Dialogic Materialism: Bakhtin, Embodiment and Moving Image Art (American University Studies)
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Dialogic Materialism: Bakhtin, Embodiment and Moving Image Art argues for the relevance of Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories of dialogism as a means of examining the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary moving image art forms. The volume comprises six chapters divided into two sections. The first section, Part I, illustrates the key concepts in Bakhtin’s multifaceted dialogism and develops these ideas in relation to moving image art. The main focus of this first part is the proposal of what the author terms dialogic materialism, which builds upon the Marxism inherent in Bakhtin, examining the material processes of cultural exchange with a particular emphasis on multi-perspective subjective relations. Part II consists of case studies that apply dialogic materialism to the moving image artwork of three artists: Stan Douglas, Jamelie Hassan and Chris Marker. Applying Bakhtinian theory to the field of the visual arts provides a means of examining the fundamentally dialogic nature of moving image art making and viewing, a perspective that is not fully developed within the existing literature.
possible in Douglas’ installation by the conflict created by multiple temporalities that do not always correspond. What is most interesting about this installation is that Douglas repeats Hoffman’s tale, something that is given to him as a reader, but he interprets it and restates it with a visceral difference. Our feelings of the uncanny arise from Douglas’ material manipulations of film and sound, which interfere with the variable memories that observers have of Hoffmann’s story. In responding
sequence a photograph of a Vietnamese man blindfolded and bound with rope is montaged with film of a man staking and binding a rose bush with twine: through the aesthetically conflicting images, Chambers communicates the idea that the ordering of life often results from severe methods at the hands of human agency. Like Hassan, Chambers called London, Ontario his home and depicted it in his films and paintings. He filmed and photographed the daily world that surrounded him, rendering these images
the reader-visitor interacting with the CD-ROM as they would with an essay film. Immemory functions through an interaction of multiple consciousnesses. The translation and traversing of media that is a hallmark of his career is evident in Marker’s account of how the terrain of Immemory was conceived: I have many fragments of images I have never used and which, as one might say, stream off of my films like the tail of a comet. From every country I visit I return with postcards, newspaper cuttings
and Answerability, eds. Michael Holquist and Vadim Liapunov, trans. Vadim Liapunov (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), 99. 20 “The friend of noon – no, do not ask me who – / At noon it was that one turned into two.” Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1966), 245. 21 When thinking of Bakhtin’s conception of the plastic-pictorial as a fluid meeting of illusion and the real, it is helpful to remember that along with his older brother
sound. 16mm, 35mm. Marker, Chris. La Jetée. 1962. 29:00, black-and-white, sound. 35mm. –––––. Sans soleil. 1983. 1:40:00, colour, sound 16mm transferred to 35mm. –––––. Level Five. 1996. 1:46:00, colour, sound. Beta-SP transferred to 35mm. –––––. Immemory. 1997-2008. CD-ROM. –––––. Owls At Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men. 2005. 19:00, black-and-white, sound. Video loop installation. Nicolson, Annabel. Reel Time. 1973. Black-and-white. Film performance. 16 mm. Paik, Nam June. Magnet TV. 1965.