Marking the 100th Year of the Great October Socialist Revolution

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In solidarity with the people, and in celebration of the 100th year of the Great October Socialist Revolution, I will dedicate a series of blog posts commemorating the basic concepts of Marxism and also problematizing some contemporary (post)-Marxists texts in relation to the orthodox approach of Marxist analysis that hinges on the base-superstructure¬†and historical materialist¬†methods in looking at social phenomena and immanent power relations in society. I’ve listed some of the texts below that I plan to read in the next few months while I prepare my thesis proposal for MA Media Studies (Film):

  • The German Ideology by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  • The Communist Manifesto by¬† Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  • Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State by Friedrich Engels
  • Materialism and Empiriocriticism by Vladimir Lenin
  • The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism by Vladimir Lenin
  • The Theory of the Subject by Alain Badiou
  • A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
  • Communist Hypothesis by Alain Badiou
  • Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino by Joma Sison
  • Reading Capital by Louis Althusser, Roger Establet, Pierre Macherey and √Čtienne Balibar
  • Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory by Raymond Williams
  • On Contradiction by Mao Tse-Tung
  • Specters of Marx by Jacques Derrida
  • Sublime Object of Ideology by Slavoj Zizek
  • Althusser’s Lesson¬†by Jacques Ranciere

Some of these texts have been dealt with by other scholars. My goal is to read them with a renewed critical focus on their ontological assertions on temporality/time and technology.

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Notes on a Documentary Featurette: ‘Rear Window – Pelikula Pilipino (Filipino Films): Lav Diaz’


Duration: 14′ 00” // Date: April 5, 2017

TeleSur English, which is, according to their Facebook About Page, ‘a Latin American-based media outlet committed to principled journalism with a global outlook from the SOUTH,’ hosted an interview with Lav Diaz when Diaz was in London last month. This documentary featurette contains¬†a discourse on politics and praxis where Diaz reaffirms his political position on the Duterte Regime. Here are some of my notes on the interview:

  • Marcosian Imaginary in Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan: It was crystal clear in this interview that Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (2014) is a film about the young Ferdinand Marcos. Diaz outwardly expressed that Norte is his examination of the birth of fascism in the Philippines.
  • Diaz against the Duterte Regime: In this interview with screenwriter Emilie Bickerton, Diaz expressed his dissenting opinion on the Duterte regime. He described Duterte as a ‘mad man’ and detested Duterte’s¬†drug war and his idolatry (?) to the Marcoses.

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  • Language and Class: Diaz also discussed with Bickerton the class divide¬†on the local language, as reflected in his film¬†Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (2014) when the character of Angeli Bayani, Eliza, speaks with the lawyer of his imprisoned husband. In the film, Eliza expressed discomfort on the foreignness of the legal provisions that disallows her to file a motion for reconsideration or appeal to the court. In the interview, Diaz sought to stratify the class divisions in Filipino society via language by placing Spanish and English language as spoken by the upper class and Tagalog by the ‘masses’ with omission on the existence of¬†regional languages like Bisaya and Hiligaynon.
  • Diaz against Historical Revisionism: Diaz also expressed his disappointment with the contemporary Filipino youth for their¬†lack of engagement with the historical past, in particular, as it can be implied, a strand of historical revisionism that emerged prior to the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
  • Art as Pedagogical Instrument: Diaz invoked all ‘artistic mediums’ to join forces in fighting the state apparatus and the ‘apathy and indifference’ in Filipino culture. Diaz believes, as he¬†has been saying in other interviews, that art and/or¬†cinema can educate (and acculturate), that they are pedagogical instruments.
  • Lav Diaz and Foucauldian Genealogy: The interview ended with a¬†note¬†from Diaz regarding the importance of an ‘examination of the past’¬†in reference to the present. For me, this configuration on historicizing is essentially Foucauldian: a genealogical critique requires that, in order to understand the present, an ‘examination of the past’ must be made.

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More to come in the future…

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Notes on the Video Interview: ‘Emancipated Cinema: A Conversation with Lav Diaz’

Link to post.

