Monthly Archives: May 2018

Research Log 2.0: Recap

Date: May 29, 2018

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A photo taken August 17, 2018 in my room at Quezon City showing newly bookaliked books of Karl Marx and Toni Negri.

 

Updates from Previous Research Log 1.0 (July 9, 2017): As of this writing, not much has transpired in my research but a lot of things have happened. Although, a few of the major achievements in the past few months were the approval of my concept paper (August 31, 2017) and the constitution of my thesis panel (January 15, 2018), I have yet to work on a thesis proposal draft which I plan to write this coming June-July 2018 just in time for the start of the first semester of AY 2018-2019 in August. Below is the timeline of events and accomplishments that transpired for the last ten to twelve months of my life.

 

2017

  • Nang 2

    Photograph of my contribution in NANG 2.

  • June 2017: Publication of Plaridel Journal Article: Cinephiles! as Post-Zine: Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Networks.
  • June 13, 2017: Submitted a draft of a book chapter for an upcoming Philippine Independent Cinema Book Project of Roland Tolentino and Aristotle Atienza
  • July 8, 2017: Preparation and Submission of Checklist of Materials for Historical Research to Hazel Orencio
  • July 9, 2017: First visit at Lav Diaz’s Residential Place in Marikina with Jayson Fajardo as volunteer research assistant (link). Data gathered were primarily production notebooks and filmed and unfilmed scripts (for photocopy).
2017 07 09

Lav’s treat at Seafood Island, SM Marikina, after the first archival research in his home. In the photo: (L – R) Jayson Fajardo, me at 218 lbs, Hazel Orencio, and Lav Diaz

 

  • July 16, 2017: Second visit at Lav Diaz’s Residential Place in Marikina with political film archivist Rosemarie Roque and experimental filmmaker Epoy Deyto (link). Data gathered were primarily other production notebooks and Rose’s initial viewing of the collection. We also viewed raw footages of Melacholia which was shot in color!
2017 07 16 2nd visit

Date: July 16, 2017 (Photo c/o Rose Roque).
In the photo: (L-R) Me, Hazel Orencio, Epoy Deyto, Lav Diaz and Rose Roque

  • July 23, 2017: Meet-up with Hazel Orencio at Sta. Lucia Mall to scan some of Lav Diaz’s old family photographs. The photographs are meant to contextualize and triangulate Diaz’s personal accounts of his history.
  • July 29, 2017: Submitted article to Dr. Diosa Labiste on Benham Rise for publication in the journal on Asian Politics and Policy
  • August 11, 2017: Started reading Karl Marx’s Economic Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Started research on Dialectical Materialism, Marxist Philosophy.
  • August 21, 2017: Submitted Concept Paper to Patrick Campos, my adviser
  • August 31, 2017: Received comments regarding my thesis concept paper. Approval of my topic.
  • September 25, 2017: Withdrawn my contribution for an upcoming book project to be published by Edinburgh University Press
  • October 24, 2017: Publication of my journal article titled Deconstructing the Coverage of Benham Rise and the Territorialization of Conflict at Asian Politics and Policy Journal.
  • October 26, 2017: Started reading Hegel’s Science of Logic (A. V. Miller version). First venture into Marxist philosophy.

 

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UP Social Science Library’s copy of Hegel’s Science of Logic

  • November 18, 2017: Partially completed basic writings of Marx.
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    My collection of Marxist texts. Taken November 18, 2017.

  • December 30, 2017: In-Depth Reading of Hegel’s Science of Logic and Karl Marx’s German Ideology.

 

2018

  • January 01, 2018: Started reading Karl Marx’s Capital Volume 1 Introduction By Ernest Mendel.
  • January 15, 2018: Submitted my proposed thesis panel to UP CMC GSD.
  • March 3, 2018: Devised an Work Card method to keep track of my tasks for thesis

 

  • March 07, 2018: Arranged printed files on Lav Diaz.
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Ekran Special Issue on Lav Diaz and some printed copies of Diaz’s interviews

  • March 29, 2018: Finished reading Ernest Mendel’s introduction to Capital: Volume 1.
  • May 26, 2018: Presented by paper for Marx @ 200 Conference (link)

 

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Upcoming Tasks. My target for June and July 2018 is the proper drafting of my thesis proposal and I want this blog to be part of the process. There are several tasks abound namely (1) building extensive annotated Review of Related Literature for my proposal, (2) build an effective methodology to consolidate extant materials I already have, and (3) to write a draft of the proposal that is readable and understandable with sound arguments.

