Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Victor Burgin Evening Lecture

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, 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.

The students are required to attend evening lectures given by the faculty each evening as part of our curriculum. Victor Burgin was the first person to give such a talk during the August sessions.

He is a professor emeritus in the History of Consciousness program at UCSC and taught at Goldsmiths in London.

Burgin prefaced his remarks by clarifying that he'd be giving an artist's talk and then would discuss the specificity of the genre in which he is working tonight.

How is it possible that we can remember, involuntarily, moments from films - even films that we don't like? But not the films as such. This isn't isolated to only the film medium, it happens with all sorts of media. It's in excess of the movie theater, isn't it? We feel like we know a film even when we haven't seen that film.

When I start work on/in a city I learn its history. I try to find parts of a city that remind me of a film as well.
We watch the last 7 minutes of Antonioni's L'Eclisse (Eclipse):

The film is chronologically linear at first but then it ends with no clear narrative structure. Antonioni described it as leaving only objects. The world of objects is shown as contingently, indifferently, arranged. Traces of modern life; footnotes to our social order.

To make Burgin's film that would be shown in Milan and Venice he looked back to L'Eclisse and made Solito Posto (still from the film):

Burgin feels his work is uncinematic because the cinematic experience in galleries assumes a subject of knowledge. He, rather, makes it these works for a subject of signification.

When we visit a theater it is very unusual to leave before the story is done. In the gallery, cinematic works are those of repetition: we presume that the viewer will walk in and out at odd times. "Visual ritornelli."

The visual/audio work of the gallery space is recursive and non-hierarchical and as such may be more akin to the psychoanalytic situation where any response may be a jumping-off point for a chain of associations. Meaning is construed in the dream through the associative ordering but this is not a sequencing, rather it is an unfolding. A Möbius band just like the audio/visual work in a gallery setting.

The uncinematic work is a paratactical organization [....] Cinematic heterotopia [....]

Kristeva saw the work of art as a matrix that made its subject.

How do we make subjects when the images of subjects [....]

We could look to the feminists of the late 60s and early 70s, they spoke well to the politics of representation and the representation of politics. [....]

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