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April 02, 2008
I'm only about half-way through the writing I need to do today, but wanted to stop by and share some things on here. The chapter isn't going badly (thanks for asking), so far I've written: an introductory anecdote, an explanation of 'the science of digital video', a long methodological consideration, and an orientation to films that have been filmed on digital video. I was worried, and voiced this concern to JZ last night, that this was all ground-clearing guff.
After thinking about it more today, it actually makes a fair amount of headway into the chapter and case study. I'm so used to the way I used to write as an undergraduate (and Masters student, I think): 'introductory paragraph, discuss something someone else has written about this film, extended textual analysis to disprove aforementioned someone else, conclusion'. If I haven't started writing up analysis of a primary text, then I still feel like I haven't even started the chapter. On the contrary, I guess that 6000 words worth of 'ground-clearing guff' must actually be quite important to scholarship - otherwise there wouldn't be 6000 words worth of things to be said. If the reader has no idea about the types of films that have been filmed on digital video, then the 'orientating map' is necessary and actually is primary (and preliminary) work and analysis. I would take this as a sign that my work and writing is maturing - but instead I'm going to think of it as something that I'm doing wrong.
I'm casually reading 'Movie Mutations: The Changing Face of World Cinephilia', an edited collection by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Adrian Martin, at the moment. I'll study it more intensely as my work returns more generally to the topic of cinephilia, but right now I'm just reading passages every now and then (the form of the book actually lends itself to this). I came across a couple of paragraphs by Martin, and thought that maybe they rhyme with my past 'on cinema for the sake of it' entry.
Because what is democratic in this video culture is precisely the capacity (or at least the potential) to suspend normative judgement about cinema - reminding me of one of my all-time favourite critical mottoes, the attitude attributed by Louis Seguin to Ado Kyrou of seeking 'surprise rather than satisfaction' and preferring 'discovery to certainty'. (7)
There is a recourse to the high moral ground - and to a certain lamentable purism - in a lot of film criticism today, even some of the most advanced. We read or hear far too often that there are only half a dozed directors working today who fulfil - or might one day fulfil, if we're all lucky - the potential, the promise of this dazzling medium...As heretical as it sounds, even within this very cabal, I like the sentiment of Deleuze's casual prefatory remark in Cinema I: The Movement-Image: 'The cinema is always as perfect as it can be'. Meaning that its potentiality, its virtuality is, in some way, right here now - if we know where to look for it, how to maximise it, why it matters, and how to make it dance, for us and in us, like Rouch's privileged, shamanic figure of the dancing Socrates. (7-8)
I'm not sure I would interpret the Deleuze quotation in exactly the same way (and I don't understand what he means by 'virtuality' here), but I don't know the Deleuze text so it is just an aphorism to me. I like it though, and I didn't think I'd ever say that about a Deleuze quotation.
Some other things:
I had a nice time at my friend James' birthday party yesterday, although because of work and an impending cold I wasn't on particularly amazing form.
I was pointed towards The Big Think today, which looks like an interesting project. Like YouTube with intellectual (and slightly elitist) leanings. I haven't had time to look through it yet, but the one video I did watch was interesting and clear.
The Marlins beat the Mets 5-4 in extra innings last night although Vanden Hurk was pulled in the 4th inning (he'd already made 76 pitches!!!) which isn't particularly promising.
My friend Mike wrote a couple of nice entries yesterday: 'The Pre-Socratics were totally awesome.' (“This world neither any god nor man made, but it always was and is and will be, an ever-living fire, kindling in measures and being extinguished in measures.” - Heraclitus) and 'Roving sample robot' ("And I love the idea of a simple thing like this, the sole purpose of which is to rove about and find sounds and make rhythms, and treat it like its the most important thing in the world.") Tell him I sent you.
I've made a couple of bets on UFC Fight Night this evening: Din Thomas (-183) over Josh Neer, Frank Edgar (-207) over Gray Maynard, and Kurt Pellegrino (+132) over Nate Diaz. I always seem to bet for Din Thomas, and against Nate Diaz. I really like the Lauzon vs Florian main event as well, it's two guys who seem awesome. There's a fantastic article about Kenny Florian at Sherdog: 'Highbrow brutality' by Joe Hall.
On the note of UFC, if anyone is geeky enough to get it, this post at Fightlinker is mean but hilarious: 'The most awesome thing EVER'
Go look at the new releases by Fantagraphics and buy something! If I do enough work today, I'm going to treat myself to the new softcover edition of 'Safe Area Gorazde' by Joe Sacco and 'Ganges #2' by Kevin Huizenga. Only if I do enough work though, yeah?
On that note, I need to get back to work. I'm on my fifth cup of coffee...