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If you were to take the premise of documentary,  astrology and genocide, you would be justified in finding a relation.  It could be said that some of the themes are at times strenuous, the body of the story is substantially valid.  The story is set in the south American desert of Chille, where there the zero humidity allows Science to view space uniquely, further, the petrified ground allows archaeologists to discover ancient history.  The void and conflict of the desert concerns the recent hidden history of Pinochet’s genocide, where countless civilians of opposition where tortured and killed.  The surviving members of lost families can be found wondering the vast plains, searching for remains of their loved ones that have been preserved, the same as the telescopes searching space for the history of light that eventually visits earth.

Technically, the documentary has redundancies such as interviewee’s changing postions which disrupts the consistency, in addition, some of the scenes are filmed in a faster rate of 30 frames per second, which i found distracting and not cinematic compared the the rest of the film.  These technical issues are almost irrelevant with the astounding moving imagery of space, which seems to harness the latest technology, in an symphony of sounds, movement.  The opening consists of these only, leaving humanity and dialogue alone until needed.  The interviews were almost existentialist, simply filming the people waiting, with their voice over attempting to tell us the reason of everything personal, recent, ancient, imaginary.

One of the most significant aspects of the documentary concerns the abstract feeling of time, which has no definition.  Space disrupts the travel of light of it history, just as the earth petrifies the ancient and recent secretly.  Therefore light, can only be nostalgic, an apt title for a well conceived body of work.

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Giorgio Agamben. On Security and Terror. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. September 20, 2001.

Today we face extreme and most dangerous developments in the thought of security. In the course of a gradual neutralization of politics and the progressive surrender of traditional tasks of the state, security becomes the basic principle of state activity. What used to be one among several definitive measures of public administration until the first half of the twentieth century, now becomes the sole criterium of political legitimation. The thought of security bears within it an essential risk. A state which has security as its sole task and source of legitimacy is a fragile organism; it can always be provoked by terrorism to become itself terroristic.

We should not forget that the first major organization of terror after the war, the Organisation de l¹Armée Secrète (OAS), was established by a French general, who thought of himself as a patriot, convinced that terrorism was the only answer to the guerrilla phenomenon in Algeria and Indochina. When politics, the way it was understood by theorists of the “science of police” in the eighteenthe century, reduces itself to police, the difference between state and terrorism threatens to disappears. In the end security and terrorism may form a single deadly system, in which they justify and legitimate each othetrs actions.
The risk is not merely the development of a clandestine complicity of opponents, but that the search for security leads to a world civil war which makes all civil coexistence impossible. In the new situation created by the end of the classical form of war between sovereign states it becomes clear that security finds its end in globalization: it implies the idea of a new planetary order which is in truth the worst of all disorders.

But there is another danger. Because they require constant reference to a state of exception, measure of security work towards a growing depoliticization of society. In the long run they are irreconcilable with democracy.

Nothing is more important than a revision of the concept of security as basic principle of state politics. European and American politicians finally have to consider the catastrophic consequences of uncritical general use of this figure of though. It is not that democracies should cease to defend themselves: but maybe the time has come to work towards the prevention of disorder and catastrophe, not merely towards their control. On the contrary, we can say that politics secretly works towards the production of emergencies. It is the task of democratic politics to prevent the development of conditions which lead to hatred, terror, and destruction and not to limits itself to attempts to control them once they have already occurred.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now has very experimental, surreal qualities that have made the film so successful and original interpretation. He used the film instruments such as sound, lighting, to create a hallucinogenic  psychedelic sphere.

The final sequence of this film is experimental, and highly absorbing piece. The film leading up to this point is similarly constructed with heavy considerations of time and space with surreal sounds. It would be interesting to produce a piece of this style with considerations of time, colour and light.  Furthermore, the emotional journey of humanity is very important in order to create meaning in this  sequence.

Guy Bourdin (December 2, 1928 in Paris – March 29, 1991 in Paris) was one of the best known photographers of fashion and advertising of the second half of the 20th century. He shared Helmut Newton’s taste for controversy and stylization, but Bourdin’s formal daring and the narrative power of his images exceeded the bounds of conventional advertising photography. Shattering expectations and questioning boundaries, he set the stage for a new kind of fashion photography.

