Monday, January 04, 2010



24 lies per second: the simulacrum that attempts to reveal the truth


1_The limits of my image construction/consumption mean the limits of my world

Tractatus logico-philosphicus 5.6 (re-mix)

2_The Uncanny (Ger. Das Unheimliche -- literally, "un-home-ly") is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange

Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time. This cognitive dissonance often leads to an outright rejection of the object, as one would rather reject than rationalize.

A_Notes on the frame (the border zone, the homeland, the alien)

When we look at the borders of a shot (the frame), as Haneke structures it, we look simultaneously at a fact but also at the possibility of a” fact(s)”. The fact is that of the familiarity of an object or a person and the possibility is that of the unfamiliar, the un-nameable, that which cannot be defined, that which is alien.

Haneke sets up a territory while at the same time setting up the negation of this territory. Within the frame we are shown the possibility of “safety”, while outside of the frame we have the sense of an ever-present danger.

This ever-present danger is that of an abstract force that seems to be encroaching the territory of the frame and therefore creating an emotional response of a “homeland” that seems to be constantly on the verge of being evaded/invaded. Inside the frame we see (are given to see) the trappings of the first world, while outside of the frame (and it’s borders), we feel the heat of the desert of the real: that of the third world.

Outside of the frame we can hear the approaching of the planes towards the towers, we can hear the flooding of the cabins of the titanic, we can hear small hands putting cartridges in semi automatic weapons in Sierra Leone. Outside the frame chaos realms, as does our fantasy of the im-possible (adianoito). When the im-possible comes (is brought) in to our sight line (into the frame) then we, as viewers/witnesses receive what we desire. This is a point that is very relevant to the core of violence in the cinematography of Haneke: violence is when Haneke gives us that which we expect, that which we wish for. In short violence is in the expected and not in the un-expected.

B_Notes on form and content (social dialogue/emotional engineering)

The most potent, important and turbulent moments in the works of Haneke are to be found exactly at the moments where form/structure meets (and come into conflict) with structure. Haneke works with form/structure and content and how it’s placed on celluloid, both as a scientist and as an alchemist. As a scientist we are witness to a very refined structure being constructed: machinery. This machinery is functional, complete, it justifies itself within its own logic and for these reasons it is a form that is complete. Before us we have the beauty of pure form that can be admired for its craftsmanship. This is the work of the scientist.

The work of the alchemist is to be found in the construction and handling of the content. Here we see shades, half-truths, unanswerable questions, unreasonable passions, hidden stories, irrational gestures, shifting motives, absurd sentiments. The alchemist creates a dark matter, a heartbeat, and a blood flow.

Ultimately the scientist and the alchemist merge into one, and this one, can be seen as the engineer for the provocation of social dialogue thru the politics of emotion.

At this point it should be stressed that Haneke creates a synthetic composition and an organic decomposition, which has a result a static moment that balances between implosion and explosion, between a revealing and a concealing, between identification and alienation. The result is that the most violent moments in the cinematic mythology of Haneke are the ones where “nothing” happens.

C_Notes on the camera eye (The organic machine)

When form meets content, when the white and sterile surgical glove holds the beating and warm heart then we have the construction of what Deleuze hints at: cinema as the organ for perfecting the new reality.

Be it that the above mentioned methodology (as dissected in the form and content notes) is a classical formula (the boiling point which is achieved when form is on an equal level with content) and although it covers many forms of art it should not distract us from looking at the ingenious way that Haneke uses this formula. The resulting method(s) of this formula is the we, as viewers, become part of the work. That is to say that when form over-rides content the viewer is turned into a “witness” of events. Almost as if the zoom out of the camera eye is also the zoom out for the viewers eye. In opposition to this (or complimentary to this) the zoom in of the camera is a call for the viewer (formerly as witness) to transgress his position and to pass judgment.

If as Deleuze suggests, that cinema in it’s development can become a biological organ for the perception of reality then in the case of Haneke we have a sensory organ with a double function: the recording, documenting and viewing of the interior landscape, of individual ethics, of desires and fantasies, of personal politics, agendas and conflicts and on the opposite (or supplementary) function: the recording, documenting and viewing of the exterior landscape, the social structures, political conflicts, and desires formed by the “universal” libido.

Open Epilogue: The Seventh Continent, the state of provocation

"One day humanity will play with law just as children play with disused objects, not in order to restore them to their canonical use but to free them from it for good."
Giorgio Agamben (State of Exception)



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