Academic journal article New Formations

Editing (and) Individuation

Academic journal article New Formations

Editing (and) Individuation

Article excerpt

Abstract This essay will explore aspects of Bernard Stiegler's theorisation of film editing as the construction of a flux of perceptual experience at the heart of the industrialisation of attention characteristic of modern and contemporary technocultures. Thh work appears in the third volume of the Technics and Time series and provides a crucial plank in the rationale informing Stiegler's recent critical activüm dedicated to a reformulation of the mainstream mediascape. It aho represents a substantially novel reconsideration of key themes in film theory through a critical phenomenological perspective informed by an equally critical mobilisation of Gilbert Simondon's notion of individuation. The relations between perceiving spectator and projected film, film and experience, and the individual and collective experience of cinema as a cultural form are reposed through this perspective. Editing is central to this reconsideration, as it has been to many accounts of the specificity of cinematic representation. Stiegler sees the co-incidence of the flux of the perceiving consciousness with the synthesis of an edited cinematic work as crucial to cinema's capacity to both inherit from and displace the literary technicity of early and pre-modern Western cultural becoming. Cinematic technicity has been and remains a crucial substrate for the dynamics of this mutual becoming because it has played such a major role in the organisation of collective cultural experience in and through its instantiation of individual lived experience, memory, imagination and anticipation. Stiegler's diagnosis in recent texts of the addictive, duassociating, and disorienting dynamics of contemporary 'ill-being' will be approached through his account of editing's part in making experience modern - which he associates with mainstream Hollywood's projection and exporting of a model of life as and for universal adoptability - and then global and realtime in the digital age.

Keywords technicity, editing, experience, individuation, mnemotechnics

Its [cinema's] technics of image and sound - now including informatics and telecommunications - re-invent our belief in stories that are now told with remarkable, unparalleled power. But at the same time, these technical powers cast doubt on and sow incredulity into the future of a world to whose disruption they have already greatly contributed.

If cinematic narratives' influence on the public results at its most fundamental level from a desire for the most ancient stories, and if this is a desire that can be found in every age, and if that underlies every era of the arts and all techniques for making such stories believable, it is all the more necessary that we analyze - and in detail - the uniqueness of the techniques that appeared specifically with cinema, techniques mat more than any others in history have organized the programming industries' production practices, and we must do this in order to account for the incomparable efficacy of the 'animated sound-image,' to understand the extraordinary belief-effect it produces in the spectator: to explain how and why the cinema, in becoming television (i.e. the technical network as producer and diffuser of symbols through a global industry), combines the universal desire for fiction and, through it, conditions the entirety of humanity's evolution, though always at the risk of exhausting its desire for stories.

Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time 3:

Cinematic Time and the Question of Malaise (p9)

In the above epigraph Bernard Stiegler explains his interest in analysing cinema, an analysis which takes up a substantial part of the third volume of his Technics and Time series, Technics and Time 3: Cinematic Time and the Question of Malaise (hereinafter Technics and Time 3). In developing his account of the 'incomparable efficacity' of cinema to produce an 'extraordinary beliefeffect' in the spectator, Stiegler provides a substantially novel theorisation of what film theorists (and filmmakers) have pondered since its inception: the nature and appeal of film, its characteristic techniques and their effects on the spectator. …

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