recently I struck a strange cavil on fakeduck

It was as follows:

I’d posted a list, shared, from Peter Larsen, a list of all the arts bodies, organisations, institutions, potentially affected by Mayor of Auckland Wayne Brown’s austerity policies. (The plan is to claw back some $300m+ by further gutting the gutted and hamstrung and hung-out-to-dry (because it has been very wet) city of Auckland, supercity, super.) And a nice person commented

Wow that is a lot of jobs and a lot of mental health support removed from the community… 🙁

I answered

please don’t reduce the role of arts to mental health

The nice person:

excuse me? Having art in peoples lives improves peoples lives. Having community outlets and hubs to join. Please don’t simplify my comment when I obviously wasn’t stating all benefits to having arts funding. 🤦‍♀️


I’ve grown up in the arts community since I was born and pretending art doesn’t improve mental well being is just ignorant.

Now. I just want to say this here. Perhaps you will be able to make sense of it.

Please increase the role of arts in mental health


Please do not reduce the role of arts to mental health

National Scandal

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… critical is vital …

You really pour yourself into something when there’s no money to make things.

— Róisín Murphy

 You’re not free to say a lot of things. You notice it in every single crisis that pops up

— Laurie Anderson

 there’s such silence about the pandemic in art. After 9/11, we built two towers of white light to represent the people who died. We shine them again every year. With Covid, nothing. Why are people so silent?

— Laurie Anderson

 Art should have a mood, I think, before it has anything. That can unlock personal revelations for people.

— Róisín Murphy

 Creating a kind of dreamlike situation which works in sound and image, that conspires to take the listener into another less judgmental place…

— Laurie Anderson

“Oh, this is why I’m doing this. Love: that’s why.”

— Laurie Anderson on the death of Hal Willner from COVID

try to tell the truth. But the real thing I have to say is just try to really like and love yourself, because if you don’t, it will be so much harder. Realise that you already are perfect and you don’t have to worry about anything. Take that as a starting point. That kind of sounds idiotic, but advice is idiotic!

— Laurie Anderson

the way creatives are going at the moment, they don’t need my advice. They see all this straight away. “I’ll do it myself, I’ll make a movie one day, I’ll do whatever I want to do.”

— Róisín Murphy

there it is, the answer to the anodyne pap being served out as cultural commentary


and the answer is …


no but really, really consider this critical moment. Yes, it’s always a critical moment. The present is a problem time.

Read this if you want to know about problems.

so how it works is the present critical moment throws into question all the preceding stories-we-tell-ourselves-to-put-ourselves-to-sleep-at-night and so that we can.

pomo, postmodernism celebrated the end of the master narratives. No more authoritative version. No absolute truth. Just egos puffed up and wanting to dominate, dominate the narrative.

The present critical moment throws into question, celebrates throwing into question ALL THE MINOR NARRATIVES.

the minor narratives are the ones we whisper to ourselves, like it’s going to be all right

like lullabies, the infantile babbling … of what used to be called the inner child now in this critical present moment DOMINANT,

fattened on narcissistic narratives of identity the inner child …

is now THE political representative. Is OUR political representative.

so how it works is the present critical moment puts the problem

and putting the problem opens what is called a solution space

putting the problem sets the terms to articulate the problem

what is the problem?

it’s not absence of creative opportunity

it’s absence of opportune creativity.

return to top, reader. Read how it’s done …


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Things I left out of a note on cinematic time

How can the replay of duration cancel out duration? This is the question I left hanging at the end of the note on cinematic time where I promised to get under the hood of what is happening in the relation of life to the moving image in general. At issue was the contrast between a mathematisable time and natural processual time.

Complicating the issue is that Russell on one hand makes use of the example of cinema, of the cinematograph as a fair enough version of what mathematisable time is. On the other, I say that cinematic time is duration. It has to be, since time as duration going by what Bergson says is presupposed by mathematical time.

Mathematical time is time as measurable. Duration is not. There is time being ratiocinated and time being intuited.

I hoped to point out in that note that the tendency of spatialising time that is Bergson’s target is not what’s going on with Russell’s version. I believe Russell is picking up on what has become, since cinematographic time, a more profound habit of thought. This is, because the moving image moves of itself, to identify its time with real time.

Bergson cannot defend this thesis unless he is read back into cinema, into its early history in particular. There Schonig can help him out and help us out who read him by showing the first film genre to take as its subject natural time. I called this in the note the mystery of the shot and looking at what I said about it I don’t think I’ve been clear enough.

I feel this mystery to be at work in all of this, from the unbelievable swiftness of cinema’s spread to the present fixation with AI. Deleuze’s philosophy gives me leverage on this material but I can’t say for sure that I have lifted the hood. The reason for the present writing, the motor has not been fully revealed.

The motor is contingent motion. This is what I discover from Schonig but I hesitate to call it Schonig’s discovery. His interest is in one effect, one direction that the motor of contingent motion takes cinema.

He signals it in his subtitle, CGI. I find this to be one proof of what the motor is. I mean that cinema as it has developed since the use of computer-generated imagery, in the 1970s and 80s, has become an industry invested above all in contingent motion.

Contingent motion is running the show. It’s a bit like the hard problem of consciousness is for neuroscience and not unrelated. The problem is how to reproduce digitally what the shot naturally reproduces.

When I say the shot, I mean cinema. The problem drives the investment in a technology like Barbershop that the money is still behind and that is still being developed. Barbershop came about to animate Kong’s hair realistically in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong.

A nice 2017 article by Ian Failes, “How King Kong Movies Changed VFX History, Over and Over Again” gives the details of how Barbershop enabled 30,000 to 40,000 clumps of hair on Kong’s head to move independently. That is, in contingent motion. Hair has become an obsession on an industrial scale.

Simulation supervisor Claudia Chung and her team spent three years developing Merida’s hair for the animated feature Brave, 2012. The digital hair had to move and catch the light like real curly red hair. You might say this effort is about finding the noncontingent means to arrive at pure contingency.

The fully digital scenery currently deployed in live-action films, if they are set in some version of biological nature, multiplies the problems for CGI of contingent motion. The leaves on the trees have not only to be made they have to be made so that they are moving.

Neither CGI nor animation are under any obligation to reproduce the contingent motion of leaves, hair, smoke, clouds, nature with any realism. The commercial imperative can even go in the opposite direction. Films that offer more schematic renderings of characters and mises-en-scène can make more money for studios.

A special example is Studio Ghibli. The mises-en-scène have a high degree of verisimilitude whereas the characters are generic. They are schematised, big eyes and heads, rudimentary bodies and expressions and it is the contrast between characters and mises that holds audiences, as of two contrasting levels of time, historical time and the time of the characters’ inner experience, where what happens to them matters more than how realistic they are. This would be how the problem of contingent motion for CGI relates to the problem of consciousness for neuroscience.

The mystery of the shot has become the problem of contingent motion. For CGI the problem is deeply embedded in mathematics. It is, whatever the parameters, how mathematically to generate randomness.

Although natural processes engage entropy and entropy relates to energetic systems, the natural world being an open system, the world of digital graphics a closed one, the problems are different. The leaves moving on the trees is not about entropy, it’s about the wind, the light, the time of day and the immeasurable quantity of details both large and small that are visually captured. No quantity can be fixed for what is in the shot. It is purely a quality, and one of duration, I would say.

It is so for the digital image in a completely different way, in the contingent motion of the little lights, the pixels, that go to make it up, belonging to the screen. These are qualities of screens and eyes. The specific duration, entailing what endures onscreen, is of screentime.

In the note on cinematic time I referred to this duration as an interval and the shot, cinema, as what relates the interval to the indeterminacy of contingent motion. For this indeterminacy I said that a noncontingent time is needed. I meant the interval.

If there is an apparent contradiction here it has to do with the ambiguity of the word contingency. Perhaps I didn’t put enough stress on this in the note. Contingency means both dependent and independent.

The noncontingency of the time of the shot is its independence. It comes as a function, for both digital and analogue media, of the image moving of itself. The contingency of the motion caught on shot has the same independence, so it is contingent in that sense, but for the digital image it never can be.

Yes, the digital image moves of itself but the hair does not. The image digitally produced, the computer-generated image, moves of itself, in screentime, but the leaves do not on the digital trees. The graphics, the smoke, the particle fields, cloud, atmospherics in being digital effects are contingent on digital production.

They can only give a more or less near approximation of randomness. What is noncontingent, indeterminate and open in the digital moving image is screentime. That is, screentime shows contingency of motion as the independence not of what’s on the screen but of the screen itself, its effects of light being the effects of light’s movement, movements belonging to the present.

Are the movements of light, of the light emitted by little lights constructing the screen, confined to belonging to the present? If so isn’t any imagery shown on a screen also confined to the present of when it is viewed? I think the time captured of the natural world is open at both ends.

At one end it is open to the present of when it is captured, at the other to the present when it is viewed. This is unlike the computer-generated image that comes from a closed system and is the result of a process. The digital image is not still in process and in it since the processing has finished when we see the image that process has no duration.

It does not endure. In the terms I used in the note, upon rendering it is inert. What’s alive is the light from which it’s made.

To say it does not endure is not about durability. Although Bernard Stiegler, a philosopher of technics, links the evanescence in the present of digital imagery, its passing, to the passing of a whole regime of learning and knowledge. There is a link between the internal duration of what endures, is not inert, to knowledge, but I think it has to do with the closed loop between temporalities that contingent motion attests to, therefore to the contrast I am still pursuing between what has been made of cinematic time and what it really is.

How to figure out what it really is? The answer is always going to be the leaves are really moving on the trees. That means they are caught in the passage of time passing, that it really is and we can see it again and again, and we can slow it down, speed it up and even wind it backwards.

This is true of every moving image with the added manipulability that the generation of digital imagery by computers brings and this imagery, thanks to the little lights, the pixels, is always moving. So from it is inferred the real time we actually see in contingent motion and here the problem starts again. It is one of reference and inference.

The motor is driving nonetheless. The digital image is no less than the analogue image. What becomes apparent in the history of its development is also what has ceased to be obvious in the analogue image. This is that the passing of real time is in the autonomy of the movements, their contingency as being independent of whatever mechanism of capture is used.

It’s funny when you think about it. What fuels the obsession with simulcast, simultaneity, liveness with no lag, processing power and speed, is what the moving image refers to, time. The exorbitant wasted effort of exporting the problem to digital simulation is equally as ironic or terrible when you consider that all the Lumières needed to do was point a camera at a tree.

The digital is like a forest enchanted under the spell of contingent motion. Then we, its spectators are captive as well. I am suggesting that what we are captive to is time.

The question is what time holds us. Different dimensions of time have so far been noted. There is the time that Zeno challenges with his paradoxes. Because it refers movement to space Bergson calls it space and not time.

Then there is the time of scientific measure, the mathematical variable t. It comprises states of events in a succession one after another that is said to take up time. Bergson’s criticism is that science misses the time taken internal to any state that is like a fingerprint, a unique quality or, it may be said, image.

There is further the time challenging the independent and constant variable of t. This is Einstein’s spacetime. Now t is relative to t2 and t2 to tx. For Bergson this remains a measure external to duration of inert quantities.

It only seems to be supported by cinematic time. It is only so if the cinematic image does not have a unique quality that is like its fingerprint. I am arguing that it does and that the proof of this is contingent motion as well as the proof Bergson is right and what he’s right about is that the time of duration does exist.

Duration is either another dimension of time or is as Bergson says absolute. It would appear we get as far as cinema and, by complicating the relation between scientific and natural time, it adds a complication. Cinematic time is either duration and duration absolute or a fourth dimension of time.

Schonig doesn’t follow up on his own lead and find in the purely at random movement of naturally occurring phenomena being captured on film proof of cinematic duration. Instead he follows it up with our aesthetic appreciation of contingent motion as it resurfaces in the digital attempt to reproduce it. The other reason then he doesn’t pursue the lead he finds is that he looks to Immanuel Kant, whereas I go to Bergson and Deleuze both Kant’s critics.

Bergson’s take on Kant is that he doesn’t get past his prioritisation of space and so succumbs to an illusion. I touch on this in the note on cinematic time. The illusion is the same one that Deleuze places at the start of Cinema 1. It is the result of the evolutionary and individual-developmental idea, of the body being centre of action, that is instinct in the human.

It’s imperative for me to see my body as centre of action. If I’m going to learn to walk I have to see things the right way up and what obstacles there are. Are they things I can put in my mouth? Are they things I can pick up and use on other things? Can I climb on them or up them or do I have to go around them?

The principle of utility arranges things for us. Their arrangement arranges our senses for us. That and the actions of others who might regard themselves as centres of action also arrange our faculties for us, our sense of justice and our moral senses, our understanding and our reason. Still, we can dream and in our dreams suspend what is in our environment made imperative.

Deleuze’s take on Kant is exactly of him allowing a transcendental illusion. He does this in an entirely positive way and in this way reverses Kant. The illusion becomes both guarantor and arbiter of truth.

