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Rethinking the camera eye: dispositif and subjectivity


Christian Quendler
a a

Department of American Studies , University of Innsbruck , Innrain 52, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria Published online: 26 Oct 2011.

To cite this article: Christian Quendler (2011) Rethinking the camera eye: dispositif and subjectivity, New Review of Film and Television Studies, 9:4, 395-414, DOI: 10.1080/17400309.2011.606530 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17400309.2011.606530

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New Review of Film and Television Studies Vol. 9, No. 4, December 2011, 395414

RESEARCH ARTICLE
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Rethinking the camera eye: dispositif and subjectivity


Christian Quendler*
Department of American Studies, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria Metaphors of the camera eye are among the oldest and most powerful tropes to depict human vision and subjectivity. As a proto-cybernetic metaphor that lends itself both to anthropomorphic and mechanomorphic readings, the camera eye has become a double agent of subjectivity. It has served as Descartess midwife for a modern philosophy of the subject in Rene discourse on Optics and as a gravedigger for classical notions of subjectivity in Dziga Vertovs radically constructivist aesthetics of the kino-eye. By looking at Descartess early modern and Vertovs modernist notions of the camera eye as two paradigmatic case studies, this paper sets out to explore the intricate relation between subjectivity and mediality. It examines gures of the camera eye as conceptual metaphors that construct subjective relations to orders of discourse and media spaces. Drawing on Joachim Paechs reections on the dispositif for a theory of the order(ing) of media, I will review the concept of the dispositif as strategic place in the alignment of medium, discourse and genre. Descartes Keywords: dispositif; camera; Dziga Vertov; kino-eye; Rene

The work of the camera eye, like the work of any verbal or nonverbal metaphor, is to bridge gaps or open up and accommodate spaces that seem foreign, uncanny or cognitively impenetrable to us. We can describe the work of metaphors, gures and tropes or any given conceptual conguration as creating new mental spaces that blend elements of familiar mental frames. By projecting similarities and differences between the camera and the eye, metaphors of the camera eye have been variously employed to account for mechanisms of both media and the mind. The camera and the eye in these uses function metonymically as they stand in for the entire human and cinematographic (or photographic) apparatus, respectively.1 In a historical sense, the fusion of camera and eye can be interpreted as a modern expression of the age-old philosophical dream of returning to an original unity. Only this time the return promises the entrance into a cybernetic paradise that is entirely the creation of a human engineer. If the camera, which stands in

*Email: christian.quendler@uibk.ac.at
ISSN 1740-0309 print/ISSN 1740-7923 online q 2011 Taylor & Francis http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17400309.2011.606530 http://www.tandfonline.com

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Table 1. Token Order Domains

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Orders and domains in camera eye and mind screen notions. Camera Dispositif Regime of the visible/sayable Screen Dispositio Discourse space Eye Disposition Psychological realm of perception, emotion, etc.

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Cultural habitus

Genres (practices of use)

for the medial dispositif, and the eye, which stands in for the human perceptual and cognitive disposition, are united, then their horizons seem to converge into one and the same screen, which in outlining the discourse that is projected onto it may be likened to the rhetorical notion of the dispositio (see Table 1). In this interpretation, the discourse displayed on the screen appears to be the product of a single unitary force. The mind as a screen is a powerful and equally awed explanatory analogy that expresses this desire. It resolves the complications of thinking about discourse as co-determined by structures of the dispositif and receptive dispositions. This paper revisits the relationship between dispositif and subjectivity by examining how gures of the camera eye align with regimes of visibility with discursive regimes. How are orders of discourse informed by regimes of light? How are they accommodated by genres and practices of use that shape a cultural habitus? Since camera-eye conceptions are geared towards calibrating media and senses, analyzing them sheds light on these questions. Taking up Joachim Paechs suggestion (2003) of thinking about dispositif in a conceptual triad with the rhetorical notion of the dispositio and the psychological category of disposition, I will discuss how regimes of visibility organized by a dispositif can be seen to encroach upon discursive regimes either to construct or deconstruct classical notions of subjectivity. To illustrate this, my examples will come from historical extremes, the beginnings of a philosophy of the subject in the early modern period of the sixteenth century and the radical way of rethinking subjectivity during the modernist period in the twentieth century. I will suggest a Descartess Means of Perfecting Vision which dialogic exchange between Rene he discusses in the seventh discourse of his treatise on Optics (published together with his Discourse on Method in 1637) and Dziga Vertovs ideas on the forever perfectible kino-eye, which he propagated in the 1920s in numerous manifestoes and lmic works. 1. Camera and dispositif In retrospect, the camera eye appears like a relict of a bygone modernity, a time long before the indifferentiation of human and technological organs in the digital matrix. The camera eye has become above all an emblem of cinematic modernism, where camera vision promised to synthesize the experience of modernity

