Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Traveling from the Cradle to the Grave

As classmates repeatedly questioned Vertov's self-proclaimed ability to capture reality, I wondered what their definitions of “reality” were. Isn't "reality" different from person to person? Besides my physical environment, my reality includes stirring images of my past and the plans of my future. In this way, one's consciousness becomes a vehicle for time travel.

Throughout a single day, "our minds are often...'somewhere else' (Rosenwasser and Stephen 2). When I see a classmate that resembles a friend from high school, I might call upon memories that immerse me in the events of a couple years ago. If I see the flashing blue and red lights of a police cruiser, I "jump back for a moment" to the times when I was guilty of speeding (Wells 6).

Within each hour, our consciousness constantly zips back and forth between the immediate and distant memories of the past and future. If I see someone wearing a shirt I like, I might make plans to buy the identical shirt this weekend. Immediately, my mind provides an image of myself, a smile on my face, purchasing a new shirt.

Could this be Vertov's impression of what's "real"? One's consciousness is a very mobile vehicle that exceeds the limitations that determine the paths of a car, horse-drawn carriage, or cable car. At times, like the progression of incoherently quick edits, the consciousness frantically races with poignant memories and predictions. If one considers the subjectivity of "reality," understanding someone else's reality can be a hefty challenge. Perhaps Vertov truly wanted to capture his experience of a single day during the industrialization of Russia that included all his ponderings, musings of what his eyes and ears presented to him. In this way, reality becomes the sum of the present as well as the destinations in the past and future that the consciousness effortlessly traverses. Concievably, one can also imagine past and future experiences through the eyes of others. Capturing this on film would vary greatly from the linear progression of a traditional film. While proclaiming that Vertov wanted to portray the consciousness’ ability to travel through time would be too convenient of an exaggeration, it is important to remember that one’s consciousness unpredictably travels back and forth across what Wells calls the “Time-Dimension” (Wells 5).

"We are always getting away from the present moment. Our mental existences, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave" (Wells 5).



Blogger Stephanie Chien said...

I found it interesting that both something we control physically (cinema) and mentally (our minds) can act as time machines. Almost instantaneously, our minds allow us to travel to forward and backward through time. Our consciousness undergoes journeys through the time dimension. As you had mentioned, this could be done naturally as our mind does, or through splicing and editing techniques as cinema does. While they both have the same effect of carrying our consciousness through time, the mind and the camera have different techniques of doing so. Naturally, our minds will allow us to transgress through time, when we feel like recalling a memory or when we are imagining our lives after graduation. However, with cinema, as we are watching it, we are traveling through time as cinema dictates. We no longer have control over our conscious travels.

1/30/2007 11:56 PM  

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