21 Aug 2014

Spiegelman. ch3. of Maus I, “Prisoner of War”, summary

by Corry Shores
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Art Spiegelman

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol.1


Ch.3
Prisoner of War

1.41.1

 

Brief summary:

Vladek was drafted into the Polish army to fight the Germans in 1939. He was captured and lived for a while as a prisoner of war. Being Jewish made this more difficult. Finally he returned home to his family.


Summary

 

[Begins in the present] Art says he sees his father Vladek more frequently to interview him about his past during the Holocaust. They are eating dinner with Vladek’s second wife, Mala, and Vladek insists that Art finish everything on his plate. Art tells of the extremes Vladek would go to when Art was a child to force him never to waste food.  After dinner, Vladek begins telling Art about 1939 when he was drafted in the Polish army [cuts to past]. They faced off against the Germans [cuts to present].

1.44 45.5 1

Vladek explains how his father went to great extents to make himself and his children seem unhealthy so they would not be admissible to the army [cuts to past]. For three months before the army examination, Valdek was only allowed three hours of sleep and very little food. Then no food or sleep a couple days before the test, and he had to drink a gallon of coffee. The doctor noticed he was not well, and told him to get better and return in a year [cuts to present]. This older story is set in 1922. Vladek begged his father not to torture him again like that, and he went to the army. Vladek returns now to 1939 when he was facing the Germans [cuts to past]. The officers tell him to shoot, even though he cannot see any targets.

1.47.3 4

[[Note: Even though Vladek is Polish, he is also Jewish, and Spiegelman portrays Jews as mice regardless of their nationality. The contrast is especially interesting in the fame above, because as a member of an army, one would think that national identity would trump religious identity. As we will see, the Germans will care mostly about this religious identity, and thus the different portrayal is justified.]] Vladek begins shooting aimlessly, but he stops, wondering, why should he kill people? Then he saw an enemy disguised as a tree and moving about. After shooting him to the ground, he keeps shooting despite the enemy’s pleas to surrender.

1.48.6

Finally the Germans capture him, and ironically this time he is blamed for having a hot gun.

1.49.1 3

He and other captured Polish soldiers are marched to the German side.

1.49.4 7

The captured men are supposed to help find fallen Germans, and Vladek finds the man he killed. The captured soldiers were then taken somewhere near Nuremberg and forced to give up their valuables. Most soldiers had only 5 or 6 Zlotys, but Vladek had 300. The German officer noticed his soft hands and said Vladek never worked a day in his life [cut to the present then immediately back to the past]. The Germans gave Vladek and three other soldiers the impossible task of cleaning a stable in one hour. They only succeeded in finishing in one and a half hours, and so they got no soup that day [cut to present]. Art is so interested in the story that he has been dropping cigarette ashes on the carpet, which Vladek scolds him for [cut to past]. Vladek and other prisoners of war had to suffer in camps out in the cold.

1.53.1 Nonetheless, they still were able to maintain themselves and some of their customs. [[note how they adapted their ways of life to the new circumstances.]]

1.54.1 2

One day the Germans advertised for workers to come to the front. They would receive better food and housing. Vladek’s friends declined, but he decided to do it.

1.54.7 9

His friends finally went along, and they were sent to a large German factory. They lived more comfortably with better lodging. For the first time many of them must work with their hands, and they were tasked with leveling out hilly areas.

1.56.1

They even supported the older people who struggled to keep up. [[note: here is an instance of working around the constraints of the system.]]

1.56.3 5
[Quick cut to present then right back to past.] One night Vladek had a dream that his grandfather told him he would be free on the day of Parshas Truma (each week on Saturday they read a section from the Torah, and for one week a year is Parshas Truma).

1.57.1 3

[Cut to present then right back to past.] When Parshas Truma came three months later, the Gestapo signed their release documents and Vladek was made free [cut to present then back to past]. Germany divided Poland between Protectorate and Reich. Sosnowiec is in the Reich, but the train went past that region and took them much further away, near Lublin.

1.60.3

The prisoners were then kept in tents. Some Jewish authorities visited and said yesterday 600 other Jewish Polish war prisoners were executed.

