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[...]wo successive transformations of the original material: different types of objects (paintings, reliefs, drawings, architecture, living beings) *are unified through photography* before being arranged on the panel stretched with black cloth. The panel is in turn *rephotographed in order to create a unique image*, which will be inserted into a series intended to take the form of a book. The atlas, then, does not limit itself to describing the migrations of images through the history of representation: it reproduces them. In this sense, it is based on a cinematic mode of thought, one that, by using figures, aims at not articulating meaning but at producing effects.”


transgressive approach to the archive:
Gerhard Richter's Atlas, 2006
Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du cinema, 1988
Christensen's Häxan
Warburg’ Mnemosyne (presentation of a series of visual cliches and stereotypes, fragments which were most likely already familiar to the viewer ~ figurative givens ==> empirical evidence + media to conjure with)
Bataille's journal ‘Documents’ 1929–30 --> seizes cliched objects and then systematically empties them out in the course of its own expressions. Bataille and his contributors sought to defamiliarize the cliches, disturbing the placidly deceptive surface of the mundane in their fragmentary, juxtaposing methods of critique and presentation =/= Warburg + Christensen collecting mythological, figurative givens seemingly quite distant from the “really” real
}--> unsettling distances between myth and the everyday
-weave together episodic fragments in order to draw parallels (across domains of sense that cut across time) and correspondences across situations and characters
-Häxan deploys the techniques associated with Warburg's Mnemosyne and Bataille's Documents for purposes of affectively emphasizing the dark, chaotic forces that lurk under the smooth surface of the everyday
(Häxan's episodic structure ==>)
characters seemingly out of a dead past to live again
draw the phenomenology of the hysteric
draw the work's own contemporary time to the surface


promiscuous: neither wholly artistic nor scientific =/=? hybrid artistic and scientific

traverse steep slope between past and future in the form of an event =/= plot


inability to automatically categorize Häxan (or any work of art) <== ***formal strategy rooted in an epistemic virtue***


***(in later Middle Ages) practices such as persecuting witchcraft to meditating on Christ = techniques (of sorting operation) to draw distinctions among visual phenomena, differentiating, say, physical objects from fantasies, dreams, and diabolical or artful deceptions
<--artist-- image-makers specialized in manipulating one thing (their materials) in order that a viewer should see something else ~ *to make something invisible visible* [<-- this is always ideological, and is very common in art]
(#testing) the objective knowledge possessed by the uncanny (in witch's pathological language of diabolic proofs) ==> witch must be experienced in her own milieu, a satanic biome, her state in nature

...................................

typical in 17th century: tacit mutuality of word & image
-artists habitually gave their paintings titles, mottoes, tags and quotations, and their works abound in literary allusions
-explicit interleaving of the verbal and visual


cat feces and dove hearts boiled in the moonlight

stereotype of a debased and corrupted priest
object of the customer's affections


Protestant discourse against the Catholic Church in the 16th century --> artists of the period extended the instrumentalization of slander through the production of proto-pornographic images of bishops, priests, and the pope engaged in myriad obscene acts --depicting--> the emotional states and desires of the clergy

magical salves (considered particularly powerful and troubling by demonologists)

Häxan self-positioning as a scientific investigation + constantly pull back from the dramatic outcomes of what Häxan depicts

jackdaw world learning fable story partridge future [source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Western_Jackdaw_on_Inisheer_(perched).jpg] Häxan's demonstration of the power of the witch =/= paranoid delusions of witch- crazed villagers


widely held set of beliefs regarding the “nature” or “essence” of women
Christina Larner's assertion that witch trials were gender-related (but not by definition gender-specific)
--Baxstrom--> *women often came under suspicion of being witches because they were understood to be particularly susceptible to lust, avarice, and jealousy by their very nature [~ 16th century: **women “naturally” susceptible to witchcraft*** + women were presumed to possess elements of the nature more than men] =/= Federici's understanding of witch-hunt as straight-forward instance of misogyny*
--Roper--> *one cannot approach witchcraft or possession from a vantage point in the present without granting some legitimate status to the ways in which the Devil and witches were not only asserted to be real but were experienced as such*


(debates over) politics and evil
satan's malefic presence (in Dreyer's Leaves)
*a density of parallelisms*
Dreyer figures Satan as a problem of the present
“Bolsheviks violently engaged in revolutionary struggle = manifestation of a transcendental demonic power”

question of theodicy --> God's seeming absence from the world

sleep-walking --> enticing a nude female somnambulist out of her home into the forest, where she eventually kneels before a demon who embraces her

proving sexual relations with the devil ==> empirical evidence for satan's existence

(Benjamin Christensen's art sets out) to conquer meaning


...so it is no stretch to suggest that...

subject and subtext



dreamtime of the 16h century
dreamtime of the witch


Durer, Baldung, Cranach, artists at the dawn of the Reformation sought to represent the void as a figure
strategies by which Expressionist painting sought to externalize states of mind

(Baxstrom + Meyers emphasizing) how Häxan *corresponds with a variety of traditions* without seeking to assimilate the film fully within one over another



stillness and fixity of tableau-like shot composition (Dreyer, Murnau, Christensen) ==> (the affect of) suffocating organization

Deleuze summary of Expressionism: play of light and darkness, with the mixture of the two producing an effect that suggests either falling into the black hole or ascending towards the light <-- *face* makes this affective power mobile

(in Murnau) tableau --> frees the viewer for introspection regarding nature in a kind of emotional, spiritual release =/= close-up (disruptive pathos)
(in Häxan) tableau --> grounds the uncontrollable forces at work on the faces of those confronted by the power of the witch (constituting a shot that is intensive =/= introspective)


Häxan film --> progressive unfolding of the material world through the style of a lecture
-exploration of the wonders and “errors” of the past (with near-messianic belief in the perfectibility of man)
magnified form of realist cinema + rooted in a naturalist impulse --> Christensen's witch is not only here now, it has always been here: “witch = a figure of nature”
-Häxan begins with woodcuts, drawings, and paintings that originate from *an act of touch* ==> haptic vision ==> to present figurative cliched givens ==> establish the ground
-seizes (the audience) and is seized (by the witch)
-seeing and touching *virtual beings* (such as devils)
--> rigorously logical structure + expressing the tangible singularity of the power of the witch

*(from) tales --to--> theology --to--> diagnosis*


“advancement” of natural knowledge <--> demonology


witch: a viral character


witch hunters's trial by water *is not a “trial” but rather an experiment* (to identify evidence of evil's presence---in the absence of direct unmotivated proof) --operating--> though a form of non-knowledge <-- mastery of nonsense
= ***a deep appreciation of (that might seem misguided to us):
cause-and-effect relations
forces at work in the natural world
(=/= indifference to the truth, retreat into superstition)
~
[these] cases suggestive of and empirically linked to general laws. the case said something about the world, and once a case w[...]