Mubi.com is conducting an almost year-long retrospective on Lav Diaz’s oeuvre titled It’s About Time: The Cinema of Lav Diaz [link], exclusively playing worldwide October 8, 2016 – July 27, 2017. Their blog website, MUBI Notebook, has also been generous of critically acknowledging Diaz’s cinema in writing since¬†2010 (see here).

This interview is one of many interviews Diaz conducted with MUBI.com although perhaps this is the first time that MUBI.com engaged with Diaz using an audio-visual format compared to their usually interview transcript type. With regards to the content of the interview, most of the questions are fairly rehashed versions of the frequently asked questions in Diaz’s career: about his process, his prejudice, his idea of cinema, his memory of cinema, etc. These questions are author-centered, most of which are meant to profile Diaz as an artist-filmmaker, an orginator of a ‘new’ cinema. The interview is also meant to supplement the on-going retrospective, so it works as an appendage of sorts. As¬†a researcher who have read and re-read the transcripts of Diaz’s interview published since 2000, the purpose of this post is to respond to some of Diaz’s theoretical, practical and praxiological assertions, generalizations and conceptualizations in interview. The goal is to unmask any form of idealism in Diaz’s answers.

Here some of my notes from the interview they’ve done:

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MUBI: What is your earliest memory of cinema? ¬†[0′ 09”]

  • Childhood during Pre-Martial Law Period. Diaz narrated some specific memories of his childhood in Maguindanao, in particular the period in his life when his family stayed in Datu Paglas. The period was probably between 1958, his birth year, and 1970-71, when he was thirteen or fourteen years old, a year before the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines.
  • Diaz’s Provincial Cinephilia/Formation of Regionalist Subjectivity. He¬†recalled¬†a particular memory when his father would took him (and his siblings?) to a town three to four hours away from Datu Paglas (probably Tacurong City) where four stand-alone cinemas¬†stood. The four cinemas showed double bills every weekend.
  • Film School.¬†And looking back, with reference to a present idea of film school, he considered this experience as his ‘film school‘.

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MUBI: How important is it to keep the number of people on your crew to a minimum?¬†¬†[1′ 33”]

  • Diaz against the large-crew set-up in filmmaking. Diaz expressed his preference towards a ‘lean and mean’ cinema. Diaz disagreed with the idea of cinema people overdoing the filmmaking process by employing many technical staff (i.e. camera department with 25 to 75 people). He said that this large-crew set-up create a lot of troubles and that the artist-filmmaker loses artistic-aesthetic focus and subjectivity in the process.
  • On the importance of attaining Aesthetic Focus. Diaz prefers an approach to cinema geared towards attaining an aesthetic focus (i.e. ‘focus on the story, focus on the characters, focus on creating some geographic template… trying to find the more realistic templates for the film. The geographic template will create the aesthetic template. A better understanding of the milieu of the character.’).
  • Artist-Filmmaker as Individual rather than Collective Subjectivity. This essentially brings us to¬†Diaz’s aesthetic film authorship as a subjectivity formed¬†from an individualist rather than a collective domain of film making practice. For Diaz, the vision of the filmmaker-as-artist or as-aesthetic-mover has to come through. This is his¬†praxiological paradigm.

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MUBI: Besides economics, what do you find appealing about digital filmmaking?¬†¬†[3′ 15”]

  • From Digital-as-Emancipation to Emancipation as Reinforcing the Author-Function. Diaz vaguely conflates the idea of digital ¬†with the idea of emancipation. But Diaz’s idea of emancipation is not really the radical sort associated with¬†mass movements in the past. Let us be clear here in drawing the line on the politics encrypted in Diaz’s idea of emancipation. For Diaz, this emancipation¬†can be viewed only in the purview of the artist-filmmaker. In some sense, Diaz’s idea of emancipation via digital reinforces the authority of author, the artist-filmmker. ‘Emancipation’ here is a compromised concept, a concept not critical of the author-function, but rather a reinforcing one.
  • Digital is Liberation if and only if it liberates the filmmaker. For Diaz, the digital revolution is¬†the emancipation of the artist-filmmaker from the techno-economic closure of celluloid filmmaking. For Diaz, the digital revolution awarded filmmakers a personalized filmmaking practice: ‘Now we own the tool, now we own the guitar. Now we own our brush. Nobody is imposing on you.’ For Diaz, having this freedom to create via the¬†digital medium is ‘more important than having big budget’ recalling his experience with the studio system in the late 1990s.

