Thursday, June 28, 2007

quick time/conversion

i still haven't figured out what the difference is between exporting a film to "quicktime movie" and "quicktime conversion." i think maybe it's that the latter allows you to upload the film to streaming video on the web. anyone?

this is how i do tech stuff. can't bear to read manuals, although i do, but it's often so much more efficient to ask someone you know. i've learned almost everything i know about tech stuff in this way (and i don't know much, but i'm not completely illiterate). i wonder if this is cool or if it's just annoying (ask Mark Crane, whose help i seek often). maybe both, but i think most of us feel some obligation to catch up those who desire it.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

the temporary permanent museum of change

i hope this is cool.

celebrity encounters

went yesterday for a Sundance 2008 venue-specific planning meeting. the filmmaker labs are winding down, so there were some interesting people around. we've chatted w/ Walter Mosley often because he's an advisor to the emerging filmmakers, around at the festival, and is simply a nice guy. when i saw him yesterday, he told me about a book about to come out, one coming out, and the one he is currently writing. i said, "i can't write my book," which was funny because the book that just came out is called This is the Year You Will Write Your Novel. and though i wasn't talking about a novel, we proceeded. he told me EVERYTHING i know to be true, that i can do it, that i need to write more every day, that (just maybe) spending so much time on this web space is a tad counterproductive (duh) to my goal of completing the book. i'm not entirely sure i agree, but there is certainly, for me, truth in what he says. so, a good, solid kick. we'll see.

then, all through our meeting, in the corner on the phone was Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko, from Lost), who has been workshopping his film in the Labs. His film is "'Farming,' [. . .] a British/Nigerian production described by Sundance's press office thusly: 'Abandoned by his parents, a young African boy desperately searches for love and belonging within a brutal skinhead subculture where violence becomes his only companion.'" (Sean Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, June 26, 2007). our eyes met once, and i gave him that little nod that says "i know who you are but don't want to be a freak about it" and he nodded politely back. i hope his film does well.

here is some fun interview chat from Adewale (from gspn): What have you got planned for after Lost? "I’m making my directorial debut at the beginning of next year. I’ve just come back from Sundance where I met Robert Redford and Michelle Satter, and they’re backing my film. It’s going to be a black British feature film called Farming, based on my upbringing. I’ll be setting up the shoot for next year and it’ll be out sometime in 2008. There are a few other roles being talked about - big films, which is exciting. I’d really like to play myself as an Englishman. I’d also like a really big, fat, juicy lead character, whether it’s in an action film or a thriller. I’d like to get a big kahuna role now, you know what I mean? I’m ready for it."

well, thank god . . .

paris hilton is free.

Monday, June 25, 2007

fantastic four

because my husband loves the comic and enjoys these big Marvel productions, i have recently seen both Spiderman 3 and The Fantastic 4. i want to talk about the latter. it was fine, i suppose, for what it was, but what of the horror show that was the besmirched beauty of Jessica Alba? What does it mean to pay a lead actress a large salary for her, um, skill (that "um" is about what we know . . . she may be a fine actress, but it's about her look) and then do everything possible to mask, hide or otherwise transmute that skill? i'm referring to the ridiculous, frightful blonde wig and blue contact lenses used to do everything possible to hide Alba's dark complexion and the attendant features (dark eyes, dark hair) and make of her a typical whitegirldream (i've found tons of web entries about this mistake). i concede that there is a possibility regarding moves to enhance her similarity to the (a) cartoon character, but this move failed. She looked alien, bizarre, not lovely, and, well, "invisible woman" indeed (how much more weight can she possibly lose and remain ambulatory? . . . this question from a crippled mind who thinks that no one is too thin -- i'm exaggerating but also admitting to my culpability w/r/t the ways in which i see and consider women's bodies, and yes, there is a history of "issues" . . . blah, blah). was the paycheck so high that she was able to look in the mirror after her round of transfigurements and say "i look good. let's shoot"? i can't imagine it. once, on a shoot i did for a local business (for an in-house training video/an "industrial" film), the makeup was so heavy -- the makeup woman *airbrushed* the foundation on, which felt and looked awful . . . the eye's so overdone, the lips shiny to distraction . . . i could barely focus upon my character. and yes, as an actor, you must transcend your look to be your character, and i suppose i did fine, but the discomfort was excrutiating. but so i thought, "this is no career-making or breaking material; a handful of people will see this, half of them distracted, and, forced to watch this will likely be texting friends, doodling, making a mental grocery list, or overdoing it on the free pastry and coffee." not so for Jessica (DARK Angel) Alba; certainly, she wants people to see her in the film, to see her like this . . . it's simply bizarre (the word i'll keep coming back to).

