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The Cinematographical Illusion: Mechanism, Movement and Memory in Henri Bergson's Cinematograph

Bertelli, Linda The Cinematographical Illusion: Mechanism, Movement and Memory in Henri Bergson's Cinematograph. In: Society for Cinema & Media Studies 2015 Annual Conference, 25-29 March 2015, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Unpublished) (2015)

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Although this paper also aims to take into account Gilles Deleuze’s study of the Bergsonian “mechanistic illusion” and “cinematographical mechanism of thought” - notions that Henri Bergson advanced in Creative Evolution (1907) – its core lies focus rather in using Bergson’s philosophy (and the theory of memory in particular) to analyze the origin of these phrases and the ways they are used as well as the implications they give rise to. First, the paper will seek to show that, in order to define the concept of reality regarding which the cinematographical mechanism involves the mechanic illusion, it is necessary to interpret the passages of Creative Evolution under analysis as a description of cinema in terms of technological apparatus. Drawing on several recent studies devoted to Bergson’s conception of cinema (M. Tortajada) as well as now-classic analyses devoted to the history of the devices of perception developed between the nineteenth and twentieth century (J. Crary), the paper will thus focus on exploring the context in which Bergson’s cinematographical apparatus intervenes, including this apparatus in the history of the optical devices that were used to both analyze and represent human and animal movements (particular attention will be paid to the connection with Étienne-Jules Marey’s chronophotography). Second, through the analysis of selections from both Creative Evolution and other of Bergson’s works, this paper aims to identify the steps through which, according to Bergson, the “cinematographical mechanism” becomes an operation model to describe thought. Finally, this paper will seek to analyze the connection between Bergson’s critique of the cinematographical mechanism of thought and his theory about motion and memory. In the final part of the presentation I will therefore address a different meaning of cinematographic images which, however, emerges from Bergson’s pages; what appears on the screen when Bergson briefly describes his experience as a movie goer (see M. Georges-Michel, En jardinant avec Bergson) is a series of images of a past that manifests in the present without any mediation, and therefore it presents itself as a series of pure images of memory.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Research Area: Economics and Institutional Change
Depositing User: Linda Bertelli
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 10:41
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2015 10:41
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2659

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