Note 4: Nonface, Interlude, Lav Diaz and Time

The face withheld - a secret.


The Nonface in Class Picture1

[This article was published in Kino Punch (Issue 3), U.P. Cinema's Film Critique Magazine. The magazine was successfully launched last March 28, 2015The published form of this article has jumbled its footnote section, which is, to me, a curious result. I constructed the footnote section with its own politics. It stands as a threat to the main text, a supplement, inseparable yet removable from the text. The footnote section is the marginalized sector, the subaltern, the silenced, the underground. The dominance of the main text is, in many ways, threatened by the marginalization of the footnote. It is the main text's undoing. Hence, this online version will preserve this political relationship. It is a modified form of the printed text.] 

The class picture. 

In writing about Class Picture (2011), we begin, as in any experimental work, in the middle, the between. The between is a space of liminality, the space where the image resists to ground itself in any given time, in any predetermined space. In writing and in reading about Class Picture, we inhabit this space. And we proceed by saying: an experimental work is always on the verge of transformation, never arrested by space, never stopped by time. It is always speeding towards the future, taking the present and the past with it. The tenuous forces of becoming within its body - their very placement in this space of liminality - jettison various rules of representation by transforming the image of experimentation into an unreadable set of intensities. Each image is a new island, a place to be, a dangerous strip of time and space, a rupturing force of possibilities. Each experimental image is an object of a ‘question’ that ceases to ‘be’ (if ‘be’ stands for being). For each is always a ‘becoming’.

Capturing the image – this is the task of every critic. We capture the image with words. We use language to stop its ceaseless becoming. Language has mastered its mode of reinscribing life itself in its own way – a form of regulation. Writing, any form of writing, is a form of ‘colonialism’. Its apparatus of capture is made of various sets of predetermined concepts that man has mastered through time – the traditional, commonsensical, habitual expressions in dominant language. Film criticism, as a discourse-forming machine, is populated by ‘capturing devices.’ Phrases such as ‘beautiful shot,’ ‘ugly lighting,’ ‘tremendous intensity,’ ‘great frame composition’ circulate in film journalism as ‘catchphrases’ that hold various images in captive. These ‘catchphrases’ resituate the image in a new plane of existence – the realm of dominant language – in order to achieve meaning. Only during this moment of linguistic capture can the image produce meaning. Production of meaning is always a result of image-to-text transformation. Also, we can only interpret an image the moment it reaches language.

Why do we have to capture the image? The task of the critic, in writing criticism, or maybe in the act of writing itself, is to transmute2 the image, to exteriorize it, to expedite its intensities from its cinematic enclosure. In criticism, we 'colonize'3 the image through language prior to its dissemination across various plateaus of knowledge.

Colonizing the image is not a passive operation; it is productive, a power struggle of forces. The process of capture via colonization works under the premise that the image is a foreign land, as all percepts are. An image is an affective chain of non-significations (asignification, according to Gilles Deleuze) or, in simpler terms, a chain of intensities irreducible to language. Given this premise, an image is an impersonal object, which, at first, is a set of intensities, a set of attenuated light from the screen prior to becoming a describable expression. Image-as-intensity is image in its pure state – an attenuated light.The linguistic habit of description, in this sense, is language rendered as a photographic device. Description captures the image and, under various mechanisms, transforms the image into its legible form/s. The mind, the ally of language, is the colonizer, the conquistador, the dispositif, whose ruling power over the image is an exercise in juridical, spatio-temporal and territorial regulation - a biopolitics at work. 

In the process of colonizing the image via the apparatus of capture, which I will conveniently call the cinema-brain machine (a machination inspired by Deleuze&Guattari’s machines), the asignifiying intensities of the image are converted to signifying blocs of legible sensations. Legible forms of the image venture further into the cinema-brain machine, reaching a gated passageway where value judgments serve as a filtering medium. This gated passageway separates the recognizable images from the nonrecognizable ones. The recognizable image is checked and balanced against stored visual memories in search of similarities and differences, parts-to-whole relations, and, at some point, topological and mathematical relations with the world prior to its embodiment in the brain’s deep conceptual networks. Whereas nonreconnizable images go directly to the imprinting machine where they are reinscribed and stored as events, suspended from the circulation of the recognizable. Nonrecognizable images like shock photographs and figures of trauma dampen the movement of time because of their sustained and complex emission of high-intensity signals. It takes time to process them, or to come to terms with them.

