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.
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).