Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Sutures and Futures

I've been meaning to write something about the theoretical concept of "suture" for a long time. It's one of those terms that I know a good deal about but still want to explore more fully, the way I did with "fetish" when I wrote that grad-school paper -- subsequently turned into an article available here as a pdf -- on Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." In terms of film, the idea of suture seems particularly important for the documentaries I'm teaching, particularly since documentary tends to be an under-theorized genre. Right now, I'm just tripping on Skylar's statement of yesterday about how the person who knows how to undo stitches "can go back in time." Mentally reviewing the film theory readings on suture I'm familiar with, I recall that they foreground the synchronic over the diachronic. Or perhaps I just didn't read them right. I'll have to go over them in depth, because factoring the passage of time into the workings of suture seems absolutely critical. And so does factoring the passage of time into theorizing those workings. After all, the person who "can go back in time" by reconstructing the process of stitching together is also going into the future at the same time. The theorist's "then" lies on both sides of the "now."
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