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MUBI: Your films are often described as “Slow Cinema.” What do you think about this label?¬†[4′ 55”]

  • Lav Diaz Against a Dominant Orientation of Cinema. For Diaz, the idea of slow cinema emerged as opposition force against the dominant orientation that cinema must¬†comprise of two characteristics: (1) fast cuts and (2) an average duration of two hours. Abridgment of narrative and duration is¬†one of the dominant formal orientation of cinema which Diaz is against. This dominant orientation in cinema is, for Diaz, an imposed practice¬†perhaps, although not mentioned explicitly, by the free market.
  • Art vs. Industry….Again? Diaz equates art¬†as an abolition of the film industrial¬†imposition on cinematic duration: ‘art is free’. Diaz¬†creates a¬†diametrical opposition between art and industry. This prejudice towards industry is¬†actually surprisingly unchanged since his essay Aesthetics of Batang West Side (d. 2001). Diaz’s insistence for the abolition of the industry control over aesthetic choices of the filmmaker paints a contradiction in his praxis. The contradiction emerges from the recent production of his films¬†Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (2016) and Ang Babaeng Humayo (2016). His contradictory approach to filmmaking makes me wonder:¬†What constitutes the politics of emancipation of a filmmaker if¬†one¬†is already in collaboration with the industry, and therefore complicit with the culture of exploitation of the industry? For Diaz, the elimination of a profit¬†motive and the change of perspective from cinema-as-profit or¬†cinema-as-entertainment to cinema-as-culture or ¬†cinema-as-art frees the filmmaking from the imposing clasp of the market-driven industry.
  • The Market for Long Durations. Diaz¬†declares that he does not do cinema for the market. However, his recent excursions with market-driven local, transnational and international producers and ¬†distributors like Star Cinema (PH), Kino Lorber (USA), ARP Selection (France), etc., all of which are registered film distribution companies with corporate orientation in their business models, prove otherwise.¬†Diaz has overlooked the role of cultural capital (Bourdieu) in constituting the market for his cinema. Diaz¬†won major awards in several of major film festivals in Europe (in particular: Locarno, Venice and Berlin).¬†His rise to a global auteur status gave him enough cultural capital to establish a market for his films. His films indeed cater to an art-elite film festival-going segment of the mass market. Hence, this denial of market-driven praxis constitutes Diaz’s contradiction as well as the limitation of his critical attribution for an emancipative path through cinema. This contradiction¬†creates¬†a new window to us with regards to how we can critically study¬†Diaz’s politics of duration. We might be tempted to accept Diaz’s declaration as is without looking outside its rhetorical frame. Diaz’s politics of duration is not limited to his ideation of what cinema is. Instead, the study of politics of duration must expand towards understanding the regimes of ideology, technics and temporality that constitute¬†his impetus to say so. Is the¬†regime of capitalism, through its dispersal encroachment in the realm of digital and digitality, which gives us a sense of false freedom, co-opts the radical potential of Diaz’s cinema? If¬†slow duration has emanciptory potential to¬†provide an alternative politics of time to a world immersed in fast-cuts and the instant, then what kind of praxiological paradigm does it entail?¬†What constitutes a radical duration? What is the relation of a radical duration with a revolutionary duration? These questions are paramount to my thesis on Lav Diaz.
  • Diaz and Genres. Diaz discussed about adapting genre paradigms in his cinema. For Diaz, genre is not a problem¬†for its ‘usability’, as paradigms.
  • Long=Short: On the Ontology of Durations. In this interview, as well as in¬†some interviews he conducted in past, Diaz homogenizes the ontological difference between long and short cinema. This is however problematic¬†in a political economic sense. From a materialist perspective, a material distinction exist between long and short durations. No two regime of temporality are alike or reducible to One. As Badiou puts it, One always become Two.¬†For Diaz, the ontology of cinema cannot be made on the basis of duration. This is someway similar to how Deleuze constitute the idea of difference: that¬†there can only be a difference-in-kind and not a difference-in-degree. Well, if indeed duration is of the order of degree, then Diaz’s insistence of homogenization is valid. Yet,¬†the problem¬†with this proposition is that duration is not in the order of degree, but in order of substance and material. In cinema, duration is a material characteristic. It is corporeal. One of the challenges of my research is to determine whether duration is a difference-in-degree or a difference-in-kind.

