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The Film Wind Blows Wherever It Will

Jennifer Verraes
Traduction de Simon Pleasance
Cet article est une traduction de :
Le Vent du cinéma souffle où il veut
Référence(s) :

Cassagnau, Pascale. Future amnesia : enquêtes sur un troisième cinéma, Paris : Isthme, 2007

Lipovetsky, Gilles ; Serroy, Jean. L’Ecran global : culture-médias et cinéma à l’âge hypermoderne, Paris : Seuil, 2007, (La Couleur des idées)

Moisdon, Stéphanie. Stéphanie Moisdon, Dijon : Les Pressses du réel ; Zurich : JRP/Ringier, 2007, (Documents — Documents sur l’art)

Passage du temps : une sélection d’œuvres autour de l’image : collection François Pinault Foundation, Milan : Skira, 2007

Texte intégral

  • 1 The formula is borrowed from Luc Vancheri, the title of an article to be published in the next issu (...)

1The cinematic dispersal area has expanded to a point where it becomes hard to describe in words of one syllable how it is affecting contemporary praxes: a new brand of “unfindable text”, to borrow the expression coined by Raymond Bellour, who was among the first to pay heed to the “many different cinemas”. Because of a dearth of books about this, and a lack of any “broad history of film or history of broadened film”1, recent publications give an outline of the topic in essay form–open-ended exercises at times permeated by the effects of mood, as if it were advisable to be in compliance with the object vanishing.

2It is quite possible that Gilles Lipovetsky and Jean Serroy, authors of L’Ecran global, have taken too much to heart the tirades of Cassandra to do with a “death sentence for film”. The cinema has never really been under any death threat, apart from offering something performative to the slogan indicating something quite different: that as a “modern” art, it is always worth saving. The book’s argument is based on this misunderstanding to work out a programme of rejuvenation for film, regarded as the referent of all the screens of “hypermodernity”. In an exaggerated tone, the mass is re-recited and we proceed from the age of the void to that of saturation, rich in to-scale concepts: “cine-life”, “world screen”, “CineMe”, “multiplex imagery”, “excessive image”. All so many formulae “soluble in the ambient air”–as the cinema here in question clearly is–which the authors claim, in a comic outburst, to put in the place of the Deleuzian categorization of “time-image” and “movement-image”. But the comic gives way to anxiety when, in a moralizing way, the book holds forth on the “civilizational function”, i.e. the edifying function, of film. Following this new mythology, the cinema is reinvigorated by the generalized “scenarization” of everyday life” the current tendencies towards “dramatization” in fashion, city-planning and marketing–all good reasons for seeing ourselves confirming the liquidation of whimsical undertakings involving modernist deconstruction, in order to thus rediscover, with relief, the eternal values of narrative... However, as everywhere, cause and effect are straightforward, and it is important to re-establish the proposals in question oneself, in order to appraise, for example, the last ornamental slope of moving images, when there is a singular articulation of “picture-making” and “screen-making”.

3The title of Pascale Cassagnau’s essay is borrowed from a Pierre Huyghe video, called Block-Party–Future amnesia which, through the reverse editing of sounds and images, deconstructs the grammar of film and its time-related economy. The paradox of an anticipated neglect can be reversed: what Cassagnau is at work on is the drawing-up of later documents than her “investigations on a third cinema”, in the sense where they construct an object without any “constituent body”, making clues and forging imprints left by film in contemporary praxis; a “third” cinema, included in its third margin, neither video art nor experimental film. Working backwards, it is the logbook of a special witness, kept in particular as part of her activities at the Délégation aux arts plastiques. When expired, it is not yet a book, rather a notebook suited rather to consultation than to reading, like a photo album. Yet the abbreviated and at times elliptical style of the texts compiled owes less to “the notulization of criticism” than taking part in errancy (which is not without feedback and profit) and a concern for not forcing the incorporation of a movement of dissemination of the “cinematographic” in art. These movements have, inter alia, names: “one or two nomadic films (Valérie Jouve, Laurent Montaron), “the surveyors” (Joachim Koester, Pier Paolo Pasolini), and “Grey zone” (Olivier Zabat, Apichatpong Weerasethakul).

  • 2 Avant-propos, p. 9
  • 3 Ibid.
  • 4 p. 265
  • 5 p. 271

4Quite the opposite of the loose spirit of Stéphanie Moisdon’s book Future amnesia, which focuses on the definition of titles of proprietorship. The signature promoted to the rank of a book attests to this, “telling of the shift from the proper name to the common name”2, a “self-development into an ordinary substantive”3. The signature also brings in much more than just the persona of the author, it is the common merchandise of a generation of critics, those who, inter alia, have see the appearance and ever greater numbers of references to film(s) in the contemporary art arena. Written between 1987 and 2007, the articles, reports and interviews which make up this anthology call to mind the motif of film as “passage, an intensified corridor where the latest and future utopias circulate”4, the better to identify a collective movement extending from Carsten Höller to Douglas Gordon, “a way of managing staggered personal mythologies [...] rather than references of art history”5, in other words, a community of praxes which sets up a critical community which might well be called Moisdon.

5The exhibition Passage du Temps was held this winter at the Tri Postal in Lille. It involved “making a show” based on a private collection, that of the Pinault Foundation. Each work is informed by a notice, brief but carefully written, an illustration and, at times, a diagram helping viewers to ponder the issue of the arrangement, the device. The selection was made by Caroline Bourgeois, who helped to put together the collector’s “media centre”, and whose introduction and interview with Elisabeth Lebovici tell us about the genre of the big angle piece with which the boundaries have been made in the collection, from Dan Flavin to Anri Sala by way of Thomas Struth. The theoretical filter is a tad broad, but the decision to include “selected items” is combined with the qualities of an “anthology”. The stance appears as if in the negative, for the works brought together have in common, above all, what they exclude: the object.

6The screen-like proliferation of G. Lipovetsky and J. Serroy, the lines of P. Cassagnau, the examination of the object as self-proof for S. Moisdon, and an envisaged history from its beginnings, but restricted by the limits of a collection–from these few recent fixations we will remember that they acknowledge and describe a first moment, hallmarked by the joint gestures of the dispersal, dispossession and de-definition of an idea of the cinema. The fact remains that the “movement of images” cannot be measured in extension, but rather in intensity, growths of another genre, perspectives with regard to which all these works are so many books less.

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1 The formula is borrowed from Luc Vancheri, the title of an article to be published in the next issue of the magazine Cinéma & Cie.

2 Avant-propos, p. 9

3 Ibid.

4 p. 265

5 p. 271

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Référence électronique

Jennifer Verraes, « The Film Wind Blows Wherever It Will », Critique d’art [En ligne], 31 | Printemps 2008, mis en ligne le 30 janvier 2012, consulté le 21 octobre 2017. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/critiquedart.683

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