Home Movie

The day in-the-life of the city sympathies

the equivalent of a default value

to direct (re-direct) the representation

you make a mistake when you stake that

analogy as orientation to exploded facing

frames: Esther Shub (Strike, 1925)

              Bill Brand (Coalfields, 1984)


what has already happened

when the airstrikes happen

and you think you see them:

did you catch that clip of the Movie Camera without a Man?


In the recounting,

we hear what someone says about an event

that has long since happened while we see

‘authentic’ archived images of the event itself.

Does this strategy not confer

greater truth-value on the spoken word than it deserves?


Is the spoken word not a re-enactment

in its own right, an interpretation aided by hindsight

and motivated by an implicit point of view

shaped over time? Testimony and commentary

give priority less to what happened than to what we now know?


The camera can give you “the feeling of being there.”

The apparatus detached from the invisible body

and the matter of authenticity is finally resolved.


The authenticating location heightens credibility.

Empty your clip until ordered otherwise. The gap

between the moment and its capture is up for grabs.

How can it be organized within a single controlling frame.


Conventions of all kinds for one kind of imaginary,

the motivated subjectivity of the authoring of affect.

The reality-effect,

those accused and those accusing others

without addressing the peculiarity of the camera

on its own, put on display in the distance we inhabit.


That captivating glimpse of sustained

chance, being in the right place at the right time

and the state of mind it induces (anything can happen)

the rhythm of physical motion without the mind


Believe you me,

the enunciator, the one that “voices”

what you will see and hear was really there

the uncut footage freed the image from its moorings

as definitive as surveillance records

and that includes not a single spoken word


(Brakhage’s tremulous hand-held camera)


the pleasure of the viewer in the unexpected


(the American Direct Cinema School)


words have drifted apart from their body parts


The technical potential of the apparatus

if what the camera saw was ‘raw’

“On the Road to the Real Nitty Gritty”

(Film Quarterly, Summer, 1964)


“If the material was not spontaneous, they said,

how could it be true?”


“a piece of ‘authentication’ inserted

into the rhetoric that sustains its force

as the legitimate referential weight”


a tradition of

“meeting the reality of the country”


Did you find yourself looking away

from what was coming from the screen


that was life captured in a roll

the camera, uncontrolled



by Kevin Magee

Among other publications, Kevin Magee's poems have appeared in Conjunctions, Indefinite Space, 580 Split, Parthenon West Review and The Capilano Review.  Three books of poetry are currently out of print: Tedium Drum (San Francisco: lyric &, 1994), Recent Events (San Francisco: Hypobololemaioi, 1995), and Proletariaria (Espoo, Finland: Blue Lion Books, 2005).


Concrete blocks placed by the military on the western access road to the Masafer Yatta area. The houses of Khirbet Jenbah are seen at the bottom of the valley. Photo by Osnat Skoblinski for B'Tselem.