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(We Create Digital)
"17. But I am eliciting these implications of Adorno's reservations about Gestalt because what they imply is what Adorno leaves unsaid here, namely the contrast with his ambitions for the constellation. I should caution here that Adorno sometimes uses the word 'constellation' to designate historically given, that is, already familiarized, ideological arrays or Gestalts [for example, Critical Models 138, 260]; my usage henceforth will connote 'constellation' in the sense Adorno valorizes, as a device with the potential to be turned, in somewhat the manner of the Brechtian V-effect, against such familiarizations (though just this dissident potential, of course, is what mid-century avant-gardists were seizing on in Gestalt). And as we'll see, the word's 'antithetical' reversals of meaning are themselves indices of the 'dialectical'-ness of Adorno's immanent critique. We might say that these 'antithetical' meanings--'constellation' as unconscious ideological synthesis versus 'constellation' as consciousness-raising estrangement; 'constellation' as object of critique, or as subject of it--are themselves a kind of constellation implying or encoding, concealing or de-familiarizing a narrative, that of the classic Enlightenment project summarized by Freud in the formula, 'making the unconscious conscious.' Adorno may 'repeat' an over-familiar constellation and then reliquify (or, Medusa-like, petrify) its 'congelations'; or he may present an unfamiliar and even shocking juxtaposition, whose estrangement is to provoke a new and heightened consciousness of the ideological condition in which we are entrapped. The historical image that results, ideological and critical all at once, appropriates the critical force we saw Adorno ascribing to the Benjaminian dialectical image, turning it, immanently, to estranging or defamiliarizing, sc. critical or (Hegel) 'negative' purposes."
(Steven Helmling, 2003)
Steven Helmling (2003). "Constellation and Critique: Adorno's Constellation, Benjamin's Dialectical Image", Postmodern Culture, Volume 14, Number 1, September 2003 | 10.1353/pmc.2003.0030
"This film, the first declared 'sans scenario' in its text introduction, is a collage. The swinging chrome balls, the gears of machines, the dancing bottles, the rotating disks juxtaposed with femine lips and eyes are all awaiting the female form trudging endlessly up and down the stairs with her burden. The symbols seem obvious to us in an age of technology and sexual advertisement/liberation."
(Ben Howell Davis, 1988)
Ben Howell Davis (1988). "Ballet Mécanique", from Man Ray multimedia application as referenced in Multimedia Computing, Case Studies from Project Athena, Mathew Hodges and Russell Sassnet, eds, Chapter 9, pg 117.
Fig. 1-2 Fernand Léger "La Ballet Mécanique".
Fig.3 Fernand Léger, production still from "La Ballet Mécanique 1923-24, / 35mm, black and white and colour, mono, 14 minutes, France, French Intertitles (English Subtitles) / Directors: Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy / Image courtesy: Institut Français
"Godard is right at home here, especially following his 80s fare like Passion and First Name: Carmen. In this decade more than ever before, Godard was preoccupied with the fusing of image and sound, in the vein of Renaissance art and music. This means that he's obsessed with the human form, male and female bodies. Historically, this creates something curiously hybrid. While classical opera may have to do with bodies, Godard's style is decidedly closer to that of pre-Classical painting, with uncovered figures posing still in order to be admired or, better, worshiped. Godard's use of male bodies juxtaposing the females here fits nicely into his standard approach to bodies along with everything else: exchange of commodities. The transaction doesn't take place in the segment; the problem is an imbalance of supply with demand, a Marxist cliché that Godard is only too glad to inject into a series of films supposedly just about art and love."
(Zach 'Andrews idea', 29/08/2010)
"Capitu is a Brazilian TV mini-series adaptation of 19th-century novelist Machado de Assis’ work, Dom Casmurro. The story centres on an ageing man looking back on his life in an attempt to discover whether his best friend is the true father of his son, who he has raised with his wife, Capitu. De Assis’ novel is now considered one of Brazil’s most important Modernist texts and, in order to convey its radicalism, motion graphics studio Lobo looked to the Dadaist movement as inspiration for the TV show’s opening titles and interstitials. The team referenced what several avant-garde artists called ‘décollage’, a process where – rather than building up an image through layering – cutting and tearing instead reveals layers of buried images."
(Patrick Burgoyne, 28 April 2009)
Fig.1 'Capitu' title sequence.
Fig.2 The making of 'Capitu' title sequence.