XIII. Pull-mão

(...) ah~ tão~ perdido~ ligo~ a~ luz~ no~~~ sol



XI. e XII. Cálculo extraído de fragâncias poéticas - atravessado por ditado mau e mal escrito, sem açúcar

Um livro durou um ano e três meses. - ladrão. Lanchava e lia na sobremesa.
Um filme durou duas horas e meia. - só pega ladrão quem é ladrão. Xingava e cuspia preguiça.

Tradução livre:

Ela ficou furiosa, daquele jeito brando de sempre. Não pegou o ponto. Qual é o ponto?, tilintava em sua cabeça, daquelas belas pernas de aulas. Mas que merda! Podia estar vendo a reprise morninha.


Não gostaram do filme. O filme não pretendia. Metade saiu triste.


X. Prézinho eletroacústico


Please turn out the lights.

As long as we're going to talk about films, we might as well do
it in the dark.

We have all been here before. By the time we are eighteen years old,
say the statisticians, we have been here five hundred times.

No not in this very room, but in this generic darkness, the only place
left in our culture intended entirely for concentrated exercise of one,
or at most two, of our senses.

We are, shall we say, comfortably seated. We may remove our shoes,
if that will help us to remove our bodies. Failing that, the manage-
ment permits us small oral distractions. The oral distractions con-
cession is in the lobby.

So we are suspended in a null space, bringing with us a certain habit
of the affections. We have come to do work that we enjoy. We have
come to watch this.

The projector is turned on.

So and so many watts of energy, spread over a few square yards of
featureless white screen in the shape of a carefully standardized
rectangle, three units high by four units wide.

The performance is flawless. The performer is a precision machine.
It sits behind us, out of sight usually. Its range of action may be lim-
ited, but within that range it is, like an animal, infallible.

It reads, so to speak, from a score that is both the notation and the
substance of the piece.

It can and does repeat the performance, endlessly, with utter exac-

Our rectangle of white light is eternal. Only we come and go; we say:
This is where I came in. The rectangle was here before we came, and
it will be here after we have gone.

So it seems that a film is, first, a confined space, at which you and I,
we, a great many people, are staring.

It is only a rectangle of white light. But it is all films. We can never
see more within our rectangle, only less.

A red filter is placed before the lens at the word 'red.'

If we were seeing a film that is red, if it were only a film of the color
red, would we not be seeing more?


A red film would subtract green and blue from the white light of our

So if we do not like this particular film, we should not say: There is
not enough here, I want to see more. We should say: There is too
much here, I want to see less.

The red filter is withdrawn.

Our white rectangle is not 'nothing at all.' In fact it is, in the end, all
we have. That is one of the limits of the art of film.

So if we want to see what we call more, which is actually less, we
must devise ways of subtracting, of removing, one thing and
another, more or less, from our white rectangle.

The rectangle is generated by our performer, the projector, so what-
ever we devise must fit into it.

Then the art of making films consists in devising things to put into
our projector.

The simplest thing to devise, though perhaps not the easiest, is noth-
ing at all, which fits conveniently into the machine.

Such is the film we are now watching. It was devised several years
ago by the Japanese composer Takehisa Kosugi.

Such films offer certain economic advantages to the film-maker.

But aside from that, we must agree that this one is, from an aesthetic
point of view, incomparably superior to a large proportion of all
films that have ever been made.

But we have decided that we want to see less than this.

Very well.

A hand blocks all light from the screen.

We can hold a hand before the lens. This warms the hand while we
deliberate on how much less we want to see.

Not so much less, we decide, that we are deprived of our rectangle, a
shape as familiar and nourishing to us as that of a spoon.

The hand is withdrawn.

Let us say that we desire to modulale the general information with
which the projector bombards our screen. Perhaps this will do.

A pipe cleaner is inserted into the projector's gate.

That's better.

It may not absorb our whole attention for long, but we still have our
rectangle, and we can always leave where we came in.

The pipe cleaner is withdrawn.

Already we have devised four things to put into our projector.

We have made four films.

It seems that a film is anything that may be put into a projecror, that
will modulate the emerging beam of light.

For the sake of variety in our modulations, for the sake of more pre-
cise control of what and how much we remove from our rectangle,
however, we most often use a specially devised material called: film.

