Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cinephilia Annette Michelson October, Vol. 83. (Winter, 1998), pp. 3-18.

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for it strains with a certain violence an internalized sense of an ontology generated by a century of engagement with practice and theory. its indefatigablr ar~imator. "Transparencies o n Film" (1966) Anniversaries are of dual nature. an image-not of a film. The festivities of 1995 were thus commingled with expressions of mourning. for the end of cinephilia. -T. W. . Jonas Mekas. in the age of the digitalized image. Since there exists. and such was most evidently the case for Cinema's Centenaryunderstandably so. have been determinant in its maturation. its complex history over its first century suggests. Ltd. generated by a movement's radical revision 1. sustained through half the century by the development of a movement for the dissociation of filmmaking from the norms a n d constraints of industrial production. Winter 1998. that cinephilia may indeed have a future within the framework of its expanded construction. that of American filmmakers of independent persuasion and production. among others. begin to construe the notion of cinema in a considerably extended fashion.1 Consider. r 1 8 . began his work as arl immigrant freshly arrived from Lithuania. O 1998 Octobrr Magazine. but of a theatre for film exhibition: a projective and spectatorial dispositif. then. in fact. and Massarhusrtts Inslilutr of Trrhnology. for we must now. That step is not easily taken. but rather forms and periods of cinephilia. What I hate are the images on the screen. however.4lthough the Movemer~tunder consideratior~was largely generated by natives of the Ur~ited States. pp.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cinephilia ANNETTE MICHELSON I love to go to the movies. I shall be considering a form of cinephilia as it developed within a very particular milieu. OCTOBER 8-7. Adorno. Solicitations for the work of mourning were heard both here and abroad for the death of the medium and of its devotees. such as the Austrian Peter Kubelka and the Canadian Michael Snow. impelling rituals of celebration and of commemoration. no one such thing as cinephilia. the roles of artists ofthe wartime emigration and of members o f a younger generation. . formal and improvised.

(Photo: Stamos.4 OCTOBER Andy Warhol in the Znvisibb Cinema at the Anthology Film Archive.) . 1970.

" In all these. while conceived as a means of sacralization of the filmic object and essential in the conception of a temple for the ritual celebration of cinerna as an artistic practice. hewn from those earlier. with structure and materials inhibiting conversation and effectively muffling all sound from sources other than that of the screen. film club. n o forrn of supplementary. those formerly known as "movie palaces. be it that of the subtitle. In this theatre. devoted to the rnuseologically inflected constitution. that had. the glare of reflective wall surfaces. conceived not as an instrument of validation within the system of industrial production. For this cinema was conceived as preeminently the Movement's rnilitant gesture toward the establishment of a politique des auteurs. and exhibition of a canonically conceived history of the cinema generated in the continuity of an international cinematic avant-garde. within the projection space proper). the viewer could establish minimal tactile contact with her neighbor's hand. in their derivatives. but aurally. either visual o r aural. In this country the sale of sweets. too. In the particular theatre under consideration. with the spectators enfolded within the mantle of a darkness often qualified or broken by intermissions. translations of titles and of dialogue were available in printed translation. They vary little. Moreover. It was this isolation that was assumed to enhance one's sense of Vision. from the first. and the first-run theatre. was the architecture of the Velvet Light Trap. Spectatorship is traditionally organized within a framework such that the basic structural components of theatrical exhibition (as against its decorative aspects) vary but slightly over the range that extends from the neighborhood theatre to the cinhathique.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cinephilia of the cinematic institution and apparatus. the multiplexes. subtitles were not used. and soft drinks is traditionally available in the lobby before the spectator reaches her seat (rather than. for n o extraneous element. as in France. the cinerna of repertoire. Isolated visually. antithetical to the project under consideration. For foreign-language films of both silent and sound eras. indeed. one was well insulated. And one wants to note that even the rninimally luminous exit signs were an unwilling concession to the fire department's strictures. the spectator sat solipsistically positioned by partitions erected in an interior wholly sheathed in light-absorbing fabric. alternatively suggested this structure as a n ideally appropriate site for the viewing of pornographic film. such as that . the flashlights of "usherettes. the current vogue of musical accompaniment for silent film involved in the search for a restored historical "authenticity" of projection was h e r e b a n n e d o n t h e g r o u n d s t h a t such accompaniment-including that of specially o r originally commissioned scoresh a d been primarily t h e response t o t h e d e m a n d s of exhibitors." Edward Hopper's canvas New Yo& Movie (1939) docurnents this tradition. oral gratification was offered. popcorn. open seating plans prevail. Here. I must add that it was these very features. a n d n o t necessarily structurally intrinsic to the author's filmic project. Here. preservation. and it is generally believed to exceed in profit that of ticket sales. grander structures. was permitted to intrude within the pristine integrity of the image.