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MUBI: How free are your actors with characterization and improvisation? [8′ 38”]

To be continued…

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Movie Posters of Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left, 2016)

Below is a visual presentation of different official and unofficial posters of Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left, 2016). As of today,  the film has been distributed to three countries (Philippines, France and Italy) by Creative Programs, Inc., ARP Selection, and Microcinema respectively. As of February 2017, Kino Lobrer acquired rights to all types of media related to the film for North American Distribution.

2017 – North American Poster :: Kino Lorber

WWL Poster for web

2016 – French Poster :: ARP Selection

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2016 – Philippine Poster :: Star Cinema / Creatives Programs, Inc.

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by artist – unknown

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Another study by Raphael Laureta.

 

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Edel Garcellano on Cinema // √Čtienne Balibar on Critique in the 21st Century

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Films do not allow for long-term, liberative transformation. If they did, the Filipino movie fan would have drastically altered the politico-social landscape. It is precisely on this premise of ideological ambiguations that the Frankfurt School started to question the so-called “culture industry” and its power or non-power to lead us to greener pastures. We know better: popular culture delivered via the electronic and print media has made us laugh ourselves to death.

– From Interventions (PUP Press: 1998, p.245)


Garcellano/Balibar on the Erasure and Disavowal of Violence as Violence

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Photo from here

Balibar:

I would say that what seems to characterize the world-scale dimensions [la mondialit√©] of the ‚Äėcrisis‚Äô ‚Äď which is at once local and global, and is not foreign to the eschatological connotations it takes on in our discourses and conscience ‚Äď is the superposition of two ‚Äėphenomena‚Äô that seem at first sight heterogeneous, but that we can try to relate to one another in a quasi-analytical, or perhaps pseudo-analytical, schema. The first is the emergence of an economy of generalized violence that cuts across borders and combines endemic wars with other forms of exterminating violence ‚Äď indeed, eliminating violence, since what is involved is not death in the strict sense, even if there are at this moment many deaths, under different modalities. [9] Exclusion, for example, or, perhaps even better, to use the category that Saskia Sassen recently deployed with impressive force and scope, the generalized expulsion of individuals and groups from their ‚Äėplace‚Äô in the world, in any world whatever. [10] No one doubts that violence is immemorial, that it assumes myriad forms and has myriad causes, or that it is an anthropological characteristic of the human being as such. But the violence that seems able to cut across any and every border, and indeed to use borders themselves as the instruments of its own generalization, is in a way a new phenomenon whose novelty rests on the fact that every person may in time be potentially confronted by it.¬†(link)

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A still from The Fatima Buen Story (Mario O’Hara / PH / 1994)

Garcellano:

In a sense, Fatima Buen is symptomatic of how violence in Philippine cinema has worked to the entrenchment of fascist powers as well as state discourse on aesthetics and functions, where the disavowal of violence is the very affirmation of it, thus enabling the consuming public to suffer violence, denounce it, and accept it once more in a ritual so catatonic as visiting the Church every Sun– day where redemption is implied on a seemingly recurrent cycle. It is precisely on the banalization through repetition that the state machine replenishes itself, energizes itself, and rules the crowd in a never-ending turn, as it were, of the bizarre carousel of life, death, ennui, eros.

[…]

Such a film as Fatima Buen in fact supplements the denial of liberative violence, rechanneling eros and visions toward the extra-communal formulation of violence. Redemption ‚ÄĒ as in most Filipino films ‚ÄĒ is a personalized, and apolitical concern and does not trace itself to the hegemonic order that triggers it.

