch MS on the set. as it turns out, the campus scenes did not include MS (the film screened at Sundance FF 2007, where i got to see it; it was okay), but had i been the standin that wouldn't have mattered. and now i'm going to have to apologize in advance because it's immature and absurd but i'm going to have to say it. in order to move on. w-h-a-t-e-v-e-r.

wow. enough of that. tomorrow, i turn 44. yipes. i'm sort of okay w/ it. i had a brain tumor in 1994 and ever since my surgery saved me, i figure it's icing (hopefully on a delicious carrot cake - really - the only cake worth eating . . . i hope my husband is reading this).



ironically, we'll probably end up at Sundance Foundry Grill or maybe the Tree Room for my birthday dinner, so i'll have to get temper my vibe and work at not carrying w/ me that silly hope that someone from the Labs will be there and just naturally invite me to participate. nope. it's all about the cake. it has to be. and it's fine. they also have an excellent pinot noir , sometimes carry Latour (heaven), and the food can't be beat. it's pretty and still cool up there (Mt. Timpanogos @ the Sundance Resort ).

so but back to the whining. yes, i've had some disappointing summers, waiting for promises to materialize and trying not to take everything personally. but this summer, i'm trying to focus on my projects and not on the silent phone or empty inbox. i'm moving ahead (have i been watching too much idol?) as though i have something to say, something that wants to be experienced in a variety of ways (text, film, talks, etc.). and i'm working out (2 since i last whined about not working out). bought some fabulous 70's inspired shorts for my workouts (those bands around the legs are not terribly flattering, but they are quaintly nostaligic).

Friday, May 25, 2007

new space


i'm making a new space where i want to talk about film. i ramble a lot in these entries, and i think that's fine. and i will surely wander in my labyrinthine way at the new space, but i hope to range around ideas directly related to my work as a filmmaker. i was pretty much drawn into film because of the effect of the blinds' stripy shadows and how they seemed so important, how they wanted to capture and enhance a contemplative mood for a character facing some moral dilemma. i'm not sure what fiona is pondering, but i love the image (see, i'm wandering). so but if you want to read about what i'm doing as a filmmaker and how i'm thinking about the work, that is, if you're into that, you can check it out at http://blkyburz.wordpress.com.




Wednesday, May 23, 2007

hell yes!



fiona and i enjoyed watching the beck video for "hell yes" about 1000 times. after it would finish, she would say "again robots? please?" among other early and pressing concerns, she would wake in the morning and come to my door and say "robots? please?" emily (her mom, my sister) then bought her a little robot from target. she slept w/ it, hard, jangly plastic and all.

i keep thinking about why robots are so fascinating. i don't have anything very sophisticated to say. it's something about this thing that does elementally human things, performs human-like movments, but. just. not. so. there is something about the inelegant jumpiness of a robot that is maybe appealing to a toddler, to anyone. something appealing about an approximation that mimics the complex real but does so only by (over)generalizing to the point of distraction. it's hard, being complex, i think (the robot masters are not so sure).

Monday, May 21, 2007

fresque interactiv, cannes


ahh, cannes:
http://www.ina-festivaldecannes.com//index.php?vue=notice&id_notice=AFE85006736



the "fresque interactiv" is a nice feature at the cannes website (image & text providing info on cannes history). i could spend hours there, and i probably will. i'm certain that i romanticize cannes in ways that i might in a more critical mode view as inappropriate. but i'm generally okay with my dreamy view of cannes and all (most) things french.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

okay bye




i'm visiting family in Chicago. my niece, Fiona, does this charming thing when she wants to be left alone. she goes off, just a bit away from the action. if you inch closer or try to call her back, she stands her ground and with a sweetly dismissive wave says, "okay bye" (no pause, the words rush together because she is Serious). it's adorable and sad at the same time. enchanting.

Monday, May 14, 2007

nonspace (?)


i'm preparing to read Augé and thinking about my assumptions regarding his conceptualization of "non-spaces." i'm thinking about a little film i did in the Washington D.C. metro station on my way to the Hirschhorn museum on New Year's Day. i remember thinking that i had to film that space (the metro, but then it carried over into the museum, which was probably unecessary). in what is ordinarily a fairly mundane and distasteful chore (for me), traveling via public transportation, i somehow became joyfully agitated, absolutely compelled to film in the metro. and this is difficult to understand outside of an affective intensity that registered in the moment. in the metro, i sense an ironic sterility that is both exhausting and somehow promising, potential-laden in terms of identity. don't want to say much about that, for now. i'm assuming that Augé goes there. but so my little film, "metro," is here:

