art 2840: reading 4

This reading was actually a video, Lemak Bakia, by Man Ray. Our other option was Ballet Mecanique, but I found its music to be unsettling. The swing vibe or Man Ray’s piece suited my mood more. The opening is gorgeous abstraction, looking like orbs of light melting around the screen. Suddenly recognizable images appear, a man in a car, sheep, dancing legs and a banjo. At one point there is stop motion animation. As I watched the film I was wondering about the processes behind making such a film, was this story boarded or concretely planned or did this have a more random selection of objects and footage with nothing but instinct as the driving force? The illusional aspect of the shifting and spinning effect of the lens at times made me think of Barthes’ issues with the camera not providing a true image. With cinema, the subject knows they are being filmed and acts accordingly, but the act isn’t the action of making the self they want to appear, it is making the self of the persona they are putting on for the film. There’s no acting as we were would think of it now in this film but it made consider also the Benjamin from reading 3 because he specifically references the illusion afforded to film actors with the ability to act from take to take and to redo any mistake. The film can also be cut together in ways that change what it means or how it looks, providing the illusion if acting does not.

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