I’m an eye. A mechanical eye.

Speaking of Ways of Seeing (see previous post).


Beginning of the first of four Ways of Seeing at the BBC

This is a first for me, I’ve read the book, but had never seen the documentary film. Fascinating.

It starts with Berger cutting a piece out of a quattrocento painting in a museum, moves to showing a printing press printing the cut-out, switches then to fragments of Man with a Movie Camera accompanied by the text of the 1923 manifesto Kinoks Revolution, by Vertov (see below). Please also the checkbook lettering which were en vogue at the time.

Notes how Berger constistenly says “camewa” and “woom”.

An excerpt of Vertov’s manifesto:

“I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising bodies. This is I, the machine, manoeuvring in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations. Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I co-ordinate any and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unkown to you.”

One just has to love Youtube for making all of this available. Filesharing has made music available (but not in real-time alas), Google books did the same for books, Youtube does it for the moving image. There is still a wealth of TV and radio documentaries waiting to be unearthed. I am particularly thinking of European state funded radio and television since the 1960s.

One thought on “I’m an eye. A mechanical eye.

  1. suburbanlife

    I read in one of my books on Navajo “origin myth” that the sense of sound, in the womb of the earth, the development of rudiments of language, was the foremost developed sense in humans. In your previous post you quoted an idea that this might have been the case. It’s one of those chicken-egg arguments, without either one of these senses we are incapable of successfully surviving in the world as we know it. G

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