Any correction reproduces it. This enables duration to be covered by duration. More importantly for cinematic time Deleuze takes, says he takes the temporal figure from Kant of a broken time.

This is when duration breaks cover. For cinema you’d think it does in the cut and this is how Deleuze proceeds. He defines the shot by the cut.

The shot is what cuts and I agree but not for Deleuze as it cuts to another shot or runs out and in this running out we get an inkling of how Deleuze conceives the time-image. It’s in a long shot that can cut, by Michelangelo Antonioni or that is a long take, like those of Michael Haneke, two different eras of film but in common they have a kind of objectivity. The shot lingers or dwells regardless and also full of regard for having cuts or letting go.

It’s a strange kind of objectivity because it lets go of the mechanism, a mechanism that is inferred. It lets go of the control and the shot is then not out of control. It doesn’t go wild but the opposite.

Neither the movement of the action nor the movement of the camera are important. What comes to the fore is staying or sitting with, as if we have to hold our breath or the camera is. It’s not to see what happens because what is happening happens without our gaze mattering. Without care for us looking on the time which is that of the mise-en-scène and therefore of an historical time goes into suspension. It has then the proper dimension of the shot itself and we can infer again that we are the characters looking on or that there are no characters, actions without characters and actions without consequence.

What I am trying to get at is the problem of our and of the characters embeddedness in historical time, in sequence and in succession, being an illusion. Animating the shot is a time out of sequence and that breaks its succession with the interval. Brought to our attention and, it’s possible although we no longer see it through them, the characters’ attention, is the interval itself.

We no longer see it through the characters’ eyes, this duration inside the shot, this interval, simply because they are not what matters. They are usually what matters, in contrast, because we care about what happens to them, usually because the plan of action of the film gives access to their intentions, desires, expectations, disappointments, anticipations. These all belong to an inner duration, another interval, in the characters that is separate from the mise-en-scène.

Between mise-en-scène and character is a distinction of temporality between historical running-out time and cinematic unrolling time. To cinematic time belongs indeterminacy. It’s essential to the film holding us that it capture even if by a thread, through a window cracked open, the breath of fresh air that makes the whole thing undecidable, creating its conditions as it goes along.

I am taking note of the strangeness and unusualness, what is remarkable about when the film is not compelled by its action. What compels it then, some artistic intention of the film-maker? I would say it’s what compelled the earliest audiences that film-makers return to in what Deleuze calls time-images, the mystery of the shot.

The time-image shares in Deleuze’s cinema books something of that mystery, has a kind of mystical aura of the transcendental. I would say, paraphrasing Deleuze himself, that cinema fulfills in these books the conditions of philosophy. From Difference and Repetition on there is Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism, an objectivity about the transcendental plane, that here is the part taken up by cinema.

It is also the part taken by cinema. There is the coincidence of titles, of Jacques Bazin’s Qu’est-ce que le cinéma? with Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? thirty years later, where the problem recurs of what seems to arise in the earlier work by Martin Heidegger, Was Heisst Denken? in translation, What is Called Thinking? Where is this problem raised? Where does it recur but on the transcendental plane that in cinema is the shot. In French the words coincide, le plan means any one of plan, plane, shot and all at once.

My note on cinematic time linked élan vital with duration as a creativity, the creative energy of time itself. I believe this to be Bergson’s problem enlivening the three absolutes of duration, consciousness and evolution, while for Deleuze they are all relative to, relative movements or speeds of, a transcendental plane, plane of consistency or immanence. This leads me to a plan vital as an image of cinematic time that is not found in Deleuze or Bergson but is their child.

Characters work out problems that are on a plan vital unless or until there are no characters and we have shown the plan vital. What gives the greatest distinction to a plan vital is the absence of action. There is movement.

This movement is the signature of duration. It is the movement of the moving image. The moving image is a unique, temporal singularity.

It disproves our embeddedness in historical time as it shows that the shot’s is also illusory or false. The shot cuts time out of time. Where Deleuze’s bringing Bergson to the cinema to show the cinema has always been philosophical is timely, in my reading Bergson in light of cinematic time is untimely.

Being untimely is for me its strength and from the earliest instances of cinema has been, since the untimeliness of those leaves moving, that cloud of dust from a wall’s demolition, the water swirling in random patterns, the waves. These shocked audiences and so film-makers provided them with more.

The whole power of cinema is in those first shots. Does it then get lost? Does it get lost due to the narrative exigencies placed on film and those serving to advance action?

It’s lost inasmuch as it slips from both our sight and our grasp but not inasmuch as it is diminished. It increases and holds us increasingly captive. As data-cows we are milked through our eyes by the moving image.

Deleuze is not with me on this except in the way that his terms migrate. The modulation he attaches to the moving image reappears in his “Postscript on the Societies of Control.” Modulation refers to a moulding that occurs through time and is then a shaping and grooming of behaviours and a keeping score on ourselves.

This could refer to our engagement with cellphones and other devices and to the moving images on them but need not. In that engagement, in the participation with them always seeking our attention, is always a disengagement and nonparticipation. Since with them, through them we have access to the untimely, the guarantor and arbiter of our performance in a time-based world is not of this world.

It’s not of this world or its time because the time that this world avows is the time of action and the vital plane, plan or shot engages our direct participation in inaction. Our attention is actively turned to the inactive.

Belonging, in Schonig’s terms, to contingent motion, we are contingent on as well as contingent to the plan vital. This then is another plane or dimension of time. Like the day-to-day relation of events to cinema as they roll out before us, like the relation of fractal events as they fracture into pixels to the digital moving image, it is also specific to cinematic time.

The fact that we don’t grasp our own inaction as anything but the most important kind of doing-our-jobs points to the two-sidedness duration has taken on, that it has taken on through our becoming inured to it. Our familiarity means we don’t see it. We don’t see it until it breaks cover.

Now I’m trying to grasp it and hoping that you can without too much of sliding from one side to the other. Sliding however is inevitable given its filmy nature. This nature is of where Deleuze places the transcendental plane.

Not a staying with, a sitting with, Deleuze conceives the shot moving. It moves in several ways. It’s there to move us, move the story forward, advance the action, change the relation of parts to whole, where these are not so much bodies as the filmy planes or plates of the moving images themselves, and it’s there to express whatever movement the film-maker, the director, intends.

Because the image is expressive Deleuze doesn’t get into whether whatever physical attributes are inferred or imputed to them by films are real or not. He tacitly retains the distinction between the virtual and actual, the virtual being no less real than the actual, the actual no more real than the virtual. He imports it to time and it generates two-sidedness.

On one side is movement, on the other the absence of action and yet there is no contradiction. Both belong to duration but duration is not what it was before the advent of cinema. I think this is what spurs Deleuze in his books on cinema and what the problem is worked on in them.

For Bergson neither movement nor duration are divisible. Neither are the parts divisible, down to the merest thread, to the smallest particle. Deleuze starts from movement because he says its reproduction corrects the problem Bergson has with cinema, but this is the same problem Bergson has with scientific time, the same that leads Russell to cinematographic time as its solution.

In this respect Deleuze and Russell’s views converge. The way the cinema reproduces movement solves Bergson’s problem with cinema. The way the cinema reproduces time solves Bergson’s problem of putting space first, of science using space to measure time and so, thinking it’s measuring time, missing time itself.

Deleuze takes something from this other view but it is not that the movement reproduced by cinema is the signature of duration. For me the moving image’s moving of itself in itself becomes arbiter and guarantor of the truth of duration and the motor under the hood of this contrast between time both as it has departed from duration and as its underlying condition, the condition really of this parting as a movement of thought. What Deleuze takes is the divisibility into parts of a whole that is duration.

For Deleuze as for Russell these parts are correlative to the whole. They connect to it. They are unities, for Russell relative unities, for Deleuze relative unities with a twist.

The twist’s from Bergson. Parts, unities and the whole are understood under the notion of a multiplicity. The multiplicity of the shot, its unity correlative to the whole, has both virtual and actual sides to it.

Deleuze’s definition of the shot is that conventionally given in film history. The shot only comes into its own with the innovation of cutting. Only then does the camera have a point of view that it finds can be mobilised, changing angle of view, tracking and all the variations of a filmic language.

The importance of the shot however is not for Deleuze that cinema is, as Jacques Lacan said of the unconscious, structured like a language. It’s not the sense made by the shot that is a consequence of it being followed by another. It’s the thought it expresses, how cinema thinks, that is a consequence of the break in its internal continuity of the shot when it cuts.

How this break still makes sense is peculiar to film. The new thought cinema expresses is Deleuze’s target, the new brain it embodies. For thought to move then, from one thing to another, over the breaks it internalises, entails a new image of thought.

The cinema needs a new plane to be constructed for that thought so that it can move because it’s not the movement that is internal to the shot either giving it the movement necessary to thought or allowing it to move. What allows it to move is a surface and its movement can be called a surface effect. So on one side of the plan vital is a film, a surface where thought occurs, consciousness.

For Bergson the brain is an image among images. For Deleuze it is a moving image among moving images. This is the restoration of Bergson Deleuze makes and it seems to me that it is necessarily concessionary.

On the other side of the plan vital is duration. Deleuze’s version of cinematic time is not duration. Is it true?

This can never be asked of Deleuze and it doesn’t mean I love him less but it does go to his difficulty. In him everything is moving. The ungrounding in Bergson undergoes a further ungrounding in Deleuze.

What doesn’t take, from Bergson, what Deleuze gives up is duration. As conceived by Bergson it survives neither the challenge of science nor the challenge science poses to philosophy. It doesn’t survive what I take to be its proof in cinematic time.

That Bergson saw cinematographic time to be the enemy of duration, working for space and not time, is part of the problem. This is the correction offered by Deleuze, but to make cinema duration’s ally means to call Bergson out on his mistake. What aspect of an absolute can be mistaken and to what degree?

Deleuze’s answer is to keep what duration does, its ungrounding of the whole. Duration achieves this already in Bergson since it is the interval of qualitative change that any state whatsoever has. What endures is change internal to states, in the time they take to pass, as they are passing.

Deleuze allows it is change of the whole but only to endow movement to the parts, called by Bergson images. The connection between whole and parts is the crack or thread of duration. It seems to endure in itself not belong to states or events and rest on the surface, the plan vital.

It’s true that Bergson initially thought duration to apply to consciousness. The reason for this is that states cannot be compared. They are in constant flux in themselves and in relation to the whole and it’s wrong to privilege one state over any other, so they cannot be measured, although it is natural to do so.

The anthropocentric fallacy is just this privileging, and a developmental stage in the individual and in the world. Then Bergson endows life with duration. It belongs to anything that endures and that might be said to be going against the current of time by being, in self-creation, constantly changing.

He later extends duration to the whole. He has to because the physical reality is of all images including those of thought being caused and affecting all others. Duration is perpetual change and as such undoes the privileges of thought, of spirit, of life and of consciousness belonging to the human brain.

Duration ungrounds the whole. Now Deleuze in fact sets the whole on the false. Not for the sake of the false or of illusion, the transcendental illusion he assesses positively in Kant, he sets it there for the sake of thought with which he is primarily involved, for the sake of endowing the faculties of understanding with movement.

God no longer arbitrates and adjudicates and offers the guarantee of truth. Already for Kant the positive discoveries of science as well as the suppositions of metaphysics are in the position of measurement against the immeasurable. They are only correlatives of the absolute and indivisible that is inaccessible to society and man. Women don’t really feature in Kant.

They are in Kant already in a sense images that compete for our attention, that are brought to our attention and capture our attention. For these truths that are relative to the unrelatable sublimity of the in-fucking-effable, to quote the writer Samuel Beckett, God’s role is cosmic piano-tuner. It is to harmonise the whole and parts.

For Bergson, which Deleuze approves of, time-as-duration is not true because it’s absolute but because it’s creative. It is creation itself, continuous and ongoing except, as I am trying to indicate in view of cinematic time, it is the interval the shot cuts. The shot cuts out of the transcendental plane a slice that is immeasurable and indivisible, is both because discontinuous, nonsuccessive, properly inconsequential and contingent, random.

The cut only exacerbates and brings to attention what is in the shot. The detail needs to be brought out, going against the current of time. Living duration does.

Before expanding on this I’d like to say something about cinema fulfilling all the conditions of philosophy. That setting the whole on the false is upsetting can readily be seen. Why Deleuze’s ungrounding further to that of Bergson’s ungrounding, his untimely?

Partly the reason is Deleuze being canny enough to avoid the philosophical dressing down suffered by Bergson and by duration. Cinema rises, Einstein rises, Bergson falls and to some extent so does what is called thinking. It falls or fails in its creativity.

Bergson thought philosophy’s role, particularly with the scientific challenge of spacetime, was to go in the direction of true time, duration. He could not support it against the charges of psychologism, irrationalism, subjectivism. Intuition is for women.

What does Deleuze say in his book on Bergson about intuition? He calls it the discovery of a new philosophical method. Bergson’s other great discovery is for Deleuze the nonnumerical multiplicity, nonactual, virtual.

