Skip to main content

This is not a pier

Turner, Sarah E. (2011) This is not a pier. AHRC DVD and catalogue. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:31935)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

(15 mins)

Magritte’s painting Ceci n’est pas une pipe stages the battle between words and images; the thing and the representation of the thing. There, neither is nor; the painted word and the painted image are a punning paradox, a playful staging of the arbitrary nature of both the visual and linguistic contract. Indexicality in film both taunts and haunts us with the idea that the thing is in fact the thing. Equally, language in cinema, mostly experienced as subtitles, is always authoritative; asserting, translating and determining the image. But film is always a haunting; a memory work. In the first sequence of the film we see thousands of starlings perform their murmuration over Brighton’s West Pier, which was closed to the public in 1975. The birds’ aerial ballet is poetry beyond text; the pier is no longer a pier but its ravaged structure forms the starling’s winter roost. When the sequence is repeated with subtitles, the affective experience of the visual choreography is reinterpreted, disrupted by the authority of text. But the words here are a language play, a non-play, a punning play on what is and isn’t a pier or appearing; the long planned restoration. All of this is displaced by the final title card: The pier was demolished in 2010. The experience of the birds exists only in memory, the experience of the first sequence: the memory that we no longer have access to, reinterpreted and undone by language, and, finally undone by history …

Item Type: Visual media
Subjects: N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Music and Fine Art
Depositing User: Sarah Turner
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2012 12:15 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 09:40 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/31935 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):