Interventions (PUP Press, 1998, p.244)

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Tolentino on Clique Formation and Segmentation in Philippine Indie Cinema

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“While the spirit of indie filmmaking calls for a solidarity of the margins, what is consequently being formed in the indie filmmaking scene is segmentation and fraternal links based on filmmaking styles, funding cliques, and international festival exposure. There was a time when indie filmmakers would help each other out in the financing and production of their films. But what is happening are indie filmmakers of the same persuasion assisting each other. The fizzling out of the “indie spirit” stems from the construction of segmentation of filmmakers based on filmmaking practices. When segmentation occurs because of the filters of funding source and exposure to international film festival markets, then what becomes of indie cinema is an unprincipled and wavering kind of film practice, no longers contingent on the very idea of divergent filmmaking practice. The look and feel of indie cinema is reproducible, but the spirit behind indie filmmaking is not. The materiality of indie cinema still lies in its capacity to offer itself as a divergent film practice outside mainstream cinema and within its own confines.”¬†(p. 13)

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Compre Exam Review Notes and Updates #1: Zhang Yimou/Campos/D&G/

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DAY 1 Р3: REFERENCE HUNTING

With only a few days after the orientation last January 9, I spent my few days gathering all the book needed for the review. Very, very special thanks to Rose Roque for providing more than enough reading material for borrowing, especially the Philippine Cinema section. I also bought books available at the academic press. Thanks to mother and father for providing financial contribution for the references I bought. I still have other references to look for and book to photocopy. I managed to find other references in the web and have them printed right away. I will have access to other book tomorrow @ the library.

So far, I have 80% of the required literature reading and I am infinitely astounded by the volume of readings I have read. What more if this is a PhD exams? Can I survive? I enjoy theory a lot and I enjoy reading all these texts, but given the time pressure, it’s a torture. Let’s put it in numbers: 25 books in one month. The hell with it! Let’s read them all, even at lightning speed.

DAY 4: A Day with Zhang Yimou

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JAN 14 (Sat) – I saw for the first time Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Lantern (1991), one of the required films for the comprehensive exams. It was astounding! The use of color red as a metaphor for so many things, but does it function only at the metaphorical level? The color red functions also as a cultural index and a territorial marker. I could go at length in discussing the geopolitics of red, and even implicate McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red for odd reasons. Where am I going? But the¬†delirium and poststructuralist avowal of the color red in the film reactivates the politicization of the mise-en-scene. The mise-en-scene is at work here. ¬†More of writings on this in the next few days.

Day 5A: Campos and Crossings

On

Day 5B: C

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Hello 2017!

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Dropping by to say hi!  This note is intended to be short, just a run down on what happened to me these past few weeks of the year and some updates on my research on Lav Diaz:

  • At last, after two and half years, I’m done with my coursework for MA Media Studies (Film) last December 2016. I am currently awaiting for the decision of the Graduate Studies Department of UP CM if whether I am indeed qualified to take the dreaded MA Candidacy Exam this coming February 2017. Wish me luck!¬†
  • UPDATE: MA MS (Film) Comprehensives exam will be on February 11! Shiet! I got 25 books and 10 films to speed read and speed watch in less than a month. I’ll be charting my progress here, so stay tune. Hope I can put some of my digests on chapters/essays here. Wish me luck for the compre exams.
  • Also, after being unemployed for two years, I already landed a job last August 2016. So there.
  • As for my research on Lav Diaz, I’m currently doing a historical study of Diaz in relation to technology and the political economic history of Philippine cinema, following the framework of cultural materialism/techno-criticism. It’ll be a baseline study wherein I can finally look into Lav Diaz beyond his aesthetics and content and dwell on the necessary historical problems that haunt his cinema. One of the main questions that I want to problematize in this study is what were the technological and socio-economic conditions what led to the emergence of Diaz’s long form style.
  • Will try to draft something for DLSU’s 8th KRITIKA: National Workshop on Art and Cultural Criticism 2017 due tomorrow, Jan 15 and KRITIKA KULTURA CRITICISM¬†WORKSHOP due on March 15. I already have ready-made unpublished essays. I just have to refine them. Hopefully, I will not be too distracted tomorrow.

Let’s rock on for 2017! Goals for 2017: more publications, more conference, more blogpost, ¬†more papers!

