KineJapan IV, Panel 2
thomas.lamarre at mcgill.ca
Tue Oct 19 09:29:13 EDT 2004
KINEJAPAN IV PANEL 2
The second day of events was as enjoyable as the first, and I¹d like to
thank Anne McKnight for her care in organizing this workshop, not only at
the level of intellectual engagement but with respect to food and ambiance.
Thanks, too, to the speakers for sharing their research and fielding
questions patiently. Here¹s a brief account of the first panel of the second
Mark Driscoll¹s paper, ³Another Image World is Possible,² not only presented
a defense of philosophical dualism (and a critique of monism) but also
offered a new dualism ³verimatic² versus ³animétic² in order to rethink
fundamental questions about cinema and animation.
Mark first took issue with the monism implicit in the politics of immanence,
that is, what he sees a Spinozan turn in media theory. The basic problem,
in his opinion, is that those who adopt a monist theory of media are
ultimately forced to see media in terms of an underlying ontology. Mark
suggests that the result is a sort of teleological, linear determinism,
which he sees in evidence in Deleuze¹s account of the time-image.
Then, in a series of insightful film analyses (especially of The Matrix and
Tampopo), Mark shows how one might effectively use a dualistic stance to
push beyond a simple opposition between cinema and animation without losing
a sense of very real tensions within films (live action or animated or
both). Ultimately, he wishes to link such tensions to the production of
another world image related specifically to capitalism in East Asia (the
development of overdevelopment).
Some theoretical questions first arose about Mark¹s discussion of monism and
What does it mean to reduce various philosophies of media to an opposition
between monism and dualism? Is monism necessarily linear and teleological?
Is monism at stake in Deleuze¹s Cinema books? Isn¹t he interested in very
different kinds of movement (and entelechies)? How can the relation between
body and soul be described as linear? What happens to the distinction
between determination and determinism? Isn¹t determination more complicated
Such questions led to a simpler one: if the goal is to get at the
materiality of media, what kind of non-linear relation to materiality does
Mark envision via dualism?
Mark agreed that these are precisely the problems that are at the heart of
Another question arose about technologies in relation to the dualism of
verimatic and animétic. Is Mark suggesting a new way to think technology
through this dualism?
Mark replied that it is really important to avoid falling back on apparatus
theory, on technologically-driven model of media.
Finally, a couple questions addressed the problem of modernism: is there
nostalgia for modernism in this project? Does this give us a new way to
talk about modernism?
Nagayama Chikako¹s paper, ³Excess of Bilingual Body in Ri Koh-Ran¹s
Cinema,² dealt with the ways in which Ri Koh-Ran¹s perfect fluency in
Chinese and Japanese was used in a series of films from the late 1930s and
early 1940s. Chikako called attention to how bilingualism in these films
tends to produce hybrid spaces and encounters, but only in order to sort
them out for the audience. She related such strategies to transformations
in Japanese empire, arguing that hybridity was crucial to imperial
formations insofar as it allowed the Japanese to equalize and interiorize
She also suggested that Ri Koh-Ran¹s body provided a visual spectacle
that allowed viewers to reconcile the tensions implicit in hybridity.
Moments of visual excess centered on the female body and on its melodramatic
relations allowed spectators to overcome the very real contradictions.
A series of questions and comments addressed the historical context of
film and empire. It was pointed out, for instance, that one of the Ri
Koh-Ran films, Shina no yoru, had three endings, each intended for a
different target audience (Korean, Chinese and Japanese). In other words,
studios deliberately produced for a multiethnic audience, an account of
which might further Chikako¹s discussion. In addition, some questions arose
about the relation between military policy (that is, subsides to Japanese
soldiers who married Chinese or Korean women in order to encourage
Attention was called to Yomota¹s work on Japanese war cinema as well. In
brief, discussion turned on the historical context for this cinema, as an
imperial context, which is a timely, even urgent topic.
More information about the KineJapan