These extra thoughts explore more about the influence of the festival on me.
ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IS THE DISCUSSIONS IN THE LOBBY…”American Indians would go from tent to tent looking for others to ask them questions concerning their dreams from the night before in effort to recall them. Then when the right question was asked, that person would be a co-creator of the dream, the co-dreamer.” -? Harry Smith, who claimed Giordano Bruno invented cinema, stated that the function of film viewing is to put people to sleep – dreaming awake. Jean Cocteau said “it is the filmmaker’s privilege to allow a large number of people to dream the same dream together.” Yoko Ono said “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
How can we retool McLuhan’s percept: “May I suggest art in the electronic age is not a form of self-expression, but a kind of research and probing. It is not a private need of expression that motivates the artist, but the need of involvement in the total audience. This is humanism in reverse, art in the electric age is the experience, not of the individual, but of a collectivity.”
“The basic fact to keep in mind about the movie camera and projector is their resemblance to the process of human cognition.” – Marshall McLuhan
“Every film is narrative simply by virtue of the fact that one frame must follow another in time. Our minds are such that we are obliged to make a story out of everything we experience, obliged to frame things to make them comprehensible. We constantly tell ourselves stories that allegedly interpret the play of light and shadow in the screen of the mind. Story is absolute basic essential of waking, we dream that we are awake, imagining past and future, telling ourselves elaborate stories about both. We invented cinema deliberately as a devise to allow us to dream while waking, and to give us access to areas of the mind that were previously only available in sleep. ” – Andrew Noren in PA Sitney’s Eyes Upside Down.
“Joyce realized that technologies were the analogical mirrors of our biological process. So, perceptually interlocking Joyce to Haeckel’s insight, of ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny; microbiology recapitulates macrobiology. And he realized our human technology is re-created biology, like: the book is an extension of the eye, the radio is the ear, etc., and Joyce conceived the sensory analogues. Then, that technologies, which become environments, could be perceived as a symbolic map of the stages of that evolution; i.e., techni evolving. And the stages would have a biological reference point. For example, Joyce’s great line on 52 of ‘The Wake’: “Television kills telephony in Brothers’ broil”. (You’re naming 2 technologies). “Our eyes demand their turn.” (Now the object is switched to biological forms: eyes). “Let them be seen”! (Then, the question is what and who was to do the seeing). So, Joyce was always playing between art and science (man’s means for measuring her/himself and humanity, i.e., technological constructs), AND nature. But nature was still within the art and science constructs, as in the percepts of Bucky Fuller: That there was nature. So, Joyce showed: The ontogeny that was James Joyce’s life replayed (recapitulated) the history of the species; the technoid species! Thus, Joyce saw that he learned writing (in “The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man”). Then, when he was older , he wanted to start a cinema, in Dublin. And he then got involved in radio. And, in all the technologies Joyce experienced in his 57 years – he saw, that the individuated cycle of techni he was involved in ontologically.” – Robert Dobbs (=RD fivebodied.com). Essential reading: http://mycanvassesaresurrealist.blogspot.com/2008/07/bob-dobbs-explains-finnegans-wake-via.html
“You’ve got to understand part of the message of FINNEGANS WAKE is that it’s a vast mirroring of nothing by nothing. Because the whole point of FINNEGANS WAKE is that the last word of perfect language, television and the modern electric environment, is the means to wake people up. McLuhan explained that point. The multiplicity-of-the-media experience we have today will alienate people from identifying with any medium. So people will finally get detached from the hypnotic effect of each medium. The multiplicity of mixed corporate-media as an artform is creating the collective consciousness of today. I don’t have to get people to understand FINNEGANS WAKE. That is being done by the electric environment. The problem is they cannot see that. They can understand it in a non-visual way, but they don’t know how to retrieve their visual sense. Joyce states this situation on page 54 – “Television kills telephony in brothers’ broil. Our eyes demand their turn. Let them be seen!” FINNEGANS WAKE retrieves visual space and shows you how to see the electric Esperanto that has made everybody collectively conscious. … “Telephony” is the telephone. “Brothers” evokes the theme of Cain and Abel. “Broil” means to fight. So Cain kills Abel in a fight between brothers. That’s an anthropomorphic view of reality. A technological view, as extensions of us, is “television kills telephony in brothers’ broil.” It’s like a newspaper headline. Then it says, “Our eyes demand their turn.” So Joyce is pointing to the senses. He’s pointing out that television is not an extension of the eye, and how the human organism, collectively and unconsciously when a new environment comes in, demands a rebalancing of the sensory structure. It’s called “sensory closure”, which is the eyes necessarily demanding all to be rebalanced within the tactile mesh of television, or to have a function within it. Different cultures express their particular biases in sensory closure in relation to the TV environment. Joyce then says, “Let them be seen.” So the way to have the eyes “be seen” is to have the eye as an ear, which is what happens under TV conditions, and to express it via the visual medium – the book. The book consists of a soundtrack separate from a visual track. What you see/hear when you read it silently is different from what you hear when someone else reads it out loud to you when you are not looking at it. Joyce found a way to solve the geometric problem of “squaring the circle” by figuring out how to write a book with the “keys…given” (page 628). The keys to the book are given to you. He has learned how to revitalize the medium of the book itself. This is a solution to a 20th Century scientific problem in communication that post-Einsteinian scientists do not include in the Quantum Project. That is quite an amazing achievement. ” -RD
Special Bonus: Excerpt from Bob Dobbs essay – McLuhan and Holeopathic Quadrophrenia: The Mouse-That-Roared Syndrome
I will now retrace what I have already said and define a few details and then elaborate on them. The first key to my understanding of McLuhan is grasping the emphasis he placed on the drama of cognition as an artifact, in contrast to Freud’s study of the dream as an artifact. This drama is based on the doubleness of consciousness, the folding back on itself – the complementary process of “making” and “matching” that is necessary to create the resonance of coherent consciousness. An example of the “making” aspect of perception is the reversal of the rays of light that occurs in the retina as part of the process of creating the experience of sight. Another example is the fact that when food is ingested, what comes out at the other end is not the same as what went in. This sensory alteration, or closure, occurs with all sensory input. McLuhan used the transforming power of the movie camera and projector as a model of this drama of cognition. When the camera rolls up the external world on a spool by rapid still shots, it uncannily resembles the process of “making”, or sensory closure. The movie projector unwinds this spool as a kind of magic carpet which conveys the enchanted spectator anywhere in the world in an instant – a resemblance of the human’s attempt to externalize or utter the result of making sense in a natural effort to connect or “match” with the external environment. The external environment responds and the person is then forced to reply in kind and “make” again. This systole-diastole interplay is McLuhan’s “drama of cognition” and it is parroted by the movie camera and projector. (Has it occurred to you yet of what the live pick-up in the television camera is a parrot?) This drama is the archetype for all creative activity produced by humanity, from ritual, myth, and legend to art, science, and technology. McLuhan understood that James Joyce was the first person to make explicit the fact that the cycle of Ritual, Art, Science, and Technology imitates, is an extension of, the stages of apprehension. And this is possible because the extensions have to approximate our faculties in order for us to pay attention to them.