1.61.3 5

[Cut to present]. Vladek explains that international laws offered some protection to them as soldiers, but because they were Jews, they could be killed at any time [cut to past]. As a solution, the Jewish authorities bribed the Germans to allow some prisoners to go to the homes of local Jews and be claimed as their family members. A family friend, Orbach, came that night and took Vladek to his home [cut to present then back to past]. To get back home, Vladek would need to take a train, but he would also need legal papers, which he lacked. He got on a train anyway. Trying not to reveal that he was Jewish, he convinced a Polish conductor to let him hide in the train and sneak to Sosnowiec.

1.64.2 6

[[Note this beautiful and powerful depiction of Vladek concealing his Jewish identity, here by wearing a pig mask, since the Poles are drawn as pigs. We can sense the humiliation he must have felt, especially in the last panel above when Vladek peers down at the mask that saved him. These panels are also interesting for our examination of how Jews worked around the oppressive system that constantly threatened their existence. And moreover, it is an instance of where Spiegelman’s choice to use animal forms has extra effect, since changing from one form to another is such a drastic alteration as to be a betrayal of one’s own basic sense of identity. This is reminiscent of Deleuze’s notion of the self as a self-forger. Survival for the Jews in this situation sometimes required making forgeries of themselves.]] Vladek finally arrives home, and learns his mother is sick with cancer [cut to present then right back to past]. His father once had a beard that made him look like a Rabbi, but Germans cut it off. They also took his Seltzer factory. Vladek then travels to reunite with his wife Anja and his young son Richieu.
1.66.5 7
[Cut to present]. Vladek explains that he would be much happier today if his first wife Anja would still be alive,  instead of him living with his second wife Mala. Art objects that he must hear this same thing too often from Vladek. When Art goes to leave, he discovers that Vladek threw out his jacket and gave him instead an oversized coat. [Below I show his coat from the first panel of the chapter then the new jacket at the end of the chapter.]

1.43.1

1.69.7 8



Spielgelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol 1. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.






9 Aug 2014

Priest (P3) One, ‘The One of Parmenides and Plato’, summary

 

by Corry Shores
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Search Blog Here. Index-tags are found on the bottom of the left column.]

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[Logic & Semantics, Entry Directory]
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Summary of


Graham Priest


One:
Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness


Preface


P.3 The One of Parmenides and Plato



Brief Summary:
Part 2 will focus on Plato’s solution to the problem of the one and the many by examining Plato’s Parmenides. It will show how the gluon theory can be helpful for interpreting this text and solving the relevant problems.

 


Summary



Part I is concerned with Aristotle’s solution to the problem of the one and the many, and part II focuses on Plato’s solution. (xvii)


The second part examines Plato’s Parmenides to discuss Parmenides’ partless one and Plato’s form of Oneness. Priest’s gluon theory will help provide a coherent interpretation of this obscure text (xvii).


Part II will also discuss applications of gluon theory along with the questions of meaning, truth, intentionality, and mereology raised by this application (xvii).

 

 



Priest, Graham. One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness. Oxford: Oxford University, 2014.

8 Aug 2014

Graham Priest, One, Entry Directory


by
Corry Shores
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Entry Directory for


Graham Priest


One:
Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness


Preface


P.1 Ways to be One

 

P.2 Wholes and Their Parts


P.3 The One of Parmenides and Plato







Priest, Graham. One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness. Oxford: Oxford University, 2014.


Spiegelman. ch2. of Maus I, “The Honeymoon”, summary

 

by Corry Shores
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Art Spiegelman


Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
, vol.1


Ch.2
The Honeymoon

 

2.25.1

 


Brief Summary:

With the help of his wife Anja’s wealthy father, Vladek Spiegelman builds a textile factory. They later have their first child, Richieu, but shortly after Anja suffers a breakdown. She and Vladek spend three months in a sanitarium while she recovers. When they return, they learn the factory was robbed. Again with the father-in-law’s help, they rebuild the factory, and they are living in Bielsko. Vladek is drafted into the Polish army in 1939 to fight the war with Germany, and his wife and son return to Anja’s family in Sosnowiec.



Summary

 

Art Spiegelman continues visiting his father Vladek to interview him about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. We see Vladek counting and sorting the many pills he takes for his health. We then learn that his first wife Anja had a communist boyfriend before she and Vladek married.

2.26.9
[page 27, switch to past] After the marriage, Anja was once arrested for translating into German and distributing the communist’s documents.
2.27.5 6
Anja was tipped off that the police would be searching for them. Anja was a loyal customer to seamstress tenant [of Art and Anja’s building] who agreed to hide the documents. The police eventually searched there and found them, but Anja was safe as the seamstress claimed she knew nothing of the papers.