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):

http://www.petervink.nl/1982/video-uk.html

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

wong kar-wei


Wong Kar-Wei's first English speaking film, My Blueberry Nights, is set to open Cannes. how i wish i could be there, even as a lowly volunteer (maybe next year).

the poster looks fabulous, for what that's worth (to me, a lot).

i'm also very excited about Julian Schnabel's film, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, based upon Jean-Dominique Bauby's 1997 memoire, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (next time your students complain, or you complain about writing, dive into this book; it will destroy any rationale you were imagining). Schnabel's film screens at Cannes, and according to the trailer, it should be out May 23rd. also imagining good work from Hsiao-hsien Hou, director of Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon), which stars Juliette Binoche (not sure about the blonde look but she can do practically no wrong). here's the trailer (warning: you will fall madly in love w/ this track and spend the next hour searching for info on it):

oh, and, generally, regarding Cannes, because i'm shallow, i can't wait to see what eveyone's wearing. can. not. wait.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

coffee and cigarettes



[delete whiny stuff]


moving on. must . . . shop? (a light) . . . go see the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie at Brewvies (where i can get a real beer, which always sounds great but i know i'll end up w/ a JUMBO DIET COKE instead) . . . revamp my c.v.? what i did do? here is me: i watched Junebug last night, and there is a scene in which Madeline (great name), the lovely Chicago museum curator who is visiting her husband's provincial Southern family, sneaks a smoke (telling "Mom Peg," "don't tell name of husband"). she lights up, and you can see it . . . you can see the relief of that first clandestine drag. it's what keeps me coming back. i smoke about 10-12 times/year. i'm not addicted and usually think it's horrifying to be around smoke or smokers (except while drinking, of course; i'm an honest cliché). but when i decide it's time, it's quite lovely. sometimes, it's a "bad cigarette," as in, you light it and just know that now is not the time. you must put it out and forget about it. but if it's time, it's time. and last night, watching that scene, it felt like time. and i'm not talking about "oh how awful that movies portray smoking and make us want to smoke" because this is something different, and it's always more complicated than that (thanks, Stuart Hall. thanks John Fiske).

[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.


nothing about coffee (see entry title). i just love Jarmusch, especially on the tails of having seen (finally) Broken Flowers (which was apparently, at one time, entitled Dead Flowers . . . Broken is much nicer, i think). there is a little documentary, a very short "making of" type thing. Jarmusch talks about filmmaking and chaos theory and just doing it, getting talented people together and having a go. J says it's sort of like Mike Leigh's work (did i mention that i got to meet Brenda Blethyn at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival? she's amazing). but so, J on going w/ it -- i love him for that. i love to hear artists who inspire by simply doing their work. there is something in that for me. shut up and write. shut up and shoot. but then, J participated in the doc, so there's participation in the metadiscursive process (i felt the need to say something smartypants).


of course, Jarmusch's Dead Man is probably his best film. i love to talk w/ students in my writing courses about the ways in which we apply different lenses to a reading and emerge with very different things to say about a text, in this case, a film. a nice little exercise is to look at these 3 plot summaries of the film . . . and wait . . .

. . . 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

the drama

i'm a bit overly dramatic sometimes. if you write, that's what you do, embellish. i try to resist it because i much prefer a minimalist approach to expressing/sharing/asserting/testing ideas with language. i'll try to say that w/out flinging myself into a labyrinthine jarble . . . and i'm waiting for it to come and waiting and i think i realize that this is why i prefer to express myself in images. with written discourse, i can't control myself, can't contain my compulsion to "make meaning" or "make sense" of things in a way that feels just right (sounds dull and is . . . although i teach this control and think it's important, sometimes).


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

survey says . . .


i look at my writing and see a survey. this is a little sad. i wish i could do that Massumiprosething, that precise and supersmart-t0-the-point-of-obfuscation thing. seriously. often, it seems that the best academic writing is just slightly incomprehensible. i remember "discovering" Homi Bhabha , My First Baudrillard . . . Pynchon. i have this editor friend who is encouraging me to just "let words flow,"that he will publish it, but it seems impossible, and ever since he licensed me that freedom, i can do nothing but see that particular piece as a very ordinary essay (i'm sorry).