The Anthology Film Archive: The Invisible Cinema. Rather. this notion of the Author was tied to that of a film practice underwritten. The canon constructed by the founders of the Anthology Film Archivefilmmakers all-articulated the felt necessity of a policy of production and exhibition to support a reconfiguration of film history. This canon was grounded in the defense and illustration of the production by the postwar generations of . adopted in opposition to the principle of division of labor that animates industrial production. though by no means exclusively. within the United States over the three decades following the Second World War. one that would take account of the intensive development of independent and oppositional practice developed largely. most importantly. by an artisanal ideal. The Movement known as the New American Cinema offered a challenge to the dynamics of entrepreneurial capital and management that regulated access to advanced technology while defining the role of director as that of foreman subject to managerial surveillance and control within the factory system. of Les Cahiers du C i n h a .

history was elided in a step propaedcutic to its critical reconfiguration. Millicent Hodson. Cocteau. that of the Viennese filmmaker Peter Kubelka. through the loops of Adebar (1957) and ArnulfRazner (1958-60). . Murnau. whose own practice as archivist and programmer in the Vienna Cinematheque. music. this archive provided another demonstration of the manner in which museology traditionally shapes knowledge. Finally.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Cast Study o Cinephilia f those filmmakers of independent persuasion following in the wake of Maya Deren's epochal achievement in both practice and theory. were all equally implicated in a continuum that respected neither chronology nor hierarchy of age o r reputation-a continuum within which. located on the very premises of the Albertina Museum (whose situation within the Ringstrasse suggests the morphological d e t e r m i n a n t of h i s p r a c t i c e as filmmaker a n d c u r a t o r ) . it must be observed. Here. Rossellini. Du cinima exphimental Archives. realized (rkalrsks) at 1 a s t . 1995). Dialogues tf~koriques nu cinima ethnographique (Paris: L'Harmattan. and it was thus that these successive new waves of Independents found entrance into the company of the Lumieres. ever recornnlencing the canonical series of films presented in the alphabetical o r d e r of the filmmaker's name. 1980). "Until now we have Maya Deren's major theoretical texts are collected in film Culture 39 (Winter 1965). The 2 .Dhy and Collected Works. see the collection of interviews with the filmmaker and essays o n his work. its opening to an artisanal production grounded in the high modernism of American painting. Clark. were films composed as if to order for Adorno's iconoclastic cinephilia. Thus Bresson a n d Buiiuel. Conceived as t h e museological arm of the Movement. This canon quite evidently overlapped with that established by Les C a h r ~ r ~ Czn@ma. poetry. purged of any trace of the mimetic. Dreyer. This principle of the loop as the ideal form of the canon's exhibition was. designed to unwind and rewind year after year for the edification of successive generations. was museologically oriented. his radically minimalist alternations of blackand-white screen a n d of "white noise" with silence. in fact. and Catrina Neiman (New York: Anthology Film avec Maya Deren. among others within the institution's newly formed collection and programming policy. 1996). W e r e was a project analogous in its iconoclasm to that of Suprematism as promulgated by Malevich. Verlegerl. Vertov. designed in analogical relation to the work of one of the institution's founders and animating spirits. of Eisenstein. beginning in 1915. S. Keaton. Heraiisgegeben von Gabriele Jutz und Peter Tscharkassky (Vienna: P. following u p o n Brakhage.2 This perspective entailed the reassessment of past production. the exhibition principle of this theatre adopted the form of the loop (subject to amplification if not to fundamental revision). Renoir. like other important aspects of the institution's aesthetic. f evolution of her career is traced in The Legend o Maya Deren: A Documentary Biogm. Bresson. VeVe A. See also Alain-Acide Sudre. For an outline of Kubelka's own aesthetic. and performance was its distinguishing feature. 3. etl.. Kubelka had composed. du However. V. an essentialist project of maximal intensity and purity. 2 vols. Vigo. Peter Kubelka.

