Monday, January 11, 2010

Gilles Deleuze

So for this lovely, sunny Winter Break that I've been spending in Southern California, I've been spending a good deal of it reading. Granted, I've also been watching a hell of a lot of television on DVD, namely the first season of House and the first season of True Blood. There's been some "Jersey Shore" sprinkled in there (don't judge, you know you watch it, too) and a few films, both in the theaters (Fantastic Mr. Fox and Avatar) and on DVD (Angels with Dirty Faces, Finding Woodstock, Triplets of Belleville, probably a few more that I'm forgetting), but the time not spent watching has been spent reading. I'm still working on Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, and two days ago I finished Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien, a sort of Marley and Me-esque memoir but with a Caltech biologist who lives with and raises a rescued barn owl.

But the main goal of this break was to get started on some texts by Gilles Deleuze, especially since I'm enrolled in a class in the Spring called "Art After Deleuze," and I figured I should probably begin to understand some of his concepts and his style before I try to understand that which came and was created after him.

Thanks to a generous gift card to Amazon from my very literary aunt, I have purchased three texts by Deleuze: What is Philosophy?, which is co-authored by Guattari; Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, a text which I've been reading in front of a computer in order to search for all of the paintings to which Deleuze is referring; and Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, quite possibly the most dense text of the three. I'm only through the various introductions and the first 5 pages, but I've already found a passage that grabbed me, which I would like to share here:

...what was cinema's position at the outset? On the one hand, the view point [prise de vue] was fixed, the shot was therefore spatial and strictly immobile; on the other hand, the apparatus for shooting [appareil de prise de vue] was combined with the apparatus for projection, endowed with a uniform abstract time. The evolution of the cinema, the conquest of its own essence or novelty, was to take place through montage, the mobile camera and the emancipation of the view point, which became seperate from projection.

I know some of you might be thinking that this is quite an obvious statement of the moment(s) when cinema began to evolve, and the means through which it did, and therefore must be wondering why I like this quote so much. It's quite simple, really: I'm a sucker for concise definitions.

Hopefully this text gets a bit easier as it goes on, because right now I'm struggling a little. This could be because I'm trying to read the introductory concepts at 7 in the morning, which is what I'm hoping the case may be. I should probably continue reading when I've had a bit more caffeine...

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