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The films of Lars von Trier have often been seen in accord with his performative efforts or been read referring to his own reading manuals (Dogma rules, etc.). This speech will aesthetically explore what I refer to as Trier's production of »diagrams of affect«. In order to theoretically scrutinize his methods, Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy on film and affect as well as his cooperation with Félix Guattari on haptic and striated space, the refrain, the diagram, faceality and microperception will be applied.
Werner Herzog made both documentary and fictional films, but as he remarked in several interviews, his documentaries are completely fictional and his fictional films are documentary. Herzog in both types of his films constructs reality for filming. They are true stories, but here truth is not something to discover. We can say, he transforms the imagination into the reality. Herzog follows his imagination, but making movie out of the imagination means realizing the imagination. The film maker is not a passive sensor before the reality, but he makes the reality.
The starting point of my paper is a concrete ‚event’ at the turning point in the pacific war, namely the raising of the US-American flag on the Japanese island Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. For a discussion of fiction and document(ary) the circumstances of the ‘event’ itself as well as a multiplicity of its visual and multimodal representations are particularly fruitful. The ‘event’ – if one really wants to use the singular – practically happened twice on the same day: the smaller first flag was replaced a few hours later through a second bigger flag.
The villains in Christopher Nolans »Dark Night Trilogy« are not simply criminals they are real terrorists. In his Batman films Nolan examines the threat of terrorism and its philosophical implications. Ever since the end of the Cold War and 9/11 terrorism is the most dangerous threat for worldwide civilizations. Still we have a lack in terms to describe its implications. Nolan seems to be aware of this problem and asks what it means when terror strikes our familiar life.
There is a century old tradition of defining documentary in philosophical terms. Yet, this tradition seems to miss the most intelligible (yet, conspicuously evasive) aspect of documentary praxis: its conceptual entanglement with philosophy itself.
In his »Believing is Seeing« (2011), Morris addresses the claim made by Susan Sontag (»Regarding the Pain of Others« 2004) that Roger Fenton’s famous photograph »In the Valley of the Shadow of Death« is staged. Sontag’s accusation is that the fact the cannonballs shown strewn across the road were placed there by Fenton amounts to a distortion of the truth. For Morris, this is irrelevant – Fenton was merely recreating the earlier state of affairs before the road was cleared.
The aim of the presentation is to analyze the link between the staging of audience in some new documentary TV series and the role of jury which they depict. Last year was marked by premieres of two TV series - »The Jinx: Life and Deaths of Robert Durst« and »Making a Murderer«. Both tell the stories of two famous trials, but not from a position of a distanced observer. On the contrary, they tend to intermingle the portrayed trials with the real ones, thus actively interfering with the development of events.
Maya Deren’s enigmatic filmic work - prototypical »Meshes of the Afternoon« (1943) - is being considered as a milestone in modern experimental film.
Spectacolor Inc. was an advertising company that pioneered the first color urban screens of changeable messages and programmed by a computer in the late seventies of the last century. This innovation introduced the concept of »selling time« on billboards instead than the common practice of »selling space«, a change that would pave the way for outdoor advertising, becoming into an industry of billions of dollars. Spectacolor installed its first screens in Times Square in the early 80s, and was eventually sold in 2006 to Clear Channel, world leader in outdoor advertising.
The concept of counterfactuals, which has appeared in past decades in science and humanities, has become popular as a genre in fictional time-based and non-linear media and the fine arts. Therefore, I propose expanding the term, which describes retrospective considerations after turning points in life, in order to include the fine arts and encapsulate the research with the term counterfactualism. For future reference, I suggest a detailed categorisation for counterfactual movie narratives.
For Walter Benjamin reality was but a dream, or rather: a nightmare, and art was commissioned to make us wake up from it. Especially film was supposed to be capable of doing so by dismembering visual shards of reality in analogy to the extrafilmic world after World War I – whose actually fractioned status, to Benjamin, was not yet properly acknowledged. So for him the technique of montage, or generally speaking: the program of Surrealism was a critical means to disrupt an over-compact reality, as it did not merely reproduce reality but on the contrary: questioned it.