In this order, we return to Class Picture. In its traverse across the cinema-brain machine, Class Picture’s asignifying intensity disrupts the schema of categorizing recognizable from nonrecognizable images. It stops at this stage by breaking down the categorizing apparatus. As a demonstration, let us begin first with the image of the sea. 

The image of the sea, its perplexing and ineluctable visibility, located at the first few frames of the film, creates a legible, recognizable sign similar to a given set of signs that says: ‘this is a sea like any other sea’. It is a generic image, a recognizable image. The horizontal sea, which sets the geographic index of the film, legibly contains recognizable surfaces. We cannot disentangle it from any representation system. Although for those who have not seen any representation of the sea, this image is a new affective construct, a nonrecognizable one. But for the greater part of perceiving human world, the sea is just like any other sea – a vapid body of water that traverses beyond the horizon. The pivoting image in Class Picture is not the sea, but the faceless figures (nonface) arranged in a ‘photo-op’ position. This nonface destroys the recognizant-nonrecognizant filtering apparatus by producing a shock to thought, a blinding signal. The nonface disarms the classifying machinery by rendering its recognizable form as ambiguous or obscure – an altered state.

This is where the image resists the capture of language. For only in this moment, upon rupture of the schema of visual classification between recognizable and nonrecognizable images that the notion of the ‘outside’ is at work. The outside is the between, the space of liminality, the gestural ambiguity of the body that suspends the linguistic inscription of the image. The presence of liminal bodies, as embodied by the nonface in the film, arranged as if emulating a class picture, shifts the temporal order of the film from linear time to surface time – a Flusserian  rupture5. From a linear chronological model, a one-dimensional way of looking at the world taught to us by historians, developmental scientist and economists, the shock to thought in the presence of a nonface ‘redistributes the sensible’6 in a surface. As in any surface, the image invites us to look at it, along with its circumstantial movement, as a two-dimensional world. Surface thinking is a nonlinear way of looking at the world. It is anti-Cartesian, highly exploratory and always looking out on the edge of every image, every boundary, and every space in between. The Fluserian rupture of the nonface changes the temporal order of thinking because it (the nonface) stipulates a kind of anti-linear surface time where ‘disseminatory’ and exploratory [two-dimensional] thinking predominate over developmental, hierarchal and historical [one-dimensional] thinking. 

The nonface: the void.

The nonface operates as a force without the constituted and visible identifying marks of ‘being’. It effaces language by undoing the representation of the face or the body. It is marked by a certain phantasmal gesture which plays with invisibility – a masking-at-work. Herein lays the anxiety of knowing. The ghostly presence of the nonface in Class Picture resists colonial grasp of the mind. It remains a foreign land, undiscovered, withheld, ‘unrationalized,’ unevaluated, an ‘outside’ of language. As a spectre, it introduces another lens of looking - the lens of incompleteness. Liminality, as a between-force, creates an incomplete figure. This force of incompleteness destabilizes the ‘wholeness’ of the figure by adding or subtracting a supplement.7 In Class Picture, the supplement to the image of a nonface is the degradation of the image itself. This chemical process supplements the face by replacing it with a new region, a vacuous one. Supplementation becomes a process of re-inscription, of re-circulation of intensities away from the schematic sorting of conventional forms towards the incomprehensible region where time is out of joint (Gilles Deleuze’s time-image haunts this writing). This may require us to rethink the idea of ambiguity of experimental images in spirit of haunting and invisibility.