but, since i've begun writing these entries (i wish we could come up w/ something more lovely than "blog" . . . it's horrid), i enjoy writing more, even the lonely sense that i am sometimes writing to no one in particular or that i'm just sort of trotting out whatever's on my mind. and why should anyone care to read what's on my mind? i can't answer that. can't because few may, and can't because i can't. i am still confounded over a lovely introduction i received recently when i was asked to be a featured speaker (?!) at The 28th Annual Old Dominion University Conference on Writing; there was my host, reading passages from this thing called "my work," characterizing "my work" and talking about how Dr. Kyburz attempts to move things, to force things "open" . . . just reciting lines from something someone else surely wrote. it was such an incredible honor and just horribly, massively humbling and soul-shakingly fragile and precious . . . fabulous and bizarre.


but so now i'm writing this book, and i think i can do it, but i sort of hate that i have to do it. because it's forcing me -- or it seems to be moving me -- to do that survey thing, and i can't imagine it any other way because i am not (regret) Brian Massumi and i'm not as clever and enchanting as Miranda July. i do my (often imitative) thing and trust that something useful emerges . . . sometimes it does . . . what's emerging right now is that i can't take my eyes off "Miranda July,"and this is motivating me to be working on my screenplay (the most likely to be completed screenplay) and to go back to my acting class and stop eating and make that Beck video and go see that Werner Herzog film and Fauteuils d'orchestre (Avenue Montaigne) before it leaves because good films don't hang around Utah for long, Sundance and Slamdance notwithstanding. and i want to have a yard sale and just not write this book (i forced that. it's really not coming back to that, but i'll bet that 's what you have been trained to expect). actually, all of this motion, these images evolving, they motivate me to keep writing, to do that "subtractive" thing and capture it (i love that FCP refers to uploading images as "capturing" them . . . it's so nasty and just right). okay. moving on . . .

filmwriting


so i've been doing research for some time now. now, it's time to start drafting some text (beyond the summary, analysis, & critique-work i've been doing). for my working title, i've borrowed the term "Cranky & Wrongheaded" from Geoff Sirc (i hope he doesn't mind) and am using it to characterize a disposition from which many/most/some of us have emerged. i don't know if the term "filmwriting" is cool or silly, but it feels kind of cool and conceptually appropriate. also, i don't know if i want to be talking about FYC only or Comp Studies more broadly. but so for now . . .

Cranky & Wrongheaded
(a beat)
Recasting Film and/as Writing in First Year Composition (or, Filmwriting in First Year Composition) ??

Intro:


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

"the smellies"



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).


works cited

Gargoyle at Dornoch Cathedral (image). Google images. May 8, 2007. <Image:Gargoyle, Dornoch Cathedral.jpg>

Heilman, Robert B. "The Full Man and the Fullness Thereof" CCC 21.3 (1970): 239-244.

Pisters, Patricia. The Matrix of Visual Culture. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2003.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

remotivating constraints . . .


so it's been enchanting to rethink my constraints, but i'm spending entirely too much time here. i'll be making shorter posts so that i can get in my work out (i have been monstrously lazy lately, and this isn't helping) and get to filming and writing (yes, but so of course this is writing, but i've got to do the book(s)). i have a plan. wish me luck.


on luck, i need more. i have a commerical audition tomorrow. and no, i did not begin my studies in acting so that i could do commericals, but if you don't go out on these auditions (and land a few), your agency isn't happy. they need to know that you can make $ for them. it's all pretty hideous, but i'm doing it for the love (audible sighs noted). this is an odd thing to say. i have been thinking lately that to be an actor you have to pretty much hate yourself. ca va.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

subtractive filmmaking


i'm beginning w/ this image from my new film remove to dispense because, 1. i have to promote it in order to produce it (motivation), and, well, 2. it speaks visually to what seems to be at issue in these conversations about multimodal texts, essays, films, rhetoric, argument, art . . .

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).

i like what director Peter M. Cohen (Whipped), which i have not seen, says in an interview w/ imdb: "The best (and cheapest) way to learn about camera angles is to borrow a friend's video camera and go out and shoot. Play around with different angles, focal lengths, and lighting, to see, firsthand, the effects different shots and angles can have. You'll be surprised at how much you can learn just by experimenting with a video camera." my point.

* here is the excerpt from the Patrice Leconte interview. i include it to make my point about storyboards. to get the effect i'm after simply read the bolded passages contiguously (and read the rest afterward, if you like).

"iW: At last night's screening, you said if there was a recurring theme in your work, it was to live with your arms open, not closed... and it's certainly manifested itself at least from "Monsieur Hire" to "Intimate Strangers." Why do you think you're continually drawn to that? [emphasis mine]

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]

iW: Do you try and create a certain spontaneity on set or is it a hard-earned spontaneity?

