05 April 2008

Pychon and Kittler: Film as Specters of Death

At some point Praire understood that the person behind the camera most of the time really was her mother, and that if she kept her mind empty she could absorb, conditionally become, Frenesi, share her eyes, feel, when the frame shook with fatigue or fear or nausea, Frenesi's whole body there, as much as her mind choosing the frame, her will to go out there, load the roll, get the shot. Prairie floated, ghostly light of head, as if Frenesi were dead but in a special way, a minimum security arrangement, where limited visits, mediated by projector and screen, were possible. As if somehow, next reel or the one after, the girl would find a way, some way, to speak to her . . .
- Thomas Pynchon, Vineland (199)
If (according to Balzac) the human body consists of many infinitely thin layers of "specters," and if the human spirit cannot be created from nothingness, then the daguerreotype must be a sinister trick: it fixes, that is, steals, one layer after the other, until nothing remains of the specters and the photographed body.
- Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (10-11)

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