He can save these not duration, not directly. Instead Deleuze’s own philosophical untimely is the virtual, the plane of becoming. The plan vital has all the characteristics of Bergson’s time but for the fact it does not exist, that it is a screen for duration.

Cinema has a screen and images that move across it, sideways and up and down, recede into it and exceed it. That’s all philosophy needs and it too can be creative. It can create, like Deleuze and Guattari say in What is Philosophy?, concepts.

In that book from 1991 the other attribute of philosophy is of having personae. These are usually thought in theatrical terms to be dramatis personae and I’ve also tended to view them this way. Conceptual personae as Deleuze and Guattari describe them are much more like figures from cinema.

Less flesh and blood, more fleeting, with a different relation to duration, they are schematic. They are schematic specifically in Kant’s sense of the schematism, of connecting concepts to perception, to percepts in the words of What is Philosophy? and to sensation, there also, affects. The hard thing to think dealing with affects is that they are impersonal, not subjective, not guilty of psychology.

Cinematic personae fulfill the philosophical condition of conceptual personae, imposed since Bergson, of having empirical reality. Yet they are so for participating on the transcendental plane in a transcendental empiricism. They are not irrational facets of intuitive femaleness and then it is not so strange that in A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze and Guattari talk of a becoming-woman being the first condition every further becoming has to pass through, through to becoming-imperceptible, that again is almost unthinkable until we think it in light of cinematic disappearances.

Besides the screen that sits on film, that enables film to be layered on top like masks, internal and external, forcing the connections that come from movement and the movement of thought, images, ideas between, through and below them, at any point whatsoever, and besides the sound that then issues from the screen but indirectly, the pointed conversations of personae in turn putting images into motion, besides these cinema fulfills the condition of philosophy for Deleuze of being outside it. This condition isn’t really discovered until his work with Guattari, whose practice it should be remembered was psychoanalysis, and writing, but who came to the partnership with Deleuze, the philosopher, with the point of view of practice. Practice is outside of philosophy, science, writing.

Although they are practices, philosophy, science and writing share the technical reliance on a reflection on them that is always outside their practice. Movement is everything for Deleuze. Time is everything for Bergson.

Time and movement, movement and time, this is the oscillation in Deleuze’s books on cinema. It makes the terms almost interchangeable. I would not say that they have there relativity.

Into their disconnect comes the screen forcing them into relation. For Deleuze this is differentially expressed. It spirals in and spirals out but they never touch.

Between time and movement is the screen and the screen is the perfect transcendental illusion. I do not mean that it itself is illusory, since we know this to be untrue. It means movement for everything else.

The shot then for Deleuze has to be defined by differential relations, organic ones, dialectical ones, as in Walter Benjamin, quantitative and intensive ones. These relations are forced onto different shots by montage, editing, cutting. Duration evaporates from the shot but, Deleuze might say, it hangs around, like a mist.

For Bergson cinema fulfills none of the conditions of philosophy, the opposite. Cinema relates movement to space. It does not dwell on or in time or reflect on it like we know it to for Deleuze.

Bergson’s aim for philosophy is to make it science’s equal by giving it an object that science and mathematics, physical and technical systems of reference neglect. He finds it in the nature of systems themselves and in Creative Evolution 1907 he distinguishes open from closed systems. Openness is a term picked up on by philosophers Martin Heidegger and Giorgio Agamben.

It relates exactly without connection to the philosophical condition essential to its practice that is outside. Evolution, creation, creation in thought as much as of physical phenomena are for Bergson open systems. They are then his philosophical themes because their openness is openness to duration.

Duration or time, unlike movement that only does so because it is durational, they break. This is the figure of a broken time that appears in Deleuze, not in the cinema books. The shot presupposes a broken time but the break is not internal till the forced relation of shots creates it.

It is in this way that I think montage, cuts between and among images, that Deleuze makes internal to the shot and not only external, exacerbates what is already in the first and simplest, the so called primitive shot. The figure of broken time is time out of joint, off its hinges. It is from Hamlet.

Hamlet enacts a critique of philosophical schools. This is something of a theme for Bergson as well. It has the famous line, There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.

In 1601 when the play was first performed what was happening in Europe was the birth of the university and the systematisation of philosophy, into schools. The English were great anti-systematisers and Hamlet is a very unsystematic critique. It is witty and Hamlet’s line is a witty reproof against the schools’ version of philosophy not Horatio’s own.

Jonathan Rée, whose Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English, 2019, I am drawing from, tells the story there that philosophy in English doesn’t really get going until Thomas Urquhart. Urquhart was five when Shakespeare died. It gets its start with Urquhart’s first translations into English of François Rabelais’ lampoons of university philosophy as much as any work that seriously engaged with the subject.

There might be said then to be an English lineage of philosophy, witcraft, that had to do with literature and jokes, fart jokes, satirical jibes and irony, that was of the inside outsider in philosophy. The line skips the country, resurfacing in American pragmatism in the 19th century. Deleuze I think is part of it both, when he identifies himself with pragmatism, on the outside of his philosophy, and, inside it, when he enters the play of philosophical images and uses what I’m calling the plan vital to vitalise philosophy.

His difficulty is due to this since philosophical concepts jostle in him. They move, are juggled and enter into subterranean connection, disjunctive syntheses and aberrant nuptials. They metamorphose and where in one work a concept, a term will be taken to mean one thing, in another it will mean the opposite. He is he says a cumudgeonly interlocutor and in this role resists the notion of a school coming up to follow him.

What has this got to do with the figure of broken time? Well, life, the broken figure of time is the hesitancy of thought. Hamlet is nothing but this hesitancy of thought pitted against philosophy, the philosophy of the schools, of the university, that living thought always exceeds.

A time out of joint is a living time as much as duration is living duration. It is so in the hesitancy of the habit that breaks open, that witcraft makes fall apart laughing. I think an expansion on this is required, under the heading How to Hesitate.

A How-to book, it will deal further with cinematic time, as it reacts on psychological time. Thought breaks into time and stands against the conception of it being in continuous succession like a film. This is to say that life does too. It goes against the current of time.

Life, energy, these organise, form and transform, and, as current theories of energy put it, inform, at all levels of matter. They go against time thought of as knowing-what’s-coming on the basis of repeating-what-has-been-observed-before. Chaos is not reproduced but it is in this sense productive, creative.

Going against the current of time means going against the assumption that high energy tends to low energy, that life is just such a gradient, a slow passage to death. The universe is on an accelerating course to heat death. The earth is on an accelerating course to the same.

The passage to death of life is slow or fast and quick, sometimes in slowmo or speeding up or opening out on the vast and endless plains of boredom and despair, and memory’s role is replay it, to put it on repeat. These are all things that cinematic time does. They don’t belong to living duration and they don’t belong to the leaves are moving on the trees and this is also cinematic time and presupposes the other sort.

I want to come back to the force that the moving image hits the imagination with but before I do I’ll consider one after another the difficulties of the two authors dominating this text, this time taking a shorter detour. The two difficulties are linked. They are linked indirectly by cinematic time although they link directly to it, each in his own way.

The difficulty reading Bergson is that we come after the advent of cinematic time. We have lost the knack of seeing in natural time anything apart from the flow of a continuum that is absolute. This view is supported by science and by mathematics despite the paradoxes challenging it, that at the quantum level time may break down, that at the cosmic level the universe has a before-time and an after-time, it stops and starts.

Literature and all the arts engage with other views of time but these are identified with mental aberration, with states of mind that are deranged. Normalcy is hardwired to time. Start putting effect before cause and you could either be accused of having a good imagination or of being unwell.

This gets worse if we take it back to what Bergson is warning us of, that it is our bad habit to tie everything to its utility to us, to us as centre of action, including time. It is a primitive state in our cognitive and social development. We only do this with time because it works for us. Clocktime works for us and we work according to it and for it.

Break clocktime and bring on the revolution (the one that does not revolve). To read Bergson with understanding is to notice how much of what we do is grounded on the assumption of time having a flow which our organisms in their own functioning deny. They go on on their own against the current.

With the advent of screentime clocktime becomes a redundant reminder. Screentime’s spatialisation of time governs what we do and how we do it and hides that force which sustains its dominance. This is where Bergson gets going with cinematographic time.

He is drawn to it by the same pull we all are and were but his philosophical approach is to condemn it as only ever excelling at reproducing the mistake of space being mistaken for time. He has schooled himself on another line of thinking. Real time passes, endures, in, no matter how great or small, the interval itself.

It’s funny perhaps not in a good way that Deleuze approaches Bergson, takes him to the cinema, with it in mind that Bergson’s condemnation of cinema goes for all of his philosophy of duration. That it comes down to a point on it is true but the philosophy of duration is the reason. So Deleuze goes to movement that for Bergson is presupposed but not grounded by time-as-duration.

Deleuze doesn’t see the ungrounding effect time-as-duration has. Bergson doesn’t see that this ungrounding is the thought that cinema is. It is so in its hesitancy, even in movement terms it is.

Deleuze’s twist is to think time-as-duration as plane of composition. For cinema, this is the screen, plan vital, that in fact covers over duration and sees only one side of it. It sees the side that has no genesis.

I asked at the start how duration covers over duration and I must be nearing the end if I have now given the answer, that Deleuze’s screen covers over duration. From it comes the difficulty that I associate with understanding Deleuze, reading him with understanding. This is the witcraft in the movement of his concepts, in the play of the movement of his concepts over the (filmy) surface of the plane.

The genesis of these concepts in duration is covered over. Deleuze screens off duration for philosophy. It becomes a philosophical memory.

The win for science and mathematics is twofold. It gets to keep t, the time variable, in all its permutations and projections. It gains from Deleuze a metaphysics to support it.

The difficulty Deleuze gives us in reading him is deliberate and this too goes back to Bergson. They more or less see eye-to-eye on the subject of schools, although Bergson stands as something of a warning. Having risen in influence so far, his fall was rapid and for the legitimacy of his philosophical lineage devastating.

I’m thinking here of the bastardy of philosophy’s children that Deleuze introduces, specifically to break the line, launching it into a broken time. This is a subject I’ll have to leave hanging. It does still turn on an aspect of Bergson, his critique of habit, that Deleuze finds additional reasons for in the English philosopher, Scottish born like Urquhart, 100 years after him, David Hume.

Deleuze is difficult because he wants to break our reading habits. The habit is to assume logically that in philosophy one thing will come after another and that the terms used for a concept will remain constant. Not so in Deleuze, he does after all praise Bergson’s method, intuition.

He wants us to experience the forced movement of what is in play. He wants us to feel the full force of the problems he’s dealing with so that they, as artist Francis Bacon says of his paintings, come across directly onto the nervous system. The difficulty they have will be the difficulty processing them and that time of thought will be of a break in the habitual activities of the brain that it will cause to hesitate, stammer, pause or stand still in a kind of anxious overload of possibilities, before making a selection.

The shot originally was such a problem, providing such a shock it cut through all the habits audiences had until then of how time was seen. After seeing time repeated they could say that it can be. Time can be repeated.

The selection was not immediate of cinematic time. It took time to displace habitual views. In that pause audiences’ selections played out in cinemas of those films where time’s signature could be seen. It was time’s because it was nature’s.

This, early cinema could speak authoritatively about, true time. In true time what happens is naturally chaotic. It evolves.

Its energies get expended and are dispersed but that energy goes to forms, signature forms, of waves and particles, particulates in the atmosphere, or the stochastic movement of leaves, grass, hair. It’s fine to affix a cause but the cause doesn’t explain the event, it’s just terms looking for a structure, a matter of projection back onto the terms.

Now the first time you see indeterminate movement you aren’t amazed at its being reproduced. You don’t really care about fidelity to an original. What’s shocking is that it’s there in front of you and the shock is first increased by its being repeated, by that possibility it can be selected and repeated, and then it is learnt.

The early cinema spoke with the authority of true time about movements that are authentic because they could only occur in nature. So the early cinema spoke with the authority of duration. Learnt, this meant something else.

It had to cause people’s selection but more than that it had to cause people’s election to be learnt. This is the meaning, not of the commercial economy, of the democracy of film. It caused to be learnt, through the signature of its movements, what time is and once learnt cinematic time displaced time in even its philosophical dimension.

luz es tiempo
point to point

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on the mimetic creation of another form of expression or, translation and self-consciousness in art: Damian Lanigan’s novel The Ghost Variations

The name has a further meaning, you see. It’s not about the narrator being haunted. It’s not about that Schumann piece, written at the dictation of angels, a yutbe clip appears below. It’s about an altogether other dictation, no less angelic but, in this case, the angels have to be generated to do the dictation.

Chinchilla, play, Robert David MacDonald, brilliant. Brilliant because it’s about art as much as it is art. In other words, it’s about artistic creation and that of an ensemble, the Ballets Russes. Chinchilla is Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev. The play’s special power comes from its special ontological position, as translation.