Film is a narrow transparent ribbon of any length you please, uni-
formly perforated with small holes along its edges so that it may be
transported handily by sprocket wheels. At one time, it was sensitive
to light.

Now, preserving a faithful record of where that light was, and was
not, it modulates our light beam, subtracts from it, makes a vacancy,
that looks to us like, say, Lana Turner.

Furthermore, that vacancy is doing something: it seems to be mov-

But if we take our ribbon of film in hand and examine it, we find that
it consists of a long row of small pictures which do not move at all.

We are told that the explanation is simple: All explanations are.

The projector accelerates the small still pictures into movement. The
single pictures, or frames, are invisible to our failing sense of sight,
and nothing that happens on any one of them will strike our eye.

And this is true, so long as all the frames are essentially similar. But if
we punch a hole in only one frame of our film, we will surely see it.

And if we put together many dissimilar frames, we will just as surely
see all of them separately. Or at least we can learn to see them.

We learned long ago to see our rectangle, to hold all of it in focus
simultaneously. If films consist of consecutive frames, we can learn
to see them also.

Sight itself is learned. A newborn baby not only sees poorly - it sees
upside down.

At any rate, in some of our frames we found, as we thought, Lana
Turner. Of course she was but a fleeting shadow - but we had hold
of something. She was what the film was about.

Perhaps we can agree that the film was about her because she ap-
peared offener than anything else.

Certainly a film must be about whatever appears most often in it.

Now, suppose Lana Turner is not always on the screen.

Suppose further that we take an instrument and scratch the ribbon
of film along its whole length.

Then the scratch is more often visible than Miss Turner, and the film
is about the scratch.

Now suppose that we project all films. What are they about, in their
great numbers?

At one time and another, we shall have seen, as we think, very many

But only one thing has always been in the projector.


That is what we have seen.

Then that is what all films are about.

If we find that hard to accept, we should recall what we once be-
lieved about mathematics.

We believed it was about the number of apples or peaches owned by
George and Harry.

But having accepted that much, we find it easier to understand what
a film-maker does.

He makes films.

Now, we remember that a film is a ribbon of physical material,
wound up in a roll: a row of small unmoving pictures.

He makes the ribbon by joining large or small bits of film together.

It may seem like pitiless and dull work to us, but he enjoys it, this
splicing of small bits of anonymous stuff.

But where is the romance of movie-making? the exotic locations?
the stars?

The film artist is an absolute imperialist over his ribbon of pictures.
But films are made out of footage, not out of the world at large.

Again: Film, we say, is supposed to be a powerful means of com-
munication. We use it to influence the minds and hearts of men.

But the artist in film simply goes on building his ribbon of pictures,
which is at least something he understands a little about.

The pioneer brain surgeon, Harvey Cushing, asked his apprentices:
Why had they taken up medicine?

To help the sick.

But don't you enjoy cutting flesh and bone? he asked them. I can't
teach men who don't enjoy their work.

But if films are made of footage, we must use the camera. What
about the romance of the camera?

And the film artist replies: A camera is a machine for making foot-
age. It provides me with a third eye, an acutely penetrating extension
of my vision.

But it is also operated with my hands, with my body, and keeps them
busy, so that I amputate one faculty in heightening another.

Anyway, I needn't really make my own footage. One of the chief vir-
tues in so doing is that it keeps me out of my own films.

We wonder whether that interferes with his search for self expres-

If we dared ask, he would probably reply that self expression inter-
ests him very little.

He is more interested in recovering the fundamental conditions and
limits of his art.

After all, he would say, self expression was only a separable issue
for a very brief time in history, in the arts or anywhere else. And that
time is about over.

Now, finally, we must recognize that the man who wrote the text we
are hearing read, has more than a passing acquaintance and sym-
pathy with the film-maker we have been questioning.

For the sake of precision and repeatability, he has substituted a tape
recorder for his personal presence -a mechanical performer as infal-
lible as the projector behind us.

And to exemplify his conviction that nothing in art is as expendable
as the artist himself, he has arranged to have his text recorded by a
different film-maker, whose voice we are hearing now.

Since the speaker is also a film-maker, he is fully equipped to talk
about the only activity the writer is willing to discuss at present.

There is still time for us to watch our rectangle awhile.

Perhaps its sheer presence has as much to tell us as any particular
thing we might find inside it.

We can invent ways of our own to change it.

