Unreal Nature

May 27, 2015

Scarred in the Process

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:43 am

… repetition can introduce the will to meaning — on the part of an infant, for instance — but then, taken to the extreme, it can also deny it.

This is from the essay ‘Uta Barth: Figures of Stasis and Flux’ by Jan Tumlir found in white blind (bright red) by Uta Barth (2004):

… The closing credits [of a movie] return us to the same ambiguous patch of earthly surface that formerly supported the title sequence, with its gaudy montage of images to come. In the end, it is left bare, and we are reminded that “what is specific to film is that it has just one place for images,” as Michael Chion points out. This place is basically one that fills up; images accumulate there, one atop another, before departing again. “in film the frame is important,” Chion continues, “since it is nothing less than that beyond which there is darkness.” The filmic frame marks the borders of a world seemingly restored to wholeness, and this is what distinguishes it from the photographic frame, which always retains an essentially fragmentary character. Cutting across and into the space-time continuum, it disassembles the world into singular instances, objective records, which may then be reassembled at will.

barth_whiteBlind01

… In the time it takes to make an exposure, the camera’s shutter must both open and close, and Barth’s pictures acknowledge this simple technical fact by remaining insistently conflicted, at cross-purposes right down to their smallest constituent particle. The moment of picture-taking signals a breach in the continuity of perception — Barth calls it an “interruption” — and its results are inevitably marked, scarred, in the process.

… Repetition changes its own object, rendering it already-seen, a ghostly thing susceptible to all the distortions and corruptions of memory. Within the linguistic domain, repetition can introduce the will to meaning — on the part of an infant, for instance — but then, taken to the extreme, it can also deny it. What begins as a form of insistence quickly degenerates into gibberish, which is partly what happens here as well. Within Uta Barth’s practice, that is, the phenomenological incentive will begin to take precedence as a consequence of a delirious accumulation of pictures.

barth_whiteBlind02

… Two elements dominate the proceedings: a leafless tree and a telephone pole. These are Barth’s principal characters, and it is of course significant that the one is made of the other.

Last week’s Barth post is here.

-Julie

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