2.28.3 4

[page 29, return to present time, then switch to past, then back to present, then back to past] Art compels Anja never to associate with this communist again. The seamstress had to serve some months in prison.

2.29.3

Anja’s wealthy father wanted his grandson to be well-off, so he offered Vladek the funding to start his own textile factory. In 1937 their first son is born Richieu.

2.30.1 2

[p.30 switch to present] Richieu will not survive the war. Art needed to be born prematurely, and the doctor had to break Art’s arm to remove him from Anja’s womb. This caused Art’s arm sometimes to rise like the salute to Hitler. Vladek demonstrates and knocks over his pill bottle, blaming Art.

2.30.7 9

[p.31 switch to past] Anja suddenly has a nervous breakdown.

2.31.1 5

They take her to a sanitarium in Czechoslovakia, and on the way, they see a Nazi flag hanging in a town. This is in 1938, before the war began.

2.32.1 5

The passengers then share their stories of Nazi abuses of Jews.

2.33.3 6

The sanatorium was very nice, with shops, a café, and a theatre. Vladek would take her dancing and tell her funny stories.

2.35.7

When they return home three months later, they learn from Anja’s father that the factory had been robbed. Fortunately Anja’s father can help them build it up again. [p.36 return to present; p.37 back to past and again to present] They become well-off again, but there are anti-Semitic riots in Bielsko where they live. They wonder if they should leave, and Vladek tells Anja that if things get bad, they could return to Sosnowiec. Vladek assumed it would be safer, because he thought that Hitler would only want cities that were once a part of Germany. [p.37 back to past] Then in 1939 Vladek was drafted into the Polish army to fight the war with Germany. As he leaves to join, Anja, Richieu and the governess go back to Sosnowiec to stay with Anja’s family.

2.38.5 6

[p.39 return to present] Vladek complains about his health problems with his eye and an irresponsible surgeon who failed to operate on it. Later, he needed to replace it with a glass eye. Vladek and Art then retire.

2.40.8



Spielgelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol 1. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.

 



 

Priest (P2) One, ‘Wholes and Their Parts’, summary

 

by Corry Shores
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Summary of


Graham Priest


One:
Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness


Preface


P2:
Wholes and Their Parts



Brief Summary
Part 1 will discuss unified objects, ‘gluons’, which on account of their being made of many parts, may have contradictory properties. It also addresses and solves the Bradely regress by proposing a non-transitive theory of identity. And finally it will discuss further ramifications of gluons and as well Heidegger’s question of being.

 


Summary



Many things are made of parts. So in one sense, something is one in that it is a whole, but in another sense it is many in that it is made of many parts. This means that things might have contradictory properties. “Part I of the book simply accepts this conclusion: these things—gluons, as they will be called in Chapter 1—do have contradictory properties.”
(xvi)


The second chapter address and solves the Bradley regress by “spelling out the required theory of identity, and how gluons fit into the picture” (xvi).


Priest shows the technical coherence of these and other parts in the appendix where he expresses them using formal logic.


Chapter 5 addresses the issue “any account of identity according to which the substitutivity of identicals is not valid is not philosophically coherent.” (xvi)


The rest of Part I explores some of the immediate ramifications of gluons, such as their connection with tropes (or, as I will call them, pins—particular instantiations), with universals themselves, and with two very particular objects | nothing and everything.
(xvi-xvii)

Priest’s gluon theory also “provides a solution to Heidegger’s notorious Seinsfrage—the question of Being.” (xvii)

 

 



Priest, Graham. One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness. Oxford: Oxford University, 2014.

Priest (P1) One, ‘Ways to be One’, summary

 

by Corry Shores
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Summary of


Graham Priest


One:
Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness


Preface


P1:
Ways to be One



Brief Summary
This book is concerned with the metaphysical concept of the One. The first part is about Oneness itself, the second is about universal properties (one property in many things), and the third is about the notion that ‘all is one’.

 


Summary



The book is about what it means to be one in the metaphysical sense.


It is important to look at this metaphysical sense of One, because

The notion of being one thing is, perhaps, our most fundamental notion. One cannot say anything, think anything, cognize anything, without presupposing it.
(xv)


There are many problems concerning the one, including problems of ‘the one and the many’. Part 1 of the book is concerned with “what it means for an object to be numerically one; what constitutes its unity, as it were. When an object has parts (the many), how does their multiplicity produce a unity? (xv). The second part is “concerned with the problem of universals: how can one property be located in many things?” (xv). Part three deals with the tricky notion that ‘all is one’.