Oscar Wilde’s “The Critic as Artist” starts fittingly at the piano. In it we find that every work of art worthy of being so called is really a work of translation. Damian Lanigan’s novel translates from one art form to another to make great art.

From pianist to the novelist, from the narrator who is a concert pianist, to the writer who is also a playwright, says his blurb, Lanigan translates to the typewriter that is now a keyboard from the piano that is for Declan Byrnie a machine of torture. See,

A piano performance consists of a body that can never get quite comfortable, possessing an insufficient number of hands and a sucking vortex mind. The poor frightened beast must assert his control over this bizarre Heath Robinson mechanism: strings and hammers and wood and steel and felt and glue stretched in and around a misshapen coffin that weighs about nine tons, has the temperament of a prima ballerina and the capacity of a nuclear power station.

— op. cit., 117

At a certain point it enters the landscape, because it’s always been a part of the landscape of writing. See,

The sunlight breaking on the hillside across the valley, the peaks drifting in and out of view, the way the colour of the water changes, it’s constantly shifting, this permanence, and the mountains are a billion years old, and the clouds are three minutes old, and so you get this collision of massiveness and insubstantialness, the now and the ancient, and the constant shifts between green, grey, white, blue, brown and silver, zero visibility and infinity.

— ibid., 242

Published by Weatherglass Books very well in 2022 you just have to read it really.


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Georgi Gospodinov, bulgarian cosmonaut, cosmopilot tells us what literature can. Not where

While I was writing the book [The Physics of Sorrow] and wondered where this sadness was draining from, it had flooded all over Europe and, in a sense, all over the world. As a writer, I know that the long accumulated sorrow, the concealed sorrow is a dangerous thing ready to explode. That is why it should be freed, narrated, tamed through the story. It should be danced out, if you like. And this is one of literature’s capabilities.

Yes, people dancing out sorrow in literature, can you imagine it in NZ Aa [Aotearoa]?

I can in Aus[tralia], not here. And yet without it, the sorrow concealed accumulates and is concealed. It explodes.

How does it explode? Are there people crying on the streets or just onto the screens of their cellphones?

O, no, of course if not danced out in literature the explosion of the accumulated sorrow, which is mountainous today, can only be violent. It digs a hole for itself as deep as the mountains are high and throws children down into the pit.

We used to say it went all the way to China but that’s a two-way street.

The immigrants who come here, they take the happiness that would have been ours in a fairer world.

Now I would like to say a few words about what literature is still capable of in a world like ours today.

It is capable of doing simple things. Like saving a life for example. You tell the stories and thus you postpone the end. We know this best by Scheherazade–stories in exchange for life (simple deal). When the victim tells a story she inhabits another, protected zone.

If my last post had been a how-to book this is what it would’ve said about cinema. It seems to have everything to do with rushing forward but in fact it is How To Hesitate.

Perhaps this will be the title if I give that long post called “a note on cinematic time” another life. This is just something I’m playing with, an idea.

This is the special guarantee of literature. This is the strength of the weak one who narrates.

I must have known this instinctively as a child because I always chose to read books narrated in the first person. I knew the simple rule that the hero wouldn’t die as long as he or she keeps telling the story. I tell a story, therefore I am. Narro, ergo sum.

What else can literature do? … these quoted bits are from here.

It seems to me we slowly begin to understand that the world cannot be explained only through the first pages of the newspapers, the political statements or markets, banks, etc. Because we are not made of economics and politics. We are made also of sorrow and hesitation, of such fragile and inexplicable, sometimes irrational things.

It is as I was saying:

A critical mass of hate and insecurity has accumulated worldwide, a madness, if you wish, that is easily multiplied and intensified by the new fast media. We are getting harshly radicalized in our opinions and words. This internal jihadism hidden in each of us is one of the most dangerous conditions today. Now the great battle goes on not just over geographic territories but over the territory of the human. There are limits of human nature that shouldn’t be overstepped. Because historically, the human kind comes before ideologies, before states. And the migrants today are part of a great migration of sorrows. And this migration of sorrow is something we should think over and try to narrate.

Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for sharing a few minutes together in one of the sentences of this world.

Thank you for the feeling.

Published June 12, 2107
© 2016 Fondation Jan Michalski

Trans-European Express

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Enduring Dreams: a note on cinematic time [pdf]


luz es tiempo
point to point

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Enduring Dreams: a note on cinematic time

[please go to this link for personal document format black on white text]

In their introduction to Henri Bergson: Key Writings, Bloomsbury 2021, John Ó Maoilearca and Keith Ansell Pearson offer in answer to Bergson’s solution to Zeno’s paradoxes Bertrand Russell’s own:

A cinematograph in which there are an infinite number of films, and in which there is never a next film because an infinite number come [sic] between any two, will perfectly represent a continuous motion. Wherein, then, lies the force of Zeno’s argument?

Why does Russell use this image? Why does he choose the image of a cinematograph? An early piece of film gear, the cinematograph combined the functions of both projector and camera. By the time Russell is writing cinematographs had been in commercial use for 27 years.

Why did he not revert to Zeno’s own examples or talk about an endless succession of clouds? Why not choose a natural phenomenon? or is it to Russell’s point to use this one? Is there a reason to refer to cinema in this context?

I’ll come back to this because the point of this note lies in the contrast between cinematic time and natural time. Cinematic time is more readily understood than natural time and this too speaks to my purpose. By cinematic time I mean the kind of time that cinema, film and moving images in general occupy. Natural time is then the time taken by natural processes, organic and inorganic, whether they are themselves living or inanimate, the time they animate.

I think Russell exemplary for the contrast I am making not because he formulates a concept of cinematic time but because of the contrast between his views on time and Bergson’s. Bergson’s explanation of time is that of a duration. In duration he is dealing with the time properties of natural phenomena. For me duration is then exemplary of natural time.

The Russell quote Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson use in the introduction to their editorial choice of Bergson’s key writings is from Our Knowledge of the External World on ‘The Theory of continuity,’ Lecture V, 1922. They cite Russell because of his lasting influence on Bergson’s subsequent reputation. Russell contributed to the fall of Bergson’s star, a star that at the time had burned more brightly than any philosopher’s.

1922, the year Russell’s work was published, was also the year of Bergson’s debate on April 6 in Paris with Albert Einstein. The echoes of this event are still I would argue being heard if not felt or recognised in our contemporary philosophy, including in the philosophy of science. Einstein and Bergson debated the nature of time. It is said that Einstein won.

Although not widely discussed, his win contributes to Einstein’s rise and Bergson’s fall, the one eclipsing and outdoing the other in popularity. It is even forgotten that Bergson, particularly among women, enjoyed such mass appeal. This is another mark, in Russell’s view, against him and his philosophy.

Russell vilified Bergson in plainly sexist language. Where Einstein beat Bergson in popular culture, Russell is largely responsible for his sinking below the surface of the philosophical mainstream. We might even date the divide between Analytic, anglophone philosophy and so-called Continental philosophy to Bergson dropping from sight.

The context for the waning of Bergson’s reputation is strongly linked to what he himself considered his principal philosophical insight. This was into the nature of time. The insight into the natural duration of time is behind all his later work.

Bergson realised that in science’s understanding time needn’t pass. For science there is no endurance. There is the passage between states but in themselves these do not endure.

Science does not measure the time internal to their endurance. Rather states are measured at each end, from end to end, from startpoint to endpoint and from any point inbetween that can then serve as start or end. In the beginning a state, whether it issue out of a preceding state or not, is not and then is. The time internal, the time endured, Bergson called duration.

Science and Einstein’s spacetime of relativity rely on simultaneities. A state in its is-ness is related to another in its. This is true for the states of measuring devices. It is therefore true for the clocks of the two clocks thought experiment.

Bergson argued that relativity was not a temporal phenomenon. It had nothing to do with time. It brought into relation simultaneous states, the time-reading of the two clocks.

One clock had been travelling and one not. When compared, the one that had been travelling ought to lag behind the other. According to Einstein time passed more slowly for the moving clock and the faster it moved the greater the lag. For Bergson, these relative times were not being measured, the two states of the devices were.

The time internal to the travelling clock was not being compared to the internal time of the one holding its location. A clock does not in Bergson’s sense measure the time passing. It uses a spatial analogue for it.

Here time is not passing but, since it goes by the point it is recorded, still and present. Its relation then to Bergson’s idea of the real time of duration is given by convention and that convention rests on a spatial metaphor. A durational measurement of time is impossible to make by fixed quantity. It is a quality, an intensity, that can only be intuited by a feeling and from its experience in duration.

Time as duration is inaccessible to ratiocination. That it must be felt does not make time an exclusive quality of consciousness. It does however render it irrational and this is Russell’s finding with regard to Bergson’s philosophy, of it being irrational, intuitive, therefore nonanalytical and effeminate. Moreover, for Russell, Bergson is guilty of making philosophy over in the image of his own irrationalist, intuitivist, anti-analytical and feminising impulses. Worse, he is unapologetic in doing so.

Bergson suggested that it was not only habits of thought that stood in the way of our thinking durationally but language as well. Spatial metaphors for time were built into language. My own finding is that the greatest obstacle to understanding Bergson is not language and the spatial metaphors inherent to it.

Reading Bergson is difficult because of a set of metaphors wholly other to those found naturally in language, in fact allowing them to relinquish primacy and sink into the background. This is the same background of historical time and historical context that Bergson is seen to sink into, making it less and less likely for Bergson, in its passage, to have anything useful, effectual or relevant to say to us, his readers today. The set of metaphors displacing the ones identified by Bergson as standing in the way of thinking durationally coincide with the historical time he was writing. They come from cinema.

Before dealing with what is meant by saying that the predominant means used to think about time take their metaphors from cinema it’s important to enquire further about the contrast between scientific measurable time and time as duration. Is there really a contest between the two? Isn’t Russell right in thinking Bergson’s notion of time to be too diffuse to be useful, too intangible and, if not feminine, subjective?

Duration might have some psychological validity but no scientific validity. It is at best a psychologism, a matter of subjectivity and, ultimately, opinion or point of view. So there is no contest, is there? As Einstein is alleged to have said when Bergson presented his counterargument to contrast with Einstein’s views on time, “The time of the philosophers does not exist.”

For duration to be a contrasting view of time it has to stand up on its own. Astrophysics professor, Adam Frank, in a nice article written from his reading of Jimena Canales book about Einstein and Bergson’s 1922 meeting, asks in its title, “Was Einstein Wrong?” This is to raise to the level of contest what has not yet been determined to be in Bergson’s duration a contrasting view of time, but Frank also raises the question of whether Einstein’s spacetime stands up on its own.

Frank claims, after Canales in her book The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time, 2016, that Bergson was not presenting an argument to counter the notion of spacetime. He did not want or mean to counter the physics but the metaphysics. Without certain metaphysical assumptions spacetime is not a concept that stands up on its own. Therefore it is at the level of metaphysics that the notion of duration becomes contrastive and worth putting up against, pitting against spacetime.

Spacetime, writes Frank, depends on the metaphysical assumption of chrono-geo-determinism. This is a view of the block universe. In the block universe everything that can happen, has happened and will happen exists. Each event exists in its multidimensionality as actual and discrete.

A divisible part of its multiplicity, what happens, has and will happen is chronologically and spatially (geometrically) determined. So it is predetermined but it makes no sense to say so since the temporal distinctions of before, pre- and after cease to matter. Time as succession, however it may be physically necessary to bodies in motion, is no longer metaphysically supported in such a view.

Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson in their introduction distinguish between this kind of multiplicity, where everything possible is actual and exists, of which temporal succession is no longer a necessary part, and what Bergson calls a virtual multiplicity. A virtual multiplicity is not composed of discrete and divisible and therefore measurable and countable events but of states of duration. These are diffuse and, from being purely virtual, they come into being.

They are not divisible except qualitatively or intensively, by relative differences of intensity. These states are not discrete, they interpenetrate. They are ever in process.

Against the absence of necessary temporal succession in the first type of multiplicity, of the multiverse or block universe, the second type, of virtual multiplicity, presents the temporal succession of different qualities, intensities, states in process, that come into being and pass away. This overall process Bergson calls duration, pure duration or simply time, but the absence of necessity of succession in spacetime does not mean its necessary absence. This is what Russell is trying to show in his handling of Zeno’s paradox, that the discontinuity of discrete states of things does not exclude their continuity in a kind of time.

How does science show time? How does mathematics show the continuity of succeeding states, from one to the next? How is change conceived of? It is not common here to talk about chronogeodeterminism as Adam Frank does.

The tendency, even in quantum field theory as it has developed from complexity and chaos theory, is to show, for example in paying close attention to and taking measurement of initial conditions, that change occurs according to laws. These laws are, broadly considered, deterministic. Were they not and did they not remain so there would be little room for them in science. They would not be supported by its epistemology, that is according to its (metaphysical) assumptions of what constitutes scientific discourse and knowledge.

