Re: suggestions? : sensory overload

From: Roger Beebe (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Dec 04 2009 - 19:17:53 PST

For the theory of sensory overload, which Dave appears to be calling
for, it does seem like the theory of the sublime (and Kant in
particular) are a good place to look. And the question suggested by
Kant that's always seemed most vexed to me is how do you capture the
sublime inside a frame. Yeah, the Grand Canyon is sublime (I face the
terror of my own subjective extinction when confronted with its
vastness, and in doing so somehow realize that the powers of my reason
are great enough to comprehend this vastness), but could an image of
the Grand Canyon ever reproduce this (or would it be merely
"beautiful" like the anodyne images of Ansel Adams)? Maybe an Imax
image could? Or a multi-screen expanded cinema work? Not sure if the
grandness of the Grand Canyon though is necessarily an example of
"sensory overload" though, because there is also just a way of
contemplating nature that seems to defang it.

It seems like one place that we experience something like the sublime
in the real world is in the crowded, information-saturated cityscapes
of places like Las Vegas, Tokyo, etc. We can certainly experience
"information overload" in these postmodern sign-spaces where even the
difference between 2-D and 3-D starts to collapse. The question,
though, is still whether or not you could just make an image of that
that transmits that overload to a viewer. Would a representation of
those spaces (in a film, in a painting, &c.) have the power of the
real experience or would it just become "about" sensory overload? I
dunno. But these seems like questions that are worth asking,
especially as we're thinking about ways of producing sensory overload
that aren't just loud noises & fast cuts (a la Hollywood or many of
the a-g examples we've been offering).

Just thinking out loud here...

On Dec 4, 2009, at 12:30 PM, David Tetzlaff wrote:

> Not being familiar with all the films others have mentioned, I'm
> wondering if there's a route to 'sensory overload' that does not
> involve rapid edits. Can we experience sensory overload in real life,
> in a fixed place? And if so is the flat screen of the cinema unable to
> reproduce this? (Is the natural sublime a case of sensory overload,
> but too auratic to duplicate?) Or is 'sensory overload' in all cases a
> product of some industrial intervention (I'm thinking of
> Schivelbusch's The Railway Journey, and if you haven't read it, I
> highly recommend it to anyone interested in film: try to find the
> original Urizen Press version which is wonderfully illustrated as
> opposed to the UC press reprint).
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.