The Tactile Eye: Touch and the Cinematic Experience by Jennifer M. Barker

By Jennifer M. Barker

The Tactile Eye expands on phenomenological research and picture conception in its obtainable and wonderfully written exploration of the visceral connection among movies and their audience. Jennifer M. Barker argues that the event of cinema might be understood as deeply tactile—a sensuous alternate among movie and viewer that is going past the visible and aural, will get underneath the surface, and reverberates within the physique. Barker combines research of embodiment and phenomenological movie conception to supply an expansive description of cinematic tactility. She considers feminist experimental movie, early cinema, animation, and horror, in addition to vintage, modernist, and postmodern cinema; movies from ten nationwide cinemas; and paintings by means of Chuck Jones, Buster Keaton, the jetty Brothers, Satyajit Ray, Carolee Schneemann, and Tom Tykwer, between others.

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Skin alone constitutes the objective texture of the body, those surface qualities that are touchable by the worlel with which it comes into contact. As the edge between the body and the world, then, the skin functions always as both a covering and an uncovering, because of its simultaneous proximity to the public world and to the secretive inner body. It covers the body's secrets by clothing us in a placid smoothness that hides the murky movements within. But the skin displays those secrets as weIl, expressing them on its surface so that we are also always naked in it.

In short, the "flesh" of the world (also called the "chiasm" in the philosopher's later work) is not human skin, film's skin, or specifie matter in any way. It is not a tangible, but rather a field of tangibility that makes the tangibles possible. My definition of human skin and the film's skin draws upon Merleau-Ponty's discussion of flesh, but "skin" and his notion of "flesh" are not quite the same thing. The skin is not a field of possibilities; it is a specifie tangible. 13 However, it does display the trait of reciprocity and reversibility that is a hallmark of flesh.

But what if the object happens to be an ear; a shoulder, or a knee l Light falling on any other part of the body still falls like light; it is still reflected or absorbed and has an impact. This description of light's physical impact has its roots in Classical philosophy. "16 Light has been described by physicists either as a particle or a wave, tenns that aptly describe light's touch upon the skin. It is described as hitting the skin, where it bounces off or sticks like a speck of dust, or it is thought to wash over the surfaces of the body like a wave of water; thick and tangible.

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