Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On the ceaseless flow of time

As the film theorist André Bazin once remarked, unlike all the other arts, photography is not reliant on the presence of human beings, but benefits from their absence. At the heart of Bazin's strictures on cinematic realism lies the conviction that the movie camera, by the simple act of photographing the world, testifies to the miracle of God's creation. Bazin ascribes this to what he calls the "mummy complex" - an innate human need to halt the ceaseless flow of time by embalming it in an image.

The way in which the absence of people suggests the scene of a crime already struck Walter Benjamin as a special feature of Eugène Atgets intense black-and-white photographs of Paris. The only crime in Sam Renseiw's short video of the court-yard of Frankfurt's Kunstverein is the absence of visual superimposition(s). View the sequence by clicking here, or enter the space above- soundtrack by P Jorgensen ( patafilm # 220, 02'16'', 10.4 MB, Quicktime/mov - Flash version here)


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