The new issue of Film-Philosophy is out, and it includes my article “The Anthrobiogeomorphic Machine: Stalking the Zone of Cinema.” The abstract is below.
The first half of the article is an early version of the paper I gave at the recent Moving Environments conference, which encompassed material from the first two chapters of my forthcoming book Ecologies of the Moving Image. While the Film-Philosophy version is several months old now, it is the best statement published to date of my film-philosophy, which is expanded on at great length in the book. The article’s second half features an extended treatment of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker.
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Here’s a fragment from Chapter 3 of Ecologies of the Moving Image. This chapter covers cinema’s “geomorphism,” by which I mean the part of cinema’s world-making capacity, its becoming-world-ness, that presents us with an objectscape, a territory within which things happen and action occurs. This is in contrast to cinema’s “anthropomorphism” (a subset of “subjectomorphism”), which refers to the cinematic production and distribution of agency, the capacity to act (which is the film-world’s subjectscape). Between these two poles is the “biomorphic field,” the interactive liveliness within which subjectivation and objectivation are distinguished and separated from each other, moment to moment.
Chapter Three is the longest chapter in the book, featuring theoretical discussion as well as analysis of emblematic films by directors including John Ford (The Searchers), Alexander Dovzhenko (Earth), Pare Lorentz (The River), Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider), Michelangelo Antonioni, Stan Brakhage, Jia Zhang-Ke, and Peter Greenaway. The excerpt below comes at the chapter’s end. One of the central conceits of the book is that film constitutes a journey into a film-world, a cinematic Zone, a world defined by the three dimensions mentioned (geomorphism, anthropomorphism, biomorphism), and that the film-experience is a specific viewer’s negotiation of the lures offered by a film to be drawn into that film’s film-world. The two films discussed below provide different variations of that journey into the Zone of cinema.
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Andrew Ray over at Some Landscapes has been posting about experimental landscape films, including Chris Welsby‘s Wind Vane, Tree, and other “landscape-generated landscape films”; Sarah Turner’s Perestroika; the “Land Art for the landless” films/performances of Francis Alÿs; and others.
Catherine Grant writes about Turner’s hypnotic and haunting Perestroika at filmanalytical. “Films think,” Turner says, “they embody theory affectually” (in which she is echoing Film-Philosophy founding editor Daniel Frampton’s Filmosophy).
“the film’s ‘extreme psychogeography’ culminates in the narrator’s vision of Baikal, the deepest lake in the world ‘and the zero-point of Siberia’s status as a weathervane of global warning, landscape and mind’, as ‘a lake of fire awaiting the final sunset’.”
For Turner, as Sophie Mayer recounts, “the IPCC report before Copenhagen stated that the Amazon rainforest will burn when the temperature rises two degrees. ‘It’s a cultural real that is outside a Western imaginary because we don’t live in the extremes of climate change.’”
Here’s a piece of it:
Excerpt from Perestroika (©2009 Sarah Turner) from Catherine Grant on Vimeo.