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` re 2006). Modernist invocations of the (see, e.g. Casetti 2008; North 2005; Rancie camera are often paradoxical; they emerge as vanishing points where a number of opposites converge: the objective and the subjective, the real and the imaginary, the conscious and the unconscious, the organic and the mechanical, the inside and the outside, the private and the public, the pure visibility of the spectacle and the ` re [2006] has put it, opsis and ordering principle of narrative (or, as Jacques Rancie muthos). If the camera eye served as a means to re-negotiate such oppositions, it may be tempting to conclude that in a post-humanist and post-cinematic age, the conjunction between camera and eye or between camera and man has become obsolete. What can the old prosthesis of the camera eye still show us today? As William Brown points out in his insightful essay Man without a Movie Camera Movies without Men: Towards a Posthumanist Cinema? (2009), the case is far more complicated. Not only do lm scholars apply the label camera for moving images that were made without a camera but, as Edward Branigan argues in Projecting a Camera (2006), notions of the camera are themselves projections generated within specic lm theoretical language games. While a camera may be perceived as a mechanical device used to record an event that lies outside the world represented on a screen, its signication is bound to the formal and informal languages we use to see it (Branigan 2006, 18). Parsing a century of lm theory, Branigan surveys a catalogue of camera conceptions that range from material denitions of the camera as an origin of sensory display to semiotic and cognitive labels or shorthand descriptions for viewing hypotheses. Notions of camera cut across prolmic and postlmic understandings that invoke the camera as pointing devices and narrative agents. A camera may be seen to express mental and bodily states or encode mechanisms of the unconscious. Branigans study on camera conceptions examines what happens in lm theory after a camera has done its magic. While camera work typically precedes the projection of a lm, it is the viewers reception that projects a camera. By addressing the viewers or critics projections, Branigan draws attention to the complex processes of aligning the spaces generated by a visual technology with the language games that seek to conceptualize these spaces. The two sides of the camera and its polyvalence as a theoretical concept have interesting parallels to the philosophical and methodological implications of the concept of dispositif that gained currency in the wake of Michel Foucaults writing in the 1970s.2 Philosophically, Foucaults conception of the term responds to the demands of a theory of immanence. Not unlike Gilles Deleuzes lix Guattaris notion of the rhizome, the notion of the dispositif belongs to and Fe a tradition of twentieth-century philosophy that theorizes the limits or premises of knowledge without assuming a meta-stance or committing teleological fallacies. Rather than seeking an encompassing principle, the dispositif approaches the outside of knowledge in the intervening spaces of networks. In What is an Apparatus?, Giorgio Agamben has offered an intellectual genealogy that links Foucaults notion of the dispositif to the theological legacy of the Christian

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church. He traces the dispositif back to the Greek notion of the term oikonomia, which between the second and sixth century came to signify a division in God as being and praxis: the nature and essence on the one hand, and the operation through which He administers and governs the created world on the other (Agamben 2009, 11). While traditionally, operations are thought of as behavior grounded in essence or metaphysical cause, twentieth-century philosophy has challenged this hierarchy by re-conceptualizing being as process or by attributing the operational mechanism an autonomy of thought. Henri Bergson and Martin Heidegger are often cited as philosophical patrons who criticized substantial conceptions of being. Cybernetic philosophy of the 1940s and 1950s represents another inuential approach to deconstructing the subject as an autonomous lix Guattaris reections on machinic thinking agent. Notably, Deleuzes and Fe in Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980) bring together both philosophical traditions (Welchman 1997). Methodologically, Foucault (1980, 194) views the heuristic power of the dispositif in its translinguistic application for a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourse, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory ideas, decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientic statements, philosophical moral and philanthropic proposition. Dened in functional and relational terms, the dispositif can help to conceptualize relations that cut across oppositions and interdependent structures such as the subject and the object, body and mind, form and medium (Peeters and Charlier 1999). In his interpretation of Foucault, Deleuze has described dispositifs as:
neither subjects nor objects, but regimes which must be dened from the point of view of the visible and from the point of view of that which can be enunciated, with the drifting, transformations and mutations which this will imply. And in every apparatus [dispositif ] the lines break through thresholds, according to which they might have been seen as aesthetic, scientic, political, and so on.

Thus conceived as an in-between, the dispositif mediates between the world of objects (including the material support structure of the dispositif) and it informs the space that extends between the subject and the object. This functional denition implies that the specic historical or cultural conguration of the dispositif can only be resolved as relations to the physical or material world. Put differently, the space shaped by the dispositif is an engineered space. As a threshold of information, it denes the relation between subject and object as regimes of what can be seen and expressed. This is why the dispositif always involves a process of objectication and, as Foucault and Deleuze stress, subject formation. Paech has criticized Deleuzes denition of the dispositif for conating the spaces construed by media with the dimensions gauged by discourse. Rather than viewing media and discourses as exhausting themselves in a series of entanglements and mix-ups, Paech proposes distinguishing between medium and discourse as different places or orders of subject formation. For this reason, he reserves the concept of the dispositif for the place where media arrange