vol." in K. It 4. anticipating Adorno in expression of his own disdain of the mimetic. 6." Malevich had declared. Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde. then. but not of painted units of color. 1968). 1943-1978 (New York: Oxford University Press.. . and Agnes Martin). established slightly more than a quarter-century ago under the direction of Jonas Mekas. Troels Andersen (Copenhagen: Borgen. S. . 1. was the project of the Anthology Film Archive."5 If we may say that Malevich was to find his posterity a half-century later (in the painting of Robert Ryrnan. 19-21. See P.4 And one recalls that. ed. Sitney develops what he terms "the most significant development in the American avant-garde cinema since the trend toward mythopoeia . Arnulf Rainer. pp. In the pages of the penultimate chapter. Ad Reinhardt. Adams Sitney.Peter Kubelka. Kubelka. Adams Sitney enlisted the somewhat problematic term "structural. 1958-60. pp. 226-38. Yves Klein. Essays in Art."6 Such. 5. 368-97. had realism of objects. the emergence and development of the structural film. Ibid." . he had engaged in a debate (a true dialogue de sourds) with Eisenstein through two polemical essays of 1925 and 1926." He goes on to define it as one "in which the shape of the whole film is predetermned and simplified. Malevich. 1979). This claim is extensively developed in "From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting." and which generates "the primal impression of the film. found his within a decade-that of the late 1960s and the early 1970s-in the climate generated by "Minimalist" sculpture and painting and the film production for which P. working within the accelerating history of the New York avant-garde. "And Images Triumph on the Screen" and "Artists and the Cinema. pp.

(The members of that generation. Ford. but animated as well by that of high modernism. and of Warhol and Jack Smith o n the other. and the tension between the two cultures will be played out within the larger development of this movement of Independents.ouis Coniolli's work. the general project was. Minnelli. in fact. 8. Ray. organized and edited in 1965 by Guy Rosolato. of course. or Jacques Auniont. Le disiret laperuersion (Paris: Editions du Seuil. remarking o n "the optical mincemeat" of the American avant-garde in his introtiuction to Dziga Vertov. Its advocates were. a repertoire determined by a committee of filmmakers. through the project of the Anthology Film Archive. has not. among so many others) that impelled the French industry to open the way to a younger generation of filmmakers. The present preoccupation with tlre inscription of the corporeal tiinlension of cinematic subject and object. Jean Clavreul. capable. Hawks." "chaotic. And it was.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cinephilia offered. to this date. Ecrits (Paris: Union Wnerale tie I'Edition. of drawing younger.ang. in its nature. differently and somewhat more flexibly organized.) The strength of this perverse and highly productive cinephilia lay in its oppositional. however. F r a n ~ o i sPerrier. Thus Agnes Varda. thereby sustaining a margin of possible entry for the ambitious young Independent. Guy Rosolato. deeply transgressive. it will. as noted above. however. larger audiences into the film theatres. indeed. represented in part by what became known as the New Wave." they had been denied access to the economy and technology of a studio system modeled upon that of the automobile industry. exemplified elsewhere in this issue by Jean-1." o r "irrelevant. and Jean-Paul Valabrega. are now. In both instances. through the intensity of its commitment to preservation and documentation of film work. 1970). that I shall be considering. of course. the version of intellectuals and artists nourished by the modernist tradition. the senior statesman of a newly threatened industrial production in Europe. the threat posed by the very success within the international market of American industrial production. as it were.7 European systems of production. literalized. Unlike their European contemporaries. were in many cases subventioned by the state. in the drive toward a cinema of difference. who tended to label it "perverse. reified. of course. 1967). its transgressive impulse. acknowletiged its crucial role in Brakllage's oeuvre. a canon conceived. It was. in the dawn of the television era of the early 1960s. frequently attacked as a perversion of cinephilia. To do so. We d o well. through a fastidiousness of projection technique enhanced by the absorptive properties of its setting. the inheritors of a mass film culture. It articulated a prescriptively utopian a n d wdemptivr version of cinephilia." "futile. See Piera Aulagnier-Spairani. for the edification of succeeding generations. . animate the debate between the project of Brakhage and Deren on the one hand. I. and it is this version. so deeply admired abroad (the cinema of Hitchcock. Briefly put.8 Rosolato designated fetishism as a privileged point of departure for these 7. to pause at this point to inquire into the nature and implications of this perverse and obviously fetishistic cinephilia. I turn to the published series of exchanges on the themes of Desire and Perversion. in conversation in 1966 on the cinema of Robert Breer. on one level.

