Vortrag: Elena Vogman – Ecstasy as Method
Ecstasy as Method: Eisenstein's Lay Anthropology
“Gentle stroking is a punch in slow-motion; sadism is only a stage in the tempo and intensity of stroking […] devouring remains in love only in the form of a bite and a kiss." This is how Eisenstein drafts a basis for his new “theory of mimesis” in Mexico, the country where the Soviet director spent over fifteen month, between 1930 and 1932, while filming his unfinished anthropological epos Que viva Mexico! Evolving from Aristotele and the materialist theory of cinema, from the ethnography of Levy-Bruhl and the “physiological basis of rime” by Henry Lanz, Eisenstein’s working diaries are marked by an obsessive attempt to formulate a general method of art based on ecstatic experience. “Ex-stasis,” for him, literally meant “standing out of oneself,” “departing from one’s ordinary condition.” Since Mexico, this concept has profoundly marked not only his cinematographic practice but also his expansive theory work (Method, Montage as well as The Non-Indifferent Nature, written between 1934 and 1948).
Drawing on Eisenstein’s writings and his footage from Mexico, parts of which has only recently been discovered in the Moscow archive, the lecture aimed to explore “ecstasy as method”: a method allowing the director to expand, or even to exceed, the notion of art itself, leading to a broader, anthropological account based on transference. Referring to Freud’s notion of “lay analysis,” this lecture discussed Eisenstein’s engagement with Mexico, focusing on the way in which he traced survivals of the past in the political present. Freud’s emphasis on “transference” provided the decisive element which transformed the “layness” of this anthropological approach into a practice of decentering the subject’s position.
Datum/Zeit: 23. September 2018, 17.00h
Ort: Teoria Jedzenia Bistro, Więckowskiego 36, Łódź
The lecture is free thanks to the financial support of Patron of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź Starak Family Foundation.