Monday, October 8, 2007

death opens up a hole in the real

Found this as an unpublished draft from last year:"Last night's Issues in Documentary Seminar was on autobiography.
Mark presented on Tarnation: and
Carolin presented on a Swiss autobiography by Jan Gassman and Christian Ziörjen, 2007
The opening image is a a projector on fire; the film is about death and life..and it affects/sears the senses in the intensity of its images and their juxtapositions. I am still thinking/feeling through the class discussion. Natalie spoke about how the film affected her: 'uncomfortable', l recall was her word. I clumsily tried to tease open the discussion, attempting to link Chrigu to ideas around death and representation in documentary film studies and to some of the thinking and writing around works of mourning. I was thinking of Hayden White's essay 'The Modernist Event'and his discussion on the dangers of narrativising trauma as a defense against mourning (in Vivian Sobchack, The Persistence of History, Routledge, NY 1996). And Susan Sontag's essay Plato's Cave in On Photography
where she probes the risks and delights inherent in 'taking' photographs. Or when I read Michael Renov's essay Filling up the Hole in the Real: Death and Mourning in Contemporary Film and Video"I was affected by his sentence death opens up a hole in the Real that will be filled by a "swarm of images" (125).
I thought of my own long alliance with psychoanalysis and cinema...which has (over thirty years) shown me to be ethical with the camera (when I wasn't) and to be wary of replacing film with try and be insightful with the swarm of images - their seduction. So in considering my autobiographies Maidens and To the Other Shore. 1996, complex and difficult works in the context of my own family, where the ethical encounter - permission to film and circulate private images into the public domain is a mine field more now than when I made either film. Death and the image..I sense danger...yet last night I couldn't explain what I wasn't a criticism of Chrigu, not at I sense the film is a gift, too, from this young creative filmmaker taken too soon by death at his door...and his friend and co-director Jan, who carries this burning camera/projector around with him screening this film.