History Lesson(s) #20

The Great Cinema Party - Raya Martin, 2012, digital video


As I became an implicit guest to Martin’s party, I found it hard not to think about Raul Ruíz and his great essay, 'Central Conflict Theory.' Ruíz explains how a dominant ideology assumes that the beating heart of cinematic meaning is contestation, A fighting B in an "athletic fiction." Wars, then, are the perfect cinematic subject for this regnant artistic hegemony. And if I may be heretical here, we could think in terms of Freud’s "deferred action" (Nachträglichkeit) or the anti-linear time of the Unconscious, and we might wonder whether armed struggle’s total appositeness for art in the dominant mould helps to explain why we never stop waging wars, why on some level we seem to need them. It is often bandied about that once a nation builds a weapon, it will eventually be deployed. However, the connection between cinema and weaponry, which has been philosophically traced by Paul Virilio and has been the subject of film work by Harun Farocki, Péter Forgács, Yervant Gianikian/Angela Ricci Lucchi, and Peter Kubelka, is usually left out of this equation. Since we have cinema, we will insist on generating conflict, in order to perpetuate the flow of worthy profilmic events.

--Michael Sicinski, "This Is Not an Omnibus: The Jeonju Digital Project 2012"Cinema Scope 51, p.34.

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