Colloquium | John MacKay

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 12:00pm

John MacKay

Construction as Ideology: Vertov's Animations between Intellectual and Manual Labor.

For Dziga Vertov, social reality consists above all in its continual construction by those who work to sustain and reproduce it. The first task of Constructivist-Marxist filmmaking is to represent all of that labor, including its own, as part of that continual construction. To understand filmic representation as construction, however, means to understand it as animation: that is, built out of fundamental units (photograms), piece by piece, like a machine, or a modular design by Rodchenko. In this respect – though not, of course, in other respects – the labor of the filmmaker is like that of a factory worker, assembling machines or crafting them out of small parts. Understood this way, Vertov's thematization of animation, especially in Man with a Movie Camera (1929), involves an ideological attempt to overcome the fundamental divide between intellectual and manual labor, a central Vertovian preoccupation since his efforts to create a more collective mode of film production during the period of Kino-Eye (1924).

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