Our paradise is technological one, since almost all dimensions of human existence on Earth rely on the development of technologies—of food, housing, transportation, education, medication, communication, warfare, entertainment, oppression, virtual democracy, replacing of love with substitutes, etc.—, where “development” is an ambiguous issue because the progress of civilization as we know it also includes its self-destruction.
Technologies are embedded in the dominant exploitative mode of human existence, their control-disciplining side is more and more pronounced, yet, it does not mean that they do not have certain cracks, certain reflections of interruption of the continuity of the hierarchy that is based on the constant “crisis”, which is just another name for multiple ways of depriving the open space of freedom due to fear of freedom, or responsibility for one’s own acting in the matrix artificial paradise.
The field of art1 is subjected to the governing technology, and film production to the mercantile logic of the culture industry2—thus the distribution of selected films is a matter of routine, while others (non selected) are obstructed, some are rewarded and massively advertised, others are ghettoized (or banned), some are a source of mega incomes, others drive their authors into bankruptcy, some are, in short, compatible with the governing technology, while others are a little less so.
Artificiality is the basis of the very beginnings of human’s creative expressing of the joy of life (with our own body, sculpting, painting and drawing) and of all versions and derivatives of art—film, video, the stage and off-stage performance, dance, singing, architecture, variety show (show business), etc.
Artificiality is, so to speak, another name for the film/video expression, and is asserted through editing procedures or montage technologies, starting from the idea that by editing we can achieve a significant transformation of what we originally see/hear (either as preconceived, directed, or as documented, recorded as it appears)—a transformation which is the essence of artistic speech.
In any case, montage drastically changes the existing (the presence, the moving images that are the subject of processing), even when it only documents it (since it always moves perception from the domain of the tangible to somewhere else), and its results (what we watch or listen to) can be liberating.
Editing is playing, a ludic activity.
Montage is manipulation, a trick of/for an eye, food for one’s imagination, test of authenticity.
Montage is a lie and it’s the truth, nothing in between.
A film tape3 is a sequence of still image segments, but when it is rotated, the static images turn into moving ones, however this mobility is a deception that our eye receives and processes in conjunction with the brain, it is a perceived deception.
Mounted/illusory mobility is the reality of imagination, an imaginative reality.
We always edit ourselves what we want to see and hear.
We record some material, make a selection from it, shape this selection into a film and watch the light of projected imagination—we are enlightened, so to speak.
Editing in the service of collaging—establishing an interplay between certain contrasts and accents that can trigger the joy of viewing—and editing in the service of constructing a narrative, which always results in (receptive) boredom.
Film is a technological marvel and in most cases the aestheticization of something for the mere sake of selling the possibility to watch it.
Film is an attraction only when it transforms (its own) aestheticization into a meta-visual one, into something that is more than just the mind’s (babbling) processing of still images into moving ones, into the sublime which transcends the three-dimensionality of the world.
The film is the past, but there is no past.
According to Kubrick, his 2001: A Space Odyssey (USA, 1968) shows the indifference of outer space, which man is afraid of—Doesn’t this film associate with the need to escape from the responsibility of being in the present?
The technological escapism of so-called science fiction (self-contradictory phrase) often masks the civilized fundamental inequality as the key secret of capitalism.
The answer to the problem of space travel4 is not a matter of any realization or depiction of extraterrestrial colonization attempts, but of a generic imagination based neither on science (scholasticism) nor on specific technology, but on the limitlessness of thought beyond thought.
The human animal, at least that’s what they said on TV, was on the moon, but before that “giant leap for mankind” decorated by the USA flag (Is there a more pathetic replica of the global theater of the absurd?), it sent the non-human animal Laika into space—launched the dog in a hermetically sealed can5 into death…
The cinema was once a (semi)public space in which the technology of frontal viewing of miracles ruled, to which the social moment of mass gathering of people in one location was attached, after which it found itself in a “crisis”, but the cinema itself (as institution, enterprise) is this crisis, it demonstrates its managerial power when it makes the access to auditorium conditioned by Ausweis—healthy people for fun6 obediently show them at the entrances, and thus vividly confirm the (otherwise widespread) fascism of the field of culture.
Cinema is a symbol and practice of apartheid, just like the shopping mall, airport and other facilities where administrative segregation is carried out during the tyranny times.
The cinema visitor is subject to counting, he needs a ticket to enter, the auditorium entrance is a border crossing.
In the cinema, it is possible to kiss each other in (considerable) darkness, in this case the projector and the screen are the light pair that creates an atmosphere, and from the atmosphere arises a situation that does not make the cinema a political place, but turns it into an ethereal spatial constellation, into the beyond.
Cinema is some (un)safe beyond, strangely embedded in the matrix.
Cinema is a pornographic transformation of the agora into a black box (theatre), in which we sit as if we were in camera obscura itself, or even in the nothingness of a black hole.
If film is synonymous with montage, the video clip is its essential compression—the video clip is a meta-montage thing, intended to enchant the moment by accelerating the viewing/listening experience over a period of several minutes, while the film almost inevitably relies on procrastination, because it delays the moment (the projection of timelessness) for the sake of the continuity of a longer watching (“spending” of time).
Meta-montage and, even less, the continuity of viewing, are not crucial for video clips on networks called social (their sociability is weak in character, and corporateness is pronounced)—these video clips are the latest metamorphosis of film with means with which it is easy to create, but not quite easy to attract the viewer attention.
Video clips on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are instant filming of personal messages, statements, appearances, situations, ambiences, events and documents, whereby the TikTok ones stand out for their distinctly multimedia and universally connective character, and for the fact that they very clearly reflects the current generational hype.
The basis of the network video clips are often various embodiments—via dancing, singing, acrobatics, skits, talking, imitating others, quoting practically anything, the processed (cut, pasted, distorted) recordings (shots, snapshots) and more—, embodiments with which creators7 often expose themselves as interpreters and attractors and achieve the power of (parallel) addressing and self-realization, both of the displayed action/gesture and of their personalities.
The power of the network video clips lies in the gesture that provokes the formation of a situation, and their virtuality itself is significantly less important—the situation is broadly exactly what they film, and on this level they differ significantly from the film=narrative.
The network video clip turns the film upside down—the image turned from a horizontal to a vertical position becomes, so to speak, the raison d’être of the phone (designed with a distinctly dominant screen), the switch from landscape to portrait format brings a greater focus on body (when subject of recording), much more close-ups, while frequent usage of the selfie mode (and the possibility of quickly switching between the front and back camera) brings in a new dynamic in which the subject who records (and edits) is more (or just differently) present (as visible or implied) than in case of film (where his visibility is an exception confirming the unwritten rule of director’s invisibility).
The technology of the micro camera, which usually records video clips, derives from the technology of (formerly) film, television and photo cameras, and if the basis of imaging with the help of a camera has practically not changed since its discovery, the language of the micro camera—thanks to its close connection with tools for further image and sound processing, and their immediate accessibility—is radically fragmentary and fragmented.
Radical fragmentation transforms viewing itself, as well as the experience and sense of filming and editing.
Parallel to the technological (and technical) side of radical fragmentation, we have its (interactive) user dimension, or the very way we approach viewing and how we manage (orient) it—when we scroll down, up, left and right, we actually fragment the offered fragments (we multiply the effects of fragmentation), thereby moving away not only from the linearity (and frontality) of viewing, but even from the very possibility of viewing or the need to watch (anything), because in the ocean of images our eye (and senses in general) want to rest from time to time.
If the eye is exposed to long-term and regular viewing of network fragments, its physiology is in a state of constant readiness—the eye device is actually part of the dynamics of a wide range of external things placed on display, the eye becomes a techno-eye, it is also subjected to colonization by the apparatus (strongly leaning on the media integrated in it, and to medianess in general), which does not mean that it is not able to detect its cracks.
Radical fragmentation, paradoxically at first glance, limits the possibility of viewing, even eliminates the very need for viewing, we are at a crossroads: Do we want to accept (take into account) all this edited imaginary or not?
It is clear that we do not want to follow the ingloriously failed public television, its imaginarium is rather anachronistic, the censorship it practices is already quite obvious, while its embeddedness in the apparatus that keeps it alive and, when necessary, defends it with cordons, only speaks of the disintegration of the modernist attempt to make the media work for the public (an attempt that kept the corporate spirit behind the so-called public interest all the time).
The disintegration of the public media confirms that it is easier to evade censorship on (online) networks, despite their subjection to corporate control or repression.
Even if the training of the ego can be behind the selfie aesthetics, its strength lies in the autonomy of creation or the expressing of creativity, which is not limited by almost any production rules, and in this sense the accelerated hybridization of technology with the lives of its users has brought a clearer perception of all media (the media reality) and accelerated the perception of their hidden side (the masked exclusiveness).
Clips (dis)assemble the present and at the same time change the selves of their creators—we can talk about a networked techno tribe (the multitude), where individual egos loosen up and enter a landscape of never-ending playfulness, disidentification, absence of demarcations (in this landscape, it is only more visible that only you know your self to some extent, and everyone who meets or knows you creates their own version of you, so your self is not “someone” at all, but a multitude of different perspectives).
The hipness of clips is that dimension of film/video that decisively moves it away from the dominance of storytelling and, willy-nilly, returns (or enables) a poetic dimension to it—here the gesture is more important than the context—, which opens up unexpected possibilities of moving away from the oppressive reality, or some new vision of reality (ways of being) that evade necrophilic influences, mainly through the affirmation of the joy of existence in spite of everything, in the everything.
