Bernard Stiegler's account of aesthetics is rooted in André Leroi-Gourhan's concept of exteriorization, Gilbert Simondon's concept of individuation, and Edmund Husserl's concepts of retention and protention. Cinema takes up a singular place in this account, both in terms of its resemblance to the structure of consciousness itself, and in terms of its location at the intersection of the technical and the oneiric. Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt is a film through which it is possible to understand not just that cinema functions as an element in an ideological and consumerist system, as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer already argued, but pharmacologically (in Plato's sense). The pharmacological character of Contempt can be demonstrated through its manifold recapitulations of cinematic and literary history, including Alberto Moravia's novel, Homer's Odyssey, and quotations from Friedrich Hölderlin, Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Johst, and Dante, among others. If such an analysis shows that our problem today is less the technicization of the image than its industrialization, then the present and future of this problem lies between the conjoined threats of the televisual and the pornographic.
Daniel Ross; Totally, Tenderly, Tragically: BS and BB. boundary 2 1 February 2017; 44 (1): 107–123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3725893
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