 

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Marx Contra Deleuze: Towards a Materialist Constitution of the Cinematic Sign


This paper was presented during the Marx @ 200 Conference on May 26, 2018 at Malcolm Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman under the Panel on ‘Issues in Marxist Philosophy.’


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Good Afternoon!

I will be presenting a paper titled Marx contra Deleuze: Towards a Materialist Constitution of the Cinematic Sign. As a preliminary study, this paper will not delve into the details and intricacies of Deleuzian philosophy. My main purpose today is to show the general dialectical relationship between Deleuze and Marx. This paper generally argues that different philosophies of cinema must be liquidated and critique for their lack of historicity, attention to material conditions of filmmaking, and complicity to the fetishistic dimension of cinema.

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Discussion Guide

As a guide, my discussion will focus first on the general contradictions in Deleuze’s books on cinema, highlighting perhaps its metaphysics via Bergsonism. After which, we locate Deleuze’s project in the larger discourse on cinema-as-art and raise the stakes as to how Deleuze’s philosophy of cinema conceals a more important layer of cinematic mode of production. From there, we proceed in presenting a dialectical possibility of creating a materialist constitution of the cinematic sign.

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Who is Gilles Deleuze?

Gilles Deleuze is one of the most celebrated French poststructuralist philosophers of the last century along with Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. He has written extensively on the works of philosophers like Nietzsche, Bergson, Hume, Kant; and on art forms like music, painting and cinema. Some of you might know him as the co-author of the book series Capitalism and Schizophrenia, in which, alongside Felix Guattari, they tried to sharpen Marx’s critique of capitalism through a radical re-appropriation of Spinoza, Lacan, Hume, and other philosophers. This resulted to a Deleuzian theory of the multiple, which today is popular among critical discourses in Western arts and humanities.

 

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Research Log 1.0: Ground Zero

This post is reposted from Correspondence N.1: On the Epistemology of Arrival, Lav Diaz, Argentina x Brazil. In order to systematize my writings in preparation for my thesis proposal, I will keep a regular log of my research on Lav Diaz.

A Sneak Peak on my Archival Research on Lav Diaz

Day 1: Ground Zero (July 9, 2017)

IMG_6717One of my book finds in Lav Diaz’s library- Kubler’s The Shape of Time. I wonder if he ever read this.

My archival research on Lav Diaz will not be possible without the big help of Hazel Orencio who first sent me a message inviting me for a Lav Diaz-related event in Singapore this coming August 2017. This prompted me to ask if she has some of Diaz’s primary documents to back-up my historical research on him. Two Sundays ago, we agreed to meet in Diaz’s apartment in Marikina, Metro Manila where Diaz is residing. He’s on a three-week break in the Philippines before heading back to the United States. Marikina is a suburban city adjacent to Quezon City where I live, just two jeepney rides away from my place.

Since my study is historiographic in nature I asked Lav Diaz if he could provide all the primary documents in my checklist. These include scripts, production notes, behind the scenes photographs and videos, rushes, cinematographic devices, lighting equipment, sound equipment, old photographs from childhood, school records, birth records, etc. So we initially level off in terms of conducting my research. We also run through my checklist to identify the documents’ location. Diaz is not fond of storing photographs. He said I should ask his regular film crew like Larry Manda, his cinematographer and collaborator since 1998, and Cesar Hernando, production designer of Batang West Side (2001), to locate some the production/behind the scenes photos of his films. Diaz also suggested to visit the archive of the comics publisher Altas Publishing to check on some of his works. Diaz mentioned that he did two graphic novels. One of which is titled Prinsipe Maru. He also suggested to check the archive of PTV4, a local government-owned TV channel, for his works in television during the late 1980s (post-EDSA People Power). If one of you is aware of Diaz’s history, the earliest version of Heremias (2006) was an educational video he did for the TV Program called Balintataw, which can be found in PTV4.