The debate between Jacques Derrida and John R. Searle that took place in the 1970ies in basically three texts (Derrida, 1971, 1977; Searle, 1977) and some further clarifications later on (Derrida, 1988, 1998, 2000; Searle, 1993, 1994) clearly articulated two different conceptions of ontology (Kurthen, 1989; Ferraris, 2009). Searle set forth the idea of „conditions of satisfaction“ in order to get a grip on the ontology of performative identities – from speech acts in particular to social institutions in general (Searle 1969, 1979, 1983, 2010).
Philipp Hartmann’s filmic essay Die Zeit vergeht wie ein brüllender Löwe (2014) is a philosopheme in its own right, insofar as it selects a genuinely philosophical category – time – as a central theme to be explored through cinematic means. A philosophical inquiry into the film should thus not simply raise the question of ›time‹ and dispute it, but rather consider the philosophical functionality of Hartmann’s filmic essay as such. It will be argued that the film maintains a special relationship to the viewer through aesthetic means, in which the ›real‹ is negatively exposed.
Documentary is for our contemporary culture what the novel was for the 19th century: the preferred form of realism. Its history may be described a continual re-evaluation of films potential to transmit factual information about the real world. In contemporary documentary practice, we witness a shift in focus from a modernist pre-occupation with factual, objective reality towards the embracement of more diverse, subjective perspectives on reality.
In the era of the expansion of the moving image literature and film theory explore the (imaginary) potentials of the new medium dreaming of »cinéma total« (Bazin). Cinematic projections emerge as a motive in literature examining the possibilities of cinema to reproduce and create reality. Challenged by its new rival literature highlights transgressions between image and text questioning the contingency of reality and the real.
The immediacy with which film and reality are linked is a relationship founded in virtue of the mechanical lens of cinema. That the camera can accurately reproduce the intricacies of reality provides cinema with a status in regards to reality that sits above painting or the other forms of art. And yet, this account for the realism inherent to cinema underwent an aesthetic revolution in the mid-twentieth century that has yet to be accounted for in the rhetoric of cinematic realism, the introduction of colour cinema.
Given the emergence of more and more Virtual-Reality-Documentaries, many of them even running at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival such as »Waves of Grace« (Chris Milk – Vrse) or »Nomads: Masaai« (Felix&Paul Studios), it appears necessary to think about this new media format and to have a look at how it changes classical categories of filmic documentations and documentaries such as – most important – the reference to (any kind of) reality and thereby aspects of immediacy, indexicality and authenticity.
Siegfried Zielinski ist Professor für Medientheorie an der Universität der Künste Berlin sowie Michel-Foucault-Professor für Medienarchäologie und Techno-Kultur an der European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Schweiz. Darüber hinaus ist er Direktor des Vilém Flusser Archivs an der Universität der Künste Berlin. Er ist Verfasser der Bücher »Veit Harlan« (R.G.
»The Act of Killing«
by Joshua Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn (Co-Director) (Denmark, 2011)
The debate about whether films can do philosophy has focused predominantly on narrative fiction films. In this talk, I consider documentary as a film genre whose philosophical significance has been underappreciated. I argue that documentary films are capable of doing philosophy albeit in a distinctive manner.
by Christine Cynn (USA 2016)
Thirteen lives affected by the global arms trade converge in a warehouse in Berlin. From around the world, they have come to dramatize and record their personal stories for “Situation Rooms,” a show by Berlin-based theatre legends, “Rimini Protokoll.”
In Tarr’s film »Werckmeister Harmonies« the musicologist Eszter is haunted by a question that can be seen as the theme of the film: is math real or simply imagined? It is possible to derive from this question further questions about the reality character of film. Can math be the arbiter of beauty or is there something more fundamental about beauty, which the human ear can hear but which logic and math cannot grasp?
The language of film was made for the cinema. When a film starts and the auditorium gets dark, we forget about the space around us and get into the reality of the film. Here, the montage is a fundamental technique to narrate a story. We jump from one place to the next and, in doing so, bridge the gap of unnecessary time. The auditorium is a place in which we can lose our customary perception of space and time.