Guy Bourdin was a short man with a whiny voice, and had a reputation of being incredibly demanding. Dark rumours surrounded him: his mother abandoning him as an infant, the suicides of his wife and two of his girlfriends, and the cruelty in which he treated his models.[5] Bourdin was not a natural self-promoter, and did not collect his work or make any attempt to preserve them; in fact he refused several offers of exhibitions, rejected ideas for books, and wanted his work destroyed after his death

  • This film uses effective effects and sound, though i feel that some of the clips distract from the tension created.

Video link

  • this film uses a good soundtrack to establish the feeling of time and loneliness. It was shot using a Nikon still camera with video capability.
  • Bergman is well respected for being an auteur of styles of experimentation.
  • Lux online is a good resource for experimental films.

Experimental film or experimental cinema describes a range of filmmaking styles that are generally quite different from, and often opposed to, the practices of mainstream commercial and documentary filmmaking. “Avant-garde” is also used to describe this work, and “underground” has been used in the past, though it has also had other connotations. While “experimental” covers a wide range of practice, an “experimental film” is often characterized by the absence of linear narrative, the use of various abstracting techniques (out of focus, painting or scratching on film, rapid editing), the use of asynchronous (non-diegetic) sound or even the absence of any sound track. The goal is often to place the viewer in a more active and more thoughtful relationship to the film. At least through the 1960s, and to some extent after, many experimental films took an oppositional stance toward mainstream culture. Most such films are made on very low budgets, self-financed or financed through small grants, with a minimal crew or, quite often, a crew of only one person, the filmmaker. It has been argued[citation needed]that much experimental film is no longer in fact “experimental,” but has in fact become a film genre and that many of its more typical features – such as a non-narrative, impressionistic or poetic approaches to the film’s construction – define what is generally understood to be “experimental”. (wikipedia)

john filo kent stateOn May 4, 1970, as students were dispersing at a Vietnam War protest at Kent State University, Ohio National Guardsmen fired into the crowd, killing four students and wounding nine. This event turned into a nationwide student strike that shut down hundreds of colleges and universities and came to symbolize the sharp political and social divisions of the age. Among the most potent images to emerge from the tragedy is this photo of 14 year old runaway Mary Vecchio wailing over the body of Jeffrey Miller, one of the slain students. The photograph was taken by John Filo, an undergraduate photojournalism, and appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world and won a Pulitzer Prize. I believe that photography has a powerful, mythical influence as proven by this image, For me, photography is a medium that transcends areas such as representation and art creating a unique and deeply complex artifacts. I find photojournalism to be one of the most interesting areas of photography, as the subject is embedded into culture, and the reaction has an unlimited potential to elicit influence, excitement and myth. It must be agreed that photographs taken during the Vietnam War became to symbolise and influence the world’s perspective of the conflict. Pictures such as the example I have chosen, woven themselves into our collective conscience of the war, there are some who would suggest that the potent photographic evidence was the primary cause for public opinion to shift against the war in Vietnam, and hence effected an end to the war itself.

“Photographic images can reveal great truths, expose wrongdoing and neglect, inspire hope and understanding and connect people around the globe through the language of visual understanding. Photographs can also cause great harm if they are callously intrusive or are manipulated.” (Kobre 2004)

There are many areas of theoretical frameworks concerning photography that could be further discussed such as representation, semiotics, identity and psychoanalysis with the contexts of technology and media. From a personal perspective, the practice of taking photographs is as mythical and interesting as there meaning. Barthes illiterates some of these interesting questions…”to inform, to represent, to surprise, to cause, to signify, to provoke desire…they drift between the shores of perception, between sign and image, without approaching either.” Barthes, 1980.

Bibliography:

Barthes, Roland (1980) Camera Lucida, vintage classics.

Kobré, Kenneth. 2004. Photojournalism, the Professionals’ Approach. Burlington, MA: Focal Press


Visuals by Russell Whitehead.