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Jump over Proust


One of the great achievements of literary modernism was new ways to represent our mental life in art. Montage, multiple viewpoints and narrators, stream-of-consciousness and other techniques allowed to render human mind with new fidelity. Given that computer makes possible to combine written word with audio, stills, digital video and even three-dimensional spaces, how can we take advantage of these new abilities to go beyond the achievements of modernism? Put differently, how to allow the user not just to be simply a "co-author" (which is what the ideologists of interactivity naively aim at) but rather to take him/her "inside" the mental space of a text, inside the thinking process of another subject? In short, how can we use new representational capacities of a computer to represent mental life – and, more generally, human subjectivity – in new ways?

In thinking about these questions I was inspired by certain filmmakers who appear to be obsessed not simply with using cinema as a medium to convey ideas and arguments (which is what conventional documentaries are supposed to be doing) but rather as a medium capable of presenting the very process of thinking. Among these filmmakers I would single out Eisenstein, Marker and Godard.

Article  1997