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The Monstrosity of Ars Colonia

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The soldier

First published in La Furia Umana (Paper Issue) 8, 2015.[1]

In answering the question: ‚ÄėWhat is Cinema Becoming?,‚Äô I return to Raya Martin‚Äôs Ars colonia (2011). What I am after really is to find a line of critique – what is becoming in cinema – and to insist that there are no ‚Äėbeings‚Äô in cinema, only ‚Äėbecomings.‚Äô Consider this a ‚Äėmonstrous‚Äô writing, a writing emerging from the back alleys of rhetorical writing, a polemical miscarriage, a vomit of words, an ejaculation of death… While the conventional road of linear discourse can acquaint me with nursed and dolled-up concepts about cinema, I insist on slippages of anything onto everything: netherworlds and farmworlds folding into the thickness of the vegetation; the thinness of the earth folding into rhizomes of the universe ‚Äď an adieu au langage. One must open the language to let ‚Äėbecoming‚Äô take place.

I return to Ars colonia to pay it a visit, to reconcile myself with its images. One night, I was half-awake in bed knotting thoughts upon thoughts: thinking, nursing a monster in my head, creating a dwelling place, a scary place, a decentered place, lingering and looming in the darkest corner of the mind ‚Äď and it was there, the film becoming a nightmare, a monstrosity.

I return to Ars colonia not to write about it as a subject, but more of elaborating an encounter, a dream, a feeling, a memory of coming back, of coming into sense. I have been haunted again and again by the image of soldier walking at sea in Ars Colonia. I wonder why such a walk would involve a vast sea accompanied by islands. I wonder through and through, in sleeping and waking up, in lying in my bed, in my friend‚Äôs bed, in my lover‚Äôs bed with his arms wrap around me. I wonder about the soldier and sea and the islands and the explosions and the marching on and on and on‚Ķ The film, although only one-minute in length, lengthened inside me to hours, days, weeks. It folded the past into my present. Its images distorted my thoughts like how all memories became ‚Äď a forgetting. The gesture of walking, the feeling of the water brushing through the myriad spaces of the trousers, the weight of the metallic gear on the head ‚Äď all form an assemblage of an Ars colonial soldier ‚Äď a haunting, a ghost from the netherworld ‚Äď I, myself, beginning and becoming the soldier in my dreams.

Ars colonia is a parcel of Martin‚Äôs labyrinth. As part of a labyrinth, one does not simply arrive in Ars colonia. One wakes up inside it, trapped and punctured by the lines and forces it bequeaths, for to experience is not to ‚Äėbe‚Äô but to ‚Äėbecome‚Äô. To see Ars colonia in its full state, one must ‚Äėbecome‚Äô the eye of a dreamer sleepwalking along its intersecting planes of virtualities. Ars colonia is an ‚Äėand‚Äô between Independencia (2009) and Buenas Noches, Espana (2011), two other labyrinths in Martin‚Äôs career. Ars colonia says goodbye to Independencia by walking out of it, carrying within its body remnants of colors from the last shot of Independencia: a sky etched with sanguine blood seemingly bridging and continuing towards the colored skies of Ars colonia; whereas Ars colonia‚Äôs hues and saturations continues towards Buenas Noches, Espana. In effect, Ars colonia becomes a short conduit between the two feature films. It is not, however, a bridge but a passageway, an underground tunnel buried beneath the surface of the earth. It is not a canal but a rhizome, a segment that transforms as it transports liquid. The color effect in the two films Independencia and Ars colonia achieves a tectonic state in Buenas Noches, Espana: as the latter film among the three, Buenas Noches, Espana settles the destiny of its colors by transforming it into an earthquake, a catastrophe of saturations, a chaos aimed to break the retina of the eye more than what Godard‚Äôs two films Film Socialisme (2010) and Adieu au Langage (2014) can do.

The Ars colonial landscape is choleric born from Martin‚Äôs etching of the celluloid with colored felt-tip pens. Martin suspends, via this process, the portraiture of the ‚Äėold‚Äô in the film, disturbing its supposed historical body with evasive coloring of the sky and the sea. In effect, the whole figurative landscape achieves a vibrational state, heaving and breathing, life-like but animated. The colors‚Äô coarseness, its disruptive energy, leaves a trace of the past in the present. It is as if the artist‚Äôs manipulation of the color takes the shape of penetrative pulses of the present intervening the past.

