Monday, November 16, 2009

Mike Shapiro Day 4

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Mike Shapiro taught a course entitled GEOPOLITICS IN CINEMA. This class attempts a rethinking of the planetary impact of media such as cinema as a challenge to political thought.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

I've always been interested in the imaginary geographies of the world, it began with Machiavelli, and when I read Kundera's Ignorance I was struck by the vertical depth of the spaces. When the novel opens there is the surprise question to the expat: it shows that those that don't get confirmation of where they are aren't anywhere.

Identity is a relationship, as Lacan said. You need a model of difference in order to have identity; Levi-Strauss worked always toward this identity economy.


Slow Homecoming a meditation on names

Within Nietzsche's Labyrinth; Auerbach's Mimesis... Homer was supposed to entertain, thus those descriptions.

The operator that Kundera uses is history. The Odyssey is Hegelian; Levinas suggests that The Odyssey is more like Abraham and Isaac, where he never comes home.

We have a geopolitical world and identities are composed to an extent by our relation to territories; this is complicated by allegiance. There is this talk of moral hierarchies on page 9 of Ignorance, why? There's the way we should feel and the way we actually feel - we have a bifurcated sense throughout the day. There are all these "oughts" but then there's how I actually feel. Irena feels French but Sylvie says she should feel Czech.  

For Moral Ambiguity, Shapiro. Look at Dagwood and Blondie - they're always in the home, but families are really in the office now, the coworker has supplanted the family.
Our century is the only one in which historic dates have taken such a voracious grip on every single person's life. Irena's life in France cannot be understood without first analyzing the dates. (I, 11)
All sorts of hierarchies develop in our trajectories through history. Look at "the Land of Israel" vs. "the State of Israel" the Book of Judges is a collection of groups becoming the People of Israel.
Instantly Irena recognized her mother as the person she had always known, and she had the sense that nothing had changed in those nearly twenty years. The pity that she had felt for an elderly mother had evaporated. Daughter and mother faced off like two beings outside of time, like two timeless essences. But wasn't it awful not to be delighted at the presence of her mother, who, after seventeen years, had come to see her? Irena mustered all her rationality, all her moral discipline, to behave like a devoted daughter. (I, 18)
Family's an arbitrary unit and the values associated with family are historically determined. We're all working in a way that it's only possible to unload ourselves when recognized by another.

(I, 178) Joseph "How unexpected, sex organs...", Irena "neither said nor heard, a total accord..." They're home and collecting themselves with a sense of self-possession. They affirm each other.

Foucault's lectures he calls it ethnopoesis. Nostalgia is disenabling because there are practices hovering around it - this is not an individual sensation, it's a mass coercion. Žižek pointed out that melancholy is a past that never existed, unlike in mourning.

(I, 159) "there was a long silence..." Joseph reflecting on this place no one wants to hear about.

Friend of the Deceased (1998) Vyacheslav Kristofovich

Bound (1996) Wachowski Brothers

Njáls saga (13th century, Iceland)
We're concerned here with the deformation of the femme fatale. In Bound we have something of a reversal. The analytic used here will be with Arendt's and Rancière's conceptions of the political. Arendt states that one cannot be political unless outside the house, one must be in the public sphere. Rancière, unlike Arendt, sees politics in the partitioning of the sensible. Arendt saw that the household used to be the basis of economic activity but increasingly people came to work outside of the home.

[END OF CLASS]

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