His personal archive in Marikina contains mostly old scripts, old but highly important miniDVs containing the raw files of his mid-2000s works. All digitized raw files of his post-Good Harvest works are there. His digital cameras are also there. His editing station is also there. Hazel told me that Diaz only edits his films in one area – his editing room, a small room with a Mac computer and a small single bed. Ever since they transferred in Marikina, he never edited outside the confines of this editing room. This must be a very special place.

 IMG_6518Diaz’s Panasonic DVX-100 camera he used in the mid-2000s.

Also, I was surprised to find that all his filmmaking equipment and all his awards fit into one bookshelf, no more and no less, although I haven’t seen the Golden Lion, the Silver Bear and Golden Leopard.  This includes his cameras, lighting equipment, sound equipment, tripods, and lenses. Diaz was also not fond of displaying his trophies in glitzy cabinets and display tables. Instead, he places his trophies alongside his equipment without any distinguishing space for both types of materials. One is mixed with the other. Some of the trophies even have missing pieces.This only shows that Diaz is not really much after the awards. Continue reading

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May 2018: Round-Up

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May is Marx’s Month. Labor organizations and people’s movement inaugurated the month-long celebration of Karl Marx’s 200th birth year during the Labor Day Protest in Mendiola Plaza last May 1 to denounce Duterte-US coalition and to protest for the lack of government action on the long overdue promise of the abolition of contractualization in the country. In the same day, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed EO 51 that prohibits Illegal Contracting or Sub-Contracting. In a statement of Kilusang Mayo Uno, the said:

The signed EO is based on the draft prepared by the labor sector over the past year, as ordered by Duterte, yet the language has been heavily watered down and rendered inutile. Virtually all references to contractualization have been stripped out of the government version. The EO 51 merely reiterates anti-worker provisions in the labor code that has in fact legalized contractualization and led to the prevalence of various contractual employment schemes.

EO 51 shows Duterte’s lack of regard to contractual workers of the country. As part of the thousands of contractual workers in the government, I heavily denounced EO 51 for obviously undermining our rights to access tenureship benefits.

 

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Readings. I’ve recently been reading Stavros Tombazos’ book Time in Marx: The Categories of Time in Marx’s Capital (Brill Publishing, Leiden & Boston, 2014) alongside several books namely Karl Marx’ Capital Volume 1 (Vintage Books, 1977), Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 1: The Movement-Image (Pinetreebooks2, UK, Essex, 2000) and Cinema 2: The Time-Image (University of Minnesota Press, 200X), David Couzens Hoy’s The Time of Our Lives: A Critical History of Temporality (The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, 2009) in preparation for my conference article to be presented during the Marx @ 200 Conference this coming May 26, 2018 at the College of Engineering.

Tombazos’ book analyses the various categories of time in Marx’s magnum opus work Capital. It’s quite interesting to see how Tombazos stresses the importance of locating his arguments on a well-founded claim that “Capital, like any other economy, is a specific organisation of time obeying its own immanent criteria” (Tombazos, 2014, p. 3). Tombazos uses the concept of time as guiding principle in re-exploring the themes in Marx’s Capital. Written at the height of fall of socialist states in the late 1980s, the book’s re-exploration of Marx looks into the possibility of reconnecting the post-Cold War Marxist milieu back to the basic tenets of Marxism. There is a promise of reinvention in the way Tombazos divides his chapters. He clearly wants to follow Capital’s trajectory from Volume I to Volume III, with each volume corresponding to a concept of time he assigns. Volume 1 corresponds to ‘time of production’, which Tombazos describes as a ‘linear and abstract temporality, homogeneous, a time that is supposed to be calculable, measurable.’ Volume 2 corresponds to ‘time of circulation’ which concerns the turnover of value, while Volume 3 corresponds to ‘organic time’ where the time of production unites with the time of circulation.

 

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Last May 26, I presented my paper titled Marx Contra Deleuze: Towards a Materialist Constitution of the Cinematic Sign at the MARX @200 Conference: The Continuing Relevance of Marx’s Thought to the Struggle of the Filipino People. My paper presentation for Marx @ 200 Conference can be downloaded here. The PowerPoint Presentation can be downloaded here.