Clip succeeds in drilling or discovering a crack in the matrix because it does not take it too seriously, because it sees it as a cover, because for it the matrix is a source of material for processing, an object of humor, an environment of subversion and a great motivation to enter the forbidden.
The clip can bend reality to the point that it disappears, and this is possible because the creator feels and knows that the matrix system of prohibitions is only a panopticon illusion.
The paradox of the clip is that it is both integrated into the matrix and protruding, and from this duality derives its constant mutations and consequent virulence, very important during the widely propagated sterility that forces all life to die.
The music video (videospot) is not a banalization of the film, nor is the clip banalizing the music video, banal is only what we decide to perceive as such, but more than banality, boredom is what discourages viewing, that theatrical boredom, very present in the film as well, a result of literaryzation or Aristotelianism, which is highly supported by the culture industry because it successfully erases the anima from stage and camera-created works of art.
The possibility of endless switching between the offered network contents, even those that are not necessarily clips, enables the elimination of boring creations on the fly—in a network environment where everything is integrated, our selections themselves are montage gestures that create unique compositions from fragments (and from decompositions).
On the networks, historicity is decisively eliminated by the ubiquity of content (which is certainly not necessarily eternal) and by the possibility of insight into what we call the past (film and video creations from the past), and this possibility (the absence of the senselessness of time and thus also the colonizing historicism) provides the equality of all accessible creations, today’s, yesterday’s and those from the last century, which, further, enables the fantasticality (and absurdity) of arbitrary connections between everything and nothing.
Clip skips the matrix classifications, boundaries and prohibitions by ignoring its metric, its presumption of counting(-in) everything that exists and excluding everything that does not willingly submit to the necrophilic management—it generally does this by performing some πoιησις (projecting its embodiment) or affirms a song (often a trendy fragment of a pop song or instrumental) in connection with images, which can achieve the transcendence of creative expression (manifestation of the power of network play through montage, despite/beyond being embedded in hyperreality).
Network clips do not revolutionize anything, but they change aspects of reality by turning it into meta-realities—psychedelicism, rather than a response to the world’s contrasts, is the driving force behind the constant transformation of reality, and it is most pronounced in conscious creativity.
The pop(ular) dimension of clips is what makes them alive (liveness is a creative activity without a utilitarian reason that escapes the deadly embrace of the culture industry), and the word pop describes an unclassified expression that crosses the boundaries of civility (politeness, the “allowed”, canonized, colonized).
Clip is individual to such an extent that all sociality is foreign to it, but this is precisely its great advantage, as it does not address a community while being guided by expectation, but merely offers attachments for individual perceptions and further (endless) processing and sharing of the content, which enables hybridization of the experience of creation and viewing with unreal reality at/of any time.
The clips are objects of multitudinous montage as an interweaving of a technologically supported online audiovisual environment and the gestures of individuals who create, share, comment on and quote them, whereby the authorship is significantly loosened, and the directing is freed from generic pathos (de-hollywoodized).
A clip constantly mutates in communication with other clips, even while the eye and ear are at rest.
The life of the clip is an affirmation of that side of technology that is paired with the anima, so it cannot be biopolitically tamed.
“The Swabian man had been preparing this crazy, terrible flight for a long time,
to destroy mankind and build a new world…”
A repetitive clip in the film Ko to tamo peva (Who’s Singin’ Over There?, Yugoslavia/Serbia, 1980) in the form of four stanzas of the song Za Beograd by two young musicians—the two metaphorical new-generation exceptions among the same—becomes viral thirty years before the start of Instagram, and the meta-reality, created by Slobodan Šijan, Dušan Kovačević and an unreal cast, continues to be a space/place of free spirit for those who perceive the cracks of the matrix, bravely laugh at its fluffiness, and live love beyond the technological paradise.
1 The “field” related to Pierre Bourdieu’s structured idea of fields.
2 “The culture industry” is the context introduced by Theodor Adorno.
3 …and its electronic/digital successors.
4 Herman Potočnik in his book Das Problem der Befahrung des Weltraums – der Raketen-Motor from 1928 describes a plan for establishment of a permanent human presence in outer space.
5 The speciesist technology of packing dead bodies in various packagings continues to be practiced.
6 An allusion to the title Zdravi ljudi za razonodu (in English Healthy People For Fun), a film by Karpo Godina (Yugoslavia, 1971).
7 Better to say creators than authors—the authorship is, finally, transparent to the level that it vanishes, so it is more likely rhizomatic in cases when articulated.
First published in Slovenian in the KINO! journal No. 46/47 in April 2022.