A Body of Vision: Representations of the Body in Recent Film by R. Bruce Elder

By R. Bruce Elder

Elder examines how artists akin to Brakhage, Artaud, Schneemann, Cohen and others have attempted to acknowledge and to show primordial sorts of reviews. He argues that the try to express those primordial modes of know-how calls for a unique perception of inventive that means from any of these that at the moment dominate modern serious dialogue. through remodeling theories and speech in hugely unique methods, Elder formulates this new belief. His comments at the gaps in modern serious practices will most probably develop into the focal point of a lot debate.

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Extra resources for A Body of Vision: Representations of the Body in Recent Film and Poetry

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When we face irreconcilable contradictions, we shift planes, often (but not always) from the presented to the represented, from real people and relationships to fictions or stand-ins or tokens, for in shifting planes, we enter an arena within which we can explore our confusions and attempt their resolution. The need to effect such a resolution, not the impulse to proselytize for a particular political program or to illustrate an already worked-out view of a topic, is the usual motivation for creating artworks.

In our culture the self is under duress, however. Ever since the Christian view of nature lost its dominance, we have had few absolutes to which to moor ourselves. We have assigned the self the role of creating the values by which we live, and this task has proved too onerous a burden. For, as Becker points out, when we come to think of ourselves, we seem inevitably to experience massive ambivalence. Similar ambivalence characterizes our thoughts about our bodies. If we are candid, we must admit that the body is something we are bound to perceive in contradictory terms.

We wonder why. The camera moves slightly, and we see a gun. The shot can end at that point, because we have reduced it to meaning—its importance was simply to show us that the man is pulling out a gun. The shots in A Movie avoid consolidating their meanings as they end. Like most images in a found-footage film, the shots in A Movie are decontextualized—severed from any explanatory narrative framework, and even from 30 A Body of Vision any (apparently) continuous, diegetic space. But they are even more radically decontextualized: for not only does Conner refuse to form them into commentative ligatures but, more generally, he avoids any form of construction that might have the effect of encouraging us to reduce any shot, at its end, to propositional meaning.

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