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[Xmca-l] Re: Meaning extended from index to Correspondence



I think for Eisenstein the Chinese character was a kind of historico-scope,
a window on the past of montage, rather the way that Vygotsky used
etymology as a window on the past of symbolic meanings (and a way of
demonstrating that they included a metonymic principle, just as Chinese
characters do).

In his essay, he presents the Chinese character in essentially montage
terms. The first characters are simply indexes: a drawing of a horse, "ma"
(third tone),  drawn to look like a horse, as realisitically as one could
manage using a stylus on a slip of bamboo. This is not yet montage. But if
you add the "kou" sign (a small trapezoid figure narrower at the bottom
than the top which is used to suggest a mouth and used as a "root" for any
Chinese character connected with orality and thus with speech) you obtain a
grammatical particle equivalent to speakable question mark, "ma"
(neutral/first tone). "Ma" has the power of transforming any wording into
an utterance. This is my example, not Eisenstein's; it is, as Eisestein
points out, montage, but it's not the montage that he thinks it is--its
actually a montage that confirms his theory even better than he knows.

Eisenstein's own examples involve the juxtaposition of indexes rather than
their classification. So for example the image of an eye is juxtaposed with
the "image" of flowing water, to suggest tears. Both images are indexical;
there is no "correspondence"--that is, no realization relation which can be
coupled and then uncoupled, which would allow us a system of "radicals" and
a way of sorting visible phenomena like horses and tears into invisible
categories like orality and speech. In other words, Eishenstein's own
examples are like the "bricks" he criticizes Kuleshov's theory of montage,
where images are simply composed of elements brought together.  In
Eisenstein, the images are not added up; they are made to conflict and
transform each other, and it's from this "unit" that visual elements are
transformed into concepts. The grammatical particle "ma" is produced by a
collision of images that suggest very different order of phenomena, not by
their combination into a same order of phenomena.