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…The Interlude… (or Can the body of Wolverine be a finalize unquestionable image?)

Two, which stands between¬†one¬†and¬†three, is a gift – a gift of space – a space where one can inscribe residual thoughts, thoughts that remain a secret if undisclosed. This is a space of enchantment. Do not be fixed or settled.¬†This is a temporary passage in the hypertext,¬†a passage¬†between the two main texts:¬†the text prior¬†and¬†the text to come,¬†serving¬†as a bridge, bridging the ‘between’, servicing and serving as a text-bridge, or a bridging text between two different lands of interiority, ‘outside’ and never inside, an extro-bridge that extends to two territorialities: a territoriality of the past and a territoriality of the future.

This writing is a residue, a¬†precipitate, an excess of thought¬†from numerous engagements with other texts, images, gestures, residually escaping from the coding process of the brain.¬†Residual thoughts are weak forces. It has a liminal spirit – part of a ruin but out of place, a remainder, a microscopic dust left underneath a productive machine. A residue can be an interlude, a peripheral malaise, just like this, just like the moment when I wrote this in an exchange: “Minsan may legibility siya like in mainstream cinema, we have the abs of wolverine sa Days of Future Past. abs yun kahit anong gawin natin.” [link]

The residue comes in a form of a question: is the body of Wolverine in¬†X-Men: Days of Future Past¬†(2014), as seen in the series of photographs on top, be a finalized unquestionable image, an image that cannot be undone, destroyed and rethought? Is the image¬†perfect¬†and¬†enclosed? Will it, in the course of time, preserve its musculature – its dents, curvature, bulges – as a ‘fully’ inscribed image?

These questions are¬†peripheral threats. They threaten the cleanliness of the finalized image. Dusts can be small, but their very smallness, their microscopic constituents, their dissemination across the field of question creates a peripheral mess, the very undoing of the main structure. We assume, in many ways, that the main structure¬†–¬†the apparent body of Wolverine¬†– is more important than the residue¬†–¬†that which is folded in the image yet disembodied, undisclosed, a secret musculature beneath the musculature¬†within which the residue arrives as wastage, as remnants of the violent process of hegemonic inscription, composing the¬†marginalia¬†of a central machine – the Hollywood machine. It acts as a subversive force, subverting the dominance of any text: an image, omnipresent in our society –¬†the image of hegemony¬†– the Hollywoodized, extrasexual image. This political gesture of residualizing, which is a form of questioning, also enacts a forward stance – an insistence that this image of Wolverine cannot be final, that it has, hidden beneath its affective structure, the very mechanism of its undoing.

The residual power of thinking participates in the image’s undoing. To undo this finality, this capture of Hollywood, we have to rethink again of what the image is. Residual thoughts are ontological and, at the same time,¬†ontogenetic. It offers the image a chance to live, and it opens our eyes to new ways of seeing, an image is always in co-evolution with its ontogenetic material. The image is self-positing, as Deleuze would say in¬†What is Philosophy?.¬†It is¬†independent of its viewer or its creator. It has a ‘life’ on its own, preserved in¬†blocs of sensation. An image is mobilized by¬†sense¬†i.e. seeing, proprioception, etc.¬†not because it has an agent that controls the propagation of its affects, but it is self-positing. It is also independent of the viewer. Why? Because the viewer is no longer necessary in the life of the image, as in the case of Mona Lisa (La Gioconda), its passage in time is not dependent on its viewer. It is, on its own, self-preserving and its life is preserved in the blocs of sensation that constitutes its body. ¬†But how do we undo this image? How can it escape the capture of language?

Affect escapes – it always escapes language, confinement, and consolidation. Affect is what preserves the image of its vitality, its¬†likeness, its morphology, its living ‘body’. It is nonlinguistic, out of phase with matter, and it’s where the image’s emergence begins. This “escape of affect” is continuous, which gives the image an imperceptible layer – a residue, a shadow, an asymmetry. This imperceptible layer remains untranslatable: in looking at the body of Wolverine, one no longer seizes words. One finds oneself at a breaking point of language. From the image of Wolverine’s body, affect takes over the body. This is not a linguistic event that has means and ends, an objective with a determinable¬†start¬†to¬†finish. It is an¬†affective instantaneous flash.¬†Contours of Wolverine’s musculature are figures of intensities. We do not take them as is (a denotative ‘is’), because it leaves us in a state of unease. The image slips, mutates and transforms in our minds. Our mind wishes to organize it, to perform a regulation of its intensities, but some of the intensities escape because the image does not reside in language. Some of its parts can be ‘seen’, ‘perceived’, but not spoken, written or described.