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elements. He considers the dispositif in a conceptual triad with the rhetorical notion of the dispositio and the aesthetic-psychological concept of the disposition. The dispositif refers to a space of interaction and communication organized by media assemblies where things become visible and virtually available to be identied discursively. The dispositio refers to an intentional ordering of things in discourse in order to achieve a certain persuasive effect. Dispositio may be described as a model of coherence, as a logic or grammar that structures an argument. It is the proper method of discourse championed by Descartes, which begins by delimiting, dening and outlining the subject matter of discourse. Or rather, such an introductory outline is the rhetorical application of the dispositio; it is an outline, map or model transformed into discourse. Thus, a prominent place where the dispositio manifests itself is in the segmentation of discourse and the network of the critical apparatus. Another crucial device for showing the order of discourse are diagrams. (In this paper, the ordering of discourse in the medial space of the dispositif is illustrated by modeling the diagrams on the principle of refraction, which provides the backbone for Descartess Optics; on Thinking in Diagrams see Mullarkey [2006, chap. 5].) Paech describes the dispositio as co-determined by dispositif and disposition, the cognitive and affective attitudes and beliefs that inform behavior. Disposition may be considered a virtual system of knowledge in contrast to the actual manifestations of knowledge engendered by this system. This understanding of disposition faces a problem that is analogous to the division between being and praxis that, for Agamben, lies at the heart of the concept of the dispositif. Ludwig Wittgenstein (1958, 149) draws attention to this analogy when he emphasizes the operational sense in our conceptions of disposition. He describes disposition as a state of mind that is more like the state of a mental apparatus (perhaps the brain) by means of which we explain the manifestations of that knowledge. Yet, he adds, there are objections to speaking of a state of mind here, inasmuch as there ought to be different criteria for such a state: a knowledge of the construction of the apparatus, quite apart from what it does (Wittgenstein 1958, 149 50). Genres and conventional practices of media that inform a cultural habitus can thus be seen to emerge recursively from blending principles or mechanisms of discourse and understanding.3 To illustrate this, we may place the dispositif in series with the dispositio and disposition. Together they structure the intervening spaces where intentionality as the ow between the subject and object is refracted (see Figure 1). Traditionally, the relation between subject and object is represented as some sort of equation where identity and truth are seen as successful or satisfying correlations. The dispositif projects a discursive order of things that seems congruent with the order of things organized by the hierarchy of our senses. In this model, congruence means that each point in the object correlates with one point in the subject, which, as I will show in my discussion of Descartes, is the classical premise of obtaining a clear focus on the object.

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Object P1 Dispositif

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Dispositio Disposition Subject P2'

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P2

P1'

Figure 1. Subject object relations refracted by dispositif, dispositio and disposition.

There are many ways of establishing correlations between dispositif and disposition and whether we nd them successful or satisfactory depends to a large extent on the appeal of the discourse that organizes the correlations. One way of doing this is to conceive of a convergent evolution as the biochemist and Nobel Prize winner George Wald (1950, 32) proposed in accounting for the resemblances between the camera and the eye:
Of all the instruments made by man, none resemble a part of his body more than the camera does the eye. Yet this is not by design. A camera is no more a copy of an eye than the wing of a bird is a copy of that of an insect. Each is the product of an independent evolution; and if this has brought the camera and the eye together, it is not because one has mimicked the other, but because both have had to meet the same problems, and have frequently done so in the same way. This is the type of phenomenon that biologists call convergent evolution, yet peculiar in that the one evolution is organic, the other technological.

For Wald the frame of reference that organizes the convergence of camera and eye is the biological model of evolution. Biology subsumes technology. Although biological frames of reference were common in early histories of lm that compared the development of lm to the growth and decline of a biological organism, such versions of lm history, which David Bordwell (1997, 13 26) has dubbed the basic story, have been refuted by later generations of scholars as overdetermined and teleological. Yet, we can nd similar kinds of reasoning whenever orders of the dispositif and orders of the disposition seem to converge. The organizing constraints of convergences may be ontological or idealistic as in the case of Bazins myth of a total cinema, or the constraints maybe founded upon ideological grounds as in Braudys apparatus theory, or embedded in a psychoanalytical framework as in the later works of Christian Metz. Notwithstanding the differences between these lm theoretical approaches, they all aim at blending aspects of the cinematic dispositif and the viewers disposition in order to make the lmic discourse determined by one unitary force (see Figure 2). Another way to look at this model is to consider how the dispositif, dispositio and disposition affect the extensions of the subject and object. Terminologies in phenomenology and media theory offer an interesting point of intersection when

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Subject

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Figure 2. The convergence model.

they talk about resolution (cf. Le Morvan 2005): high resolution means the medium is transparent and the delimiting lines between subject and object are concise. In Figure 1, this is suggested by having each point in the object correlate with a point in the subject. Translucent or opaque states can be considered as low resolutions that diffuse one-to-one correlations between subject and object. However, we may arrive at a different idea of resolution if we invert the gureand-ground relation. If we focus on the intervening spaces organized by the dispositif, dispositio and disposition, the subject and object become, as it were, a fuzzy background and what emerges in high resolution are the gures of motion or ow between subject and object (see Figure 3). 2. Descartes and Vertov on perfecting vision

In order to illustrate consequences of this gure ground inversion for conceptions of media, discourse and subjectivity, I want to propose an unlikely conjunction
Object Dispositif Dispositio Disposition Subject

Figure 3. The gure ground model.

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between Descartess theory of vision modeled on the camera obscura and Dziga Vertovs futurist vision of the kino-eye. While this juxtaposition of ideas from early modern philosophy and twentieth-century avant-garde cinema must seem historically irresponsible, it may be tolerated as an experiment in thought. Rather than suggesting an evolutionary logic between Descartess metaphysical investment in the camera obscura and Vertovs futurist celebration of the kinoeye, I will consider their conceptions of visual technologies as two paradigmatic approaches towards a theory of subjectivity. The different ways in which Descartes and Vertov blend notions of camera and eye highlight the bi-directionality of camera eye metaphors, which lend themselves to both anthropomorphic and mechanomorphic readings and engender respective notions of subjectivity. Both Descartes and Vertov approach perceptual technologies as scientic instruments where vision becomes synonymous with the production of truth. As Jonathan Crary (1990, 25 67) observes, the camera obscura does not simply provide a model for human vision but, more importantly, a new model of consciousness and subjectivity. The camera obscura is the place of a twofold reection: the observation of empirical phenomena and the reective introspection of observation. This double reection makes the camera obscura an ideal metaphor for human consciousness. In this model, the mind becomes sensitive screen, upon which impulses are impressed and reected. However, in contrast to a projection screen, the reection is not returned back to the world but thrown into a deeper recess, where it appears for the second time. In classical logic, this superimposition of the second reection (I see) onto the rst reection (image) nther 1957). In constitutes a minimal denition of consciousness (see Gu Descartess diagram, which blends an anatomical depiction of an eye with the geometric model of a camera obscura, this screen may be located as the shaded eld (see Figure 4). The shaded eld delimits the space where the retinal image becomes a conceptual image. Notably, it provides a common background for both the rst (optical) and second (cognitive) reection. When viewed against the white background, the shaded eld outlines an interface that includes the inner body of the eye, which is linked to the nervous system, and the mind represented by the head of the homunculus. It excludes the body of the homunculus from the shoulder downwards (representing perhaps the body of the mind). As I will discuss below, the way the shaded eld divides the eye indicates where Descartes conceives of a linkage for aided vision. As a site where relations between the outside world and the observing self are negotiated, the camera obscura can be read as a guration of subjectivity. It serves as a laboratory where the laws of nature interface with human or manmade laws of physics, mathematics and logic. It is not surprising that the camera obscura has also become a popular refuge for the Baconian project of the socalled mastery of nature. In Optics, Descartess application of the law of refraction not only helps to account for principles of human vision, it also enables him to point to certain shortcomings in the provisions nature has made. The conclusions Descartes

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Figure 4. Diagram form Descartess discourse on Optics (1664).

draws from these insights have extensive ramications. While human vision, insofar as it is a product of nature, cannot be improved, technologically aided vision is perfectible. Technology not only allows human beings to see more and better, it also fundamentally changes the function of seeing altogether. As Neil M. Ribe (1997, 60) puts it, the ultimate role of Cartesian optics is to raise the eye from an instrument of self-preservation to one of scientic knowledge. Descartes himself has described this transformation as a habitual perversion of the order of nature:
I have been accustomed to pervert the order of nature, because these perceptions of the sense, although given me by nature merely to signify to my mind what things are benecial and hurtful to the composite whole of which it is a part, and being sufciently clear and distinct for that purpose, are nevertheless used by me as infallible rules by which to determine immediately the essence of the bodies that exist out of me, of which they can of course afford me only the most obscure and confused knowledge. (1641, 97)

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Although the scientic endeavor remains committed to a project of illuminating the obscure realms of nature, it also points towards a scientic decoupling from nature to make room for an engineered world.4 Descartess misuse of sensory perception blends the human disposition towards sensory perception with the dispositio of the scientic reasoning. He does so by modeling this blend on the regime of light organized by the law of refraction. In other words, Descartess discourse Of the Means of Perfecting Vision is also a discourse on the proper (or transparent) alignment of the orders of the dispositif, dispositio and disposition. Some 300 years later, in 1920s Moscow, this kind of detachment from nature nds a radical expression in Vertovs concept of the kino-eye. Inspired by constructivism and futurism, Vertov developed the idea of the kino-eye together with his wife Elizaveta Svilova and his brother Mikhail Kaufmann and promoted it in a number of programmatic writings and lmic works. As Yuri Tsivian (2004, 5 8) has emphasized, Vertov was strongly inuenced by the art-denying spirit of constructivism and the revolutionary movement. In contrast to Sergei Eisenstein, he conceived of the kino-eye above all as a scientic project. The language of the kino-eye for Vertov was one of higher mathematics and its ultimate goal was the production of truth. In an article on The Birth of the Kino-Eye dated 1924, he notes: Not kino-eye for its own sake, but truth through the means and possibilities of the lm-eye, i.e. kinopravda [lm-truth] (Vertov 1924, 41). As an instrument of scientic knowledge, the kino-eye subsumes virtually all existent cinematic techniques and inventions. Set out to discover regularities in the accidental and to explore the laws that govern the chaos of life the kino-eye resorts to microscopic, telescopic and X-ray vision; it operates on remote control and shows things in slow or accelerated motion; and it introduces mathematical and psychological principles to its editing method. Not unlike Descartes, Vertovs enthusiasm for the camera as metaphor for seeing is based on an idea of technological perfectibility: We cannot improve the making of our eyes, but we can endlessly improve the camera (Vertov 1923, 15). Set against this common concern of exploring visual technologies as an instrument of scientic knowledge, I will now take a closer look at their respective ideas on perfecting vision, their implied notions of subjectivity and its relations to medium and discourse. How does place and order of the dispositif facilitate transparency or high resolution? What kind of discursive order is modeled on this transparency? The rst question addresses inferences made between the media dispositif and the human disposition. It is concerned with the linkage or continuity through which media become extensions of the senses. The second question will deal with the distinction of seeing better and seeing more as a cultural hierarchy of practices of seeing and their embodiment in genres and discourse types. Descartes begins his discourse Of the Means of Perfecting Vision by suggesting that (in principle) they can be applied to three things: the objects seen, the internal organs that receive the impulses of these objects, and the external organs, which dispose these impulses to be received as they ought

