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Praxis Module IV
This course develops a psychoanalytically inclined approach to film and photography centered on both media’s (non)relation to motion and stillness. We’ll begin with the Eleatics, specifically Zeno and his Paradoxes, to analyze the Möbius strip-like character of motion in stillness that photography desires, as well as the stillness in motion that film wants. The two forms, we’ll see, meet at a chiasmatic X that marks the spot of a void/jointure developed by Roland Barthes in his Camera Lucida. We’ll move to Walter Benjamin’s theory of film and photography, elaborated in his Arcades Project, specifically in his analyses of Eugene Atget’s photographs. Then we’ll study Eadweard Muybridge’s positional arrests of motion so influential on Francis Bacon’s painterly practice, informed by a singular relation to photography and serialized images. We’ll see Cindy Sherman’s ‘Unfinished Film Stills’ as an entry to watching a lot of film, including Hitchcock’s and his attention to the close-up, Antonioni’s Italian neo-realist films, Imamura Shohei’s filmic capture of stillness ‘off-screen’ - through absence, and Michael Snow’s ‘slow’ experimental film. We’ll conclude by reanimating Passolini’s critique of the ‘long shot’ with, for one, Kiarostami’s rebuttal.