The image of Wolverine has its own harmonics – a vibrational character. It is in fact a harmonic string, positing its own music. Why is that? It releases an intensity transduced and attenuated by lenses of material excesses within an empirical field. But is this arousal or sexual response a bodily event localized in the body of the observer? The empirical field extends beyond the body. Let’s look at this way: the image and the receiver’s body are not the only participants of this transversal movement of intensities. The receiver’s body is not the subject of intensity closed in on it. When the body is aroused, it also releases an expressible set of intensity, which also affects the surrounding bodies within his periphery. His body might give off heat to the surrounding air, or he might give a laugh or a sneer, which is an aural affect, heard by himself and by other ‘hearing’ receivers around him. Transduction of affect is always within a field in which the interaction between the image and the body is not a binary relation, but rather a¬†field relation,¬†a relay of various signals across an array of sensible objects within a specific field.

The empirical field renders all images and expressions in a state of deconstitution or deconstruction, not finally inscribed or¬†present. It does not impose the present or presence but rather it recomposes a past-future of the image. In the propagation of image within an empirical field, the¬†present (or rather the presence)¬†of the image deconstitute as it constitutes itself. It is an immanent body –¬†not yet there but going there, in process, a becoming,¬†still emerging, bulging out, emitting light particles of different quality. For the power of the image resides not it is perfection, but its ability to deconstitute, to produce a spectre – a haunting presence that would titillate the sensing body – the viewers – to their very ends.

Pornography works that way. A pornographic image is powerful not because it is¬†perfect and finalized¬†but because its power resides in its spectrality – it titillates the brain via¬†erotic haunting¬†– the brain is literally ruptured by the process of erotic haunting, sending shock waves across the geography of the body, transforming the body anew. During the haunting, the brain is at its height of creative process. It circulates the intensities from images of naked bodies on screen as a vortex of sensations. These intensities are disseminated and dissipated in every nerve ending across the body as a violent jolt.¬†In this way, pornography becomes a form of incorporeal violence. This creative impulse is not a natural process. It is learned by multiple viewings and multiple ‘performances’ to oneself – a habituated pleasure. Masturbation is a creative act. It requires the brain and the body to co-produce and co-create network of signals, intensities and sensations: all of which moving at hyperspeed within an empirical field. This pleasurable moment is irreversible and infinite, the similar infinity one feels in a state of hallucination. It is asymmetrical, decentered, and subversive, with¬†a temporal dimension out of phase from the dominant, linearized¬†present¬†time. Arousal is, in other words, a¬†differance,¬†a pleasurable differance, no longer of the present but a multitemporal event, differed and continuously differing from the present.

It can be said that the body achieves a creative evolution when undergoing a process of pleasure. Pleasure is emancipatory and radical. It brings the body to a place ‘beyond’ place, to an¬†event ‘beyond’ the bodily event. Pleasure is a residue of the signification process, a remainder of stratification, neither outside nor inside the main text, but distributed across an empirical field. The image of Wolverine is not a¬†finalized¬†image, inscribed¬†perfectly.¬†It is not totally hegemonic. It rather contains a microscopic emancipatory potential because of its¬†immanent and asymmetrical character. One more thing: the image of Wolverine does not have interiority, because as all images are, it is always pointing outward. It is always exteriorizing itself. Nothing remains. Its base, which one cannot see, the 1/0 codes simulated by the digital machines of this website, runs in parallel to this extensity, this intensive extensity of the image. Its transmission from base to the empirical field is feed-forward.

CITATION

Mendizabal, A. D. (2015). …The Interlude… (or Can the body of Wolverine be a finalized unquestionable image?). Retrieved January 17, 2016, from http://adrianmendizabal.blogspot.com/2015/08/note-4-nonface-interlude-lav-diaz-and.html

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