The duck and the philosopher: Rhythms of editing and thinking between Bernard Stiegler and The Ister.
Transformations: Journal of Media and Culture (17).
Publisher's URL: http://www.transformationsjournal.org/journal/inde...
The Ister (Ross and Barison, 2003)—part documentary, travelogue and philosophical meditation supplementing Heidegger’s meditation on Holderlin’s poem about the Danube—opens and closes with sequences of a duck waddling along the bank of the river. The intervening film, all 3 hours of it, is in effect a large insert edit between these two sequences, or rather, this single sequence. Seen in this way, and given the significant involvement in and engagement with Bernard Stiegler’s thinking of technology that The Ister evinces (interviews with Stiegler, among others, take up much of the time of this insert), the film invites consideration in terms of his theorisation of cinema as key representational technology of the Twentieth century. His published work on cinema postdates the film but it nonetheless represents an intriguing anticipation of and in some ways response to his both theoretical and polemical approach to cinema. This paper will outline and examine some major tenets of Stiegler’s account of cinema by trying to time the momentary duck’s walk that is the extended duration of The Ister. This will involve an editing project of its own that cuts between analysis of the film, theories and practices of editing and Stiegler’s post-phenomenological account of consciousness.
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