Das Reale der Realität: Christine Reeh

»The being of film«

»The being of film«
02.11.2016 bis 06.11.2016

Film is not representational, but, as Stanley Cavell, the American pioneer of philosophy of film claims, presentational. My paper proceeds on Cavell’s puzzling statement that a photographic image (which constitutes the film image) presents us “with the things themselves” and not with any kind of similarity or representation, therefore concluding that we “do not know” how to “place a photograph (…) ontologically” (in: The World Viewed). His observation actually cuts back to André Bazin, who claims about the photographic image: “the photographic image is the object itself, (…) it shares, by virtue of the very process of its becoming, the being of the model of which it is the reproduction; it is the model.” (in: What is Cinema?) This famous quote of Bazin is often interpreted in two ways: firstly as if reproduction would give the model an indexical reference or, secondly, as if reproduction would be an entity identical to its model. I will argue that both readings miss the point. Even if it was not the first intention of disclosure for Bazin, “to be the model” is referred to as something, which can be shared by transfer of reality. This “transference of reality from the thing to its reproduction” further presupposes, without reflecting on it, an equalization of being and reality, two distinct terms, which usually incorporate different meanings reflected by the division between ontology and metaphysics, between the inquiry into being and about the fundamental nature of reality. In some contexts “reality” designates “the world” in which entities are; Martin Heidegger states that “being-in” is the way in which being is, it always is a “being-in-the-world” (in: Being and Time).

I propose to ask, in a Heideggerian way, for the being of objects in film and in the world and furthermore, building on Heidegger’s complex conception of “presence of what is present”, to ask for a ‘real of reality’, which is shared by beings and can be the transferred into the photograph: a kind of essence of reality, which makes the being of the photograph real–it is not fictitious and it is not an illusion.


ZKM | Institut für Bildmedien

Kamera: Peter Müller
Schnitt: Peter Müller
Liveschnitt: Sarah Binder