Friday, November 9, 2012

The Outmoded

He was the first to perceive the revolutionary energies that appear in the 'outmoded', in the first iron constructions, the first factory buildings, the earliest photos, the objects that have begun to be extinct, grand pianos, the dresses of five years ago, fashionable restaurants when the vogue has begun to ebb from them.
Walter Benjamin on the Surrealist leader Andre Breton

Outmoded technologies are those which once seemed natural, but now seem peculiar, quaint, redundant. Because they are outmoded, we become aware of their specific properties and limitations.

A photograph is no longer a second-generation print enlarged from a negative - and before digital technology displaced film, the default state of a photograph went from a daguerreotype (1840s), to a black-and-white print (mid-nineteenth century until the 1960s), to colour slide (in the 60s and 70s), to colour print (in the 80s and 90s).

To their original users, all these technologies seemed intrinsic to the definition of what a photograph was.

To use an outmoded technology is not, therefore, an invitation to nostalgia; or it need not be. It is instead an invitation to consider the results as the product of a historical process.

In Reciprocity Failure, this point applies most obviously to the use of chemical photography by the narrator as a deliberate, 'reverse' anachronism. But it also applies to outmoded philosophies, which are used to frame and explain the photographs he creates: phenomenology and psychoanalysis.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

'Dart for My Sweetheart' by Archie Bronson Outfit

The album this is from - Derdang Derdang - is full of seething sexual tension, with the performances constantly on the edge of total (male) hysteria.

Friday, November 2, 2012

'American Gigolo' by Paul Schrader

The opening scene in the shooting script for American Gigolo by Paul Schrader is as follows:  


Pre-credits. We only see his face, speaking through the shadows. He brushes his index finger lightly across his lips as he speaks. He knows: his lips are his most sexual organ. 

You know who I am. I know who you are. We have no secrets. I know what you're thinking. You know what I'm thinking. We have our own methods of communication. You don't have to say anything. I can read your thoughts. I know what you need. You're afraid. You're afraid of your husband. You're afraid of yourself. You're afraid of your own sexuality. You're afraid to ask for what you need. You're afraid of being hurt.  

Julian sits in a dimly lit booth with a middle-aged woman. His eyes are only on her. His crème brûlée is untouched. The woman nervously sips her coffee as he spins his web

There's no reason to be afraid. I don't know why you're afraid. I don't even know why we're sitting here. Why we're wasting time eating things we don't want to eat, doing things we don't want to do, talking in front of people who don't matter. It's so simple. You know who I am. You want to be here. You want to be with me. You know what I can do. I can make you relax, relax like you've never relaxed before. Make you aroused like you've never been aroused before. Excited. I know how to touch you. Where to touch you. How to kiss you. Where to kiss you . . . 

End pre-credits. 


The opening of the finished film omits this scene entirely, and starts with the credit sequence. However, part of the monologue can be found in the trailer (I think some of the lines were incorporated in a later scene in the finished film, and the snippets in the trailer are probably taken from there):

P.s. Someone has compiled lots of critical opinions on American Gigolo, but s/he missed a rather less positive assessment from a sex worker.