High Techne: Art and Technology from the Machine Aesthetic by R. L. Rutsky

By R. L. Rutsky

Excessive Techne: paintings and know-how from the laptop Aesthetic to the Posthuman

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In order to The Spirit of Utopia 35 achieve, in other words, a fully present, living representation, the mummy complex demands that the conception of representation as a technology be effaced, for it is only when representation becomes a magical or alchemical process that the fragmentation and contingency of the dead copy can be conjured or transmuted into a living totality; only through this repression of the technological can a representation become animated by the enchanted spirit or aura of the original.

52 Bazin’s “realism,” then, is of a very idealistic sort: “if what we see depicted had been really the truth, successfully created in front of the camera, the film would cease to exist because it would cease, by the same token, to be a myth” (p. 47). For Bazin, this mythic, imaginary “reality” is the essence of cinema, and as his discussions of neorealism make clear, it is a “reality” that in its purest form is based on a fully present “wholeness”: Neorealism is a description of reality conceived as a whole by a consciousness disposed to see things as a whole.

Together, then, Sowana and Hadaly will form the perfect machine for the total representation of life—a cinematic machine: motor, lens, and screen. 50 With its black tarpaper body designed to rotate to the light of the sun, the Black Maria is a machine intended both to make itself transparent and to highlight the object of the camera’s gaze, to make its image unitary. Unlike the Lumière films, the images of the Edison Black Maria films—made for kinetoscopes rather than projection—are centered and easily readable: generally short sketches, stage acts, or celebrities set against the dark background of the Black Maria’s walls.

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