Jacques Perconte
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  9 juillet 2019  
Brayard, Fred, Film-philosophy Conference.
Meillassoux, Perconte and realism: digital time as hyperchaos.
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Film-Philosophy Conference, July 9th, 2019, Brighton

Many scholars (William Brown, David Flemming, Lev Manovich, Steven Shaviro) have argued that digital cinema has the ability to provide a non-human, realist perspective in which all the elements that constitute the experienced world are characterized by their entanglement rather than by the fact that they are distinct entities. Digital cameras can cruise seamlessly through time and matter, explore and represent the world as a flow of energy, in which entities are not stable singularities but facts that emerge from, and transform through the processes at work in the general becoming of the world. Digital cinema is thus considered as realist since it suggests a world of entanglement challenging our intuitive anthropocentric perspective that tends to establish separations, distinctions, taxonomies, and dual oppositions through which we extract ourselves from the unity of the universe. Paradoxically, the very power of contemporary cinema to suggest a world of entanglement emerges from the binary logic of the digital. The digital world is not entangled, but quite contrary, a world in which every change is the consequence of binary choices. How can we, therefore assess the ‘realism’ of digital cinema?

In this paper, I argue that the philosophy of Quentin Meillassoux provides concepts that are useful when engaging with this paradox. Meillassoux suggests that the absolute is not the fact that all things are entangled, but rather than they are contingent and regulated by the principle of non-contradiction. Through the analysis of Or/Or, Hawick (Jacques Perconte, France, 2018) that uses various compression technics (datamoshing), I discuss how this change of paradigm enables to develop a theory in which digital entanglement and binarity are not in opposition, but two interlinked outcomes that resonate with what Meillassoux calls hyperchaos. Furthermore, I argue that a Meillassouxian perspective on digital cinema offers new perspectives when thinking the links between film and realism.


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