Since duration frees succession from predetermination, since duration saves time, so to speak, from the determinism where saying pre-, before and after, actually makes no sense, there does then seem to be something worth contesting. Bergson’s duration shows succession. It shows time to be of the order of continuous succession.

For the time of states that interpenetrate, that are always in the process of coming into being, succession is not only evident but necessary. The order of time has to be one of before and after. Time as duration, for the reason it is of a virtual multiplicity and is ever coming into being and passing away, belongs to a continuity that cannot be predetermined and is nondeterministic. It is a time adequate to both freedom of action and indeterminacy.

Does this order of time differ from the common naturalist view of time being a succession in continuity and at once able to be decomposed into discontinuous and actual states? Does it differ from the view of temporal succession able to be divided without altering its underlying nature of being continuous? This is the source of Zeno’s paradoxes relating to bodies in motion. It is also the source of Russell’s paradox of the cinematograph, where I believe Russell articulates a naturalism belonging to cinematic time.

The fact of this articulation points to another source in natural language. Language, in particular written language, gives the impression of there being a continuity underlying discontinuous discrete states of things. The letters don’t make sense without it. Then where does this sense, the sense of continuous movement come from?

Sense has the continuous movement of making sense that time has too. It is there in what may be called natural time. This naturalist view is what Zeno set out to challenge and inasmuch as he gives the sense there is a paradox here he succeeded.

All is movement according to this naturalism. All however is not in movement, otherwise there would be nothing solid to grab hold of, but, whether the movement is of sense or of water or of the particles it carries along, for this view, for the temporal continuity supposed to underlie stable appearances, movement is prescriptive. It is the way time is pegged to movement that produces paradox.

The all, of all is movement, can be divided at any point. Zeno supposes the realisation of this potential. Being broken at every point it can be brings about either the cessation or the breaking down into parts and more parts of movement and from these parts the whole can no longer be accomplished.

Time however does not cease its achievement. It carries on regardless as if movement itself were separable from time. While for science time is a function of points articulated in space, for the naturalist view these points articulate time. Stillness rules time for the scientific view, leading to the immovable chronogeodeterminism of the block universe. Movement rules time for the naturalist view, leading to the paradox of the points along it being time’s stopping points.

Bergson’s answer to Zeno’s challenge is similar to his answer to science. He answers science’s division of time into simultaneities by saying that no such division can occur without a change in what is taking place in time, without qualitative change. He answers Zeno by saying that movement is not an accumulation of movements and so cannot be composed and decomposed as if it were.

The flow of his writing gives the same sense as he ascribes to a melody in music. Were it to pause and draw out any one note there would be a qualitative change. This is so for the movement of a written thought, for a melody and for the movement of physical bodies. Movement happens at a single stroke. It is indivisible according to Bergson.

Divided, its quality changes. Achilles need only walk to prove it. What Zeno shows in his paradox, since the change in the quality of Achilles’ steps, is a race between two tortoises.

Bergson’s answer to Zeno’s challenge to the view of time being articulated by movement and therefore composed of the series of points moved through is to point back to the time that movement takes, stating that time is neither an accumulation of nor decomposable into points or discrete states. To subtract one state that is moved through changes the nature of the whole movement. It is not with quantities of time that Bergson answers Zeno but with its quality, the overall step of Achilles being unequal in its quality for the time it takes to that of the tortoise.

Russell however does not accept the terms on which either Zeno’s challenge to the naturalist view of time or Bergson’s answer to that challenge rests. Between 1922 and Bergson forming his ideas around time and his answer to Zeno a new analogue for time has come into being. It is in Russell’s answer to Zeno, the cinematograph and cinematic time.

What is significant for Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson, is that Russell answers Zeno’s paradox with another paradox. The continuous motion of time is upheld by the continuity of an infinitely unspooling number of films. There is never any next film but an unbroken stream.

The films are not, as in Bergson’s example of a melody, indivisible. They are measurable, tangible. They may be stopped at any point without there being qualitative change. Russell’s view shows a naturalism to his cinematic example, that of a cinematic analogue for time. As Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson put it, without really asking why or stating what it is, Russell answers Zeno with another paradox.

They instead charge Russell with dogmatism in arrogating to his own view a validity that is both logical and mathematical, and that does away with the need, as Einstein also says, for Bergson’s philosophical time, but what is convincing in Russell is not the logic, rationalism, mathematical and scientific validity or the truth of his view of time. It is rather in the nature of his example. It has to do with the cinematographic image.

We are more familiar with streaming media than film. We might update Russell’s image for the digital image. Its internal logic would still hold. In the stream of images there need not be any next image but between any two there can come an infinite number. It might then be asked, what is the paradox that Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson find in Russell?

They insist that Russell’s mathematical time is not like that of the naturalist view pegged to movement. It can’t be decomposed and recomposed by infinitesimal periods of time or distances in space. It has to do with continuous series where there is no next. Its failure, for Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson, is that of being an actual multiplicity and not a virtual multiplicity. The states it describes have to be actual and existing, not virtual and coming into being as with Bergson.

Looking at it from the outside and taking Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson at their word, the paradox for me resides in there being as Russell states it no next film. It’s worth noting at this point that in 1922 cinema programmes comprised successive films. Each required the loading of new reels. A feature, like The Toll of the Sea, 1922, running at 54 minutes, took up 5 reels, but typically in the 1920s a reel was 15 minutes long and held one film.

The paradox therefore is that in Russell’s “infinite number of films” there is always a next film. If Russell had attended one of over 1000 cinemas, as there were by 1914 in London, to see a particular film on the programme, he might have been very disappointed. If he had stayed his whole life, he still may have left without seeing it. However what Russell is attempting to assert, despite the paradox of each new film being the next one and yet there being no film consecutive to another, is the continuity of the series. Its continuity allows, without breaking the mathematical series, for the intercalation between any two of an infinite number of films.

That the programme plays without a break is the assurance of the mathematical series, but this, say Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson, bears no necessary relation to the actual world. Neither, says Russell, need it have any relation to actuality nor to time for it to be preferred and asserted over Bergson’s philosophical time. Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson call Russell out then on the dogmatism of the assertion of mathematical time in place of philosophical time.

What they don’t do, as it is probably beyond the scope of an introduction to a selection of Bergson’s writing, is investigate Russell’s claim for mathematical time in view of the nature of cinema and of cinematic time. My view is that Russell’s image of time, however paradoxical or dogmatic in its statement, is naturalistic. It engages a cinematic naturalism. More than this, the image given of time by Bergson’s writing, from Time and Free Will (in French, Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, 1889) on, cannot be understood without difficulty after the advent of the image of time I have been calling cinematic.

Russell is the beneficiary of the advent of the cinematic image of time, since it is his view of mathematical time that historically has prevailed, in science and in large measure for philosophy. This image has created more problems than it has solved for our understanding of time. These problems are being played out today in particular by quantum theory, quantum field theory and in the attempt at a grand unifying theory.

Bergson’s target was a mechanistic view of life but, since the capture in the moving image of a particular kind of time by mechanical and technical means, the target shifts. It has shifted to the relation between cinematic time that captures the moment and the playing out of life. I would say then that these scientific problems ramify across our understanding and, since cinematic time captures the moment of life by capturing its movement, I would say that they radiate out over the whole of human activity. This is part of the reason for this note.

That these problems are not held exclusively by either science or philosophy, since I am expert in neither, is the whole reason. I’m a thinker not so much of thought, of philosophy, as, being on the side of cinema, a thinker of practice. Bergson’s appeal is that of allowing me and I hope you, through this note, to get under the hood of what is happening in the relation of life as it rolls out and the moving image that winds it up in the kind of continuous and unbroken succession Russell imagines belonging to the cinematograph.

The fact is he imagines it. On the side of cinema there arises a wholly different picture and image of time and, on the face of it, it looks like Russell’s paradox, of there never being a next film through the interposition of any number between this and any other one but yet of there always really being a next film, unlike Zeno’s paradoxes, is not intended to pose a challenge to the naturalistic view of time, whether cinematic and to do with moving images or, as for Zeno, to do with moving bodies. It looks like Russell espouses the view he makes a paradox out of, as if he does not recognise that he is making a paradox.

Having come this far and in light of what Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson say it might be asked whether Russell’s dogmatic assertion of a view of time in place of the philosophical time Einstein said to Bergson does not exist is the mathematical or the cinematic one. This brings this note back to what I asked at the beginning, why does Russell use the cinematograph as his example?

Is there not an example that better fits, that is closer to his only option for philosophical time? Why not talk about the infinite number of points that intervene between any two points on a line so that there is never a next point? Why not talk about an endless succession of clouds in the unbroken continuity of which there is no next cloud? or of crickets or birds in whose song there can be said never to be a next note, a next stridulation? Wouldn’t any natural phenomenon serve the purpose of showing the sense of continuity, of the compact continuity against which he proposes that Bergson’s duration does not make sense?

Even in his example, of films, there would seem to be one closer to the temporal model of mathematical time. Why not say that between two shots any number might be inserted, or between two frames there might be any number of frames? so that a movement would never be completed, a sequence or scene could never end? There would still be no next shot, no next, simply the continuity that he is trying to draw our attention to but as I’ve said, I think the reason for Russell’s choice of image resides in the transformation of the nature of temporal experience effected by the advent of cinema and of cinematograph. However there is one more point to make before getting there.

Russell would not answer a paradox with a paradox. Even if he didn’t have a good understanding of the mechanism of film, of its composition frame by frame and its potential decomposition into frames or into scenes, he would not. It’s all in this, Russell did not accept the terms of Zeno’s paradoxes. He didn’t think they made sense.

He didn’t see Zeno’s paradoxes being the challenge they were meant as to what I’ve called the naturalistic view. His own view was stated to challenge Bergson’s duration. This view, the mathematical one, is that a continuum like time is divisible, infinitely, without breaking it, without stopping its flow, as Bergson has it. It is so for as long as it lasts.

This as-long-as-it-lasts is emphasised by Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson. It goes to its nature of being what Russell calls a compact continuity. Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson are at pains to point out Russell’s continuity is not the temporal continuum as such.

In fact I have dwelt with these writers on the first part of Russell’s argument. The second goes regardless of there never being a next film, because of the infinite number coming before any two, a cinematograph “will perfectly represent a continuous motion”. Therefore, he asks, wherein does the force of Zeno’s argument lie?

Russell uses the cinematograph ironically to dismiss the terms of the paradox. His own statement does not hold with there being any. He’s not going to the movies to see his favourite film and waiting, potentially endlessly, for it to show. He’s arguing for the perfect representation of the sort of continuous motion he subscribes to as view of time.

It is passably adequate, adequate to the purpose of dismissing Zeno’s terms and to dispensing with philosophical time. It is so for its perfect representation. This has to do with nothing else apart from the nature of cinema and so the force of his example is an effect of that nature.

The nature of cinema is to represent perfectly a continuous motion. It doesn’t matter about the intervening films because this does not subtract from that perfect representation. Their potential for endless postponement of any next film is not at issue.

The compact continuity of the continuous motion represented by the cinematograph ought to be taken into account. It’s not an infinity. It’s not a slice or section of a continuum.

At issue is that Zeno’s paradoxes do not perfectly represent a continuous motion. The arrow in flight, the tortoise, Achilles, are engaged in a thought experiment that goes against common sense and the naturalistic view of time. For this view, animated by our habits and our use of natural language’s spatial metaphors for time, time is space.

Russell’s example is not about returning to this view. He wants to show it as being inadequate but this time inadequate to science and mathematics. What is demanded, unlike duration that cannot be represented, is a perfect representation that can be measured and, it is for Russell, measured without being either broken or divided. It is so without changing its quality.

Were the quality to change, the measurement would not hold. Rather than being pegged to space, as in the naturalistic view, time is pegged to the points articulating a continuous motion. For this reason Russell doesn’t go in to the frames making up a film or its scenes. He holds to the continuous motion of its imagery.

The moving image gives a perfect representation of a continuous motion. In common usage, however it is composed technically, whether of frames or pixels, the moving image is singular. We know and can ignore the fact that any continuous imagery engages a movement, of frames or pixels, of pictures drawn or computer generated, before that represented on a screen.

In the case of the digital, it might be said there is never any before. Digital imagery represents movement itself. As the digital image is always a moving image, given that it consists of moving images, perhaps it’s better to think of moving image, with or without the article, as a collective noun.

Ignoring the composition of moving image from moving image, in order to say it is the one perfectly representing a continuous motion, cuts one image out from all others. These potentially make up the moving image but they are also set in train, made by it. Where to stop the moving image in its continuous motion?

Russell’s perfect representation of a continuous motion imposes on continuity a unity. In his example the unity is integrated locally as a single film so that it arises as a paradox for Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson, the paradox of there never being a next, Russell says, while there is forever a next film, which he doesn’t say. It is no paradox for him but a proof of the terms, the terms for measurement in time and space being challenged by Zeno’s paradoxes, not holding.

It is as if cinematic time underlies the naturalistic view of time with its spatial references that Zeno uses. It is a new naturalism but one of cinema and it is here receiving its official philosophical endorsement. Russell’s view is a naturalisation of cinematic time.

