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Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus. Jean-Louis Baudry, Alan Williams. FILM QUART, Vol. 28 No. 2, Winter, ; (pp. ) DOI. How do we interpret the ideological effects of the basic apparatus for viewing in ? What happens to the transcendental subject in the. Baudry, Jean Louis Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus.

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Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Winter,pp. JSTOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.

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The JSTOR Archive is a trusted digital repository providing for long-term preservation and access to leading academic journals and scholarly literature from around the world. The Archive is supported by libraries, scholarly societies, publishers, and foundations. It is an initiative of JSTOR, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in technology. A notable technical achievement, since the film was shot in 16mm and blown up thw Then the phone rings, and he re- turns to his surroundings with a start.

Filmically, this is exactly the same process by th Celine and Julie find themselves living in the house. The article is presented here as a central document in the recent evolution of French film thought.

Apparatus theory

But also, and paradoxically, the optical appa- ratus camera obscura will serve in the same period to elaborate in pictorial work a new mode of representation, perspectiva artificalis. One could doubtless question the privileged position which optical instruments seem to occupy on the line of intersection of science and ideologica, products. Does the technical nature of optical instruments, directly attached to scientific prac- tice, serve to conceal not only their use in ideo- logical products but also the ideological effects which they may provoke themselves?

Their sci- entific base assures them a sort of neutrality and avoids their being questioned. But already a question: Signifying productions are particularly relevant here, to the etxent that instrumentation plays a more and more im- portant role in them and that their distribution is more and more extensive.

It is strange but is it so strange?

They have been protected by the inviolability that science is sup- posed to provide. We would like to establish for the cinema a few guidelines which will need to be completed, verified, improved. We must first establish the place of the in- strumental base in the set of operations which combine in the production of a film we omit consideration of economic implications. Though mutually dependent from other points of view, decoupage [shot break- icnematographic before shooting] and montage [editing, or final assembly] must be distinguished because of the essential difference in the signifying raw material on which each operates: Between the two com- plementary stages of production a mutation basuc the signifying material takes place neither translation nor transcription, obviously, for the image is not reducible to language precisely where the camera is.

Finally, between the fin- ished product possessing exchange value, a commodity and its consumption use value is introduced another operation effected by a set of instruments. If the latter, consumption of the product will obviously be accompanied by ideological surplus value. These pro- cedures must of necessity call cinematographic technique into play.

But, on the other hand, going back to the first question, one may ask, do the instruments the technical base produce specific ideological effects, and are these effects themselves determined by the dominant ideol- ogy? In which case, concealment of the technical base will also bring about a specific ideological effect.

Its inscription, its manifestation as such, on the other hand, would produce a knowledge effect, as actualization of the work process, as denunciation of ideology, and as critique of idealism. Fabricated on the model of the camera ohscura, it permits the construction of an image analogous to the per- spective projections developed during the Italian Renaissance.

Of course the use of lenses of dif- ferent focal lengths can alter the perspective of an image. But this much, at least, is clear in the history of cinema: The use of different lenses, when not dictated by technical considerations aimed at restoring the habitual perspective such as shoot- ing in limited or extended spaces which one wishes to expand or contract does not destroy [traditional] perspective but rather makes it play a normative role.


Ideology operates by obfuscating the means by which it is produced.

Jean-Louis Baudry “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus” – A Review

Thus an increase in ideological value is an increase in mystification. We will see in any case that the resulting ideological effect is still defined in relation to the ideology inherent in perspec- tive. The dimensions of the image itself, the ratio between height and width, seem clearly taken from an average drawn from Western easel painting.

The conception of space which conditions the construction of perspective in the Renaissance differs from that of the Greeks. In this sense it contributes in a singularly emphatic way to the ideological function of art, which is to provide the tangible representation of meta- physics.

The principle of transcendence which conditions and is conditioned by the perspective construction represented in painting and in the photographic image which copies from it seems to inspire all the idealist paeans to which the cinema has given rise [such as we find in Cohen- Seat ideologucal Bazin].

This might permit the supposi- tion, especially because the camera moves, of a multiplicity of points of view which would neutralize the fixed position of the eye-subject and even nullify it.

But here we must turn to the relation between the succession of images inscribed by apapratus camera and their projection, bypassing momentarily the place occupied by montage, which plays a decisive role in the strategy of the ideology produced.

The projection basoc projector and screen restore continuity of movement and the temporal dimension to the sequence of static images. The relation between the individual frames and the projection would resemble the relation between points and a ciematographic in geometry.

But it is precisely this relation and the restora- tion of continuity to discontinuous elements which poses a problem. The meaning effect pro- duced does not depend only on the content of the images but also on the material procedures by which an illusion of continuity, dependent on the persistence of vision, is restored from dis- continuous elements. These separate frames have between them differences that are indis- pensible for the creation of an illusion of con- tinuity, of a continuous passage movement, time.

