Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Multi-media Collagist' keyword pg.1 of 1

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.


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


Simon Perkins
20 MARCH 2006

Chris Marker's image-inventory: thesaurus rather than taxonomy

"[Chris] Marker's production of an inventory for his filmic archive through gathering – shooting, finding existing footage, and editing – is enabled by this double power of the image. On one hand, the image–inventory simply lists images as instances of a collection, allowing each to resonate on its own, evoking its own possible meaning, descriptions, feelings, and thoughts and on the other, the shared qualitative aspect that links the images creates a pictorial inventory or catalogue of the growing filmic archive. The particularity of this catalogue is noteworthy. In linking images or collection–items by shared qualitative criteria, rather than by qualitative measures, this inventory constitutes a thesaurus of the collection rather than a taxonomy or classification. For, whereas the former loosely groups instances conceptually (words/images sharing a concept), the latter tightly organises the archive nomologically (according to a law: alphabetically, chronologically, etc.). This difference is crucial: classification is linear, laying out flat the vast heterology that is the archive, taming difference through a system that is based on sameness – items or terms belonging to the same latter of the alphabet, originating in the same year, being related to the same place etc. – imposing order through a movement from the many to the one. The inventory–building of the thesaurus, on the other hand, is rhizomorphous, starting from similarities and affinities and proceeding three–dimensionally from the one to the many, from similarity to difference. The shared quality or concept, the broader term of the thesaurus, moves through analogical bifurcations and creates a network of related, narrower terms, and arborescence of possible meanings without a classificatory claim on, or hope for precision, certainty and unique locatability. As such, the thesaurus enables a radically different kind of access to the archive from that gained through classification. Classification privileges individual items of a collection through a structure which allows their precise tracking while the thesaurus creates a conceptual archive from the archive that highlights the connections between items."

(Uriel Orlow, 2002)

2). Orlow, Uriel (2002) 'Chris Marker: The Archival Powers of the Image'. In: Comay, Rebecca and Knechtel, John, (eds.) Alphabet city #8: lost in the archives. Alphabet City Media Inc., Toronto, Canada, pp. 436–451. ISBN 0887846432




affinity • arborescence • archivecatalogueChris Markerclassificationcollectionconceptual archivedifferencedigressive approachephemera • heterology • inventory • loose classification • multi-media collagistnetworknomologicalorderingpictorial inventoryrhizomerhizomorphousSans Soleil (1983)similaritytaxonomythesaurus • Uriel Orlow • video essayvideo synthesizervisual essay


Simon Perkins

to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.