Dzigo Vertov’s manifesto was one of the most interesting personal declarations I have ever read. Like all great manifestos, it remains true to this day- films “based on romance” and the “theatrical” still dominate the marketplace. Even though I don’t find adaptations and drama “leprous” (mainly due to Old Hollywood’s place in the canon, at this point) I can see how Vertov finds them limiting just as modern filmmakers find the prevalence of comic-book adaptations and romantic comedies limiting. The “loss of active thinking” Vertov found in the “six-act psychodrama” (13) has similarities to Hollywood today.

Still, the most interesting idea Vertov brings up is the limitations of the human eye. “We cannot improve the making of our eyes,” Vertov writes, “but we can endlessly perfect the camera” (15). I find this line particularly important because it suggests that humanity is imperfect, and only the machine combined with the artist will bring cinema to its highest point. In a way, this idea rhymes with what we read earlier on the Singularity, and I wonder what Vertov would have thought about eliminating humanity from the process entirely. As an artist and advocate of life (and believer in the “kinok-editor, organizing the minutes of the life-structure” on 21) I’m sure Vertov would stand by human involvement, but if he saw what technology made possible I bet he’d at least be open to more machinated art.


2 responses »

  1. laureljaclyn says:

    As you mention in your post, Vertov certainly makes a strong statement about the perfectibility of man through the use of technology–the camera can see what the eye cannot. Continuing our class discussion about the prevalence and accessibility of technology in our society today–google glass, prosthetic limbs, smart phones–what do you think Vertov would say about the way we use technology today? Does technology today allow us to do things we would not be able to do just as humans? Or, does it serve to perpetuate a mainstream cannon Vertov was so concerned about?

  2. haircomestrouble says:

    I would think that Vertov would be open to all of the new technology available for film. I think it would further extend his ‘eye’ to include the most minute details about the machines and the humans that create them and to some extent operate them. I often think about how Galileo would feel if he saw the images from the Hubble telescope. I imagine that for the first week he would cry. I think Vertov would also cry if he saw the technology he had to create his visions. I also think, that in the long run his manifesto would become more severe about the structure and use of film once he realized all of its possibilities, good and bad.

    I also think that his passion for machines would outweigh any concerns he would have of perpetuating the mainstream canons.

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