it's too easy to ask "what does it mean?" -- the answer, much harder to discern. i mean, they had monitors; they could see what we saw. perhaps they were so focused upon her incredibly lean physique (aka, her "sexiness") that they simply decided not to send her back to the trailer for alterations. it's simply bizarre.

i'm thinking more and more of not going out on auditons any longer. this is what we have, for women. so.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

felt sense . . . "chewing dried meat in a house of disrepute" *

i remember when i first heard mention of affect in my early grad school days studying rhetoric and composition. and then the term "felt sense" (Sondra Perl has a fairly recent book on the matter), and i thought, this work is groovy enough for me. i can do this. because really, if we are talking about Writing with the Body (the post-colon title of Perl's book), " . . . which guides writers to gain access to preverbal intuitive knowledge through attention to bodily experience," then i'm in. "Perl defined felt sense [at a 2003 C's panel] as "something you know in your body before you articulate it, a feeling of physical discomfort that produces words [. . .]", and i'm hearing, again, Massumi's work on affect and those words -- language as "subtractive" -- sensation prioritized in/on/through the body in what seems to be somehow precognitive.

for me, felt sense emerges in/on the body when you watch a great film that does something beyond providing pleasure or the fulfillment of expectations (and i'm not simply talking about "discomfort" in traditional terms because most great films or fabulous art generates discomfort that is also incredibly pleasurable -- think Andres Serrano). it's a connection to or experience of the "unassimilable" nature of affect that "vibrates with pleasure" ("the skin of a robot" -- beck, lazy flies), and it's why, when in the museum (any museum) , you stroll w/your partner/friend/whatever and occasionally stop to regroup, to chat about what you've seen and felt and all you can say is "did you SEE that?!" and there it is, that language that is subtractive . . . but sooooooooooooo gentle, so simple, so clear . . . and not at all assertive but inquisitive, if rhetorically so, not at all about MAKING A CLAIM and not at all about tarting up the experience of the image/expression-event by seeking to make sense of it. sometimes, listening in on other people's conversations at galleries/museums is fun, if a little tragic. i sort of love to hear "i don't get it." not because it makes me feel superior but because they *are* expressing that discomfort of the affective . . . and i want to gently ask, "but how does it make you feel?" to sort of direct them back to the event. or i want to suggest, "that's okay, . . . no need to worry about what it means" (even though, as i've argued before, meaning finds a way, if "only" in the "expression-event" itself, if only "meaning" arrives as intensity rather than emerging from language). clearly, the latter part of this comment (and much of this entry) owes much to Brian Massumi, who did find the language to express many of the intensities i could not.

* notes on this entry's title: also lyrics, which for me articulate a felt sense of something i can't articulate, from Beck's "lazy flies," a track for which i want to someday produce a video featuring scenes from Werner Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" and also Aguirre, Wrath of God)

image 1 ; fitzcarraldo ; aguirre

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

miserables, yes. . .

. . . no not the show (see previous entry), but, well, some weird allergies kicked in just before curtain, and i kept feeling as though my throat was closing shut. . . . panicky. stomach freaking out . . . breathing strained . . . i had to leave for about an hour. BUt . . . got some medication at intermission and enjoyed the second half (i can feel your relief).

just watched Wong Kar Wai 's 2046 on cable. wow. i had missed it in theaters, and despite last summer's catch up weekend w/ Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love, we had missed out, fell behind. except . . . not so much behind because of the resonsance of IMFL. still, a masterpiece. the close shots, sexy angles, color, lighting, music, the slow motion sequences that almost define the film. lovely. love WKW

now, i'm going to shoot some scenes in my master bathroom. all inspired.


Monday, June 18, 2007

can you hear . . . ??

we're going to see a local production of Les Miserables tonight. we saw it about 5 years ago on Broadway. amazing. my husband had never seen a Broadway show. i remember hoping that he would enjoy it but trying not to set anything up (like, "expect to be freaked out in the initital moments because we'll go from the small everday to Very Big"). just before intermission, i looked at him and said -- hoping to offer a little critique so that he might either, a.) agree, confirming my worst fears but giving him the opportunity to be truthful w/out feeling awkward, or b.) resist, and let me know that he was loving it as much as i -- so i said, "Eponene's voice is a little weak."


he turned his face to mine, tears running down, furious and with that stony expression people get when they. can't. believe. it . . . saying "ARE YOU KIDDING?! She's the best one!"

so, clearly, he was loving it. so we're going again. a few hours before the show, i have an afternoon audition for a very little thing, and then the world will go big in the theater. i hope i can handle the affective shifts that attend these extremes.

quick note: Phillip Lopate once told me that a student writing for a student newspaper once asked him, "what's your favorite novel?" . . . he told them that Hugo's work was The One. later, in the school paper, he is quoted, identifying his favorite novel as (i am not kidding) Lame is Rob. i am not making fun of students, or even that student, but, come on, that's hysterical.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

apropos of nothing

in 1973, our family's fishing boat broke. the bow broke off after crashing down in the trough of a wave. we were returning from a day trip to the Dry Tortugas when a storm came up. the short story is that we spent 24 hours in the ocean on our overturned hull, no land in sight, constantly stormy skies/waters . . . i saw mirages (so real) . . . all the drama . . .

recently i was looking for old accounts of the event because i had been watching Open Water and because memories of this kind often emerge into consciousness, uninvited, and i'm pretty sure no one in our family has a file containing all the juicy clippings. i found one that stays with me because our little story is found on the same page as a lot of info about Nixon, his illness, watergate . . . one headline reads: ". . . has restless night." ha.

i'm not sure what to make of being marked (in time) in this way.

here is some of the text (unformatted; i had to purchase the papers from a newspaper archive and can't figure out how to/if i can post the formatted text, but i figure the story is mine, so):

Story on Page A-2
Classified HE 2-5959 Phone HE 5-1161 $4 PAGES 10 CENTS
Nixon in - pneumonia

sea ordeal
— A family of 10, including
six children, clung to
an overturned boat for
more than 24 hours in
rough seas and torrential
rains before being rescued
by a pleasure boat.
"It was a miracle, a
plain absolute miracle
that we all survived,"
Gerald Surfus, 38, a Sarasota
attorney said Thursday
from his hospital bed.
He said his family had
left Key West Tuesday
morning aboard the 26-
foot boat he had recently
purchased for $41,000.
They planned to return by
nightfall after a trip to the
Dry Tortugas Islands 70
miles to the west.
ON BOARD the boat
were Surfus; his father,
Clifton Surfus, 61; mother,
Frances, 59; wife,
Mary, 41; and the six
girls: Emily, 4; Daphne,
6; Amy, 8; Bonnie, 10;
Carrie, 12; and Dawn, 17.
Surfus said they ran
into rough weather on the
way back to Key West
Tuesday afternoon.
"We hit maybe a three
or four foot wave and the
bow just broke right off,"
Surfus said. "In 90 seconds,
we were overturned
and in the water."
(Turn to Back Pg., Col. 4)

. . . it was a big deal. Dad was on To Tell the Truth and also on Tom Synder's late night show (was it called Tomorrow?). We were in The Enquirer (and the story was all true!)

anyhow. i've been thinking about it. it pops up now and then, like other past trauma.

my father's comments about a "miracle" are touching and ironically funny to me, as he has long struggles w/ concepts of God but won't go so far as to call himself an aetheist. John D. McDonald, a family friend, had attempted to write a book about the whole "ordeal," as everyone was calling it. Dad taped interviews w/ all of us. I remember listening to them a few years ago and hearing my 10 year-old voice tell my Dad -- when he asked if i had prayed -- "don't you remember?" and he said "no," and then i heard myself recreate the scene where we all sang "kumbaya" -- and, listening to the scratchy tapes, i heard myself singing it (a serious freak out). Mr. McDonald eventually returned to my father something like 9-11 pages, apologizing for his inability to write the book; he was too close. it was too much.

okay i'm over it. for now. again.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

and the role is . . .