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

new homework


recreate a scene from a bathroom. no brushing teeth (hollywood fav . . . why?).

disclaimer: this assignment is pushing me to film some shots for another project. it's completely selfish of me, but i thought it would be nice to see what others create. i'm giving myself 1 week. you may take as long as you like.

who gets to call . . .


i watched this documentary last night On Demand. mostly about Henry Geldzhaler, the curator famous for working so closely w/ the many of the new and controversial artists of the post-war era (mainly, into the 60's . . . famously friendly w/ Andy Warhol). he curated a show, "Henry's Show" at The Met . . . all contermporary and pop art. i loved the interviews w/ Frank Stella, James Rosenquist, and others . . . the depiction of Henry as someone who simply saw talent (what does that mean, you say? this is a little blog entry, so i'll pass on that for now). i enjoyed seeing Henry as Zelig, as a sort of shape shifter but not inauthentically so (what is authenticity, you say? not for now) and not even conscientiously so (this, i am getting from his demeanor, which was surely informed by a cultivated cool that projects as "natural"). He seemed to know what he liked or maybe what he needed to like, felt compelled to move toward/with . . . and then -- this is what feels important to me -- he became a part of it, and it seemed effortless (well, in the narrative structure of the documentary, Henry simply seemed to fit where he desired being . . . his power as a curator probably didn't hurt; a carefully crafted image didn't hurt him, and neither did his complete committement to the things he liked, a committment that had him literally diving in to participate . . . in Oldenburg's happenings, in Warhol's films . . .).
i like this one patch of voiceover from some old interview . . . someone talking about pop art, calling it "empty," and someone responding, . . . . it was either Henry or Andy from what i can tell of their voices (must have been that only the audio had survived), and the response was something like "oh, it's not interesting to think about emptiness (quiet laughter)". it was this very simple conversation from which emerged a sense of purpose or potential whereas people had been simply freaking out for an answer ("what's it mean?"), and even then, i don't think anyone bothered to stop and memorialize the moment (smart). so i'm pretty sure that few saw it as an answer, which is funny. Andy was laughing a lot at his critics, but i'm not sure it was about rejecting criticism. i love that stance. i'm ID'ing w/ it because i have to in order to write or make films or fling myself out the door in the morning.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

assignments . . .

so my little homework assignment was inspired by Miranda July and her web project, learning to love you more. you should check it out. and if you have not seen her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, shame on you. get it.

my tiny epiphany . . .

it's probably all been covered, but there isn't time enough and will to read everything i need to read. but lately, i've been blissing out on Brian Massumi's "The Autonomy of Affect" . . .

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

"the skin of a robot . . .

. . . vibrates with pleasure/matrons and gigolos, carouse in the parlor/their hand grenade eyes, impotent and blind . . . " (beck, "lazy flies").

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.












homework:
imagine filming your response.
film it.


here's my homework.

remove to dispense


the title of my new film . . . remove to dispense. based upon this image, this little scrap i found on the bathroom floor at MoMA. i remember picking it up in the spirit of Warhol. i remember thinking "this is art" and imagining that i would use it some day. i remember laughing a little, first, at my audacity, and, second, trying to envision the person who installs the toilet paper in the ladies' room at the MoMA (who must be insulted to think that someone saw a need for this message) or that "first user," that person who ostensbily needs to know that in order to "dispense" the product, you must remove it from its container, you must remove its constraints . . . and this reminds me of an image we saw in Germany (i took pictures of lots of generic signs there; many are quite charming) . . . an image i found imprinted upon a Japanese-made backhoe or some kind of massive earth-moving machine . . . it was an image of a human form being fairly demolished because of One False Move (in this case, walking in front of the machine while it's moving forward . . . getting pinned between the machine's many monstrously toothy parts). it's like being warned to keep your hands out of the garbage disposal or avoiding flames. i like text that sort of overstates the obvious in its most simplistic form. it forces us to be reflective . . . if we read beyond its simple message, and i like that. and this simplicity . . . this compulsion to reflect . . . both are enhanced when an artist or rhetor or toilet paper manufacturer trusts us to read the message both for its literal and its expansive meanings . . . (and yes, i also like to think of someone "drafting" the message "remove to dispense" and giggling or putting thumb-and-forefinger-to-chin as he imagines its multiple meanings).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

filmartthingy




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 . . .





works cited




Godard
on Godard: Critical Writings.
Ed Jean Narboni & Tom Milne.
Introduction, Richard Roud.
NY: Da Capo Press, 1986.