Movement as Meaning in Experimental Film


This book offers sweeping and cogent arguments as to why analytic philosophers should take experimental cinema seriously as a medium for illuminating mechanisms of meaning in language. Using the analogy of the movie projector, Barnett deconstructs all communication acts into functions of interval, repetition and context. He describes how Wittgenstein’s concepts of family resemblance and language games provide a dynamic perspective on the analysis of acts of reference. He then develops a hyper-simplified formula of movement as meaning to discuss, with true equivalence, the process of reference as it occurs in natural language, technical language, poetic language, painting, photography, music, and of course, cinema. Barnett then applies his analytic technique to an original perspective on cine-poetics based on Paul Valery’s concept of omnivalence, and to a projection of how this style of analysis, derived from analog cinema, can help us clarify our view of the digital mediasphere and its relation to consciousness.
Informed by the philosophy of Quine, Dennett, Merleau-Ponty as well as the later work of Wittgenstein, among others, he uses the film work of Stan Brakhage, Tony Conrad, A.K. Dewdney, Nathaniel Dorsky, Ken Jacobs, Owen Land, Saul Levine, Gregory Markopoulos Michael Snow, and the poetry of Basho, John Cage, John Cayley and Paul Valery to illustrate the power of his unique perspective on meaning.

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Daniel Barnett has taught film theory and film practice at The State University of New York, Binghamton; Massachusetts College of Art; University of Massachusetts, Boston; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The San Francisco Art Institute. His films have been shown at and collected by museums, universities and public venues, worldwide. For twelve years he was Executive Producer for Educational Projects at bePictures in San Rafael, CA, USA.
"The outcome may improve your skills of film appreciation, knowledge of contemporary art and might also encourage some pondering on the analogue-digital divide presented here." – Mike Leggett, University of Technology Sydney
Foreword: What this book is, what this book isn't…
Preface: Arriving at the scene…
Introduction: Two pictures of a rose in the dark…
Part I: Modes of Perception and Modes of Expression
Part II: Dynamic And Syntactic Universals
Part III: The Moving Target
Appendix A: The Paillard Bolex Movie Camera
And the J-K Optical Printer