But this is where we came in.

Please turn on the lights.

New York City, 1968

- Hollis Frampton, "A lecture", em Circles of confusion.


IX. Aforismo-asmático

O que me interessa não é o objeto
mas o subjeto.



VIII. Siso exorcisado

A specter is haunting the cinema: the specter of narrative. If that apparition is an Angel, we must embrace it; and if it is a Devil, then we must cast it out. But we cannot know what it is until we have met it face to face. To that end, then, I offer the pious:


LATELY, a friend has complained to me that his sleep is troubled by a recurrent nightmare, in which he lives through two entire lifetimes.
In the first, he is born a brilliant and beautiful heiress to an im-
mense fortune. Her loving and eccentric father arranges that his daughter's birth shall be filmed, together with her every conscious moment thereafter, in color and sound. Eventually he leaves in trust a capital sum, the income from which guarantees that the record shall continue, during all her waking hours, for the rest of her life. Her own inheritance is made contingent upon agreement to this invasion of privacy, to which she is, in any case, accustomed from earliest infancy.
As a woman, my friend lives a long, active and passionate life.
She travels the world, and even visits the moon, where, due to a mis- calculation, she gives birth to a normal female baby inside a lunar landing capsule. She marries, amid scores of erotic adventures, no fewer than three men: an Olympic decathlon medalist, a radio- astronomer, and, finally, the cameraman of the crew that follows her everywhere.
At twenty-eight, she is named a Nobel laureate for her pioneering
research on the optical cortex of the mammalian brain; on her forty- sixth birthday, she is awarded a special joint citation by the Con- gress of the United States and the Central Committee of the Peoples' Republic of China, in recognition of her difficult role in mediating a treaty regulating the mineral exploitation of Antarctica. In her sixty- seventh year, she declines, on the advice of her lawyers, a mysterious offer from the decrepit Panchen Lama, whom she once met, as a very young woman, at a dinner given in honor of the Papal Nuncio by the Governor of Tennessee. In short, she so crowds her days with ex- perience of every kind that she never once pauses to view the films of her own expanding past.
In extreme old age - having survived all her own children - she makes a will, leaving her fortune to the first child to be born, follow- ing the instant of her own death, in the same city ... on the single condition that such child shall spend its whole life watching the accumulated films of her own. Shortly, thereafter, she dies, quietly, in her sleep.
In his dream, my friend experiences her death; and then, after a brief intermission, he discovers, to his outraged astonishment, that he is about to be reincarnated as her heir. He emerges from the womb to confront the filmed image of her birth. He receives a thorough but quaintly obsolete education from the films of her school days. As a chubby, asthmatic little boy, he learns (without ever leaving his chair) to dance, sit a horse, and play the viola. During his adolescence, wealthy young men fumble through the confusion of her clothing to caress his own unimagin- able breasts.
By the time he reaches maturity, he is totally sedentary and reclu-
sive, monstrously obese (from subsisting on an exclusive diet of but- tered popcorn), decidedly homosexual by inclination (though mas- turbation is his only activity), hyperopic, pallid. He no longer speaks, except to shout "FOCUS!"
In middle age, his health begins to fail, and with it, imperceptibly,
the memory of his previous life, so that he grows increasingly depend- ent upon the films to know what to do next. Eventually, his entire inheritance goes to keep him barely alive: for decades he receives an incessant trickle of intravenous medication, as the projector behind him turns and turns.
Finally, he has watched the last reel of film. That same night, after
the show, he dies, quietly, in his sleep, unaware that he has com- pleted his task ... whereupon my friend wakens abruptly, to dis- cover himself alive, at home, in his own bed.

- "A pentagram for conjuring the narrative" (em 5 partes), Hollis Frampton em Circles of Confusion.


VII. Aorta

"Vejo-me daqui a dez anos sem você... lendo no jornal que você morreu... com uma sensação de dejá-vu... já perdida... o eco distante de algo que desconheço... sua ausência hoje, que jamais conheci... mas que poderia nomear... como se meu programador tivesse previsto tudo... o que aconteceu e o que poderia ter sido feito. Esse vazio que se tem quando se busca uma palavra que estava na ponta da língua. Eu teria a sua morte na ponta da minha memória."

- Chris Marker explodindo História no meu coração, barricadas de aorta, em Level 5, 1997