This workpiece is inspired by the lecture “Cinema as Eye” (Moving Images Unit – Cultural and Theoretical Studies ) by Chris de Selincourt on the 24th January 2017 at London College of Communication.
“Physiomachine” illustration by Nicole Afonso Alves Calistri
The eye functions continuously throughout the realisation of a film – from research and development to production and distribution. The director’s eye at first is always observing, creating and challenging the thinking.
In response, the audience’s eye receives and assimilates new realities, intimacy, messages…
On the making of a film, however, the physiological body part of the director has no function without the mechanic organ of the camera. Nonetheless, the spectator’s eye passively shots through the eye and recorders in the memory.
The camera defines the director’s mind while indulging the audience’s eye. According to Walter Benjamin, “film facilitated access to the “optical unconscious” (Elsässer and Hagener, 2015, pp. 85). The latter statement moulds the enhancement of the eye in the mechanic camera. “All those phenomena that for the first time become observable through enlargement, slow-motion, freeze-frame, eccentric angles and camera positioning, and time-lapse photography” indulge the limitation of the human’s eye making the camera an augmented eye.
Other than supplementing our perceptions, the camera satisfies our bias toward dreaming, travelling and exploring. It defines the director’s ideas, the worlds he sees. It analyses reality through reality and fiction. It allows us to discover different identities, ethnicities, cultures and places. Furthermore, it lets us travelling in the past and future. Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) proves it with its “News-Paper-Pad”.
Cinema sees and analyses reality through picturing the future. Nonetheless, Kubrick’s masterpiece critics the future as enhancement of the present, not to say that technology is dangerous, but to illustrate reality and amplify it to challenge common sense.
The debate around technology is double-faced: technology is bad – it makes us apathetic and lazy, and, technology is good – is synonymous of humanity. A fascinating current of thought around the debate is technology as extension and amplification of the human’s abilities and mind which pictures technology as human’s wings, fangs and gill, reflecting our mind in our tools. But I will discuss this in my last post – stay tuned!
Elsässer, T. and Hagener, M. (2015). Film Theory. 1st ed. Florence: Taylor and Francis.