thoughts on pasolini talking about montage and death

Cinema is identical to life, because each one of us has a virtual and invisible camera which follows us from when we’re born to when we die. In reality, cinema is an infinite film sequence-shot. Each individual film interrupts and rearranges this infinite sequence-shot and thus creates meaning, which is what happens to us when we die. It is only at our moment of death that our life, to that point undecipherable, ambiguous, suspended, acquires a meaning. Montage thus plays the same role in cinema as death does in life.

~ Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Ora tutto è chiaro, voluto, non imposto dal destino”, Cineforum 68 October 1967, p. 609. 

I have been thinking about the similarities  between editing and blogging, about how in juxtaposition meaning comes to light, and this comment from Pasolini that I just came across resonated with my thoughts. An online archive of everyday apprehension, a place to pin the things floating amorphous just behind my eyes… It is powerfully transformative to be able to reflect, live, with others, on chains of thoughts, connections, coincidences, concatenations… More powerful for clarity than a diary. Although the public nature of this grappling is uncomfortable for me, it prevents me from dismissing my thoughts as solipsistic delusions, something to which I am prone, especially because sketching them out in a simple A to B trajectory is often impossible, rendering attempts at expression incomprehensible to others in ordinary conversation.

What I like about the montage inherent in blogging, as distinct from other more traditional types of montage, is that the possibilities of hypertext allow me not to foreclose other meanings, not to narrow connections and paths of interpretation down, as is inevitable when making a film, or a music mix, or any object concrete and discrete in itself. The intertextual permeability and wild openness of virtuality is so exciting in this sense… The possibility of creating and reshaping meaning without having to be final or definitive, which necessarily involves the murder of other meanings in the process…  This I love, though it makes me dizzy.

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