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Which clippings match 'Chris Marker' keyword pg.1 of 3
02 SEPTEMBER 2013

The artistic image: 'between the sayable and the visible'

"The sworn enemy of this logic of combination or juxtaposition are the border police of genre classification (typical of art history and its curatorial leanings which seem to contaminate film theory too) who struggle with any notion of redistribution of the sensible. It is in The Future of The Image that Jacques Rancière defines the artistic image as a set of operations or relations 'between the sayable and the visible' and calls this the regime of the 'distribution of the sensible', a status quo which can be altered, through a redistribution, which creates new ways of seeing (Rancière, 2007: 6). In the work of Marker and Godard, such a redistribution of the sensible has been generally understood, categorised as–and duly named–'film–essays', ever since André Bazin coined the phrase, referring specifically to Marker's work as a political and historical type of writing mediated by poetry (Bazin, 1985: 179–181). Fine. But what does the catch–phrase cover? What practice does it immunise? Is there a risk of seriously limiting the scope and aesthetic dimension of such films by segregating them?

Phillip Lopate considers the film–essay a 'cinematic genre that barely exists' in Can Movies Think? In Search of The Centaur: The Essay–Film (Lopate, 1998: 280). It must have words, whether spoken, subtitled, or intertitled. These must represent a single voice and exclude any collage of quoted texts that do not reflect a 'unified perspective'. The film must be an argument, an attempt at working out a problem; it must put across a personal view, and be well–written (Lopate, 1998: 283). However, his classification is quite prescriptive: no interviews are allowed and no documentaries (Lopate, 1998: 305). Yet, Lopate's examples include Resnais's documentary Night and Fog (1955) and his dictate of 'reasoned, essayistic discourse' seems too narrow from the perspective of visual art, and certainly contradicts his celebration of Marker, whose digressive approach to text and image is deliberate in a spiralling multiplicity that brings to mind, for example, Carlo Emilio Gadda's novels which are equally and intentionally digressive and always on the edge of subverting the integrity of the text, or, perhaps closer to home in a French milieu, Georges Perec's roving pen in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1997) that picks up from the smallest detail of everyday life a point of departure for a long intellectual journey. In this regard, Italo Calvino's 1985 Harvard lecture on multiplicity, later collected in Six Memos of the next Millenium (1993), provides an excellent cultural context for exploring the method and the creative potential of experimenting beyond the limitations of genre from inside, showing how genre can become a nonsense when its border lines are crossed, because you are invited to look at the real differently; true of these filmmakers, true of Calvino himself, true of the films of Michelangelo Antonioni or of Federico Fellini's too."

(David Brancaleone, 2012, Vertigo Magazine)

Brancaleone, D. (2012). "The Interventions of Jean–Luc Godard and Chris Marker into Contemporary Visual Art". Vertigo Magazine. Spring 2012.

TAGS

Andre Bazinart history • artistic image • border crossings • border/boundaryborderline • Carlo Emilio Gadda • Chris MarkerChristian Boltanski • cinematic genre • classificationcontemporary artcontemporary visual artcuratorial practice • digression • digressive approach • distribution of the sensible • essayistic discourse • experimental cinemaFederico Fellinifilm essayfilm theory • genre classification • genre differentiation • Georges Perec • integrity of the text • interventionist artJacques RanciereJean-Luc GodardjuxtapositionMichelangelo AntonioniMnemosyne Atlasmulti-media collagistmultiplicitiesmultiplicity • new ways of seeing • Night and Fog (1955) • Okwui Enwezor • Phillip Lopate • problem centric approach • redistribution • redistribution of the sensible • sayable • sensible • set of operations • set of relations • Six Memos of the next Millenium (1993) • Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1997) • text and image • unified perspective • Vertigo (magazine) • video artist

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 OCTOBER 2012

Alain Resnais and Chris Marker's: Les Statues meurent aussi

"Les Statues meurent aussi, co–directed with Alain Resnais. This 30 minute short film has a chequered history of censorship that at one time elevated it to a somewhat mythical status (2), and which prevented it from being brought into the wider public eye until some 16 years after it was completed. After its first screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 1953, and in spite of winning the Prix Jean Vigo in 1954, Les Statues meurent aussi was banned in France by the Centre National de la Cinématographie between 1953 and 1963 owing to its controversial anti–colonialist stance (3). While a truncated version was made available in 1963, the unabridged film only became available in 1968.

Les Statues meurent aussi was commissioned by the literary review and publishing house, Présence Africaine, which was set up in 1947 in Paris as a quarterly literary review for emerging and important African writers. Founded by the Senegalese thinker Alioune Diop, it housed the writings of some of the most important francophone thinkers in the latter half of the 20th century, such as Aimé Césaire, Ousmane Sembene, Léopold Sédar Senghor, in addition to French metropolitan writers such as Jean–Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. The journal also translated groundbreaking works by Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka into French for the first time. Having emerged so soon after the new French Constitution of 1946 had declared a 'French Union', Présence Africaine's publications signalled a new, post–colonial status for French and francophone thought, embracing what was then a key notion: that of négritude (4). It is this notion that the second half of Les Statues meurent aussi engages with most deeply, and perhaps most controversially, especially as it strives to connect the death of the statue with the rise in the commercialisation of African art for the pleasure of the colonial classes. Indeed, it is against the backdrop of a France that had so recently lost its colonial power, but which still retained many of the quasi–Manichean distinctions between white, Western culture and black, African culture, that (and in spite of their claims to the contrary) Resnais and Marker's film projected its passionately anti–colonial, anti–racist, even anti–capitalist audio–visual collage. It is little wonder then that such a film should have been censored until the late 1960s, by which time it might have lost some of its topicality, but none of its political vigour."