Class Picture deserves a closer look to assess its disruptive forces, to disseminate its intensities, and to look at its relation to invisibility and haunting. We have already settled the presence of the sea as a generic image, a geographic index of the filmic event. But in the outwork, we are also a witness to the grand swift of nonbeings in the film – the nonface. A nonface resists identity. It robs us of the ‘future’ by disseminating ‘time’ in the surface. It haunts the crevices of language in a form of a suspended questioning: ‘who are we?’ implicating the ‘outside.’ Or, in a Deleuzian sense, it folds the ‘outside’ within it by transforming its image into an open space, its time into an open time.


1. My interest in Class Picture (2011), an experimental film by Gym Lumbera and Timmy Harn, is strewn from a memory of haunting. In the last days of 2014, I was writing at length about another monstrosity – Raya Martin's Ars Colonia (2011). During my peripheral engagements with Martin’s complex figures, a thought came to me: the face of soldier in Ars Colonia is withheld just like in Class Picture. Consider this writing as a periphery, a writing ‘around and about’ my other essay on Ars Colonia appearing in La Furia Umana film journal on April 2015. Consider this writing a preface, a supplement, an outwork. 

2. The original term is ‘transvaluation of values’ from Friedrich Nietzsche. The Anti-Christ. Arizona, USA: See Sharp Press, 1999, p. 13.

3. The author’s use of the words ‘colonialism’, ‘colonize’, ‘colonization’…  is a self-conscious ‘misuse’, but it is nonetheless a strategic misuse – a reworking of a concept. The whole text is haunted by the predatory presence of the postcolonial discourse. As to why such a haunting persists, the reason shall be made unknown. ‘[I]t remains silent, secret and discreet like a tomb: oikesis’ as in Jacques Derrida’s essay “Difference.” Margins of Philosophy. Sussex, U.K.: The Harvester Press,1982, p. 4.

4. The phrasal remark “an attenuated light” attains a refrain. Therefore, it must be repeated. But the repetition doesn’t guarantee that the preservation of meaning from one sentence, which, in our case, the previous sentence, to the other.

5. Vilém Flusser. “Line and Surface” in Andreas Ströhl (ed.) Writings: Vilém Flusser. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2002, p. 21.

6. Jacques Ranciere. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensibile. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, [2000] 2004, p. 12.

7. Jacques Derrida wrote: “But the supplement supplements. It adds only to replace. It intervenes or insinuates itself in-the-p lace-of; if it fills, it is as if one fills a void. If it represents and makes an image, it is by the anterior default of a presence. Compensatory and vicarious, the supplement is an adjunct, a subaltern instance which takes-(the)-place [tient-lieuJ. As substitute… it produces no relief, its place is assigned in the structure by the mark of an emptiness…” Of Grammatology. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press, 1997, p. 145.

* * * * * *


...The Interlude...
(or Can the body of Wolverine be a finalized unquestionable image?)


Two, which stands between one and three, is a gift - a gift of space - a space where one can inscribe residual thoughts, thoughts that remain a secret if undisclosed. This is a space of enchantment. Do not be fixed or settled. This is a temporary passage in the hypertext, a passage between the two main texts: the text prior and the text to come, serving as a bridge, bridging the 'between', servicing and serving as a text-bridge, or a bridging text between two different lands of interiority, 'outside' and never inside, an extro-bridge that extends to two territorialities: a territoriality of the past and a territoriality of the future.

This writing is a residue, a precipitate, an excess of thought from numerous engagements with other texts, images, gestures, residually escaping from the coding process of the brain. Residual thoughts are weak forces. It has a liminal spirit - part of a ruin but out of place, a remainder, a microscopic dust left underneath a productive machine. A residue can be an interlude, a peripheral malaise, just like this, just like the moment when I wrote this in an exchange:
"Minsan may legibility siya like in mainstream cinema, we have the abs of wolverine sa Days of Future Past. abs yun kahit anong gawin natin." [link
The residue comes in a form of a question: is the body of Wolverine in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), as seen in the series of photographs on top, be a finalized unquestionable image, an image that cannot be undone, destroyed and rethought? Is the image perfect and enclosed? Will it, in the course of time, preserve its musculature - its dents, curvature, bulges - as a 'fully' inscribed image?