On p. 53 of "Film Form" (New York: Harvest, 1949/1979), Eisenstein
discusses a child's drawing given to him by Luria. It's of the process of
lighting a stove in which the "matches" are portrayed as a zig-zag line in
a large central rectangle, which is superimposed on an otherwise meticulous
reproduction of the stove, the firewood, the chimney. I wonder if
Eisenstein's reading of this drawing is correct--it seems to me to be more
likely to be an attempt to portray the movement of lighting the matches
rather than the matches themselves. It's the child's attempt to confront,
and to overcome through Eisenstein's technique of collision, what has
always been the biggest flaw in the system of Chinese writing: entities are
more drawable than processes, but the act of drawing, the act of depicting,
the act of communicating is a process and not an entity.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 9:24 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> So what is your take on Eisenshtein's interest in written Chinese, David.
> Shot, gaze,.... You remarked about his interest in some earlier text. I
> always read him
> in relation to Luria & Vygotsky. I find the notion of "generalized
> representation" interesting because it turns up in Luria in a quite
> different context.
>
> There used to discussion of such matters when Giyoo Hatano was alive
> because of the relation to Japanese Kanji, but no one I know of has taken
> it up with respect to China and Eisenshtein.
>
> mike
>
> mike
>
> On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 5:10 PM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > David,
> > Nice!
> > But I am curious about what (awearable?) is doing at the end of your
> post.
> > You can’t put on the Buddha nature?
> > Henry
> >
> > > On Aug 4, 2016, at 3:54 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > >
> > > A colleague of mine down the hall is working on the translation of the
> > > Platform Sutra of the eighth century Sixth Patriarch, Huineng. Huineng
> > was
> > > the first Buddhist patriarch who could neither read nor write, and
> (more
> > > importantly) the Platform Sutra is the historical moment when Buddhism
> > > became a religious option for the illiterate masses of China. It is a
> > > written text, but it is a written account of speaking, and it is
> written
> > to
> > > be spoken.
> > >
> > > One way in which Christianity became a religious option for the
> > illiterate
> > > masses was through simple, narrativistic artforms, such as the mosaics
> of
> > > San Marco in Venice, or the icons of Russia. Buddhists have this
> > too--there
> > > has already been some discussion here on the ox pictures (there is, by
> > the
> > > way, a beautiful text that goes with the pictures, and there is a place
> > on
> > > the lintel of most temples in Korea where the pictures with their
> > exegesis
> > > can be seen). In one of our books we use the ox pictures for Vygotsky's
> > > account of the six periods and five crises in which the child's
> > personality
> > > arises.
> > >
> > > But that's not what my colleague is doing. She is using two pictures by
> > the
> > > same twelfth century artist Liang Kai. They adorn different
> translations
> > of
> > > the Platform Sutra, and each has a specific relation to the way the
> > > Platform Sutra has been translated. In one, the patriarch is at eye
> level
> > > and he is tearing up the previous sutras in disgust, a roguish gleam in
> > his
> > > eye and his tongue protruding in fun. In the other, the patriarch is
> > > kneeling to cut bamboo (which he did for many years before being
> > recognized
> > > as a patriarch) and we see the top of his head.
> > >
> > > The idea is that eye-level and from above represent two different
> camera
> > > angles and two different stances towards the represented object: one of
> > > which is egalitarian and the other of which is authoritarian. There are
> > two
> > > other relevant systems of interpersonal meaning: the "shot" (close up
> or
> > > distant) and the "gaze" (direct or avoidant). Now, these systems are
> all
> > > meaningful: "shot" is about the relation of text to context, and "gaze"
> > is
> > > about willingness to engage withe the participants.As for the system of
> > > "angle", it expresses the power relation between the viewer and the
> Sixth
> > > Patriarch.
> > >
> > > I think this is somewhat anachronistic--Chinese painting is more like
> > > calligraphy than like cinematography. I also don't think that my
> > > colleague's systems are textual systems, because they don't have a
> > > lexicogrammar: the meanings are not encoded in symbols but rather, as
> > with
> > > child proto-language, more directly in indexes. What they lack is
> > precisely
> > > "correspondence"--a relationship that can be uncoupled and recoupled in
> > > different ways, a relationship which involves "realization" in both
> > senses,
> > > because as the content is encoded in expression it is "realized" in the
> > > sense of being made material, and as the expression is coded as content
> > it
> > > is "realized" in the sense of being made aware, or being made
> awareable.
> > > Instead, they are attempts to get around language, or anyway, to get
> > around
> > > written language, and make the fundamental insight of common
> > Buddha-nature
> > > part of the everyday garb of the illiterate masses (awearable?)
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > > Macquarie University
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 11:57 PM, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > >> We have been exploring identity and subjectivity and selfhood.
> > >> In relation to a few themes:
> > >> • We have been exploring perezhivanie and this phenomena expressing
> > >> *meaning*
> > >> • James Ma shifts the focus to *potential* in (meaning) potential
> > >> • In relation to James Ma’s contribution we turned to Paul Kockleman
> and
> > >> the Semiotic Stance.
> > >> • The semiotic stance has classically referred to an indexical
> relation
> > of
> > >> a sign standing for an object
> > >> • Kockleman expands the classical semiotic stance to always being
> > >> (thirds). Thirds include double relations of (standing for): The sign
> > >> standing for the object AND the sign standing for the interpretant in
> a
> > >> double relation of (standing for) which expands from (2nds indexical)
> to
> > >> (thirds corresponding)
> > >> • An example is the correspondence of pronouns (you) (me)  (it).  Me
> as
> > I
> > >> Stand in relation to it and Me as I stand in relation to you. In such
> a
> > way
> > >> that you stand in relation to it and you stand in relation to me in a
> > >> double relation of standing for that (corresponds). The object’s
> > relation
> > >> to both you and to I correspond as (thirds) which is general and
> > abstract.
> > >> • Rein introduced (ity) as (arising) phenomena that do not exist as
> > >> objects (in potential) or as objects with  (essence). All is
> > impermanence
> > >> as thematic NOT STRUCTURALLY opposite to permanence or stability or
> > >> solidity. (ity) has existence as arising when the *now* HAS arrived.
> > This
> > >> arising of existents do not exist in potential. (ity) is also not
> under
> > an
> > >> agents *control*. Arising phenomena exist as momentary things
> materially
> > >> but radically particular and idio/syncretic.
> > >> • Ity is not general
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> > >>
> > >>
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
>
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
> that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>