Unreal Nature

November 13, 2014

Hybridizing

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:49 am

… These resistances give us a glimpse of thinking, its form as movement against our movements.

Final post from Philosophy and the Moving Image: Refractions of Reality by John Mullarkey (2009):

… Cinema thinks but in a non-philosophical way. Or rather, cinema unphilosophizes what philosophy — and thinking — thought it was. And it does this by resisting what philosophy thinks film and so also it itself are when philosophy applies itself to film and illustrates itself through films.

… A ‘process metaphysics’ of film highlights nothing more than film’s own boundlessness and resistance to theory, especially ontological theory. Admittedly, this idea could be applied to every art (indeed, strictly speaking, it must apply to every ‘thing’ too), but film is of significance for being that art which ostensibly resists definition like few others, just because ‘it’ is so hybrid (part theatrical, part literary, part photographic, part musical, a group-manufactured commercial art-product). Film is hybridity itself, or, in Bergsonian terms, creativity in the raw: which is only to say that the very messiness of film — which is fast approaching even further levels of divergent mess through new forms of media and spectatorship — merges with the same messiness of reality.

Is that it then? Not an answer to the question at the outset but a resetting of what that question should have meant, namely, a suggestive outline (formed via the differentials of cinematic resistance to theory) that the reader must complete by refraction through his or her own imagination? As regards answering with one philosophy of filmic thinking, yes, that’s all folks. But as regards the practice of further cinema theory, perhaps there could be more.

… Alain Badiou is fond of reciting the end of Beckett’s Unnameable with respect to the paradox of eventual action (pursuing an action whose justification must be a self-fulfilling prophecy): ‘You must go on, I can’t go on, I will go on.’ With respect to philosophers, however, the only certainty is that they do always go on.

… what makes philosophy different is that its nominated problems are whichever ones refuse and refute unanimity at any one time. Out of this conflict of times we glimpse the shape that every thought has as its form; and this form is nothing less than the complexity of its own movements, which include its resistances. These resistances give us a glimpse of thinking, its form as movement against our movements. And, finally, this also gives every philosophy, including the philosophy of film, a nascent shape, created in the interference between contrary movements.

… What Rick Altman writes of cinema — that it is ‘constituted by a continuing interchange, neither beginning nor ending at any specific point’ — must also be true of philosophical thought. Philosophy is the continual interchange or refraction between itself and its other.

My most recent previous post from Mullarkey’s book is here.

-Julie

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