Priest will now give more preview of these parts. (xvi)

 



P2: Wholes and Their Parts


Priest, Graham. One: Being an Investigation into the Unity of Reality and of its Parts, including the Singular Object which is Nothingness. Oxford: Oxford University, 2014.

 

 

6 Jul 2014

Spiegelman. ch1. of Maus I, “The Sheik”, summary


by Corry Shores
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Art Spiegelman

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol.1


Ch.1
The Sheik


1.9.1


Brief Summary:

Here we learn how Vladek, a Czech Holocaust survivor, moved to Poland to marry Anja, a wealthy Jewish girl, in 1939.



Summary

 

Art Spiegelman visits his father Vladek to interview him about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. With Vladek is his second wife Mala.

1.11.3Art indicates that he wants to hear Vladek’s stories so he can draw them in a comic (the present one). Art wants to begin with how Vladek met his first wife, Anja, who is Art’s mother.


Vladek explains that he was selling textiles, and he was young and handsome. Woman were chasing after him.

1.12.8He took one lover, Lucia, but he did not want to marry her, partly because she did not come from a well-off family. Nonetheless, she was obsessed with Vladek.

1.15.2One holiday when visiting family, Vladek’s cousin suggests he meet a rich and clever girl, Anja. They do so and like each other very much.

1.16.1
They spoke frequently on the phone and wrote each other letters. Lucia finds out and desperately tries to hold onto Vladek, but he leaves her for good.

1.17.6

Anja’s family were millionaires. One time when Vladek visited them for dinner, he snuck into Anja’s room and discovered a bottle of pills. He investigated what they were, and learned they were for nervousness. Later he moves from his home in Czechoslovakia to her home in Poland. Before leaving, Lucia literally falls to the floor begging Vladek not to go.

.20.3 to 6

Lucia then sends a letter to Anja, saying that Vladek had a bad reputation in Czechoslovakia for having many girlfriends that he is just marrying Anja for her family’s money. Vladek explains that really Lucia cannot let go of him. He moves to Sosnowiec, Poland in 1936 and marries her 1937.


At this point, Spiegelman cuts back to the interview scene with Art and Vladek in the present. Vladek asks for the Lucia material to be left out, because it is personal and unrelated to the Holocaust. Art insists that this personal side is precisely what is needed.

1.23.2 3

Art promises not to include such private material. [We might note here the shot-counter-shot dialogue pattern. First we see things from Vladek’s perspective, and all the while Art is saying that he wants to humanize the novel with Vladek’s most personal stories. Then it cuts to Art’s perspective, now looking objectively at Vladek, all while Art talks about telling Vladek’s story. Moves between panels are similar to montage cuts, and they likewise force our minds to make inferences and connections. Here we move from subjective to objective, which is itself just another’s subjectivity. Spiegelman is juggling these views, on the one hand getting us to see and feel what Vladek experienced, while also on the other hand getting us to look objectively at his life and experiences so we can better pass judgment on the situation. The animal depictions might function similarly. If the people were drawn more photo-realistically, we might feel repulsed by the gruesome imagery. So rendering them as cute animals allows us to increase our proximity to their experiences. However, their animal form makes them seem foreign to us somehow. We do not normally identify with animals in a very personal way. So as well their animal forms serve to grant us a more objective judgment based on an intimate understanding of their inner lives.]





Spielgelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol 1. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.




 

Spiegelman. prt A. Opening material of Maus I


by Corry Shores
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Art Spiegelman

 

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol.1


Opening material


Summary

 