How to get around this? how to get around the cinematograph perfectly representing a continuous motion? It’s possible to point out the paradox, no next one, always a next, or to translate Zeno’s paradoxes for the moving image, and peg time back onto space. The moving image is composed of moving images comprising further moving images and can be put together to unroll continuously without ever reaching an endpoint but this, I would say, is the ruling metaphor for time as commonly understood.

It’s why the Big Bang, a time before time, and the Big Crunch, a time after, are so hard to think. This view has gained currency like the spatial imagery, that Bergson points to, inhabiting and haunting language. It has become part of our language.

Time unrolls for us. It rolls out ahead of us and out behind us. In one direction time is no longer accessible to us. In the other it is not yet, not quite here. Here bears the full weight of the present.

Here is where each of us is, the now we might like to be more mindful of and to appreciate, rather than living in anticipation of the future or yet unable to free ourselves of the past and our memories. The now has the duration of a point in time. Its stretching out ahead and behind is in the form of a line that we can mark out further points on, things that are possible in the future and things that happened in the past.

To be here in the now is not to return to the physical spatial nowness of the natural order. It has been since the invention of the means to reproduce and replay moving images to be among those images, watching old movies or events on screen that are either as close to the present as technically available or belong to the past. It is to live in screentime, cinematic time and to be in some measure free of the physical continuum that for Zeno constituted the only one.

Events that are simultaneous with us we tend to consider part of the present, to be live. These events are like the simultaneous measurements of the clocks in the two clocks thought experiment. The idea of reproduction is reserved for the fabrication of events that are produced. Their production, the production of their imagery, constitutes for us, just as it did for Russell, their reproduction.

The role of time is to enable the endless and continuous succession of changes. We can replay this as energetics or use it, whether reconciling ourselves to it or not, to measure the lengths of time relative to birth and death. The role of time is not creative as it is for Bergson.

The role of the now is not in duration. The past, present and future exist in terms ideally measurable so that in the now we know where we are. The now is not able, as it is for Bergson, to be reeled up into knowledge or otherwise rolled out into action. Nothing sticks to time as it does for duration. Sticking would be a quality of duration not a quantity of time, where everything slides against a continuum, like the imagery that slips across the screen, in a film of imagery.

We know the present to have no extension not from the spatial habits that preceded ours but from the cinematic moment. This differs again from that of the still. The photo does not represent an arrested moment, like the image before us whether on a screen or here now when we open our eyes, until we imagine it to participate in a succession similar to that of cinematic time and projecting it back imagine what happened before and will happen after the photo was taken.

Mist will rise from the lake. The car was out of control before crashing into the tree. There will be casualties. There will be further effects of light. For Bergson the now of the still photo has a depth, an inner duration, but not from the time it was taken. From the time internal to the technical mechanism the image will have an inner time.

This time thickens and thins. It sticks sometimes and sometimes stutters and for intervals is still as in the still shot. It is not made up so much of homogeneous continuity as of a heterogeneous and fluid succession of discontinuities.

Like reading Bergson today, his time and the experience of time slowing or quickening, or even time stopping, seems unnatural. It poses a problem as if breaking not just with habits of thought but with conscious experience. Conscious experience, that is to say subjective experience, unreels its moments in succession.

Whatever special effects occur, like the slowmo we experience when about to fall down a flight of stairs, affect the moment. They are momentary. They pass and normal transmission resumes.

These moments are anomalous and not the rule that consciousness sets for itself. Science comes to our aid to explain the anomalies, a big hit of adrenalin, an alteration in brain chemistry, fight or flight, and solve the problem. In the resumption of normality, of memory not overcoming the present as it does for the old, of the promise of the future not taking over the present, of it not holding inestimable riches as it does for the young but merely calculable ones, conscious inner experience, consciousness has the continuity and the density of a film.

Dissociation and other pathologies, for example narcissistic lack of empathy, result from its thinness. The burnout that comes from overinvestment, broken-heartedness and fits of depression may result from its thickness. We need a happy medium to be healthy. We need more comedies. We need more hero movies.

The medium however is dictating the terms. Inner experience is subject to those terms. Time does not in fact alter its qualitative consistency. It remains in homogeneous flow. It does not thicken or thin, stick or stutter, in a normally working brain. The standard for thought, the rule for consciousness then is the same as the one for time.

It becomes so not just by Russell’s example but by open consensus. Pathologies relating to temporal experience are not even socially conceived. They are individual. They belong to the workings of the individual brain.

That anomalous experience may have physical causes, either in the development of the individual brain or in its chemical makeup is not at issue. After all, consciousness is not the brain. The proof is that we can be conscious of the diagnoses given our experience by medical science. In the moment of experiencing weird stuff we can put it down to chemical changes, maybe a misfiring neuron, being sick or high. In other words, we can put it down to its imagery.

Consciousness is the indifferent medium until we go truly psychotic and that line is expressed by taking the latter for the former and being unable to separate the medium from its imagery. Isn’t this the sort of psychosis Russell’s example exhibits? In it the cinematograph is the imagery of films and our consciousness of them.

Once time is identified with cinematic imagery, consciousness is identified with time. Once consciousness is identified with time we are stuck in the cinema unable to get at the projector. We may in fact not admit there is one but an ‘it thinks’ that ‘I am.’

The sense perception that the brain is said to be hooked up to by the nervous system provides it with the images that are projected for me. These determine my inner experience. They comprise the consciousness of which they are, no matter how much filling in is done or what failures and compromises of transmission through the medium of consciousness there may be, the imagery.

Once I conceive consciousness in cinematic terms, rather than admit to the mechanism being simply out of reach, it’s easy to picture myself being a passive observer of what passes before me as if on a screen. It is perhaps more desirable but this opens the possibility of there sitting in the cinema of myself yet another observer who is the recipient of my own observations of the screen watching the film I am projecting for myself from in myself. Further little observers, each one stuck in the cinema of sensation of the one before can be imagined in a reduction that resembles the kind of paradox Zeno uses to challenge the naturalistic conception of time.

The paradox is as well of the sort, notwithstanding the fact I don’t, that Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson see in Russell’s answer to Bergson’s answer to Zeno because once one observer comes between myself and my sensation there can come an infinite number. It follows in turn that because of the endless line of mini me watchers that I never get to see what I see. The perception never reaches sensation.

Sense never gets to arrive at consciousness. The arrow never reaches its target. It requires an equally infinite amount of time not ever finally to arrive because there is no end and no next except that of its duration, of the arrow in flight, of light first projected then in endless transmission. The medium for this transmission is the air, is consciousness and is time but for the cinematic image in particular the light bearing the image is the same as the light that makes it.

For something that goes so fast it goes so slowly as never to arrive and seems that nothing can go more slowly. If Russell’s solution is applied to this paradox we repeat the doubling up of cinematic time by thought. Later in their introduction to a selection of his writing, Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson say that what is at stake for Bergson is not whether science is wrong about time but whether the time of science and the time of cinema and of the cinematograph are the same.

In his books on cinema, written late in his philosophical career, it is said Deleuze takes Bergson to the cinema. Bergson on his own behalf has little to say about cinema but Deleuze is not about trying to reconstruct what he would say if he had given it more thought. He is not rehabilitating cinema in Bergson’s eyes. He is rehabilitating Bergson in cinema’s. He is setting Bergson in philosophical light of cinematic time.

Deleuze does so in such a way that the elision between the time of science and the time of cinema falls back both into the historical and the cinematic background that is the background of cinema’s own particular history. For him this happens before and he writes after. Neither does philosophy do cinema for Deleuze nor is one applied to the other. For him, cinema does philosophy. He tries to show what it thinks in philosophical terms.

I am trying to show what cinema thinks in cinematic terms, specifically in terms of cinematic time or of the time cinematic time is imagined to be. The history of cinema has value for this account because it shows how we wind up with an image of time that is drawn from cinema. For me Bergson’s value is in the persistence of the problems with spacetime he deals with and also in the problem he poses for his readers today.

The problem is exactly that he doesn’t have much to say about cinema and that we don’t find in Deleuze, in his books on cinema at least, what he could have said. Bergson’s examples, his images for duration are not just old-fashioned they are inadequate to the one that Russell illustrates for time. Bergson talks about a melody.

If it glitches out it is no longer that melody. Any alteration in the intervals of time brings about qualitative change. The melody no longer makes sense or it makes a new kind of sense. He talks about a bell tolling.

He hears it ring a number of times but he needn’t count them. Without attending to number he gets a sense of the number. From its qualitative duration he hears how many times it rings.

Switching to cinema Bergson does consider the effects of slowing down motion to show on film changes in natural processes that happen too quickly for the eye. He talks about film’s usefulness for science because of this. He doesn’t seem to see what’s coming, that film can be so compelling as to displace all other images of time and the assumptions made about them, that it will induce the displacement of metaphysical by cinematic assumptions.

This is the advent of cinema, the displacement by cinematic assumptions of assumptions made about time. To say they are metaphysical is to point to the elision of one to the advantage of the other being unexamined. It is unconscious and where it is a conscious choice, for example for the sake of example, gives negative proof. It covers for what is not there and only confirms the tendency, having been naturalised, being natural.

I can appreciate these examples of Bergson’s, the melody, the tolling bell, intellectually but I don’t automatically understand them, so the question is what do I automatically understand. What do I think we automatically understand? If we confine ourselves to operations in cinematic time we can’t understand Bergson.

We can understand him least when, by saying the brain is an image among images, he is closest to us. Intellectually we can come to appreciate him. To make sense of him we can remind ourselves that the image he is talking about is not a representation and it is not a representation either subjectively or objectively, neither in the mind nor in the world.

We can learn him and build up, piece by piece, the parts of the puzzle we do understand finally to complete the picture. It will take time, or we can use Bergson’s own method, of intuition. To intuit invokes a different sense of time.

Intuition goes to the interval that breaks the automatism of our continuous apprehension of the world, and of ourselves. When thinking about what I do or don’t automatically understand I thought, I don’t understand myself. I come to understandings with myself.

There is room for negotiation that sometimes involve placing constraints on myself. I constrain my behaviour and emotions to what I prefer, for myself and what I prefer to project to the world but, if I am honest, my own self-understanding seems to have more to do with reconciliation and accepting that I don’t know and what I don’t know. The flaws I find after all are in the eyes of others not flaws, whereas pride, pride is the classical flaw in character.

Humility towards oneself seems too positive to me, too much of an action, while passivity is too close to indifference. I tend to keep openminded, or I would like to think so, towards myself and what it represents, to keep open the material space that I occupy. This bodily space is probably what I least understand and to see it in the aspect of mortality, of either sex or death, suggests to me a reductive view.

I prefer to see myself in the aspect of an interval. It’s not necessarily the one where we get ice-cream and it need not be the one where we leave the cinema but it does break open what I have here been calling cinematic time. A break occurs in the continuity of apprehension either of the mechanism, for example a clock or cinematograph that is both projector and camera, or our own, the apprehension of the subject.

The idea of a continuous time lends itself naturally to the image of a mechanism for registration and playback of the moving image, the break, the interval, more naturally to subjective experience. Objective time borrows its sense of automatism and continuity from this image, I have been saying. The subject then takes up the image in its mechanically rendered automatism and continuity and idealises it to render to consciousness what belongs to cinema, the indifferent film of all our personal imagery playing in the cinema of the self.

The stakes are high. They engage scientific and philosophical, physical and metaphysical, materialist and idealist notions of time, of what time is and, by engaging objective scientific notions, empirical notions, of what can be tested for and what measured, also are at stake. This is why it’s important to point to both the mechanism and the subject as each having a time internal to it that is duration.

In neither the subject nor in the cinematograph is there really automatism and continuity. This is an idealisation. It comes from cinema. It takes in the whole field.

If cinema can show us this and we will get to it we should ask what Bergson can show us about cinema. Apart from ice-cream, what is the good of the interval to cinema? Surely the good of it is to show its own continuity of apprehension and its automatism of mechanism in order to assure us of ours, that is in order to give us the impression of a continuity matching real life and to do so without our manual intervention or suspension of disbelief? If the cinema’s continuity and automatism breaks down or our own does, and our own does, it’s not working and we are back in the pathological zone, aren’t we?

Then we are weighting cinema with our own welfare. This also I have been saying. It goes both ways.

First to the subject, when the automatism of its continuous apprehension breaks down it starts working. Outside of any metaphysical pretension to understanding, the work the subject does is to intuit from its surroundings how to adapt itself to them, either to perish or to make use of elements that are there. When the ground falls from below my feet I don’t scramble to find a reason to stand upright. The same is true for intellection, for intellectual apprehension.

When faced with the minimally unfamiliar, the next in a superhero franchise, I can go with the flow. I go with it unless it loses me or I lose it. I’m here concerned with me losing it. It losing me will follow.

I lose it and burst through to the thoroughly unfamiliar. In other words I have not adapted myself in time but I have if it is a matter of duration. An interval opens that is there all of the time.