yes, i have an audition Monday for a role in a short. "middle-aged mom." every time. i mean, that can be a great role, . . . but . . .

oh, and there are no lines (not so fast, SAG wanabe . . . ).

whatever. i like to work. and i like to be on set.

wish me luck.

my bloody valentine

w/r/t the last post on my thoughts about The Dandy Warhols track i want to use (and had toyed with but did not use use for my C's 2007 presentation/short film homage to Godard and the dyi vibe in filmmaking) . . . for my new film, i will make no change. the My Bloody Valentine track "sometimes" is it for how it intimates an affective relationship between sight and sound (sound providing an escape -- maybe, a clear, new, if reluctant-to-move-on space).

some day, i'll just hold a session in which i will play, very loudly, "bohemian like you" . . . and it will be worth it for how it shapes an affective disposition to new media work; not that it's not Serious Rhetorical Work, but . . .

. . . it's you that i want, so please
just a casual, casual easy thing
is it, it is for me . . .

. . . which sounds great, and is sometimes -- maybe even frequently -- for me, true. but more often than not, i both enjoy and obssess over mylittlefilms. will they get it? will they destroy me? does this matter? . . .

Friday, June 15, 2007

conventions. ha.

i spent the entire day yesterday editing my film (image recurrence for subliminal suggestion -- you. will. love. it). i had hoped for more useable footage but ended up doing some fun things w/ what i had (discovering the available means of persuasion). then, my husband watched and said he didn't get it. $%#%^^#@!!! i said, "did you enjoy it?" . . . "did it do anything for you?" . . . but he was confused. maybe it's because the film is no good. but NOOoooooooo. maybe it's because he expects something different for an academic occasion. but these occasions shift, right? i like that i do most of my experimental rhetorical work at a "convention." thank the fates for resurfacing our investments in live performance.

today, i will play w/ different tracks; as of now, i've used a track from My Bloody Valentine, but i'm toying w/ a Dandy Warhols track as an alternative; it will give a completely different sound. at a different convention, i'd love to screen both versions and then think about sound and image, Chion's "audio-visions(s)" and how film experience is about more than image but synchresis, an immediate association between a sound and an image . . . the sound almost always a simulation (i.e., dropping steak in foley work "means" a punch in the gut) -- thus, you are creating a new image or expression-event (in Massumi's terms), a new way of experiencing a particular set of images. i want to think about this because it is fun and because it is rhetorically powerful work, synching sounds to images (D & G's "flags can do nothing without trumpets" . . . the infamous comment from A Thousand Plateaus . . . a quip i can't fully support, clever nonetheless). but, for me, synchretic work is most interesting because it speaks of the "unassimilable" nature of affect w/r/t an "image-event" (i'm channeling Massumi) . . . when you add or "find" the right sound for your image, when you shape a pleasant, provocative, eery, ethereal, or otherwise moving synchretic effect, there is a transcendent joy that escapes articulation. sports afficianados will talk "zone" . . . this is similiar, i imagine . . . it's also what we've been doing forever in our rhetorical work (but maybe on a much smaller or less complicated scale, which is not to say that our work w/ writtten discourse is not complex because it is; i am thinking of how language, up against the intensity of/within a multimodal image- or expression-event is, via Massumi, "subtractive." as for workign beyond the single track (written discourse) we are "prepared" . . . it is that we now have more tools w/which to do it that is exciting for rhetoric.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

stop motion

it's probably a bad thing that i've been toying around w/ something like stop motion animation . . . it can throw some pretty trippy effects that look like, well, effects-for-effects'-sake (which i loathe but am beginning to see the seduction of). but it's interesting to see how effects create alternate realities, manipulated or constructed realities, so i'm thinking that this is not only valuable for me as a creative tool but that it could be an interesting practice for the classroom: create a stop motion animation scheme that reflects motion of a kind you imagine but have not witnessed (but for your mind's eye). i'm toying with an image (above) of Dalí's "The Little Theater" (1934) superimposed upon a scene of an empty public newspaper box. w/ stop motion animation (it takes forever, and mine is jumpy, but i sort of like it like that, a little bit crude) "liberate" it from the container only to then capture it inside a quivering silver frame (using stop motion to "shake" a frame from an earlier image, of wall-hung installation, that appears in the film). while i am mostly "finding" this sequence by toying around, if pressed to "make sense" of it, i suppose i could say that i am hoping w/ this tiny sequence to say something about our desires for liberating concepts from contexts (excavating "art" from the everyday) despite our recognition of the reality and potential value of those contexts in terms of how they expose and venerate an image/concept/text. it's all so precious . . .

image: MoMA

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

i feel fine

my reflective, in-the-moment comments have landed me elsewhere. i've been linked at a website (we feel fine) devoted to searching phrases that express human emotion. i was happy to see it (although i am not, w/ that phrase, trying to be captured again. seriously). i like it, even if the borg is "harvesting" human emotions (which has to be a little scary).

Monday, June 11, 2007


no whining today. the PSU booking situation is under control. first, i was able to get a room at the conference hotel, after all (a *very* nice woman at the hotel helped me out). but it wasn't only her kindness that has me thinking angelic thoughts. no, it seems that the conference local arrangements person, John Farris (thank you, John) was also looking out for me; he had found me a room in a nearby hotel. and Stuart Selber himself had written to me in order to help out. so now i'm feeling that this will be the best conference ever! (there's some bipolar thinking for you . . . is that a "developmental stage"?).

really, i'm quite happy. one appreciable contributing factor to my shiny state of affairs must be the 10 hours of sleep i got last night. fabulous. now, i'm ready to edit the next minute of my film. you will probably be seeing this image (the angel, above, left) in it. and others from this web space. also, yesterday, i was working out to an Erasure cd (greatest hits/images: google) . . . it was a jaunty good time, especially that track, Drama! (, in which we are exhorted to get over ourselves ("your shame is never---rrr----rrr---rrr . . . ending/ just one . . . psychological drama after another . . . "). i may have to work out to that again today. bill d. , you may now officially say that i am no punk because, yes, i do love my 80's pop, and i'm not ashamed to say it. in fact, living in Utah, you get a LOT of 80's pop. i keep meaning to go to this dance club in Salt Lake City where every Thursday is 80's night, but online reviews now have it as "lame." i should go see for myself, however awkward it may feel/seem/be. it's sick that i have not been dancing in forever. i really must get over myself.

i think that something happens when you develop a sense of yourself as a professional. but for me, the creakiness has more to do (probably) with my stupidly lingering fears about health. a brain tumor will do that to you. i like to think that it doesn't define me any longer, but it's still pestering my desires to transcend. last night, watching Christine Ebersole -- Ms. Broadway -- win her WELL DESERVED Tony Award for her amazing performance in Grey Gardens (hear songs here/great site) . . . remembering how i had so deeply identified with Little Edie and her longing to move on, to (trot out the clichés) make something of herself as an artist . . . well, so last night, wathing the awards, i kept forcing myself to believe that i could never do anything so spectacular. it's horrid. in my acting class, one of the very first i took about 3 years ago, my teacher asked us to try to remember the moment when we were made to believe that we had no creative thing to offer. that's quite a question, quite a reflective moment. seeing Grey Gardens brings it all up . . . i was a sobbing, slobbering, sticky mess, at the show's end. i had to stay put for a while in order to compose myself. then, meeting Ms. Ebersole at the stage door (yes, i'm awfully provincial!) was unspeakably special. clearly, i urge you to see the show.

well, how's that for drama? Collin has been talking about doing autobiographical bits at his web space, but he wants to keep it short. i can't seem to do that. i'm a leaky faucet like that. if you've read this far, good on you, and thanks, and why?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

the PSU Conference hotels are booked up. even a lot of the nearby hotels are fully booked. seems a massive basketball event takes place alongside our conference (so much for kairos). this is bad; cost is already a serious issue, but, i'd thought, this is a fresh new conference venue for me and an opportunity to experience some fabulous talent. so i thought i'd throw in my annual travel budget. i even cut the first 35 seconds of my film (which took about 2 days) and have been getting excited about it (finally, after some initial doubts). if i back out, i will at least have a newlittlefilm to enjoy and possibly share (maybe at NCTE, where i am also scheduled to go but have no $ support from my institution w/ which to do so). whiny, whiny.

so, how do other people do it? for me, travel has never been an issue. if i was presenting, the $ was there. now that we're a university, everyone is terribly worried about budgets because it seems we're increasingly visible and accountable. because i have been so well funded in the past, as the logic (?) has been presented to me, i will be very thinly funded this year, despite presenting, despite publications emerging from my presentations, etc., etc. (more along the same whiny lines). but seriously, i wonder about the extent to which people simply fund their own conference trips. i find it horrifying, which sounds just awful, i realize; still, i'm not happy about having to consider it (and i'm certainly not on an R1 associate's salary). merde.

but this space is for thinking about representation. so what does this funding issue mean? what does my situation represent? in many ways -- i'm revising here from an earlier post that will probably get me into some trouble -- i just can't say it (i did, but i pulled it; maybe you got to see it . . . it's silly, though, going public w/ a rant like that. my apologies). but so the whole thing must be kind of funny, when you think about it. otherwise, it's just sort of tragic (i realize that "tragic" is overstating it, but i'm whining, so let me have it for now; i'll probably pull it later anyhow).

still, the film is fun. i'm glad to get to do it. maybe i'll simply send along a quicktime file and hope that someone pushes "play." this could be good, this absence, because i'm simply terrified of Michael Berube (although i remember fondly and without fear and did certainly identify with something he once said about Elvis Costello and teaching and feeling old in light of his student demographic). but so surely i need not worry about his attendance at my session. as if.

Friday, June 8, 2007

public humiliation

this morning, i'm meeting w/ a graduate student who was present at last year's Western States Rhetoric and Literacy Conference, where, in my sesssion, after a young scholar gave a very traditional (and good) paper on something involving multimodality, i suggested in my time that in my utopian scheme, i would say nothing but simply screen the film. "however," i said, "i realize that we're not there yet, and so i've written this little paper." i proceeded to read 4-5 pages and then screen my 7 minute film. so far, so good.

then, one prominent rhetoric scholar spoke up, visibly flustered, angry, waving her hands in her moment, and she said that she couldn't have made sense of my film w/out the contextualizing language (thus, i'm thinking, the paper). she called me out for even suggesting something about visual rhetorics operating apart from verbal/lexical discourse. she sat on my right. on my left, a prominent rhetorician w/ linguistics training, equally disturbed, especially concerned about the film's inability to register a Toulminian warrant (i'm thinking, Toulmin isn't all of rhetoric, unless you want to obssess about intention, but so . . . ). because these were 2 such renowned scholars, i was immobilized and mute. i could not articulate a defense.

so the grad student i'm meeting today was there. she wants to talk w/ me about the session. i'm so glad to be able to speak of it beyond its moment. that's all.

i'll be talking about this at PSU, probably reliving that scene (so don't be too disappointed if you hear this again).

about the image: my new film . . . it speaks to these disputes, and, so i keep coming back to it.
moving on . . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


why do i keep wanting to insist that we can create rhetorically effective films w/out language (words)? i think it could be that:

1.) i want to privilege a cinematic experience, something like a museum-effect
2.) i want to honor audiences w/ silence, respecting their capacities to make sense of it
3.) i want to focus on film, which is, it's said, a visual medium (and the visual suffices)
4.) i want a break from words
5.) i want non-sententious discourse (Bhabha)
6.) i'm a narcissist
7.) i want space
8.) i want affective confusion, delight, enchantment . . . and somehow, words don't do that for me any longer (to the extent that images do)
9.) i want, i want, i want . . . film is about desire. language is about fulfilling desire.

so i think it's about desire, which is multivalent, vs. fulfillment, which at least partially rejects desire's expansive range. funny, in trying to create a film text that communicates this, i am opening on a little card w/ some text on it. maybe that should make me sad. but it's also revealing a space of resistance in which to work (in film). that is, in my desire to resist wording it up, i struggle to find the most effective language (visual or otherwise, possibly a minimal use of text or none at all). and so seeking and working within and attempting to maintain that space is worth the frustration, worth the possibility of (audience) rejection or lack of clarity. and it's so much about affect. i begin to wonder if it's so much about affect that it's also about resisting necessary changes in my own disposition, in my own ways of working in the world (i want precious. i want minimal. i want clean). and this is problematic (in all sorts of race and class determined ways) but it's also okay.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


the grainy real. the decaying imperfection of film. i hear Morrissey singing "and in the midst of life, we are in death, etcetera" (sweet & tender hooligan), Cocteau insisting that “a cinema studio is a factory for making ghosts. The cinema is a ghost language that has to be learned” (131). Bill Morrison's Decasia.

i'm thinking that film is important, and not simply because we can now "make films," because sure we can make films, but digital filmmaking is not filmmaking in a classical (which is not to say better except as a matter of taste) sense. i'm enjoying "Vanishing Point: The Last Days of Film," by Wheeler Winston Dixon because of the distinctions he articulates and because of how they seem to retrieve André Bazin . i'm finally reading Bazin's "What is Cinema?" (vol. 1) and identifying with his status as a cinephile who suffered constant illness and who saw photographic and a deeply personal realism as a cinematic ideal. Bazin is probably most well known for his work at Cahiers du Cinéma. Bazin was eventually critiqued by many of the filmmakers and theorists he had once promoted in the journal; he had not kept up with liberatory thinking regarding the political scope and purpose of filmic art (which doesn't seem right; i'm trying to understand this . . . ). in many ways, it seems to me (from my limited reading at this point) that Bazin resisted making of film a (particular kind of) rhetorical tool, despite his recognition that film could not, cannot transcend its rhetoricity. it seems so obvious. so why, then, do we (some of us in rhetoric and composition studies) now resist filmmaking as rhetoric, as a rhetorical and pedagogical tool for advancing work in the teaching of writing and rhetoric? or maybe the question is: why is it still so much about words? or maybe i want to ask why is it so much about words as the exclusive registers of meaning to which we must turn our attention in a classroom devoted to rhetoric and writing? to me, my questions sound clunky and obvious, even stuffy and not terrrifically postmodern. but it feels rhetorically sound (in a sad way), and i'm working with these concepts for the upcoming PSU conference.

i'm struggling to find a way of articulating these concepts in a short digital film; i wish i could film it on 35 mm film but don't have the tools. working with digital film does and will, however, enable me to say what i'm trying to say about filmmaking as rhetoric as art as writing as worthy of our efforts as teachers of rhetoric as a generative art. whereas we continue to talk about, explore, discuss, analyze, and generally use film in our writing and rhetoric courses, new digital technologies enable us also to make films, possibly the move we need to make in order best to think about film texts and their meaning, means of production, and cultural/political/rhetorical value. but see, the problem of what film is, what digital film is (if it does indeed register differently from filmic media) . . . maybe this is the problem. the problem of definition. can we move beyond it, beyond words in order to engage rhetorically?

as i write this, i see my moves shifting (a sensibility Bazin might appreciate; does our constant illness unite us? . . . i'm so corny). i see myself moving beyond the argument i've been making (at RSA 2006, WSRLC 2006, CCCC's 2007), which is that "we have the technology . . . ", but now I see that we have a technology, technologies that enable us to make digital filmtexts. we do not, however, have film technology, in a sense. film as a medium is escaping us, and maybe there is something here to help make distinctions in our work with film (digital or otherwise). maybe the distinctions are, for rhetoric, unecessary. regardless (or maybe because doing so is not crucial), i am moved to define my terms (in words because that's where such sententious discourse happens . . . so making the move will surface its superfluous nature). and i will do that. if i can. at PSU (because it's a conference, official, so i'll have to try, but it will be very hard to do). what i want to do is work rhetorically in film. but what i think i'm realizing is that if digital film is not exactly film, then words will be necessary. maybe we can't move beyond words. and that seems worth recognizing. and it seems sad.

Jean Cocteau, The Art of the Cinema, translated by Robin Buss (London: Marion Boyars, 2001), p. 131.

Friday, June 1, 2007


i'm taking this out of "comments" and formalzing it. i found a web space (more than one) for Roach Motel, a Gainesville band i hung around with (a member was married to my sister). don't want to conjure up too much from those days, but it is shocking to see how many of my friends from back then are still in the scene (seeing the RM sites compelled me to search).

i don't have anything from those days. no pictures, flyers, zines . . . i wish i did.

but so, as i'm recalling my punk days, i thought i'd invite you to recall yours, say a thing or 2 . . .

stand up straight & let me get a look at you

It's awards show Sunday, so i'm giving Margot. I'm through with the wishfulness and angst and regret, and Margot, more than an...