pools. The film has consistently avoided dealing . A full understanding of this would require consideration of the rejection-critical. . a n d its transgressive impulse as that of the Movement's drive toward a cinema of difference. T h e poet Robert Kelly. Metafihors on Vision (New York: Film Culture. 11. the early arid initiatory work of collaboration by the filmmaker Willard Maas and the British poet George Barker takes on an especial significance. systematic. 47. and perversion. . I).OCTOBER exchanges."in The Alm Ct~lture ead~r. The first object of this transgressive impulse was the mystique of professionalism. the three structures of fetishism.with the human body. . Ibiti. membrane. 1970). Thus: "It really does seem that perversion is to gnosis what obsessional neurosis is to a religion of ritualized tradition. "The Image of the Botiy. but will likewise insist that Shechinah walks only in the house of flesh. I have in another context noted as follows the manner in which the succession of extreme close-ups in which skin. p. gnosis as redemptive knowledge."g And Piera Aulagnier-Spairani in reply pointed out: "If it be true that the perverse act consists in a sacralization of the fetish. an early advocate of the new a n d independent American cinema. . " pages unnumbered. 1963). put the case as follows: I rejoice in the existence of soul. Estranged. the body appears as "an America. the body in its fullness of being.. and that the meaning of this requirement should not be underestimated. a Newfoundland.12 In this respect. and Barker filmed details of each other's bodies. Ihid. filmmaker Marie Menken. . and categorical in the case of Stan Brakhage-of existing codes and techniques of cinematic representation. Geography o the Body (1943) is entirely composed of shots for which Maas. 393-97. with the wholeness that man is in the only dimension in which the screen can make that wholeness apparent. linking. Brakhage's radical critique of prevailing theories of visuality and of standard film equipment and technology antedates hy approximately a decatie that of Godard offered in the wake of the events of 1968. crags and canyons of uncharted territory. fold. together f with his wife. . The film develops the grand metaphor of body as landscape. in a manner that appears particularly appropriate for consideration in the present context." its lineaments suffused with the minatory 9. I will praise accordingly. . limb and meniber are transformed into plateaux. it seems equally important to remember that this requires a permanently immutable ceremony. forms of regulation. . 33. 10. pp. . K e 12.11 A second focus of this drive was that which had been repeatedly repressed within standardized production: the erotic. Robert Kelly. ti."lo We must u n d e r s t a n d this perverse cinephilia as oppositional. and that spiritual entities shall be predicated on visible phenomenal bodies. Adarns Sitney (New khrk: Praeger Publishers. caves. prairies. The textual locus classicus is Stan Brakhage.. P. hair.