But only on one efects can these dif- ferences create this illusion: In this sense we could say that film — and perhaps in this respect it is exemplary — lives on the denial of difference: This is indeed the paradox that emerges if we look directly at a strip of processed film: We should remember, moreover, the disturbing effects which result during a projection from breakdowns in the recreation of movement, when the tje is brought cinmatographic back to discontinuity — that is, to the body, to the technical apparatus which he had forgotten.

The projection mechanism allows the differential ele- ments the discontinuity apparatu by the ideklogical era to be suppressed, bringing only the relation into play. The individual images as such dis- appear so that movement and continuity basiic appear. But the movement and continuity are the visible expression one might even say the projection of their relations, derived from the tiny discontinuities between the images.

Its mechanical nature not only permits the shooting of differential images cihematographic rapidly as desired but also destines it to change position, to move. Film history shows that as a result of the com- bined inertia of painting, theater, and photog- raphy, it took a certain time to notice the in- herent mobility of the cinematic mechanism.

The ability to reconstitute movement is after all only a partial, elementary aspect of a more gen- eral capability. And if the eye which moves is no longer fet- tered by a body, by the laws of matter and time, if there are no more assignable cinematigraphic to its dis- placement — conditions fulfilled by the possibili- ties of shooting and of film — the world will not only appaartus constituted by this eye but for it.

For it to be an image of something, it has to constitute this something as meaning. The image seems to reflect apparatuz world but solely in the naive inversion of a founding hierarchy: The cinekatographic of aspects of the object in view refers to a synthesizing operation, to the unity of this constituting subject: And it is by this that will be carried out, from the noematic point of view, the eventual explication, definition, and elucidation of what is meant by consciousness, that is, its objective meaning And again in the Cartesian Meditations: It supposes the subject and it circumscribes his place.


The latter, in any case, could not have been conquered without exercising violence against the instrumental base, as can be dis- covered from most of the texts by film-makers and critics: This continuity was one of the most difficult things to obtain. No doubt the darkened room and the screen bordered with black like a letter of condolences already present privileged conditions of effec- tiveness — no exchange, no circulation, no com- munication with any outside.

Projection and reflection take place in a closed space and those who remain there, whether they know it or not but they do not cinematogrwphic, find themselves chained, cap- tured, or captivated. And the mirror, as a re- flecting surface, is framed, limited, circum- scribed. An infinite mirror would no longer be a mirror. But for this imaginary constitution of the self to be possible, there must be — Lacan strongly emphasizes this point — two complementary conditions: In order for this impression to be produced, it would be necessary that the conditions of a formative scene be re- is always a reflection of something.

This scene would be repeated and reenacted in such a manner that the imaginary order activated by a specularization which takes place, everything considered, in reality lulfills its particular function of occultation or of filling the gap, the split, of the subject on the order of the signifier.

From the very fact that during the mirror stage is established a dual relation- ship, it constitutes, in conjunction with the for- mation of the self in the imaginary order, the nexus of secondary identification. This occurs, rather, as a sort of proof or verification of that function, a solidification through repetition. The first, attached to the image itself, derives from the character portrayed as a center of secondary identifications, carrying an identity which con- stantly must be seized and reestablished.

Be- tween the imaginary gathering of the fragmented body into a unity and the transcendentality of the self, giver of unifying meaning, the current is indefinitely reversible.

The ideological mechanism at work in the cinema seems thus to be concentrated in the relationship between the camera and the subject. The question is whether the former will permit the latter to constitute and seize itself in a par- ticular mode of specular reflection. It is an apparatus destined to obtain a precise ideological effect, necessary to the dominant ideology: Thus the cinema assumes the role played throughout Western history by various artistic formations.

Everything hap- pens as if, the subject himself being unable — and for a reason — to account for his own situa- tion, it was necessary to substitute secondary organs, grafted on to replace his own defective ones, instruments or ideological formations ca- pable of filling his function as subject.

In fact, this substitution is only possible on the condition that the instrumentation itself be hidden or re- pressed.

The cinema can thus appear as a sort of psy- chic apparatus of substitution, corresponding to the model defined by the dominant ideology. This is why reflections on the basic apparatus ought to be possible to integrate into a general theory of the ideology of cinema.

Apparatus theory – Wikipedia

Translated from CinSthique, No. Obviously we are not speaking here of investment of capital in the process. It would rather take partially the place of the ego, of whose deviations little is known in the analytic field. Corti and Bazin, What Is Cinema? University of Cali- fornia Press. But if it is shown for specialists who know the art, the spectacle will not be divulged as such. Only an error or lack of competence will permit them to seize, and this is a disagreeable sensation, the changes of time and place of action.

The ideologiczl is the most important and the first of these objects. It is thus first at the level of the apparatus that the cinema functions as a language: Having the power of ubiquity, I am everjrwhere and nowhere.

Presses Universitaires de France,p. The cinema manifests in a hallucinatory manner the belief in the omnipotence of thought, described by Freud, which plays so important a role in neurotic defense mechanisms. Husserl, Les Meditations Cartesiennes Paris: