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.


Sundy said…
Bonnie, I'm now deeply into trying to write the paper we spoke about at lunch. This blog piece about the affect of image and sound captures my interest today. With my interest in Indigenous work, I immediately thought of Smoke Signals as an example -- and image to my mind includes place images/imagery. SS feels like Coeur d alene, ID and New Mexico because it is specifically PLACED. Place has a powerful affect, right? So, I'm ready to go read Massumi, now. Also, this blog spot reminds me of what Kress (2000) said -- something to the affect (hah!) that image is not the gloss, word is. Images have full commicative roles. They aren't additional, decorative features. Thanks for letting me into your blog world.
hi Sundy,

Nice of you to write.

_Smoke Signals_ does quite well what you describe. But you might also read some of Alexi's writing (especially the more current stuff) on his feelings of remorse (maybe not the right term) about having "used" his families, friends, "people" in ways that some/many can consider as "comedy" or even "parody." he spoke brilliantly on this when i saw him after my Old Dominion University talk (David Pagano and his wife Lisa graciously took me to see it). there was this one moment when he was recalling being on Oprah (it was priceless; he *is* a true standup comedian even as he is an intellectual . . . as with the very best comedians). so he's sitting there, thinking "I"M A WHORE, I'M A WHORE, I'M A WHORE!!" (and yes, he said it w/ enough force to warrant all caps). he was speaking specifically about the Oprah-fied event of having Alexi's fathers' "lost" war medals returned to Alexi (his father was at the time either very, very ill or had passed on; i can't recall exactly). he talked about never wanting to become *this*, this person who goes on Oprah for The Big Reveal, which always includes tears (his were streaming). but although his "i'm a whore" statement spoke specifically to the Oprah event, he referred to it throughout his talk regarding how he writes about indians and reservation life. still, interestingly, he found himself at the end talking about how very much he loves America (and how that, too, makeks him suspect among some/many). he also added that "you must get off the res," insisting upon, um, the value of different ways of life in America. so there's that.

the Massumi article came out in 1995, so i've felt a little embarrassed, gushing about it just now. and in a lovely discussion i had with the very gracious Denis Lynch while i was at PSU, i discovered that i am perhaps in the tricky business of romanticizing what Massumi's after. but i think that the *desire* for free-flowing affect is in many ways what writing is about, what art is about, what creativity is about, even what prayer and meditation are, in their distinct ways, about.

long post!

thanks for writing ;)