I had not been aware of it. Now it imposes itself on me. Either all of a sudden or by slowly creeping up, these are the two modes of intuition, that it is instantaneous or follows the contour of the things happening in the film. In the second case I am travelling with a minimal subject, a subject so strung along that it is oblivious of the risk.

When I’m so involved I am oblivious I am following my intuition. In the zone, I am in the interval but what is happening is a detour. A shock may come at the end of it, the shock of lack of recognition, of the failure of recognition.

The film may come to a dead end. The problem it sets, the question it asks, continues. This is there all the time for the adaptation to our surroundings in the interval between what is sensed and its selection.

Elements are selected for their usefulness to us and their selection is largely intuitive. We have familiarised ourselves with it to the degree it does not involve an active effort directed towards trying to make sense of the unfamiliar. The selection is then for an action.

The interval of intuitive activity going on all the time in surroundings we know, in genres we have general knowledge of, Bergson puts down to how elaborate and complex the nervous system is in humans. In it, there is always delay. Even when no intellectual effort is required there is delay between perception and sensation.

Bergson says this is always coloured by affective states, by moods and feelings, and that these as well as the process of making sense are influenced by memory. What contours they are we are following in a romcom is being selected as we go by the states elicited in us by events in the film in connection with our expectation and recognition. Time is so far comfortable, unless the contour should drop away and we find we’ve pinned all our expectations on false promises.

Everything is up in the air. What does this look like? It looks like physical pain insofar as no matter how we try and recoil from it we are thrown back on the body as if, not the emotional journey we were on but, it is the source of discomfort.

Intuition engages memory, emotion and intellection. Intellectual intuition, given the normal run of things, tends to laziness. It tends to take all flows for that flow affecting everything and everyone around while effecting nothing.

Once out of the flow, I’m on my own pressed up against and having to recognise my body as its source. My outer experience goes to inner experience. Outer experience takes a detour through inner experience, experienced as duration.

Now this flow does effect something. It produces inner experience. This inner experience is neither mediated nor reproduced.

It ceases to be the flow of consciousness imagined apart from the body. It ceases to be the flow of film imagined apart from the mechanism. Either one or the other is set in the ideal light of the mechanism to be continuous and automatic.

The automatic flow of consciousness suffers a delay, is detoured by the film, comes up against itself and its own mechanisms in the body of duration. This is not usually the case. Films are usually made to escape the flow of time not in this way but the fact of that escape proves something about the nature of cinematic time. It belongs to duration.

Belonging to duration the time of inner experience and cinematic time are discontinuous. They do not approach time as a substrate. They are not asymptotes to time’s arrow.

The advent of cinema is a challenge to time’s arrow that it meets by assuming it as its own. Time runs from that advent to the point tomorrow it may run out for us. This is not to take no notice of the detour and delay in duration.

Time as the medium in which we swim does not flow. It has oceanic depths. It is even chaotic. Then film comes along and seems to put it in order.

Second, to the object, as product of history and of history as product, we might as well talk about a genesis of film. Film belonging to duration that does not flow evenly between points A and B is presupposed by the logic of time Russell finds for in the cinematograph. Its unevenness approaches to chaos and from chaos comes the order of the word.

Films are not then generally made to support the detour and delay, the deeps of duration. They are generally made to support the continuity of time and historical contingency, the historical contingency of different times. Detour, delay, escape from the order imposed on our times needs a noncontingent time.

Duration, writes Bergson, is absolute. It is also indeterminate. Its indeterminacy is absolute.

Jordan Schonig’s primary research, presented in the article “Contingent Motion: Rethinking the ‘Wind in the Trees’ in Early Cinema and CGI” (2018), gives evidence of noncontingent time in cinema. Schonig’s findings are the basis for what I’m saying here accords with Bergson’s view of time. Rather than on his thesis about contingent motion, the view I’m laying out of cinematic time, what it is as much as what it is not, is based on what Schonig turns up about the early history of cinema.

The “wind in the trees” in his title refers to the Lumière brothers’ film Le Repas de bébé that was part of the programme for the earliest public cinematic event. Taking place in Paris on 28 December 1895 it began a campaign, that although commercial was almost military in extent, to get cinema to every country in the world. Two years later this cinematic war machine had largely achieved its objective.

In 1896 the Lumières even sent an employee with a cinematograph, from what was by then their factory in France, to Russia for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II. They said to him “to let neither kings nor beautiful women examine its mechanism.” Mark Cousins, whose book, The Story of Film, 2004, I’m drawing from, notes the rapidity of the spread of cinema. It is remarkable and, like the fact the first full-length feature was shot in Australia, not entirely commercially explicable. Cousins says, “Socially, technically, politically, artistically, philosophically, transcendentally, nothing about it was yet pinned down.” (29)

Then he goes on to deal with the shot. Cousins describes it being “a piece of visually recorded action extended roughly in real time”. He adds that for us the strangeness of the shot is “muted by our familiarity with it.” (29) Just as I don’t think commercial interest is all there is behind cinema’s rapid global spread, I don’t think that this is all there is to it and I think the two are linked.

Rough or relative extension in real time doesn’t give us what is essential to the shot. Strangeness does. Cinema’s conquering of the world and the shot are linked by strangeness, by the mystery of the shot.

Cousins moves on quickly from the invention of the shot to the juxtaposition of shots forming a logical link, that was a precursor of montage and the cut. For him the unity of the shot and so its invention comes with juxtaposition. It is a later development.

The cut usually claims more attention for belonging to the language of film and not natural language. Film has a logic, worked out technically, that is all its own. The strangeness of film cuts and of montage may remain but according to this logic these are thought to be more or less contingent on the unity of the event and in the service of sense and story.

Strangeness is usually sacrificed to the not so strange, to continuity. They are put at the convenience of a view of time having the unity of a continuum and being divisible, cuttable. This continuity is the same unity of the event that Russell substitutes for temporal continuity and exists for the same reasons, to uphold the reasonable progress of our knowledge of measurable entities allowing science to facilitate that activity called human progress. It is also a view of time Bergson calls spatial. It is geometric.

That the cut is inexplicable in terms of natural language makes it strange but it is really only strange because of a view of time it is used to support, as Russell does. Moving images in general are used to support a view of time as divisible continuum where the unity of the event is relative. It has relativity, can be measured and in Bergson’s view spatialised.

Our familiarity with the logic of the cut and of montage, however illogical the juxtaposition of images is, leads us not to acknowledge a deeper familiarity, one that is engrained in us, with the cinematic time of the shot. Its mystery is occluded. The familiarity that mutes the strangeness of cinematic techniques, that go to a knowledge of its language, mutes, burying it more deeply and muting it more thoroughly, our deeper familiarity with the mystery of the shot.

What the shot shows is radical indeterminacy. It is an indeterminacy as absolute, as duration. This is what our familiarity covers or screens and, hides, the way these things go, in plain sight.

What gives the shot unity is the unextended event of duration. Although it might in space, the shot does not extend in real time but in cinematic time. Cousins says that it is a piece of visually recorded action, and it is, although this puts the emphasis back on action.

As a visual record of action does its playback amount to action? The emphasis on action, as in Russell, stays at the level of what is represented. At this level film impressed neither Bergson nor Freud.

Bergson was interested in slowed-down footage for the demonstration of natural processes not seen by the human eye but both he and Freud considered early cinema, with its chase and action sequences, for the sake of either philosophy or psychoanalysis, not worth serious examination. Philosophy and psychoanalysis would later find the complete opposite. Schonig cites Siegfried Kracauer, a friend of philosopher Theodor Adorno. Both gave serious thought to cinema from outside its practice.

History is told, including the history of cinema, from the point of view of time that has been victorious, not from the point of view belonging to audiences, the point of view I’m arguing that led to its global conquest. There are then two cinematic times, the one that can claim victory and has prevailed for a century and a quarter and the other that I support and find a basis for supporting in Schonig’s “Contingent Motion: Rethinking ‘The Wind in the Trees’ in Early Cinema and CGI.”

The window for any kind of rethinking of early or later cinema is brief but is part of the historical record. If its brevity is to blame for its obscurity so is that history. It is after all a point of view of time that is at stake. It bears on how we see history.

History then intervenes, both with filmic representation, with cinema as medium, and in terms of its relation to time. My parents’ generation learnt of the world from films at the cinema. My father saw the footage of the camps being cleared and never forgot it, so it is part of how we know. Today because of deep fakes this has never been more a matter of contention but again rests at the level of representation.

The question might better be raised of fake time, a simulation inclusive of the historical record whether filmed or not. Cinema fakes time. Russell saw this and saw in it a way to peg time on to the abstract points of its articulation.

This would be a mathematical and calculable time, a time available to ratiocination and therefore a rational time, but in the history of cinema and in the representation of history, filmed or not, Russell’s view of cinematic time gets confused with time pegged back on to movement, action, the reason Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson accuse Russell of answering a paradox with a paradox. It is then the case that we lose from the history even Russell’s cinematic naturalism, his naturalisation of cinematic time. In its place we get the idea, in the history of film, that cinema developed from other technologies that exploited the phenomenon of retinal retention, zoetropes, stroboscopes, phenakistoscopes, flip-books, magic lanterns and the electrified versions of these in the Nickelodeon.

We lose what is altogether new about film, its relation to time. Instead we get the spatialised account but I would say we know, and we know after the advent of cinema and because of it, the idea of one thing following another, one event after another, whether it cause it or not or is to an end or not, to be false. It is false but scientific, because, says the philosopher Karl Popper, falsifiable. Its falsifiability indicates that each event in time occupies an abstract point and is in fact a variable placeholder.

An event names an articulation on the time line and of the time line, so we have alternative histories and revisions of history, setting other events in the places formerly occupied by the ones that whoever wrote the histories was interested in, the visual record having largely been exempt from this process until digital manipulation and AI. There is still the confusion between what Zeno made of time and challenged and Russell’s view. What this means for cinema is in the first instance that L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat replaces Le Repas de bébé to invoke cinema’s novelty.

Coming a year after Le Repas de bébé, L’Arrivée d’un train in 1896 is still inside the window, made use of by the Lumières to conquer the world, of cinema’s unfamiliarity and of the strangely compelling nature of the shot. The responses to the two films differ as much as their subjects. In Le Repas a baby gets fed.

L’Arrivée d’un train is sensational in comparison. It is kinetic. A train hurtles towards the audience.

The angle is low and it seems like the train will burst through the screen. At least the histories tend to this view, and the audiences, immediately under its spell, are terrified. They duck behind seats and run down the aisles for the exits.

All this is meant to attest to a value, still placed on the moving image, of its kinetic energy. From this comes its sensory impact. Movement, action is meant to engage like no other spectacle and the power of cinema is its representation.

Take this forward, in cinematic terms fast forward a century and a quarter and there is the virtue of virtual reality being touted in the same way. It is not just moving images. In it we can do things.

Agency is all and this for Bergson comes from the body being above all a centre of action. It has an evolutionary explanation. A feminist critique might ask whose body and if it is the same as has historical agency and would be right in doing so.

A gender bias exists towards the active body to the point that the female body has been thought not to be one outside its reproductive function and this has brought about the compensatory claim that female bodies too must be considered centres of action. There is always the same focus on action, on performance in philosopher Judith Butler’s terms and on the engagement of women in public affairs. There has been a politics of engagement but this is to ignore what Bergson is saying prompts it.

The series of metaphysical presuppositions up to the body as a centre of action predates but gets reinforced by cinema. It is not innate to it any more than movement is the measure of time. Like that view, although for Bergson we have evolved to see things this way does not mean it is natural.

Because it is an evolutionary series it diverts from a sense of duration. Such a sense is not instinctive. Neither is that of the other major de-centrings.

The earth is not the centre of the cosmos. Humans evolved, were not created and are not set apart from the rest of creation. Neither are men set apart from women nor are they exempt from biology but are a single species. The last is of what is first for the development of the individual, the de-centring of the will that drives me and of the I that thinks it does.

These de-centrings, taken from the lessons of Copernicus, Darwin, Marx and Freud, have become like children’s stories but the way to compensate for past injustice has been to put oneself, specifically one’s body, at the centre of the action. The struggle of the anthropocene is with a de-centring that has everything to do with time. It calls on us to act in a timely fashion.

To each de-centring along the evolutionary line, from egocentrism to anthropocentrism, stopping at class, race and gender on the way, equates a similar despair, How can I do anything to change the way life exists or to ensure it does? If it has been this long in preparation, how can I do anything? How can I measure my life against geological time?

All I seem to be able to see is time unrolling in front of me and reeling up behind me into the knowledge of what will happen. For Bergson, and this is what his own de-centring is of, the brain does not have a separate evolution. Intelligence, reason, judgement and imagination evolve to serve the body that acts.

The brain is an image among images, he says, another reason to think of him in terms of cinema. However, again the obstacle to understanding Bergson, the body is too. It too is an image but, and here the de-centring, this means it has a time internal to it. It has its own duration.