These questions are peripheral threats. They threaten the cleanliness of the finalized image. Dusts can be small, but their very smallness, their microscopic constituents, their dissemination across the field of question creates a peripheral mess, the very undoing of the main structure. We assume, in many ways, that the main structure - the apparent body of Wolverine - is more important than the residue - that which is folded in the image yet disembodied, undisclosed, a secret musculature beneath the musculature within which the residue arrives as wastage, as remnants of the violent process of hegemonic inscription, composing the marginalia of a central machine - the Hollywood machine. It acts as a subversive force, subverting the dominance of any text: an image, omnipresent in our society - the image of hegemony - the Hollywoodized, extrasexual image. This political gesture of residualizing, which is a form of questioning, also enacts a forward stance - an insistence that this image of Wolverine cannot be final, that it has, hidden beneath its affective structure, the very mechanism of its undoing.

The residual power of thinking participates in the image's undoing. To undo this finality, this capture of Hollywood, we have to rethink again of what the image is. Residual thoughts are ontological and, at the same time, ontogenetic. It offers the image a chance to live, and it opens our eyes to new ways of seeing, an image is always in co-evolution with its ontogenetic material. The image is self-positing, as Deleuze would say in What is Philosophy?. It is independent of its viewer or its creator. It has a 'life' on its own, preserved in blocs of sensation. An image is mobilized by sense i.e. seeing, proprioception, etc. not because it has an agent that controls the propagation of its affects, but it is self-positing. It is also independent of the viewer. Why? Because the viewer is no longer necessary in the life of the image, as in the case of Monalisa, its passage in time is not dependent on its viewer. It is, on its own, self-preserving and its life is preserved in the blocs of sensation that constitutes its body.  But how do we undo this image? How can it escape the capture of language?

Affect escapes - it always escape language, confinement, and consolidation. Affect is what preserves the image of its vitality, its likeness, its morphology, its living 'body'. It is nonlinguistic, out of phase with matter, and it's where the image's emergence begins. This "escape of affect" is continuous, which gives the image an imperceptible layer - a residue, a shadow, an asymmetry. This imperceptible layer remains untranslatable: in looking at the body of Wolverine, one no longer seize words. One finds oneself at a breaking point of language. From the image of Wolverine's body, affect takes over the body. This is not a linguistic event that has means and ends, an objective with a determinable start to finish. It is an affective instantaneous flush. Contours of Wolverine's musculature are figures of intensities. We do not take them as is (a denotative 'is'), because it leaves us in a state of unease. The image slips, mutates and transforms in our minds. Our mind wishes to organize it, to perform a regulation of its intensities, but some of the intensities escape because the image does not reside in language. Some of its parts can be 'seen', 'perceived', but not spoken, written or described.

The image of Wolverine has its own harmonics - a vibrational character. It is in fact a harmonic string, positing its own music. Why is that? It releases an intensity transduced and attenuated by lenses of material excesses within an empirical field. But is this arousal or sexual response a bodily event localized in the body of the observer? The empirical field extends beyond the body. Let's look at this way: the image and the receiver's body are not the only participants of this transversal movement of intensities. The receiver's body is not the subject of intensity closed in on itself. When the body is aroused, it also releases an expressible set of intensity, which also affects the surrounding bodies within his periphery. His body might give off heat to the surrounding air, or he might give a laugh or a sneer, which is an aural affect, heard by himself and by other 'hearing' receivers around him. Transduction of affect is always within a field in which the interaction between the image and the body is not a binary relation, but rather a field relation, a relay of various signals across an array of sensible objects within an specific field.

The empirical field renders all images and expressions in a state of deconstitution or deconstruction, not finally inscribed or present. It does not impose the present or presence but rather it recomposes a past-future of the image. In the propagation of image within an empirical field, the present (or rather the presence) of the image deconstitute as it constitutes itself. It is an immanent body - not yet there but going there, in process, a becoming, still emerging, bulging out, emitting light particles of different quality. For the power of the image resides not it is perfection, but its ability to deconstitute, to produce a spectre - a haunting presence that would titillate the sensing body - the viewers - to their very ends.