 

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Histoire(s). I’ve recently rewatched Histoire(s) du Cinema for the 3rd time since 2010- 2011. It’s been 7 years. The first time I’ve watched it was through a direct download from SMZ. It seems like one of my first entry points in watching films circulated via online private trackers and websites like SMZ. Seven years after, it remains more than enigmatic, dense, and culturally alienating. I’m thinking of pursuing a film criticism project on Godard’s impenetrable histor(ies) of cinema written from the material conditions of the Third World.

 

 

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Deplorable, Disastrous, Politically Vacuous Hollywood. Ever since I watched the deplorable Avengers: Infinity War (2018), I have not recovered fully from a disappointing Hollywood mix of bad humor and lackadaisical depiction of heroism.  A group of Lyceum of the Philippines students, led by Nadine Alexi Visperas and Bren Allen Ginabo, approached me as resource person for their project on Hallyu or the South Korean Wave They asked me to comment on South Korean Cinema’s highest grossing film The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014). Of course, I’m more than willing to grant their request.

South Korean Cinema is not a foreign territory to me. I have watched South Korean films and series in the past. After watching the The Admiral: Roaring Currents, I can’t help but to compare it to the quality of superhero movies Hollywood’s been producing these years. As I mentioned in one of my FB mini-reviews: “This is not a superhero film, but it feels like this should be the standard of how superhero films are made: a film with an attempt to confront the impossible via effective deployment of strategies. The emergence of the heroic subjectivity is very clear. It is gained not by one’s extraordinary power alone, but one’s courage to face the impossible.”

 

 

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Radical Meme-tic Misappropriations. Epoy Deyto and Vic Teaño are cooking some good meme-inspired experimental films. I’ve previewed both their works and I’m excited for both of them.

 

 

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On Food Movies. Aside from The Admiral, my detour away from Hollywood is a set of films categorized in KissAsian.ch as ‘food movies‘. I had fun watching two gay-themed food films namely the Korean film Antique (2008) and the Japanese film Bitter Sweet (2016) not only because of the food depicted in the films, but also their unusual plot lines that are far more engaging than the usual American food movies like Burnt (2015). Meanwhile, Luca Guadagnino’s I am Love (2009) is a whole different film altogether as it explores the sensuousness and intensity of food and infatuation.

Is food movie a formalized genre? I think the bridge between culinary arts and the visual medium like cinema has been seamless and productive ever since. The culture of food in cinema, from the bourgeois plates of Luca Guadagnino’s I am Love (2009) to the street food obscurities in several films of Khavn Dela Cruz, expresses class, affluence and poverty. In cinema, food is a representation of class. In her 2015 study titled Dinner and a Movie: Analyzing Food and Film, Cynthia Baron concluded that:

“The scholarship on food in film has already shown that images of food and food behavior are woven into films’ mise en scène and narrative design in ways that shape viewers’ understanding and interpretation of characters and their interactions, the social dynamics explored in a narrative, and the ideological perspectives conveyed by a film. Studies have also started to examine food and film viewing. By exploring intersections between food, film, and culture in lived experience, research on food and film viewing should provide insights into the various social situations that can facilitate and/or diminish individual expression in contemporary mass culture.”

 

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As VCinema Contributor. I’ve recently taken up additional writing assignment as a contributor/film reviewer/film critic to VCinema, a Podcast and Web Blog specializing on Asian Film, alongside my thesis writing and my writing/AVP editing job at BFAR. So I’m pretty much occupied by writing on film in general. I’ve started contributing film review essays last month. My first published essay was on John Torres’ experimental feature People Power Bombshell: A Diary of Vietnam Rose (John Torres / PH / 2016). I’ve also written on Never Not Love You (Antoinette Jadaone / PH / 2018), By the Time It Gets Dark (Anocha Suwichakornpong/ Thailand / 2016) and my latest review is on Ashley Duong’s documentary A Time to Swim (Ashley Duong / Canada/Malaysia / 2017).

 

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