Spurred by a distinction Ó Maoilearca and Ansell Pearson make I was thinking how difficult it is still to think duration. They are talking about Bergson’s views on society as either an open system or a closed system. This is in The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, 1932, and they make the distinction in this context between what is inert and what endures.

It’s easy to think about them being the same. The inert is what endures, like a stone, a pyramid or a mountain. Its endurance almost reaches a sense of geological time, but they are distinct.

The inert applies to a closed system and endurance to an open system. An open system need not be thought to be one of life but is any energetic system, anywhere there is an exchange of energy. Life is just a particularly good example but in what sense does it endure?

It stays with. It stays with being open, for as long as it can. Its endurance then is not of a state but of indeterminacy.

Duration is this staying with, with the problem, for example, and it is that before we act. It has the interval and is not so much timely as untimely. It takes the time that it takes for as long as it has the energy to do so.

Bergson explicitly links the élan vital with duration. It is as if duration were a source of energy. The duration of what endures does not take but gives the energy to do so. For an open system, this is in exchange, and change.

Then along comes film and once we familiarise ourselves with the notion that the train depicted is not going to burst into the auditorium we can sit still for a whole film and not act. So the film is fulfilling the function of duration. We are sitting with it and open to it.

We are open to its indeterminacy as a function of duration but, being so is only because we are inured to the novelty of it. It is familiar not mysterious. We would have to be in that first wave of cinema to know what that felt like, the radical indeterminacy of the image and a sense made compelling because it was one of pure duration.

Back to Schonig’s findings, there we find at the start of cinema an audience response that was less sensational than a year later at the showing of L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat but more profound, and that prepared the way for it. It also prepared the way for its occlusion by the later event, for the mystery of the shot to be eclipsed by the myth, that they ran for the exits. It was the response to Le Repas de bébé.

The film shows a bourgeois family scene. Mother and father feed a baby. They are Marguerite Lumière, Auguste, brother of Louis Lumière on camera, cinematograph, and Andrée Lumière, the baby.

The action may be thought negligible. Coffee is poured. Marguerite drinks it. Louis is more involved with feeding Andrée. The film is a single take and the shot is static, one shot from a tripod and it is of course silent, but it was the first time an audience had seen it and even with such little action it might be thought that it would be the subject of the film which would grab and hold an audience.

Comment was instead made on what was incidental to the shot, in the background, that was in Schonig’s words contingent motion. This was the movement of the leaves on the trees. The comment from the audience that is preserved is the exclamation, The leaves on the trees are moving!

The preconception an audience of 1895 would have taken with them to the Salon Indien at the Grand Café, Paris, could only have come from theatre where seeing people moving about, animated by various tasks, whether mundane or significant, would have been commonplace. In the theatre the audience might even have been familiar with special effects, particularly storms, stagehands potentially shaking the scenery, a canonball rolling down a sheet of metal, lightning flashes from either flashpots or gas flares. This is not what they saw on screen.

They saw something qualitatively different and they thought it was remarkable. Cinema, a later commentator cited by Schonig said, captured nature in motion. Other writers reviewing the same evidence have said the same thing but what sets Schonig apart is his interest in the ontological status of this contingent motion that cinema reproduced and his introduction of new evidence of the effect it had on audiences.

His thesis is that CGI in trying to get hair right, in its texture and its movement, and reproduce other phenomena as they look in nature picks up on the special ontological status of contingent motion. He shows that for cinema it had this status from the start. He describes the establishment of what was the first cinematic genre as dealing specifically with contingent motion, the wave film.

Wave films have as their main subject the motion of waves on the sea. There may be people in the shot, a rowboat or spectator to the scene, but it is they who are incidental to it. What mattered to audiences and what they were into was the waves.

The same can be said of other sorts of contingent motion Schonig mentions, the dust rising from a wall being smashed by a sledgehammer, an effect accentuated by its silence, smoke billowing, leaves rustling without sound, water splashing from a garden hose. Effects that are not at all special, not to us, were the subject of discussion and comparison. It was common, says Schonig, for films featuring these effects to be repeated in the same programme, two or three times, so that audiences could take in all the details.

Their repetition reinforced for audiences their special status. It is not surprising then that film-makers and programmers of cinematic events catered for their popularity by making and showing films that dealt with these subjects. Neither is it that they became codified into a genre of film.

To say the element of contingent motion has a special status, an ontological status, as Schonig does I think does not go far enough. It doesn’t say what the charge was, where it came from, the thrill and the hit that audiences got, but key to this is I think that word, contingent. Like incidental it can mean both random, accidental and independent and also dependent, being contingent or incidental on, but trivial, and by contingent motion mean that the leaves in the trees are moving independently of the action in the scene as well as that their movement is there a part of the scene that is inconsequential.

This movement gains in consequence, so its incidentality ceases to be incidental and tangential, by being singled out as the scene’s main subject. The other meaning comes to the fore. The waves in the wave film carry the weight of the film for their independent and chaotic movements.

The mystery is, how? The audience did not need to be familiar with physics to know that waves move like this, leaves like that and smoke and water in the ways that they were shown on screen. It was not to waves in their mode of being waves that the special ontological status was attached.

The waves’ contingent motion is not an ontological mode that can be attributed to waves off screen. Contingent motion in general is not an ontological mode except on screen, in film, where somehow the physical laws of motion obtain but not those of time. The way of being, in other words, of these waves is consistent with the mystery of the shot.

Contingent motion is a mystery, has special status and a special charge, when it is shot on film. The shock of it on film is due to it being able to be re-played. Re-played, in the same programme, every detail remained the same.

In every detail of the spray off the crest of a wave its indeterminacy endured. That’s what grabbed audiences about the early cinema, the replayability. What audiences were doing in comparing the wave from one showing to the next was looking for the random details that confirmed this wave was the same as that.

How could the absolutely unique be reproduced? These were not the sort of technical geeks who looked on all this as a technical accomplishment. The interest lay for them outside of the image’s means of reproduction and replayability.

The charge was not from the technological novelty of the cinematograph and cinematography. That a slice of real time could be replayed was more than enough cause for excitement. What verified it as real time was that in it there was moving a thing like a wave or like smoke or like leaves, at random and, in nature, with a movement absolutely unique and unrepeatable.

The moving image captured the authentic and unique thing. It reproduced it, enabled it to be replayed, with the mystery of its aura intact. Aura is the word Walter Benjamin will use in 1935 for this phenomenon in his essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”

Contingent motion is the name Schonig gives to it. Its contingent motion proved for its earliest audiences that what they were seeing was real. This is how it prepared for the shock of the arrival of a train at La Ciotat station, when in 1896 taking it for real audiences hid behind the seats in front and ran for the exits.

It is also how the shock from the aura and mystery of the shot gets not undermined but covered over and, although he was as unimpressed as Bergson by cinema, all it had to offer was action and chase sequences, it is in this that L’Arrivée d’un train resembles what Sigmund Freud called a screen memory, the greater shock covered over by the lesser shock that needs it for support. The lesser shock puts a screen memory, the myth, over the mystery of the shot. What compelled audiences was also what scared them, the fear and excitement of being able to see the past being replayed.

From this screening out of an initial fear comes the reversal that Deleuze takes note of in the preface to Cinema 1. Time related to movement. Then the relationship is reversed and movement is contingent on time, as in Russell’s example of a time divisible no longer by movement but by its own articulations, like a film.

The codification of the shock, the charge, the source of fear, the thing that compelled an explosion of interest globally in cinema, into a genre of films dealing with subjects moving independently, their movement free of artifice, did not occur to control and box it in, to lessen its effect but to heighten it, to attend only to this new shocking thing. Genres are like plateaux, to intensify a specific pleasure. Their codification is in acknowledgement of what can’t be contained in the box, on the screen, the uncontrollable that is surplus.

It wasn’t to relax audiences for the confrontation but to focus in on it. It wasn’t to make it so they could recognise it and know what to expect. What happens, just as for anorexics, is about directing and controlling the control.

Anorexics don’t, although they are often said to, seek to regain and assert control of bodies that are taken over by others, but of what they recognise as a control, in this case the control from mealtimes and set menus, set to control their appetites. They release them. By so doing they gain the pleasure of intensifying them.

Now in that surplus to codification of either what is eaten or what is on screen is found a production of desire that takes note of what breaks from the code. Whatever exceeds the genre, that is new possesses the thrill of its novelty, certainly but the thrill more of a break, a cut that can be said of cutting, a treating-of-oneself. It has to do not so much with transgression and the breaking of taboo as the intensification of it, of its enjoyment. Control is enjoyed, how deep shall I go when cutting myself?

Control is not the object, but the cut itself. How deep can I go and how close to the edge? How much is in me before I tip over into the chaos represented by the object? It’s not seen as death this instinct that pushes and probes towards it but a source of life, a source of life because a source of desire with which duration is explicitly linked.

Thought is not in pursuit of the unthought. Action’s not to get to a point of inaction. They are to trace out the outline of what exceeds them, reaching its edge, with everything at stake, risking everything.

That excess of desire in the object is not harnessed but aimed at and sought. Codification is for what differs. Pinching the difference until it’s miniscule intensifies its pleasures.

Not eking it out incrementally, getting it all in one tiny hit is what I would say our so-called addiction to the small screen of cellphones is about. They were not technological geeks, but these aficionados of the wave films were the first geeks. What is the essence of geekdom?

Pinching difference until it is minute and revelling in it as if it makes the biggest difference. It makes the biggest difference, the difference that is barely there, the slightest movement. This is the hit.

Deleuze’s time commanding movement is Russell’s time. All I’m saying could be much more simply put if I said, because the image moves of itself it is thought to move in real time. Bergson conducts his Copernican revolution then along comes cinema and puts everything up in the air.

Cinematic time is taken for real time but it is not even cinematic time. Cinematic time is not inert. It endures.

Psychological time, the time of inner experience or, as Bergson puts it, reflective consciousness, is taken for cinematic time. It too is not even cinematic time. It too endures and endures in the tiniest movement.

It endures in the tiniest interval of movement. There is the indeterminacy proving the image is one of real time because it has its genesis in chaos. This is what the advent of cinema brings.

It is as if because it can be repeated duration is not duration. The cinema relates the radical indeterminacy of the image to the interval. This is neither its running-time, clock-time, nor is it its subjective time but nor can it in any way be said to be objective.

Rather, like in dreams, what endures in cinematic time is time suspended, noncontingent, and outside of time. It breaks with any preceding concept and opens onto a duration. But it provides this duration with the means to be covered over, and still it endures.

[for examples of the “wave film” genre please use this link]

[please go to this link for something of a short prequel to this long note]

luz es tiempo
point to point

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αποίησις: on the alpha privativum

luz es tiempo
thigein & conatus

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an excerpt from Manon Revuelta’s consideration of Sriwhana Spong’s exhibition “Luzpomphia”

Spong chose to make these works using the process of investment casting, whereby the cast object retains a more intimate material presence. Rather than pouring the molten bronze into a wax mould of the apple, it floods the apple itself within a ceramic shell, immediately eviscerating it, swallowing it, flesh, skin, and stem, into hardening metal. The organic matter of the apple itself is no longer, though nor is it destroyed. Via such a sacrifice it has also been enshrined within the bronze–if not in microscopic traces of its ash, then surely in spirit.

— as above and from here

on the subjects of evisceration and investment, this time of art itself, riseart website offers examples of the works it has for sale as they might look in your own home, on the wall above your bureau, by the lamp, against a dark background or a light one and so on. Here are some featuring the work of Noah Borger. Born in 1970, the site calls Borger one of the hottest street artists of the moment, just so you know you’re making an investment in something with cred.

— Noah Borger, Reticular, Denticular

… here is the template for room 5. Imagine the above right there.

— Noah Borger, Gentleman Face One

… and here’s room 3.

— Noah Borger, devil from Ukraine … or imagine this one, room 3 or 5, your choice.


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looking through the box called N O X___F R A T E R___ N O X

that Anne Carson wrote for her brother, the epitaph, ... I was trying to find a name. 

a name for new project, a photographic project. I have never, in fact I have avoided photoing
people | as much as I have avoided proper names, in places. Places... as Carson writes, Places in

         the world where we saw things.                               In places I've not a-

voided it at all and that is because in those places the people have died. , so reading on
I made the following notes                                              in case something
jumped out.                        It hasn't happened yet.

Anne Carson: I didn’t know the for ld print black on the film did you? /and: it is for God to fix the time who knows no time /and: the sheets of memory blow on the line /: a room, where one gropes for the light switch. /in the face if [sic] what has just been said/: the word, discandied, melted, … /:haec adversaria sunt menstrua illae aeternae these adversities are monthly, those eternal. /:As in some cave may lie a lightless pool./: omne supervacuum pleno de pectore manat the whole pointless night seeps out of the heart. /: ave … (on sepulchral monuments) now it is night. /: …[something] [something] the stairwell [where he was when his mother with her hands crying What now oh what now?]

luz es tiempo

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