Art Spiegelman, the author of Maus, interviews his father, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps. We might think of it as a documentary. It is similar to Claude Lanzmann’s documentary film Shoah (1985) in that neither one gives much direct objective evidential material (like footage or photographs), but both depend rather on subjective testimonial from those who lived through the Holocaust. [from Thompson and Bordwell’s Film History: “Claude Lanzmann's Shoah (1985), a nearly nine hour study of the Nazis' extermination of the Polish Jews, recalls Alain Resnais's Night and Fog in studying bland contemporary landscapes that were the sites of unspeakable cruelty. Here, however, no stock footage takes us into the past; Lanzmann presents | only what he called ‘traces of traces,’ interviews with witnesses, Jewish survivors, and former Nazis.” (582-583)] So we will learn not just about the events but as well about the real human experiences directly affected by them. One interesting difference is that Maus is drawn, which means the experiences are processed subjectively yet again, this time through an artist who will depict affective experiences, rendering the events in his own way. On the one hand, we might see this as a distortion of the actuality of the events and thus a subtraction to its documentary value. However, we said that Shoah demonstrates another sort of documentation, namely, the preservation and communication of emotional and affective experience. In that sense, the cartoon format of Maus may in fact prove just as effective as film. And since cartoon art is known for being able to be more expressive, in that it often shows the inner workings of the characters through expressive outer iconic representations, perhaps the graphic literary medium can be even more effective than film for the purpose of subjective documentation.


Here in this opening material, Spiegelman prepares us for the harsh and dark human truths that his father’s survivor’s tale will teach us. Art is recalling a childhood event when he suffered cruelty from his peers. He was roller-skating with some play-friends, and they race ahead, saying “Last one to the schoolyard is a rotten egg!” Young Art’s skate breaks, and he lands on the sidewalk, hurting his leg. Here the pain is given iconically with the star and line squiggle, accompanied by a distressed look in Art’s face.

1.1.4d

Art goes home crying to his father, who is sawing a plank of wood. After he asks his son why he is crying, Art says:

1.4.2

His father is struck by Art using the term ‘friends’ and he replies:

1.5.4 5

In the rest of the narration, Art is in his middle age, interviewing his father, whose stories are depicted graphically. We will see how Art’s father and other Jews were treated as subhuman, in a sense, like animals or worse. But the Nazi savagery is as well a sort of ‘behaving like animals’. And the Jews were not only treated like animals. They were as well signified as such specifically in propaganda and more generally in the Nazi’s ‘regime of signs.’ Spiegelman’s Maus in a way is like a small machine working in the larger machine of signs and significance, but sending disruptive shockwaves into it. The language is still largely the same. Jews are rodents, and like rodents they are highly vulnerable to predators and they burrow, scurry, and hide in recesses. But Spiegelman keeps all of these meanings that are inferential to the imagery, yet he makes a small but significant change. The Jews are mice and not rats. They have all the powers of other rodents, but not the negative connotations. This could be one way that Spiegelman is overturning the Nazi’s regime of inferences. Rats we might detest, but mice instead are cute and their cartoons can evoke our sympathies. Think of Mickey, for example. Spiegelman inserts practically the same image, following the same rules of representation, but he inverts the imagery’s inferences and affections. As we continue through this great work, we will ask if we might find in Spiegelman’s ‘strategy’ of representation a ‘minorization’ of the major language of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda. We furthermore will wonder if the graphic literary medium is already poised to play a minorizational role in the larger context of the more established major art forms like film and literature. Lastly, we will wonder if Maus might be an example of ‘becoming-animal’, not superficially because the people are depicted as animals, but in the Guattari and Deleuze sense of preventing fixed significations and inferential values.  When we consider the treatment of the Jews, we can infer from their behavior the implied (and stated) message that Jews are subhuman. But by re-engineering the machinery of their inferential system, Spiegelman reverses the message, seeming saying that the Nazis, by lacking humanity, would not necessarily fulfill our definitions for a human being, at least morally speaking. This might be ‘becoming animal’ in the sense of evading determinations and refashioning them to produce new inferences.



Spielgelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, vol 1. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.


Thompson, Kristen, and David Bordwell. Film History: An Introduction. 3rd edition. Boston: McGraw Hill.



24 Jun 2014

A Rough Deleuzean Analysis of Gal Volinez’ “HI Brit”


by Corry Shores
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I came across the following video (through Deleuze scholar Rockwell Clancy’s facebook feed). If you have not seen it, I think you might be amazed for reasons that could be further examined. [Best seen on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTByHbjgz8k#t=27]
"HI Brit" by Gal Volinez


[If the above embed does not work, try this one:]
video

The following is highly experimental and is meant to serve as the starting mistakes for a larger project currently under development.

