[Gilles Deleuze] Cinema I & Cinema II

  • Title: Cinema I
  • Author: Gilles Deleuze
  • Published: 1983
  • Title: Cinema II
  • Author: Gilles Deleuze
  • Published: 1985

Idea

  • Cinema is a technology that frees human from what it actually is.
  • Cinematic distribution of images have made us see more but perceive/think less. Cinema reduces the future to already experienced forms (cliché or stereotypes).
  • We do not apply philosophy to cinema, nor use cinema as an example of philosophical thinking. When we think through cinema, the life and out philosophical thinking will be transformed.
  • The history of though is cinematic. Life has evolved through the production of relations (new mode of thinking) among images.

Essence

  • Traditionally, essence is regarded stable and timeless – what remains the same through time.
  • For Deleuze, there is not stable entities, there is only time and the creation of difference. Therefore, essence is something that creates difference.
  • The essence of cinema is not what it generally is or the features all films share. What allows to produce new forms is the essence of cinema.
  • When Hollywood reuses the same form of movies again and again, it does not actualize the essence (potential) of cinema.

Movement

  • Premodern idea of movement: it is the regulated transition from one form to another as a privileged instance in time. It is oriented in advance to what it ought to achieve.
  • Modern idea of movement: it is not a special instance but any-instance-whatever. Passage is not determined in advance.

Movement-Image

  • By presenting images, the movement-image allows us to construct events according to the sequences of purposes, of natural consequences, or of changing situations.
  • Each movement (action) alters a situation, alters relations, and alters the whole.
  • Cinematic styles or techniques indirectly connects each movement to an open whole.
  • Montage presents movement not as moving a single body in space, but as connecting different movements to a dynamic whole.
  • In the changing whole, time is not a series of equivalent moment, but a whole duration of dynamics.
  • Movement-Images are not yet direct images of time. We still see changes from one movement from another.
  • Images
    • Perception-Image: things (subject seeing an object)
    • Action-Image: verbs (an action transforms a situation)
    • Affection-Image: qualities (an absorption of movement by inactive but receptive body)

Time-Image

  • In Time-Image, cinema is not a copy of a human-eye (perception-image) nor a series of actual movements (action-image).
  • Time-Image creates its own movements and its own time.

[Albert Camus] The Myth of Sisyphus

  • Title: The Myth of Sisyphus
  • Author: Albert Camus
  • Published: 1955
  • Publisher: Vintage International (1991)
  • ISBN-10: 0679733736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-679-73373-7

In this essay, Camus asserted that the fundamental question of philosophy is suicide; whether life is worth living or not.

The starting point is the feelings of absurd. The absurdity of life has two faces: Your life is absurd and there is no meaning in life. But this lack of essence (fate) ensures the freedom of choice and action. We are not destined to anything.

Reason plays an important role here. Reflection of life lets you discover the absurdity of life continuously. We are kind of doomed. But this reason lets you revolt against the absurdity. Therefore, consciousness is both bless and a curse.

Camus insisted that suicide is not an answer to the meaningless life. It is an escape from the reality. He asked us to confront the absurd (revolt) courageously. There is another type of suicide; Hope or Political Suicide. Hope means religious salvation; bad faith; to negate life’s absurdity with nostalgia, romanticism, and association with the divine. Hope of another life is the trickery of those who live not for life itself but for some ideas.

We can find some examples of absurd lifestyles. Absurd men acknowledge the absurdity of life and act accordingly. “Quantity of experience” comes before “Quality of it”. Don Huan did not seek the true lover; each love was as important as the other. Each experience is the same yet so various.

Sisypus is another absurd man for Camus. Sisypus’s absurd act of moving a rock becomes making sense when each act is not repetitive any more.

 

[Michel Foucault] The Order of Things

  • Title: The Order of Things
  • Author: Michel Foucault
  • Published: 1966
  • Publisher: Routledge (1989)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-415-26737-3

The book is about the episteme of the classical era (17th and 18th centuries) compared with that of 16th century. In the 16th century, similitudes (resemblances) are the key to the knowledge. Foucault wants to show how differences and identities became more important in the classical period. To determine differences and provide identities, it is required to have methods that analyze objects; measurements and the order.

(1) Four Similitudes

    • Convenientia (convene, group, proximity)
    • Aemulatio (emulation, imitation, rival)
    • Analogy
    • Sympathy & Antipathy

(2) Representation and Sign

The sign or symbol of the 16th century stood in itself. It is more than representation and has hidden marks to be discovered. In classical era, signs represent. But the meaning of the representation is little bit different from what we think now. Signs represent within themselves. It is a double representation. The sign is a signifier to its signified but it also represents that it is representing (it is a signifier).

(3) General Grammar

The general grammar deals with the order of language signs to show how language represents thought. Thought represents itself and that is language. The power of representation is in the order. General grammar seeks the universal language that represents all thoughts.

Universal languages differ:

    • In 16th century: the primitive language before Babel. It has the marks to the all objects in the world.
    • In the classical era: the language can represent all possible thoughts
    • In the contemporary era: the language that all people can communicate without translation

(4) Natural History

In the classical period, plants and animals are differentiated and grouped according to the order. The main criteria were the representation rather than function. Once ordered, plants and animals were named (called by a common noun).

(5) Study of Wealth

The classical era was the period of mercantilism. Previously money (gold) should be as precious as goods to be used as an exchange medium. In the representation era, money (gold) became a symbol and it represented wealth. Exchanges were encouraged and by doing so wealth can be increased.

[Jean Baudrillard] In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities

  • Title: In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities or, the End of the Social
  • Author: Jean Baudrillard
  • Published: 1982
  • Publisher: Semiotext(e), Columbia University (1993)
  • ISBN-10: 0-936756-00-4

In this book, Baudrillard talks about the “mass”. Is the “mass” really stupid like Niietzsche’s herd, or do they have a potential power that resists against oppression?

(1) The “mass” cannot be defined or represented directly. It can be only surveyed and tested. It is located in the model and only simulation is available.

(2) The “mass” cannot be manipulated. Even though they are stupid and dull, it is not possible to manipulate them directly. Baudrillard thinks the “mass” is like a gaseous nebula or spongy-like element. The “mass” absorbs every message and digests them. The result cannot be guaranteed.

(3) Politics were revived in the Renaissance. Machiavelli was the key figure to represent the change. With emergence of the bourgeoisie class, politics were replaced by the “social”. it is the time of expansion. The “mass” destroyed both the “politic” and the “social”. It is implosive rather than explosive. There are no more representative classes or power; only simulacra exist.

We have been tried to define the “mass”. But Baudrillard points out that it is impossible to define the “mass”. It requires the change of “point of view”. You can think of the “mass” only as a model, or simulation.

Michel de Certeau looks at the positive energy of the mass. Baudrillard is looking at them from the different angle. Is he afraid of the unpredictability of the “mass”? Or does he just want to point out the wrong gaze towards the “mass”?