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.


Anonymous said...

I think modern silent films are great, especially when seen in the cinema with an audience. With sound, I find it too easily to forget the other people around me i.e. watching as a collective experience. But silent film draws on this collectivity.

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

i hear it.

but, to be a little clearer (ironically) about my intention, i am not thinking so much about silent films but films that screen for an audience (esp an academic audience of rhetoricians) w/out the introductory (words) commentary that wants to provide context (and delimits the cinematic quality/experience). i'm more than okay w/ sound, especially as music (because of how it liberates possible meanings -- D & G talk about its deterritorializing forces, which i keep coming back to).

i want ambiguity to guide the experience. i don't want to set it up (and thereby shut it down, at least to an extent).

right now, i'm thinking about distinctions between *visual rhetoric*, *film*, and *cinema*, each of which carries particular associations in ways that speak to my desire to simply let the film be the argument, to let it operate rhetorically absent my intention (which happens regardless . . . and this is what's so frustrating, that i've been called to task for even suggesting that we drop the contextualizing intro and simply screen it, maybe talk after -- or not).

my sister read the entry and said, "what's next? feelings? then, simple being? . . . then you can just put away your books." i loved that (although i'm not sure the latter part is exactly true, esp if i want to continue to make a living making films and thinking about them in performance scenarios).

long reply. dealing w/ frustration in preparation for the Penn State conference. must . . . shoot more images . . . find the right sound . . .

thanks for writing ;)

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