Pornography works that way. A pornographic image is powerful not because it is perfect and finalized but because its power resides in its spectrality - it titillates the brain via erotic haunting - the brain is literally ruptured by the process of erotic haunting, sending shock waves across the geography of the body, transforming the body anew. During the haunting, the brain is at its height of creative process. It circulate the intensities from images of naked bodies on screen as a vortex of sensations. These intensities are disseminated and dissipated in every nerve ending across the body as a violent jolt. In this way, pornography becomes a form of incorporeal violence. This creative impulse is not a natural process. It is learned by multiple viewings and multiple 'performances' to oneself - a habituated pleasure. Masturbation is a creative act. It requires the brain and the body to co-produce and co-create network of signals, intensities and sensations: all of which moving at hyperspeed within an empirical field. This pleasurable moment is irreversible and infinite, the similar infinity one feels in a state of hallucination. It is asymmetrical, decentered, and subversive, with  a temporal dimension out of phase from the dominant, linearized present time. Arousal is, in other words, a differance, a pleasurable differance, no longer of the present but a multitemporal event, differed and continuously differing from the present.

It can be said that the body achieves a creative evolution when undergoing a process of pleasure. Pleasure is emancipatory and radical. It brings the body to a place 'beyond' place, to an event 'beyond' the bodily event. Pleasure is a residue of the signification process, a remainder of stratification, neither outside nor inside the main text, but distributed across an empirical field. The image of Wolverine is not a finalized image, inscribed perfectly. It is not totally hegemonic. It rather contains a microscopic emancipatory potential because of its immanent and asymmetrical character. One more thing: the image of Wolverine does not have an interiority, because as all images are, it is always pointing outward. It is always exteriorizing itself. Nothing remains. Its base, which one cannot see, the 1/0 codes simulated by the digital machines of this website, runs in parallel to this extensity, this intensive extensity of the image. Its transmission from base to the empirical field is feed-forward.


Lav Diaz and Time: Emergence of the Open Image

[Writer’s Note: This article is based on a paper presented during Graduate Research Colloquium of College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman, last March 20, 2015, originally entitled ‘Lav Diaz and Time: A Cartographic Sketch of Critical Possibilities.’ It was recently published in KINO PUNCH (Issue 3). This text is written in conversational English as required in conferences.]

There is a great absence of theoretical writings that exhaustively deal with the temporal design of Lav Diaz’s cinema. As to why this has happened, one of the reasons can be attributed to a perspective I will illustrate as follows – in one of his promotional websites, they wrote something like this:

“He is especially notable for the length of his films, some of which run for up to eleven hours. That is because his films are not governed by time but by space and nature. His films are about the social and political struggles of his motherland…”1
The claim ‘his films not governed by time but by space and nature’ stipulates a disavowal or rejection of time as a legitimate discourse - a discourse that can finally address the notion of passage and long take in Lav Diaz’s cinema. This is unacceptable, given that all his films, like all moving images, are governed and materialized by time. The last sentence also gives us a hint on how majority of the writings on Diaz are framed today: Diaz as a socially and politically engaged filmmaker. While this framing is important to a great extent, it is also important to return to the basic idea of time as a creative force in cinema.

Contrary to what they wrote in his website, I insist that Diaz’s cinema has created a new understanding of time. He created a new temporal condition of the film image by inscribing a new affective logic of time, space and body. He liberated the image from its preexisting structures by birthing to what I call an open image: an image that is perpetually present; an image that opens political and ethical dimension of time, space, bodies and sensations; an image that perpetually challenges existing regimes of power in society. This paper shall give a cartographic sketch of critical possibilities of the open image. I shall map its emergence, its operations and its critical potential as political and ethical force.