also known as T e Magic Feature. to reshape and transform the body into landscape. and patterns of editing as well as text. Deren. These inheritors of the hyperbolic editing tradition of an older avant-garde are celebrants of "the whole man. thereby converging.14 It would be Warhol and Jack Smith (whose debt to Sternberg is evident in Flaming Creatures and in other works of film and of performance) who would reintroduce into a homoerotic cinema of the early 1960s a cult of the performer at the center of a cinephilia that This passage is reproduced from Michelson. with the filmic microscopy which now offers us passage through the canals of the reproductive and cardiovascular systems. The work of Harry Smith represents a particularly interesting variation on these themes. Through close-up.13 And the newly forming independent cinema becomes one in which desire and its fulfillment-a desire linked with anguish and the pleasures of the perverseare first articulated as in the work of Maas.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cznqbhilia 11 Jack Smith. 1962. 42-55. "'Where Is Your Rupture?':Mass Culture and the 13. magnification. thrill of exploration. Flaming Creatures. in a manner that is both curious and interesting. Gesamtkunstwerk. Menken. 14. during the 1950s." their work."October56 (Spring 1991). pp. a redemptive carnal knowledge of "the whole man. this film works to disarticulate. according to Sitney's informed h account. produced. grounded in a montage tradition. See his Heaven and Earth Magic." Promulgators of a gnosis. is centered nonetheless on an erotics of part objects-of a body in pieces. .

" . Warhol as well who.things. as I have suggested at some length. with its division of labor. and ritual obedience. such as Haircut. Blow Job. kriowri as the Factory. of course. is. marketing strategies. But the energy oi obsession will be devoted to the establishment of detailed .17 Its carnivalesque 15. It is. the fixing of liturgy and of necessary c0nstraints.."a permanent contestation of the Law. its superstar system. in a series of moves too widely known to recapitulate here. And if the body be not the soul. of course. industrial cinema. Sleep. And they ibund a further. They provide a context for the clarification of the mechanisms of sublimation. Thi4 is a cinema that anticipates the movement for gay liberation a n d that articulates to the full Whitman's affirmation: "I sing the body electric. The perverse subject thus finds himself well situated for the sorts of reversals and revolutions that propel cr~lturalchoices. the cinephilia of Jack Smith a n d of Warhol-with its emphasis on the star performer-that was to reinstall and celebrate the literally visible "whole man.'" It was. Works of the 1960s. through action in real time and task performance. A Bakhtinian reading of Warhol's site of production. legal procedure. "'Where Is Your R~ipture?': Mass (hilture and the Cesarrltkunstwerk. of course. finds fertile ground and necessary conditions for invention that provide the foundation for the sacred o r the aesthetic. Its conceptiori of necessary restraints. the Anthology Filrrl Archive's careful documentation of the Movement's development. articulated. among others) within the tinfoil-lined precincts that. research. when scrutinized as a site of production. in their creation of a reflective surround. in the structure of its exhibition policy and its surrounding rituals." one does well to note. among othel. of fermentation within which discovery. Its files and the Archive's library are the primary source in this country for research in the history of independent cinema of the postwar period. The Factory. 1 The sort of fetishiration involved in its archival function is." through the restoration of the establishing shot. the elaborately carnivalesque version of an industrial production unit. what is the soul?" If gnosis is. strikingly concrete embodiment in Anthology Film Archive-in its architecture. and The Chelsea Gzrls are paradigmatic in this regard. Eat. as well as in its radical reconfiguration of film history. with its division of labor. aroused lively debate. unveiling. with no recourse to mediation.1~ Such are the elements that we find embodied at the level of theory and of practice extensively articulated in the textual production of what was termed the New American Cinema. is offered in Michelson. inherently and universally insrribed in that very practice. fostered. etc. And Warhol celebrated in a series of dazzling portraits the Star (Taylor. The productive forrrls of these traits involved. . long take. as well. reinstalled the elements of industrial production in the studio known as the Factory. Monroe. office of public relations.OCTOBER has rejoined and revalidated the popular. as Rosolato has proposed. 17. Presley. whether of exhibition policy or of its architecture. and reified the narcissism of its denizens. that it forms a sort of state of proliferation.

systematically used.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cinephilia 13 nature. brilliant strategy of reassessment and revalorization of mass production and its entrepreneurial base. The object of Warhol's cinephilia is the cinematic apparatus and institution as a whole. and desacralization. . hyperbolization. involving tactics of inversion. represented an Andy Warhol at the Factory. his insistence that the long take. contravenes the poetic function of cinema. formed part of Warhol's larger. And Brakhage's vehemently expressed opposition to Warhol.

//tr.r'~ Son / ~ / ) / I I ~71fi//1 P ///. Tl~c1'ipc.ohc.//ti/ /)/.14 OCTOBER k. / 96 9. Tom. Tom./0711.z~~. .

sublimated. Tom. taking advantage of the loop-character of all movies. indeed. mediated until then by the expressive erotics of the human body. And cinephilia will now assume the guise of meta-cinema. 18. Recent developn~ents film history. g e n e r a t i n g what may be of described as a displac~rn~nt cinematic de~ire. delighting in the whole bizarre human phenomena of storytelling itself and this within the fantasy of reading any bygone time out of the visual crudities of film dream within a dream!eo This film thus represents the displacement to another site of desire. with the use of an analytic projector. increasingly frequent in the 1970s." have in animated a more general interest in this example of early narrative. is now deflected. Celia Britton et al.19 Of his project. articulated through the body. p. suddenly looks o u t of an actor's face). My camera closes in.~ychoanaIysisand Cinema.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cinephilia attack on precisely a restoration of those elements generated by the cinematic institution that were central to Warhol's cinephilia. p. Tom. H e then proceeds. 77. in two productions that stand as epic instances of their respective aesthetics: Thp Art of Vision (1962-68) and T ~ P Chelsea Girls (1968). only to better ascertain the infinite richness (playing with fate. . Jacobs has this to say: The staging and cutting is pre-Griffith. an amorous caressing and exhibition of the film's hitherto obscured. Tom. 1982). and the style is not primitive. of film itself. 19. The Imaginary Signvier: P. 'LO. And it is as though the extremity of these two ultimate efforts is such as to exhaust t h e space of confrontation. Tom. inspired indication of a path of cinematic development whose value has only recently been rediscovered. Griffith's cameraman) on the narrative of the nursery rhyme ("Tom.'isionay Film. stole a pig and away he run"). Ern. intimate parts. Seven infinitely complex cinetapestries comprise the original film. confused. not uncinematic but the cleanest. rescuing the film from the ash can of history to which it had been consigned. to reshoot the film for one hour with what one can only describe as a loving. reoriented. the Piper's son. recalling with variations some visual complexes again and again for particular savoring). Jacobs. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. then. Its paradigmatic expression is the film by Ken Jacobs. Torn.We locate it partly and centrally in the use of found footage. centered o n the period formerly termed "primitive. This formulation is here offered as an instantiation of the claims made by Christian Metz as to the erotic dimension of cinematic framing and reframing. a desire for cinema as such. t h e corpus. epitomized. This confrontation is intensified. is centered on the projection of a film made in 1905 (possibly by Bitzer.l8 first offers the film in extenso. 406. See Metz. Cited by Sitney in I. trans. thp P i p ~ r kSon (1969). searching out incongruities in the story-telling (a person. This work most intensively exemplifies the manner in which the filmmaker's cinephilia.

masking. And within this development. . one discerns two emerging trends. I can find n o better way of describing o r analyzing this period of visual ascesis than by offering the following anecdote. one has the sense of re-dress through a permanently altered view of the object. Breer. Connor. while preparing a catalogue for a retrospective exhibition in Europe of the American independent cinema. a n d freeze-frame. like the caress). marking the high point of a celebratory cinephilia. when the screen is wholly cleared of images. as it were. in fact. to take back as well as to retain. and the concern with coherence of the compositional geslalt. after an hour of this caressing penetration of the filmic object. 21. Kubelka. This followed upon the advent of Minimalism in painting and sculpture. and shares with them the deployment of monochrome. and his prophet was named Tony Conrad. a demonstration of the amorous caress of this early object of desire. It is coincident with a n o t h e r particularly interesting moment of radical ascesis: that of Kubelka's posterity. when. the cinema. o r Conrad?" For indeed. finds the means to reveal space has something to d o with a kind of permanent undressing. a generalised striptease. For my reflection produced a rapid montage of appropriate single frames in untold numbers. for a final. without a trace of malice-"Why not an empty screen?" To which my immediate response was.OCTOBER Tom is. slow motion (combined with panning a n d changes of angle). with its wandering framings (wandering like the look. p. Its framing a n d reframing evoke with singular force the way in which Christian Metz described filmic framing through the metaphor of the striptease that provokes and renews provocation through a kind of hide-and-seek. Frampton. drawn from personal experience. In 1974. provides the point of departure. of patterns of repetition. "But whose e m p t y screen? T h a t of Brakhage. in an era when a notion of structure is seen to predominate over the projection of subjectivity. through the use of close-up. . sublimatory moment of this movement's cinephilia. the screen voided of images seemed to be developing as an important feature of this cinema. when a friend suggested-not. Quite evidently.21 And indeed. The first was a growing tendency toward systematicity. since it also makes it possible to dress space again. Jacobs restores and offers once again the film in its pristine entirety. Kubelka's posterity had arrived. perhaps. This displacement. I was puzzling over the choice of an image to reproduce on the cover. Sharits. The way the cinema. O n e saw it sometimes in color. 77. to remove from view what it has previously shown. more frequently as the pristine white radiance of t h e projector lamp in alternation with the blackness of the screen in the darkened theatre. a less but more perfected striptease. M r t ~ The Imaginary Signijrr.

as an anticipatory instance. 1972. . Poetic Justice. in fact. It is. Hollis Frampton. relentlessly deferred. of whom Stan Brakhage once remarked that "he strained cinema through language. constantly. however. and the confusion of spatial coordinates and the systematic use of the pronominal shifter work to dissolve and defeat the construction of a coherent narrative. Report (1965). To read the text requires the integral repositioning of the spectator. however. dark screen. in it the image track comes entirely to be replaced by the anguish and disorientation of the on-the-spot report of catastrophe over the empty. He created in Poetic Justice (1972) the film which is. We may regard Bruce Connor's remarkable film on the assassination of Kennedy.Gnosis and Iconoclasm: A Case Study of Cinqbhilia 17 And it is at this time when the vacuum of the formerly image-crowded screen is filled with the return of the linguistic sign. a new era in the production of the cinema of independent persuasion. The deictic promise held out is. its screen filled with the successive shots-one to each page-of a film's handwritten script. wholly and radically textual. whose projection of the imaginary film. the narrative of an apparently triangular series of erotic transactions within a house and garden. is conveyed by descriptions of still photographs." Frampton opened. made visible in the work of the filmmaker Hollis Frampton. in fact.

was composed by a member of its advisory board. Barthes was a celebrant of the ritual of film-going. "Transparencies on Film. in effect. Thomas Y. the reserve of the linguistic signifier that Frampton offered in Poetic Justice." trans. 59. New C.evin.23 It was. as noted.rrmrrn Critiqur (Fall/Winter 1981). one that was wholly eidetic." Like Adorno. I. so that there would now exist a cinema invented as if to order for them both. 23. 199-205.5 (Paris: Editions du Seuil. its plethora of information imposed upon the spectator. pp. at the same time. the discretion. but to what he saw as the inevitably mimetic nature of the film image. and.24 See Theodor W. as the ultimate object of cinephilia. . postulating. a deeply resistant spectator-resistant to the fullness of the image. Rolrind Barthe3 par Roland Barthr. had objected not to moviegoing. 22. development of a truly independent cinema. written in recognition of Anthology Film Archive's signal contribution to the 24. Adorno.OCTOBER Adorno. the tact and economy. Frampton's sublimation of filmic mimesis and information through textual reduction would complete and intensify the iconoclastic ascesis introduced by the emptying of the screen. 1975). Roland Barthes. p. This text.

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