(Jenny Chamarette, 14 September 2009, Senses of Cinema)

[1] Sarah Cooper, Chris Marker, Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 2008. As Cooper points out, Les Statues meurent aussi is available as an extra on the French DVD release of Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour, Arte France and Argos Films, 2004.

[2] See Roy Armes' entry on Les Statues meurent aussi in his The Cinema of Alain Resnais, A. Zwemmer/A.S. Barnes, London and New York, 1968, p. 34.

[3] This is heavily documented in scholarship on Marker and Resnais. In particular, see Cooper, p. 12; Emma Wilson, Alain Resnais, Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 2006, pp. 22–4; Nora M. Alter, Chris Marker, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Chicago, 2006, pp. 58–9.

[4] For further details see V.Y. Mudimbe (ed.), The Surreptitious Speech: 'Présence Africaine' and the Politics of Otherness, 1947–87, Chicago University Press, Chicago, 1992, pp. 3–4.

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TAGS

1953 • African art • African cultureAlain Resnaisanti-capitalism • anti-colonial • anti-colonialist • anti-racist • audiovisual • audiovisual collage • censorship • Centre National de la Cinematographie • Chris Marker • colonial classes • colonial powercommercialisationcritique • death of the statue • European imperialismfilmfilm essayFranceintercultural • Les Statues meurent aussi • negritude • post-colonial • post-colonialismpostcolonial • Presence Africaine • Senses of Cinema (journal)statue • Statues Also Die • Western culture

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 MARCH 2011

Revisioning La Jetee as a series of video tableaux vivants

"An adaption and reconstruction of Chris Marker's La Jetee(1963) film. Its tells the story about a man who is marked by an image of his childhood in a post–nuclear war experiment on time travel."

(Choy Ka Fai, 2010)

[This revision of Chris Marker's masterpiece transposes the static black and white photographs of the original through a series of video tableaux vivants. In this way actors hold their position as they are photographed using live–action video. The resulting effect is both eerie and evocative.]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 MARCH 2011

La Jetee: a science-fiction film about time, memory and history

"This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood. The violent scene that upsets him, and whose meaning he was to grasp only years later, happened on the main jetty at Orly, the Paris airport, sometime before the outbreak of World War III.

Orly, Sunday. Parents used to take their children there to watch the departing planes.

On this particular Sunday, the child whose story we are telling was bound to remember the frozen sun, the setting at the end of the jetty, and a woman's face.

Nothing sorts out memories from ordinary moments. Later on they do claim remembrance when they show their scars. That face he had seen was to be the only peacetime image to survive the war. Had he really seen it? Or had he invented that tender moment to prop up the madness to come?

The sudden roar, the woman's gesture, the crumpling body, and the cries of the crowd on the jetty blurred by fear.

Later, he knew he had seen a man die.

And sometime after came the destruction of Paris. ..."

(Chris Marker, 1962)

Fig.1 [Français] Chris Marker (1962). "La Jetée", Argos Films.

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TAGS

1962abandoned streetsacross timeairportapocalypse • childhood image • Chris Marker • cine-roman • circular narrative structuredeathdestruction • Etienne Becker • Helene Chatelain • history • Jean Negroni • jettyLa Jeteememory • Orly • Parisphoto filmphoto romanphotographic stillspierportal (science fiction)science-fictionsequence designspectaclespeculative fictionstill imagetimetime travel • Twelve Monkeys • visual depiction

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 FEBRUARY 2011

Chris Marker: Memory's Apostle

"If in these respects Sans Soleil looks back to Marker's earlier incarnations, it also heralds his growing interest in computers and digital multimedia, which would become an important platform for his work during the eighties and nineties, resulting in the multimedia gallery installations Zapping Zone (1990), Silent Movie (1996), and Owls at Noon (2005), the interactive CD–ROM Immemory (1998), and the pivotal role played by the Apple Mac computer in both the narrative and the creation of his 1996 feature film Level Five. In Sans Soleil, the avatar of this fascination with digital imagery is Krasna's Japanese friend Hayao Yamaneko, who designs video games and, as a sideline, obsessively feeds film images into a synthesizer, so that they are transformed into flat, shifting fields of vivid, pixelated color."

(Catherine Lupton, 25 June 2007)

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TAGS

1980s1990s • apostle • AppleApple Macavatar • Catherine Lupton • CD-ROMChris Markercomputerdigital imagerydigital multimediafeature filmHayao Yamaneko • Immemory • installations • interactiveLevel Fivememorymultimedianarrative • Owls at Noon • pixelated colour • Sandor KrasnaSans Soleil (1983) • shifting fields • Silent Movie • synthesizervideo games • Zapping Zone

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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