This project examines Gilles Deleuze’s ‘Logics’. We have two “logic” books by Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation and The Logic of Sense. I believe that Deleuze’s Cinema 1 and 2 comprise a third logic book, what we might title The Logic of Signs. All three ‘logics’ share the common logic of affirmative synthetic disjunction [I discuss this further pp.204-205 of "In the Still of the Moment"]. Informally, in Deleuze’s logic, incompatible states of affairs are given as forced together. There are 'tensions' between them on account of their contrariety. More formally speaking, say that term B is not term A. Now note that when A is conjoined with not-A, we have a contradiction. But  there is no ‘sense’ or meaning resulting when A and A are conjoined self-redundantly. However, there is significance when information is non-redundant with itself, and thus introduces contradictory combinations. We find in the world both A and B at once (in contradictory states of affairs between one instant and the next, for example) which means we find A and not-A in combination. We have a contradiction that is real, true and meaningful [and such a logic of contradiction is useful for accounting for change and becoming]. I mean meaningful in a number of ways:


In the Logic of Signs / the Logic of Sensibility:
Synthesis of Contradictory Structures
[What are the basic structures that make relations sensible?]

Prelinguistic, signalitic meaning [in the sense of pre-linguistic signs. See Deleuze Cinema 2, chapter 2. For this, we examine structures that create the pathways or tendencies by which specific terms will relate in meaningful ways].

There are basic structures that relate series of terms under certain modes of conjunction. For example, Deleuze shows how perceived variations of depth in film can be conjoined with variations of time in the story. The co-presence of different spatial points then implicitly suggests the contradictory co-presence of temporally distinct moments of time. More specifically, the temporal relations ‘before’ and ‘after’ are given in depth of field shots. Let's look quickly at some relevant scenes in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane. The film is largely composed of flashbacks from people who knew Kane. In one case it is his second wife, who enjoyed singing but never aspired to be a professional, and she was never gifted enough to be one in the first place. When she is being interviewed about Kane's past, the camera as you can see in the clip below starts from high and seemingly moves down onto the wife, as if we are falling through the depths of time by probing into her memories of the distant past.

video

So because the camera motion and flashback editing are moving us an extent similarly through both space and time, we have already a structuring principle of visual depth equaling temporal depth. What we then see first is Kane's wife being trained for professional opera singing. Despite her hopeless failings and unwillingness to continue, Kane is maniacally driven to make her a star, partly by using the influence of his newspaper to promote her. We will see a frantic montage with superpositions of intense imagery and with music that will build to a climax, then ending in darkness and silence. This sequence is a portrayal of the harsh intensity of the flow of time during her period of rehearsal and performance, ending in her suicidal breakdown. So first we are given an impression of time in its thickness as an intense and overfilled continuous flow. All the while, time is taking its toll on the wife, wearing her down and breaking her body and spirit, seemingly to her demise. Then we see Kane burst in on her, rescuing her from death. For Deleuze, this scene is important in its juxtaposition to the prior linear sequence. In the suicide scene, Kane stands at a distance from his wife, with a gulf of visual depth between them. The wife looks decrepit, showing the signs of the time that all the while Kane had been ignoring in his mania. Kane must face the time that has passed; he sees those hectic months all at once, at a distance, in their purified empty form. But as we said, visual depth already had a temporal meaning. We make sense of this scene because the depth tells us that Kane must face the period of time that he was destroying his wife, and cross through it rather than ignore it.

video

[If the above does not work, try this alternative:]

video 

We might at this point note the connection Deleuze makes between Peirce's notion of the icon and the idea of 'analogy by isomorphism'. [My discussion of that connection is here.] We have two structures each of their own domain, namely, the structure of spatial extension and the structure of temporal extension. We might say that visual depth is an iconic presentation of temporal depth, as there is an isomorphic (one-to-one) relation between variations in distance in the one domain to the variations in time in the other. It is for this reason that visual depth is a 'sign' for temporal depth, with that temporal depth then providing a new series of relations to import into the spatial visual domain so to open an additional layer of meaning in the imagery and story line. Returning to our example, Kane does recognize the damage he did to his wife by exposing her to so much that harmed her. But his response is no better, and still shows a profound insensitivity to her needs. Previously she was flooded with damaging activity, with critical people interjecting in her life and breaking her morale. Afterward he does the opposite, still to her detriment. He isolates her, giving her too much space, and in a sense trying to create a protective 'empty' period in her life, like the vast deep emptiness of Kane's palace where she is locked up and socially isolated. In a sense, Kane does not really change as a person, despite the warning signs saying that his obsessively controlling character is damaging to the person in his life that he loves the most. In the end his wife leaves him. Kane then trashes her bedroom, walks through a hallway of mirrors, and sometime later dies saying 'Rosebud'. Rosebud is the name of his sled, and it serves to mark his transition as young child when he suddenly goes from poverty to immense inherited wealth.  With the idea of visual depth and time already established in our minds, we then can use that schema for understanding that final mirror scene. So temporal variation can be mapped onto visual depth. In the mirror scene, Kane is projected infinitely into the vast depth between the mirrors. But he is the same, a repetition of a unvarying character. His development halted when he obtained his wealth, and he has tragically remained unchanged throughout the depth of his life. [In the clip below, the mirror scene is recalled by another witness.]