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(1637, 114). Descartes has little to say about the objects of vision and explicitly brackets internal organs from his discussion. Since we cannot change the objects themselves, their treatment becomes simply a question of mise-enscene: that is, placement and lighting. He has even less to say about internal organs, meaning the nervous system and the brain. Even if it were possible to improve or modify them, he argues, such an endeavor would be a concern of medicine and is thus irrelevant for his subject matter. This leaves Descartes with the external organs, which include, quite remarkably, both the transparent parts of the eye, as well as the all the other bodies that we can place between the eye and the object (1637, 114). Descartes considers four conditions or provisions for perfecting sight. The rst one may be called clear focus: rays that reach the optic nerve in the retina should correspond (as far as possible) to a single point in the object. The rays must not be altered in intervening space between object and eye as to avoid diffusion, distortion and obscurity and to guarantee a distinct resemblance between object and image. The second condition concerns the size or resolution of the image. It should be large in the sense that its lineaments or lines can be easily discerned. The third provision regards image brightness in relation to its impact on the optic nerves. Finally, Descartes considers the angle or eld of vision: we should see as many objects as possible at a single glance (1637, 115). With the notable exception of the last provision, Descartes (1637, 115) maintains, nature although it presumably has done all that is possible falls short of perfection. For instance, near- and farsightedness are imperfections of clear focus that result from the limited range of curving and changing the body of the eye. Yet, they are imperfections that can be amended by applying the law of refraction. In the case of the second condition, image size, Descartes (underestimating the role of refraction) erroneously views this deciency mainly as a matter of the size of the eye, that is, the distance between the retina and the point of intersection of the rays. For Descartes the best way to magnify images is to increase the distance between this point of intersection and the retina by extending the natural eye with a long tube lled with water: Descartess prototype of the telescope. Since Descartes considers the outer body of the eye and optical lens of the same category, this extension is almost a natural process: Sight will take place as if Nature had made the eye longer (1637, 120). Ribe (1997, 54 5) in this context, suggests that Descartes has the natural eye give birth to a telescope. Descartes adds little to the issue of image brightness. He considers three methods of adjusting the brightness of an image. The rst one is to place cloudy objects or veils between the eyes and the objects of observation, or to use additional sources of light (gathered by means of mirrors or burning glass). Since this option is only available for accessible objects, Descartes also discusses widening and narrowing the aperture as means of adjusting image brightness in telescopes. As a third way of improving the brightness of vision, he mentions

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training to look at extremely bright objects or to discern objects in the dark but immediately discards them:
these things belong rather to medicine, whose purpose is to remedy the deciency of sight through the correction of natural organs, than to Optics, whose purpose is only to minister to the same deciency through the application of other organs that are articial. (Descartes 1637, 126)

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As pointed out in Descartess diagram (Figure 4), for him the nexus between articial and natural organs is the outer body. It is along the outlines of the shaded eld that the optical lens and the outer body of the eye form a homogeneous threshold, where the law of nature coincides with the law of refraction. As mentioned before, the only condition where Descartes cannot nd a way to improve nature is the eld or angle of vision. However, for him the convenience of seeing more is only of relative importance. In fact, it conicts with the imperative of seeing distinctly: Seeing more, Descartes (1637, 125) argues, is principally useful only in order to ascertain toward what direction we must subsequently turn the eye in order to look at the one which we will wish to consider better. It is for this nding function that the provision of seeing more is included in Descartess description of the three-barreled telescope:
as these telescopes make objects appear larger, they let us see less of them at one glance it is even necessary, besides this, to join the most perfect ones to some others with less strength, through the aid of which we can, as if by degrees, come to know the location of the object that these more perfect ones can make us perceive. (1637, 156)

The telescope in this sense not only perfects vision but also reconciles at least serially seeing more and seeing better as two aspects of seeing, which Descartes considers mutually incompatible in unaided vision. What is important is that the function of selective approximation that is attributed to seeing more is strictly subservient to what is already a given object. Observing subjects must not be found out by their objects of observation. The subservience of seeing more to seeing better is a necessary premise to ensure a one-directional causal determination. For the same reason the telescopic eye in being like nature rules out other additional forms of determination. Descartess subordinate integration of seeing more and seeing better on principles of selection and distinction has been a key source for a long tradition of thinking about cinema. Vsevolod Pudovkin is an early important theoretician in point. His psychological denition of montage as the lmic organization of time and space that results in a clear and distinct impression (Pudovkin 1925, 16) has had a strong impact on later generations of lm scholars (cf., e.g. Lindgren 1948). In this scientic rationale, the process of discovery and recognition or the observers subjective and technological investment is necessarily edited out. Pudovkins equation of the cameras lens with the viewers eye, like Descartess subsumption of the lens and the outer body of the eye as one category, presupposes a continuity of body and media that nds its expression in the clarity and

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distinctness of the observation and its ensuing discourse. Pudovkins camera eye is an observation in postproduction that entails the process of editing modeled on scientic exposition:

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Just as a scholar preparing an article setting out the course and results of his research carefully plans and constructs it, discarding what is superuous and leaving in what is essential, sometimes dwelling on a characteristic detail and sometimes conning himself to general observations, so too the lm-maker in the process of montage exposition must retain the viewers attention in the appropriate manner and thus imbue his work with the necessary credibility. (1925, 16)

Like expositional writing, cinematic exposition combines principles of selection and combination and strives to make a cogent and persuasive argument. In The Film Director and Film Material, Pudovkin (1926, 78) explicates this, suggesting that [m]ontage, like living language, uses words whole pieces of exposed lm and sentences combination of these pieces. Coherent vision and clarity are inferred as imperative generic aspects for considering the camera eye as an integral element of cinematic exposition. The metonymical chain of eye, observation and scientic exposition informs a correlating chain of camera, montage and cinematic exposition. This scientic logic and its conception of technology differ radically from what goes on in procedures of experimental arrangements that identify objects approximately through loops of positive and negative feedback (which is facilitated by the built-in homing function of the three-barreled telescope). Here technology is recognized as a subject object relation. The subjectivity and objectivity are distributed over the intervening space that is organized by the medium, the discourse and the recipients disposition (see Figure 3). As an expression of desire, the medium becomes a vehicle for the objective part of our subjectivity. An early reformulation of metaphysics and classical logic that introduces technology and engineering as the excluded third can be found in nthers cybernetic philosophy. Gu nther (1957, 67) argues that if Gotthard Gu gures of fantasy and imaginations are expressions of consciousness in the form of intentions or actions directed inwardly, then technology can be attributed a sense of consciousness in that they are expressions of intentionality and action nther (1979) put it later, technology is directed outwardly. Alternatively, as Gu the only historical form in which volition can express itself in a generally binding form (my translation). Such a reexive denition of technology can help us to interpret what is perhaps the most controversial passage in Vertovs manifesto of The Council of Three (1923).5 Having asserted the superiority of camera vision over human sight on the basis of technological perfectibility, Vertov calls for the emancipation of the camera, which so far had been forced to copy the work of the human eye (Vertov 1923, 16). The afrmation of the kino-eye with its own dimensions of time in space culminates in the point of self-afrmation, which in the manifesto is mimicked by a conspicuous pronominal shift from the lmmakers rst person plural to the rst-person point of view of the kino-eye:

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I make the viewer see in the manner best suited to my presentation of this or that visual phenomenon. The eye submits to the will of the camera and is directed by it to those successive points of the action that, most succinctly and vividly, bring the lm phrase to the height or depth of resolution. (Vertov 1923, 16)

This passage on the kino-eye illustrates well the state of in-betweeness attributed to the dispositif. It blends subject and object as well as being and praxis. It is at once actual and virtual in that its actual performance of the kino-eye aims at exhausting its virtue or full potential. The kino-eye assumes a hybrid identity in that it signies both a theory of lm and its application. Vertov (1924, 40) stresses these meta-implications by equating the kino-eye not only with lm analysis but also with a theory of movement along with a theory of how all things are related on the screen. The ambiguous state of the kino-eye as neither subject nor object is expressed effectively in its act of self-afrmation, an imaginative leap that projects the deictic center onto the kino-eye itself. In this deictic projection the notions of the camera as technique of visibility (to record and present visual phenomena) and as a means of expression (that generates lm phrases) blend with human scale scenario of actual language use. The paramount goal of the kino-eye as an instrument of scientic knowledge is kinesthetic resolution, which we can correlate to Descartess imperative of a clear and distinct vision. Yet, while Descartess imperative is geared towards ascertaining an autonomous object, Vertovs resolution is best described as the visceral effect that results from calibrating technology to the chaos of life. Through this explorative process, Vertov (1928, 287) argues in his scenario of Man with a Movie Camera, Lifes chaos gradually becomes clear [ . . . ] Nothing is accidental. Everything is explicable and governed by law. However, Vertov saw himself more as a poet than as a theorist and he is never precise about what exactly makes up the resolution of a lm phrase. Yet, this poetic vagueness seems almost programmatic. His notions of phrase and resolution blend many conceptual domains combining musical, linguistic, literary, scientic, kinesthetic and mathematical frames of reference. In a Deleuzian sense, the kino-eye represents a threshold where different kinds of discourse break and diffuse. While this obscures traditional patterns of coherence, it affords us with different gures or lines of coherence. Vertovs idea of resolution is linked to his theory of intervals, which became a recurrent concern throughout his writings of the 1920s (Petric 1987). His notions of phrase and resolution and his theory of intervals share musical connotations. While phrase further extends to language and writing, resolution refers both to kinesthesia and music. We can think of Vertovs notion of lm language as a gradual process of abstracting natural languages. In this process, music and his theory of intervals play a crucial mediating role. Music as the most abstract art forges a link to the prosodic properties of language and poetry.6 Vertovs theory of intervals may be compared to a kind of information theory. It is an odd form of applied mathematics that maps musical structures across kinesthetic patterns and principles of perception.

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Intervals organize the order and duration of shots in the montage of lm phrase by correlating a number of visual parameters. In his Paris lecture From Kino-Eye to Radio-Eye, Vertov (1929a, 901) lists as the most important relations of shot scales, the interaction of camera angles, movements within frames and relations between recording speeds. Not unlike Pudovkins principles of montage, the aim of organizing lm with reference to the theory of the interval is to intensify the viewing experience. However, for Pudovkin intensication results from turning the viewing process into an ideal form of observation; that is, by selecting and combining elements in such a way that their order coheres to the dispositio of scientic discourse. For Vertov, increased kinesthetic resolution is geared towards exciting the sensorymotor experience of the lm viewer. The order of elements in Vertovs lm phrase is not modeled on a preconceived discursive order in the sense of a preestablished synthesis of dispositif and disposition guided by a persuasive purpose. The persuasive power of Vertovs lm phrase is to be discovered in the resolution of a pattern that emerges from foregrounding the structures of the dispositif, dispositio and disposition. The kino-eye promotes an extension of the regime of the visible and sayable by combining all kinds of visual technologies and expressive forms. It outlines lm discourse by scientic, musical and verbal models. In addition, it aims at discarding instilled habits of human embodied perception:
The mechanical eye, the camera, rejecting the human eye as crib sheet, gropes its way through the chaos of visual events, letting itself be drawn or repelled by movement, probing as it goes its own movement. It experiments, distending time, dissecting movement, or, in contrary fashion, absorbing time within itself, swallowing years, thus schematizing processes of long duration inaccessible to the normal eye. (Vertov 1923, 19)

The kino-eye, it seems, learns by adapting possibilities of the cinematic apparatus to conditions of the visual world it records. The perfectibility of the camera, which, on the one hand, is opposed to the imperfect human eye, is, on the other hand, mapped across with the human ability to learn. The kino-eye gains insights into the chaos of movement by emulating the very movements and gestures of the visual world, assuming, as it were, their point of view:
Now and forever, I free myself from human immobility, I am in constant motion, I draw near, then away from objects, I crawl under, I climb onto them. I move apace with the muzzle of a galloping horse, I plunge full speed into a crowd, I outstrip running soldiers, I fall on my back, I ascend with an airplane, I plunge and soar together with plunging and soaring bodies. Now I, a camera, ing myself along their resultant, maneuvering in the chaos of movement, recording movement, starting with movements composed of the most complex combinations. (Vertov 1923, 17)

This kind of mimetic or emulative learning of the kino-eye becomes the trajectory for training the perceptual sensibilities of the cameraman or kinokpilot, as he commends himself to the cameras experiments in space. The roles of the cameraman and the director in this process are somewhat ambiguous as they are at once fully at the service of the camera and the strategic brain that controls, directs, observes and gauges the recordings and presentation of the camera

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(cf. Vertov 1923, 19). The relation between camera and cameraman is seen as correlative and dialectical: by submitting himself to the will of the camera, the cameraman liberates the camera from the shortcomings of embodied human perception, which in turn engenders a presentation of life that brings out new and startling aspects of reality. In other words, the prosthetic function of the camera as an explorative device blends with an elaborate scenario of mutual ` -vis the cameraman is seen as coemancipation, in which the camera vis-a operative agents. It is also in this context that we can place the generic framing of Vertovs Man with a Movie Camera as fragments or extracts from the diary of cameraman. The revival of the diary and memoirs as a literary form at the beginning of the twentieth century provides an important historical context, which in the 1920s Viktor Shklovsky both theorized (in Theory of Prose, 1929) and practiced (in his memoirs A Sentimental Journey, 1923). Vasily Rozanovs experimental journals Solitaria (1912) and Fallen Leaves (1913 and 1915), which explore a new literary form through a polyphonic clash of a variety of genres (Crone 1978), offered Vertov a literary model of reconciling accounts of personal everyday experiences with political and journalistic writing. From the perspective of genetic criticism, the connection between camera work and diary writing may be traced back to the practice of reporting on dailies (see, e.g. Bottomores [2003] essay on Charles Brabins diary written while lming in the UK for Edison in 1913). The diary as a literary counter discourse of a cameraman taking revenge on commercial mainstream cinema nds an early satirical treatment in Luigi Pirandellos The Notebooks of Serano Gubbio, Cinematograph Operator (1916). Conversely, John Dos Passos trilogy U.S.A. (1930 36) and Christopher Isherwoods Goodbye to Berlin (1939) are wellknown examples that, inspired by Vertovs Man with a Movie Camera, explore camera vision as literary mode of autobiographical writing. Besides the historical intertext, there are also general aspects that bring journal and memoir writing into the generic proximity of the kino-eye as lm language and writing. As journal and diaries come only with a minimal set of generic constraints, they can be easily adapted to the heterogeneous discursive regime of the kino-eye. More importantly, the journal is by denition a work in progress. If progress is understood in a positive sense, the journal may generate a narrative of learning. This is particularly true of Mikhail Kaufmans expectations about the movie, envisioned as a kind of ABC of lm writing, a primer or methodological aid for beginners (Tsivian 2004, 25). We may also look at the notebook of Man with a Movie Camera in terms of Lev Vygotskys notion of a zone of proximal development. In this sense, the generic frame of the journal accommodates an intervening space that is both subjective and objective. It is like Vertovs kino-pravda expressive both of the external reality of lifes chaos and internal impressions of an ordinary eye. In this zone of approximation, the observer-as-camera creates, as Vertov puts it, an organized memo of the ordinary eyes impressions (1923, 19). The journal also generates what Genette calls

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interpolated narration, a complex form of narration that combines simultaneous reporting and reporting after the fact. Interpolated presentation not only approximates a fusion of perception and communication, it also allows for all kinds of positive and negative feedback loops and thus opens up a realm of interaction in the broadest sense. In the Man with a Movie Camera, this applies not only to the interaction between man and camera, but also the process of lmmaking and its exhibition. In an interview about its reception in Berlin in 1929, Vertov has described the lm as developing along three intersecting lines:
(1) life as it is in reality on the screen, (2) life as it is in reality on the strip of lm, (3) simply: life as it is in reality [ . . . ] By annihilating the boundaries between spectators and spectacle and by making the process of lm production visible to the viewer Man with a Movie Camera navigates lifes chaos. (1929b, 366 7)

