An aside, or: scholarship #4


[EDIT, August 2015: The version of my thesis that was previously publicly available at ORE had a number of typographical errors/slips in it. Sorry about that! They have since been corrected, and the corrected version is available at the same link below.]

FWIW, my PhD thesis, 'Slow Cinema': Temporality and Style in Contemporary Art and Experimental Film, can now be downloaded here. Also, another piece of recent writing: a write-up of last year's Experimenta Weekend at LFF.


Realism(s) #27, or: it’s the trees of the forest beginning to march

Emmanuel Machuel, interviewed by Aurélien Gerbault, 2004


Illuminations #15


Nathaniel Dorsky's website has moved, and brings news of a recently completed film, Song, to be projected in San Francisco and Paris in May. Also of note: Labour in a Single Shot (2011-2014), curated by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki; Immaterial Labour Isn't WorkingThe Tiger's Mind (forthcoming: Apichatpong's Vampire & M Hotel); Monument Film in London (elsewhere); Fire in Every Shotthe law of windshield wipers; and R.I.P. Jason Molina.

Realism(s) #26

Untitled - Takuma Nakahira, 1971, gelatin silver print (from 35mm negative)


Takuma Nakahira's Circulation: Date, Place, Events was first exhibited in 1971 as part of the Seventh Paris Biennale. For each of seven consecutive days, Nakahira photographed, developed and exhibited approximately one hundred images of everyday activity in Paris. The photographs were developed at night and exhibited without omission the following day, spread onto the floor of a gallery space after the walls had been covered. A few years later, Nakahira burned most of his earlier negatives and prints, but for unknown reasons these "pieces of reality cut out by means of the camera" were preserved, as documents of a language to come.


History Lesson(s) #14


In the end, Pavese realised, he didn’t aspire to be a living writer but a dead one. "At bottom, you write to be as if dead, to speak from outside time, to turn yourself into someone everyone remembers." What had he been doing translating Melville, Dickens and Defoe if not seeking the company of the dead?

On 26 August 1950, Pavese had his sister prepare his weekend bag for him and checked into the Hotel Roma in the centre of Turin, a stone’s throw from the railway station. He called four women to see if they would eat with him but everyone was busy. On the flyleaf of his least successful book, Dialogues with Leucò [1947], a series of discussions on myth and destiny, he left the note: "I ask forgiveness and forgive you all. OK? Keep the gossip brief." At some time during the night he took an overdose of painkillers.

He had always maintained that it was a natural human instinct to seek to arrest life and time in a symbol, an image whose transcendent significance freed us from our sense of being trapped in history. He also believed that suicides should impose meaning, not escape from it. So why this particular exit? The last words in the diary, some two weeks before, read: "All this stinks. Not words. An action. I shall write no more." Choosing to die in the Hotel Roma, Pavese removed his suicide from the private sphere, placing himself in the centre of his town, and by implication at the heart of the nation. Society, however, was such that the only significant action that could be performed there without compromising oneself was suicide. His death would protect the great oeuvre he believed he had completed from inevitable trivialisation by the living.

--Tim Parks on Cesare Pavese's diaries (This Business of Living: Diaries 1935-50, trans. A.E. Murch), London Review of Books 32.3, February 2010.