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Logic of Sensibility in Volinez' Spears Video

Before drawing any inferences about what we see, and before the sense data can come into any additional relations, we first notice a basic structural feature in the video. There is often a lot of visual depth in the original video, now forming a background to the flat plane inserted on its surface. The new frame is sized and composed so to appear as though it occupies one of the levels of depth in the broader image, looking like a movie screen standing up some distance into the field of visual depth of the scene.

 


There are even instances where he inserts his image onto mirrors to replicate a reflection.


 

The basic content of the overlaid image is often made so that it seems to extend past its boundaries into the background.

 
 

Here are some notable moments where the actions in the box are coordinated with the extremities of Spears' motions.


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There is also a scene where he is made to seem as though his two-dimensional image moves through the three-dimensionality of the background. I include it with the original for comparison.


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There is also a scene where he adjusts the color of the inner frame to match the background.


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There also seem to be shots that would be too problematic to replicate, perhaps because of a difficult high angle. In these cases and in some others, he places a red dot over top of Spears. But to make that technique more seamless, he at times puts a red dot over his own face, perhaps only to equalize the instances.




 
 
However, despite these efforts to maintain the junction of the two series of moving images, there is still a strong tension between them. No matter how matched the images are, it still appears as though the overlaid image is two-dimensional and its surroundings three-dimensional. In some cases the match is noticeably off (perhaps intentionally), and in other cases the inserted image extends outside the frame of the background, reinforcing its two-dimensional overlaid look.







So while our eyes are forced to place the two series of images together, they are strongly incompatible. They are a cross-over of two different worlds, a two-dimensional one and a three-dimensional one. This is the basic structural feature that will create the basis for how the two series of terms relate differentially and meaningfully. In other words, this structure combines distinct series from separate domains, and by forcing them together, provides the conditions for the sensibility of their differential relations.



In the Logic of Sensation / the Logic of Sensitivity:
Synthesis of Contradictory Sense Data
[How do the structures of relation bring together contradictory sense-data in an informative way?]

Affective meaning: Significant sense data. Our five senses provide us with data about the world around us (and within us). Yet, we do not find  meaning in redundancies in sense information. In fact, our nervous systems 'desensitize' themselves to constancies of sensation [see Marieb and Hoehn, Bateson, and Bergson]. We are more sensitive it seems to differences and incompatibilities in sense data when the information does not ‘compute’ and calls for our closer attention. Consider being in a warm room during a cold winter day. After a while, we get cozy, and we begin to sense things other than the room's temperature. But when we go outside into the frigid cold, we are instantly very aware of the change in temperature. It is a difference that makes a difference. It tells us to change our behavior, to cover our exposed skin and hurry to our destination. So affective meaning is sense data that ‘tells’ us something even before we consciously interpret it. And the data here are not just for example the warmth of the room and the cold of the outside air; rather, the experience of the difference between them is itself the significant datum, the difference that makes a difference. [See this entry for more on Bateson's definition of information as 'difference that makes a difference.']

To analyze how the structural features of the image bring about contradictory sensations, let's take an example from Deleuze's Logic of Sensation, the painting Figure at a Washbasin, 1976 by Francis Bacon.


Francis Bacon. Figure at a Washbasin, 1976
(Thanks www.artnet.com)

Often times in Bacon's paintings, there is a shape enclosing a figure. This is a structural feature that organizes the 'forces' in the painting. In some cases, the forces are acting dually against one another, and in certain instances they might give the impression of interchanging in-and-out flows. In this painting, the circle may seem to be closing in on the body, squeezing it. But the figure then pushes outward on the circle, as it seems to be flexing as though resisting and pushing back on that pressure. And also, he seems to be evacuating and escaping the confines of the circle through the drain.