This breaking down of boundaries between spectators and spectacle is illustrated well in the framing sequences of the lm. The prologue of the lm shows the opening of a theater until the projection begins in an animated fashion that turns the preparatory phase before the screening into a spectacle. The chairs in the auditorium unfold themselves and the spark that ignites the projector also cues the orchestras entrance. The projection setup is cut across shots of the audiences seating. In rhetorical terms, we may view this juxtaposition as an illustration of how the theatrical apparatus accommodates (to) the audience and its structures of expectations. The epilogue of the movie provides a one-minute synopsis of the lm and can be described as a thumbnail version of what Vertov (1923, 19) called an organized memo of the ordinary eyes impressions. Thematically and formally, the epilogue brings together recording, editing and perception, which can illustrate the spaces of the dispositif, dispositio and disposition. The synthesis builds upon three shot/reverse-shot sequences: one between the audience and the projected lm, another between the cameraman and the visual phenomena he records and the third between the editor and the lmstrips on her cutting table. Camera and cameraman nd rapprochement in the observation of movement, the editing responds to the synthesis of mechanical and human eye but cutting along the emergent patterns of this synthesis. The visceral effect the editing has on the audience can be seen as a response to what may be thought of as the body of the image.7 Experiencing the body of the image through the visceral effects of lmmaking can be regarded as the counterpart to Descartess division of body and mind. As I have demonstrated throughout this paper, the body in Descartess dualism has an exclusive and inclusive side. On the one hand, the body of the mind appears to be excluded in the representation of the homunculus; on the other hand, through a conceptual unity of lens and vitreous, the body extends to the materiality of instruments. In contrast to Descartes, the visceral appeal of the kino-eye conceives of a linkage between camera and eye along the inner organs. In its experimental alignment of medial and dispositional structures, the kino-eye generates a

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discursive order that is radically at odds with Descartess method of discourse and classical notions of subjectivity. Vertovs kino-eye is merely one example in a long history that privileges the heuristic and scientic value of seeing more over the discriminatory practice of seeing better favored in traditions of analytical philosophy. Seeing more and making the invisible visible (Vertov 1924, 41) not only require forming new habits of perception and aesthetic sensibilities that attune to the visible regimes supported by visual technologies and techniques, they also call for novel ways of charting the adjustments between dispositif and disposition onto new discursive orders. Paechs conceptual triad of dispositif, dispositio and disposition offers a useful distinction for analyzing the ramications of these adjustments for our understanding of subjectivity. As formats that are particularly conducive to this explorative process, diaries and notebooks have served as popular generic models for accommodating personal and expressive ways of envisioning and engaging with the cinematic dispositif. The diary advanced to a key concept in auteur theory of the 1950s, it experienced a revival in avant-garde and documentary lm of the 1960s and 1970s (Sitney 1977, 2002; Lane 2002) and continues to be an important frame of reference in exploring novel forms of storytelling across new media. I have suggested viewing Vertovs kino-eye as a model of camera vision that inverts the gure ground relations on which Descartess model is based. As such, Vertovs kino-eye builds on, or responds to, preconceived similarities between camera and eye. They provide a backdrop for the disanalogies from which the kino-eye evolves. For Vertov the differences between camera and eye serve as an incitement for learning. Yet, the Cartesian model too, involves a practice learning that goes beyond ingrained habits of perception. Descartes has described this practice as a habitual misuse of sensory perception. Notably for him this transformation of a natural disposition is a preliminary premise, which, like the subjective and objective vanishing points in the kino-eye model (see Figure 3), may be located at the edges of the diagram. Thus, rather than considering the two models as exclusive alternatives, we can look at them as challenges for framework that manages to reconcile them. Acknowledgements
The research for this paper was supported by the project of the Austrian Science Fund Framing Media: The Periphery of Fiction and Film.

Notes
1. On the theory of blending mental spaces, see Fauconnier and Turner (2002). 2. The two sides also play a crucial role in another important theoretical afliation of the term dispositif, which Jean-Louis Baudry developed contemporaneously into what has tabecome known as apparatus theory. In his essay Le dispositif: approches me alite (1975), he distinguishes between appareil psychologiques de limpression de re de base (the material apparatus required to produce and project lms) and dispositif, by which he refers to the viewing situation of the lm. See also Kepley (1996) and Riesinger (2003).

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3. As Paech (1997, 187n54) observes, Pierre Bourdieus concept of the habitus mediates between both symbolic forms and the disposition in the system of internalized patterns. 4. Ribe (1997, 60) has aptly described this process as the replacement of natures unconscious making with a new, rational artisanship under the direction of the Cartasian mind. He continues: In effect, Descartes terminates natures apprenticeship and reorganizes the enterprise by bringing in a new and more efcient production team. This is not just a metaphor: Descartess attempt to grind hyperboloidal lenses in the 1620s was in fact organized as a rudimentary manufacturing business with three workers in a well-dened division of labor. We may construe here another parallel to Vertovs ideas On the Organization of a Creative Laboratory (1936), in which he outlined a program for the rationalization of the lm production process. 5. For a critique of Vertovs kino-eye from within a classical instrumental logical of analytical philosophy, see Turvey (1999). 6. See also Mikhail Kaufmans reection on lm language in Film Analysis (1931, 391) where he regards the language of music, rather than natural, verbal languages, as a model for lm language. 7. In Man with a Movie Camera visceral effects often synthesize the act of observation with the event observed; see Petric (1987, 139 48).

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