While studying video art I was drawn to documents written by Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Stalker, Mirror/Mirror, Nostalghia) who’s films incorporate aspects of philosophy and spirituality by the use of riveting visual moments where “cinematic images per se are observations of phenomena unfolding” as he considered cinema to be “sculpting in time’ (Trakovsky 63). Furthermore, Trakovsky had a way of creating a landscape that contained a presence beyond the moment of a scene, referencing a timelessness of place; he was more “interested in the landscape than in the tale, in the semantic ambiance of his settings” (Dunne 81). His films, techniques, and philosophies, encouraged me to seek the power of the compelling image through my own work. Once scene I found personally compelling from his film Stalker (1979).
Three main characters are on a journey to find a utopic place called the Zone, they stop along a railroad track and the sun shines bright causing the characters to be still and silently stare up at it, the scene continually holds until the sun fades away. This scent left an impression on me because it encouraged me not to disregard the natural things that happen during a shoot and discovered through editing, and how short moments can be as riveting and profound as an elaborately planned shoot. His work encouraged me to feel confident in the still moment and video as painting.
ON MY WAY HOME
I should never have learned words
how much better off I’d be
if I lived in a world
where meanings didn’t matter,
the world with no words
If beautiful words take revenge against you
it’s none of my concern
If quiet meanings make you bleed
it also is none of my concern
The tears in your gentle eyes
the pain that drips from your silent tongue –
I’d simply gaze at them and walk away
if our world had no words
In your tears
is there meaning like the core of a fruit?
In a drop of your blood
is there a shimmering resonance of the evening glow
of this world’s sunset?
I should never have learned words
Simply because I know Japanese and bits of a foreign tongue
I stand still inside your tears
I come back alone into your blood
The poems translated here are taken from Ryuichi Tamura: Poems 1946~1976 published in 1976.
TRANSLATING TIME: Cinema, the Fantastic, and Temporal Critique
Bliss Cua Lim
Duke University Press Books (September 21, 2009)
In Translating Time, Bliss Cua Lim argues that fantastic cinema depicts the coexistence of other modes of being alongside and within the modern present, disclosing multiple “immiscible temporalities” that strain against the modern concept of homogeneous time. In this wide-ranging study—encompassing Asian American video (On Cannibalism), ghost films from the New Cinema movements of Hong Kong and the Philippines (Rouge, Itim, Haplos), Hollywood remakes of Asian horror films (Ju-on, The Grudge, A Tale of Two Sisters) and a Filipino horror film cycle on monstrous viscera suckers (Aswang)—Lim conceptualizes the fantastic as a form of temporal translation. The fantastic translates supernatural agency in secular terms while also exposing an untranslatable remainder, thereby undermining the fantasy of a singular national time and emphasizing shifting temporalities of transnational reception.
Lim interweaves scholarship on visuality with postcolonial historiography. She draws on Henri Bergson’s understanding of cinema as both implicated in homogeneous time and central to its critique, as well as on postcolonial thought linking the ideology of progress to imperialist expansion. At stake in this project are more ethical forms of understanding time that refuse to domesticate difference as anachronism. While supernaturalism is often disparaged as a vestige of primitive or superstitious thought, Lim suggests an alternative interpretation of the fantastic as a mode of resistance to the ascendancy of homogeneous time and a starting-point for more ethical temporal imaginings.