(Thanks fotos.org)

The structural feature of the painting, the enclosing circle, combines incompatible forces, namely those pressing in and those pressing out. These forces intersect and collide in the figure's body, making it shake and spasm. We have the sensation then of a motion over and above the simpler two. We have two unidiretional motions, and the third non-directional vibrational motion which is a disjunctive synthesis of the other two. [For more on Deleuze's analysis of the diastole/systole rhythm in this painting, look toward the end of this entry.]



The Logic of Sensitivity in the video

In the music video, we are also given this impression of a back-and-forth dance between the overlaid frame and the background. The box at some times tightens around the inserted dancer, while at other times he seems to push the boundaries outward. We do not get the impression of spasms in the video like we do in the painting. What we have instead it seems is a more erotic play of encroachment and retreat, and this comes not from the content of either series but in the interaction between them. Here are some instances where we see the box's boundaries in motion.


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In the Logic of Sense / the Logic of Explanation:
Synthesis of Contradictory Inferences
[We draw inferences from the given data. How do contradictions between series of inferences themselves have inferential value?]

Dramatic/literary/explanatory meaning. [Warning: this portion is problematic and vague.] A story is a series of rabbits out of hats, by which I mean, the events unfold without scientific predictability. If we could deduce the whole tale all the way down to its conclusion only from first hearing the beginning lines, then we would not need to follow along with it. Narrative events in a way are meaningfully connected but not logically implicit in one another. The tension between one trend in a story and a new divergent line beginning after a sudden twist has dramatic power to it. Consider an Aesop fable, 'The Fox and the Grapes':


A hungry Fox saw some fine bunches of Grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis, and did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air. But it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach: so he gave up trying, and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, "I thought those Grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour." [from Project Gutenberg]

Perhaps one way we mentally obtain explanations is by finding significance in differences between series of inferences in the story. In our example, we seem to have two pairings of inferences, with one set preceding the fox's change of mind, and another following that shift.

Inference series A:
The grapes are desirable.
The fox is determined to eat them.

Inference series B:
The grapes are not desirable.
The fox is not so determined to eat them.

The difference and tensions between these series make sense if we add the dramatic moment. There is an aleatory point, a moment of uncertainty when the meanings shift [for more on narrative bifurcation, see pp.211-218 of "Still of the Moment"]. We might even say it is a moment of self-forgery [see this entry on the topic of self-development and the power of falsity]. The fox pretends to be the same self, but really he has changed, going from a determined creature to a less ambitious one. But he externalizes this change by revising the inferences of his world though his modifying the value of the grapes.

Sadly I do not have a stronger methodology than this, but let's still experiment with it in the video. The main idea again is to look for inferential series and more importantly the contradictions between them, and asking what is the added significance of those contradictions.



Logic of Sense in the music video

[The warning continues to apply in the following.] Here we do not have a linear story. But we do have the inferred information from two series, that from in the box and that from outside it. We sometimes catch brief glimpses of Spears' obscured erotic body-presentation and movements. The background dancers reflect that, even when she is hidden. We can tell she has a slender and curved body. We might be led to draw certain inferences from this about female sexuality, for example, that it can be expressed by moving in a certain seductive way and by having a particular body-shape. Yet, even within the visible box the male dancer makes motions, gestures, and facial expressions that seem still somehow entirely fitting with this conventional view of feminine sexuality. In fact, we might even find his performance even more passionate in that regard. Here are some comparisons of particular expressions. You might find that Spears' movements seem more forced and mechanical.


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So in the overlaid video, there is a tension between the series. Series A (of the background) leads to the inferences the main dancer is a slender woman moving seductively. Series B (of the overlaid foreground) makes us directly infer that the central figure is a large man also moving seductively. There is a series of tensions between the unfolding of these inferences, and the series combine all while strongly insisting on their incompatibility and contrariety. That tension could lead to inferences not found within either series, for example, possibly that there is no strong basis to distinguish male and female sexuality in the way that music videos might normally suggest, and it also might call into question the normal standards for the sexuality of women's appearance and self-presentation. The video is sexier with the large man, because he expresses eroticism more effectively with his more natural movements and facial expressions. This may not be the most interesting way to interpret the differential tensions between the two series of inferences. I chose it because it seemed the most obvious.




Works cited and presented:

Gal Volinez. [Volinez Spears] "HI Brit"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTByHbjgz8k

Britney Spears. "Work Bitch"
[BritneyspearsVEVO]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt8VYOfr8To

Francis Bacon. Figure at a Washbasin, obtained gratefully from: