[-empyre-] R: Truths and temporality

stamatia portanova stamatiaportanova at yahoo.it
Tue May 12 12:57:27 EST 2009

Hi Ashley

thanks for the beautiful example of Kentridge's work that you describe here. It reminds me of some other videos by the same artist (although I don't remember the titles, I think one of them was called "Memo", but I'm not sure its the right one), where he also plays with the reversibility of movement and time. And it also makes me think, among other things, of Deleuze's description of 'inlections' and 'folds' in art. 

For Deleuze, every spatiotemporal line (or curve) is the path of a point that suddenly changes direction at particular inflection points. The inflection point would be, in other words, the idea, as an inflection of thought, and as generative of a gesture or a work. In this sense, the image of the progressive-regressive alternation of Kentridge's movements becomes like the variable curvature (or actualization) of a particular idea (the idea of folding the elasticity of time), in its turn realized through the perceptual foldings allowed by technology.

In "Earth Moves", Bernard Cache defines the point of inflection as an intrinsic singularity which is not yet related to a particular development of coordinates and, like every 'solid' work of art for Deleuze and Guattari, is neither high nor low, neither on the right nor on the left, neither in progression nor regression, because it is in absence of gravity. Inflection is the pure event of a line or a point, a virtuality, an ideality to be actualised into a well-defined curve. In this case, the virtual inflection point of the videos appears as the idea of playing with the malleable folds of time, in more than two simultaneous directions at once.

A whole choreographic and causal geometry of sensations is consequently developed, or folded, after the idea, when the constructivism of drwaing, of the camera or of the technology transforms the point of inflection of a gesture into a fully formed curve. By following the formation of the movements in their continuing-forward from past to present and vice versa, and by revealing the serpentine line of these movements as a vector of symmetric exchanges, technology here seems to transform bodily movements into two-fold or circular structures. And it is surprising to see the artist's own transformation into a reverse-performer, together with objects and movements folding into a continuously renewed dance. I wish I could see this piece.

I just wanted to through this idea of inflection out there, it has always intrigued me and made me think of potential unexpected results...


--- Lun 11/5/09, Ashley Ferro-Murray <aferromurray at berkeley.edu> ha scritto:

> Da: Ashley Ferro-Murray <aferromurray at berkeley.edu>
> Oggetto: [-empyre-] Truths and temporality
> A: "soft_skinned_space" <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Data: Lunedì 11 maggio 2009, 01:31
> In "Some Thoughts on Obsolescence" William
> Kentridge makes a comment
> on contemporary technology. “There is a way in which
> working with
> contemporary technologies, either as a medium or as subject
> matter –
> cell phone rather than Bakelite phone – becomes very much
> about
> fashion, style, and temporality.” He explains, “A
> refusal to move with
> the times is also a refusal neatly to accept the precepts
> of
> preoccupations of the metropolitan center – far off, and
> often
> mistakenly assuming that its concerns and its times are the
> only ones
> appropriate to everywhere else.” I would like to reflect
> upon this
> week’s discussion and in particular the last few posts on
> truth and
> choice in the context of Kentridge’s work. The South
> African artist
> engages various technologies induce his work with movement.
> Kentridge’s 7 Fragments for Georges Méliès includes a
> video where he
> reverses film of himself throwing papers around a room. He
> carefully
> choreographs his movements so that he performs a catching
> motion in
> reverse as he throws the paper. This way, his film reflects
> an
> absurdist image. Kentridge explores a studio space and its
> temporality
> in terms of media. Can a man really summon papers into his
> hands? It’s
> magic!
> Kentridge employs technology to realize an invisible. This
> performance
> of the absurd, he explains at an artist talk at UC
> Berkeley, is the
> “Physical and mental act of trying to construct a sense
> of the world
> as it arrives to us. The way in which we assume it is all
> naturalized
> and the world simply arrives at us…Chaotic set of
> impulses, we do huge
> work, mental, rational and psychic to keep the pieces
> together and
> believe in the coherence of how they operate.”
> In Cinema 2 Deleuze discusses cinema in a similar way. For
> him, the
> power to constitute something is to “bring back reasons
> to believe in
> the world, or whatever is being constituted. Deleuze
> discusses the
> body to explore this concept. In Cinema 1 he discusses this
> body in
> terms of movement. "Movement is a translation in
> space… movement
> always relates to a change, migration to a seasonal
> variation. And
> this is equally true of bodies: the fall of a body
> presupposes another
> one which attracts it, and expresses a change in the whole
> which
> encompasses them both. (8).
> I present the work and thoughts of Kentridge next to a
> couple of
> Deleuze’s explanations of movement and the body to
> consider two
> things. First, here is a direct interaction between art
> practice as
> theory and theory as art practice (In a sense, I will
> argue, Deleuze
> creates a practical movement score with his words and
> concepts).
> Second, here are two considerations of the human-technology
> interaction as a movement existence and temporal
> instantiation of that
> existence. The first uses technologies to disrupt a
> movement “truth,”
> but only in hopes of understanding it more. The second uses
> movement
> and the body in a discussion of a technology, cinema, to
> consider
> temporal progression in terms of change.
> As I carry these musings forward I would like to rewind in
> our
> conversation to the concept of affect. How can we consider
> our more
> recent topics again in relation to an affective or
> experiential
> reception of movement? Rather than attempt to answer this
> question I
> will conclude with a short description of my experiences in
> Kentridge’s exhibition space.
> I enter the exhibition space and am struck by four
> projections. One
> faces me, one stands behind me and there are two pairs of
> projection;
> one stands to my right and the other to my left. The sound
> score is
> consistent, but each projection moves differently. The
> content is
> fluid and similar, but I can’t decide where to stand.
> First, I walk
> through several people to stand in a corner. From here I
> can see
> several projections at once, but they are fragmented. The
> movement on
> the screen radiates beyond the filmic realm and into the
> exhibition
> space around me. Viewers move toward and around each
> projection in
> ways that mirror a man in his studio. He walks in and
> around his
> sketches. The viewer walks in and around his films. I see
> each
> fragment of each film through the moving people that
> perform with me,
> a moving viewer in a room with six projections. The films,
> though,
> exist outside of my temporality. Papers fly against gravity
> and ripped
> images turn back into whole ones.  I move toward one
> projection. As I
> get closer I move through the people around me. The screen
> grows
> larger. The screen is now whole. Live movement no longer
> fragments the
> image that I look toward. I piece together a projection
> that was
> previously fragmented with my movement toward the screen. I
> mirror
> Kentridge as he pieces together what was previously torn.
> Perhaps I do
> share his temporal situation. Or, maybe not. What is this
> effect that
> he uses to render his cinematic reality complete? I watch a
> man in his
> studio. I know that the technology of his body is off. He
> catches
> papers. They fly into his hands. The objects around him are
> playing in
> reverse. Each wrinkle in his shirt, twitch of his eye flick
> of his
> finger, though, seems to move forward in time. His
> movements do not
> look like movements in retrograde. I look toward my own
> hand. I
> pretend to throw a book on the floor. I watch my movement.
> I now place
> Kentridge’s motion onto my body. We move together. I
> perform this
> throwing motion again. I watch as each joint, muscle and
> tendon work
> as a mechanic device to perform an action. I try to reverse
> this
> action. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. With close and careful
> attention it
> seems that I can choreograph my body memory to throw in
> reverse.
> Kentridge reversed his corporeal actions and set them
> straight by
> reversing his technological capture.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre


More information about the empyre mailing list