Cinema and photography are forms of figurative expression based on time. Cinema’s root is the register of movement and duration; the capture of an instant and its continuity in time is the founding principle of photography. When the constituent elements of cinema and photography are placed in contact, the capacity of a film image is revealed as a form that shows us time in its foundation.
We want to display, through Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy, how the collision between moving and still image inside the cinematic form suggests non-chronological dimensions of time, which assist us to go deep into the experience of its perception.
There are several ways through which bring us closer to the photographic and cinematic experience of time: the snapshot of a moment that is part of a development, the register of a duration throughout the performance of a movement, the inscription of memory and recollection inside the discourse, the time of reading and the time of the act of realisation. All of the above, through mechanical capture, the allusion to it or its subjective perception, are forms of aesthetic delight.
Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of cinema and his conceptual tools are useful to understand how this capacity of images is developed. The key terms of this analysis are “image-time,” “pure optical situations,” and, especially, “crystal-image.”
Still and moving images show us time in its foundation and place ourselves inside the denyal that cinema is always developed in the present and that chronological time is a spatial deployment.
We will try to make an epistemological and phenomenological approach that comes from the collision of still and moving images. Our approach runs through the study of the inclusion of the constituent element of cinema—the still image—in its discourse. Thus, we consider this fact as a source of knowledge in the study of the image. The stillness of an image produces tenses, which are not printed in the discourse. When these tenses are embraced, they help the spectator to create a more active and less guided perception of the events. For this purpose, we will refer to three films, which show this dialectic in different ways: Les plages d’Agnès (directed by Agnès Varda, 2008), Tren de sombras (directed by José Luis Guerín, 1997) and Alice in den Städten (directed by Wim Wenders, 1974). In these examples, cinema is reflected on itself through the relation between the illusion of movement and the act of showing its basic genetic element, the photography or photogram. This is done by the deconstruction of the form, which leads to distancing and therefore to the rejection of representation forms based on transparency. Cinema looks at itself and reveals its mechanism through which its own realities are created. In this way cinematographic art develops new spaces and new perceptions to unfold reality as a new matter.
To accomplish successfully our premises, we decided to develop the main part of our research through a visual essay. This clash between moving images, still images, and our discourse leads us to go deeper into our artistic research as a filmmaker. Thus, after this research we have made two short film essays, which crash still images, moving images, and sound into one another (https://vimeo.com/128908099).