Sunday, April 30, 2006

Film 101: the Cinema is a Black Mass

Some poison-enveloped candy, via literary critic Walter Benjamin,

"Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction:"

Thanks to the camera, therefore, the individual perceptions of the psychotic or the dreamer can be appropriated by collective perception. The ancient truth expressed by Heraclitus, that those who awake have a world in common while each sleeper has a world of his own has been invalidated by film – and less by depicting the dream world itself than by creating figures of collective dream such as the globe-encircling Mickey Mouse.

The representation of human beings by means of an apparatus has made possible a highly productive use of the human being’s self-alienation … Not only does the cult of the movie star which it fosters preserve that magic of the personality which has long been no more than the putrid magic of its own commodity character, but its counterpart, the cult of the audience, reinforces the corruption by which fascism is seeking to supplant the class consciousness of the masses.

All this in order to distort and corrupt the original and justified interest of the masses in film – an interest in understanding themselves and therefore their class. Thus, the same is true of film capital in particular as of fascism in general: a compelling urge toward new social opportunities is being clandestinely exploited in the interests of a property-owning minority.

Working on my Modern Art final as well as my Aesthetics paper, Benjamin and Deleuze in-hand. Seriously though, Benjamin is an incredibly lucid thinker - beautiful and dead-on-target with his assessments of politics, art, and the commercial age. He died in 1940 - and he achieved so much. I'm amazed.

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