Wednesday, April 06, 2011

ANIMAL COMMUNISM (in Shifter17: Re___Ing)

The new SHIFTER just came out, which includes an essay I wrote on "animal communism" with regards to the cinema of Artavazd Peleshyan. Check it out (in PDF and hardcopy) and support a great publication! Thanks to Rit Premnath for his editorial skills and to the editors of Rethinking Marxism where the essay will also appear in a forthcoming issue.

"Something often noted about Peleshian (in the little criticism I have found about the filmmaker) is his use of telephoto lenses—a lens often used for surveillance, and to obtain close-ups from a distance. Film scholars remark that this peculiar use of the camera was to produce candid, documentary/ethnography-style footage. My own take on Peleshian’s use of a telephoto lens is that it has something to do with the filmmaker’s ontology, an ontology that strives to create both a form of closeness and a form of distance through apparent closeness. To use the telephoto lens the way that Peleshian does is no doubt to have at a distance. But it is also to lose at this distance, inasmuch as it is to allow the view to be obstructed in often random ways, thus to break the illusion of proximity. As such presence and absence, concealment and disclosure intertwine—a spiritual modulation."

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