The Plane of Immanence2 

We begin by opening a space for philosophy, specifically for the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and his idea of the plane of immanence. In an attempt to simplify a complex idea, imagine a virtual plane ‘outside’ our material universe made-up only of forces with ‘open-ended trajectories, whose temporal nature is chance itself. The plane of immanence is chaotic, but also smooth. It is self-regulatory, unstructured and largely governed by flux and fluidity.’3

So what can we find in the plane of immanence? Well, one can find a lot of ‘nonstuff’: intensities, sensations, unformed atoms, unbounded molecules, unorganized thoughts, unorganized subjects, untapped energies. We can collectively call them potentialities. The plane of immanence is somewhat equivalent to a quantum mechanical space where all the conventional rules of physics breakdown, except that Deleuze’s idea of the plane is expansive enough to encompass fields outside physics: thought, force, energy and matter.

Our material world lies ‘below’ this plane of immanence. Deleuze calls this plane as the plane of organization. This particular plane is an actual plane where forces from the plane of immanence are stratified (or organized) into its materialized form. Different regimes of power, whether atomic, natural or man-made, regulate the stratification of this ‘nonstuff’ into ‘stuff.’ From a group of potentialities emerge different actualities: molecules, organism, the human body, solid objects, buildings, social classes, governments, and systems of concepts, or practically almost any form of material organization existing in this world. One way of saying this is that the whole material world we know of today emerges from and continuously emerging from this plane of immanence. The process of this perpetual emergence is creation. Creation is a process of actualizing forces from the plane of immanence. When Deleuze said in one of his essays “pure immanence: a life,” it only means that Deleuze insists that life is not only governed by materiality alone, but it is also intricately connected to potentialities, possibilities and chance.

So where can we find cinema and time? For Deleuze, pure movement and pure time reside in the plane of immanence as a virtual multiplicity.4 In this sense, we can conceive cinema as a regime of power that stratifies and regulates pure movement into actual movement by converting potential time into actual time. Cinema is, therefore, a form of actualized and lived time - a time rendered legible, felt, perceived through movement.

In his notable reworking of Henri Bergson’s philosophy,Deleuze extended this idea of virtual-actual relationship to classify cinema’s method of ‘organizing’ time and movement into moving images. He came up with a taxonomy of cinematic images composed of eighteen signs divided into two major groups: the movement-image and the time-image. Movement-image organizes time by following the sensory-motor (or habitual) schema of the brain. Silent films and conventional films with linear plots are examples of movement-image. Time-images, on the other hand, disrupts the sensory-motor schema of the brain. It renders ‘time out of joint’ by rearranging and reforming the order of the past, present and future in a various creative ways. Flashbacks, irrational cuts, and dream sequences are examples of time-images. They provide a new dimension of sensing time. Most, if not all, of Lav Diaz’s lengthy films break the habitual process of watching movies. In Deleuze’s terms, his images can be conceived as a time-image. But it is a different kind of time-image. Let me illustrate.

The Open Image

(top) Century of Birthing (2011), (bottom) Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012)

The present in conventional cinema has always been seen and experienced in reference to its given past in order to predict future events in the film. On the other hand, because of their extremely long durations, Diaz’s films render a seemingly perpetual never-ending present where the past and the future disappear. When you are watching a long Lav Diaz film, especially when you are in the middle of a nine-hour film, your eye-brain system becomes exhausted rendering a feeling of forgetfulness. You forget the past events of the film, while the future events become unclear, indeterminate and almost muddy. This perpetual present characterizes Diaz’s open image, whose affective logic is to ‘trap’ the sensing body – the viewer – in an untimely and inescapable present. What Diaz assures us is that this perpetual present is not a passive synthesis of space, time and bodies, but an affirmative, active and political one.

An open image is a result of the dilation and expansion of the filmic image through time. Due to the durational length of its passage, the open image undergoes what I call a Flusserian rupture: from image-as-point in a chronological timeline, the image transforms into a surface. In his essay ‘Line and Surface,’ Czech-born philosopher Vilem Flusser theorized two modes of time in contemporary history: the linear time, which he associates with historical thinking, and surface time, which he associate with posthistorical thinking. We, as sensing bodies, learned and inhabited linear time in reading traditional texts (because we read texts in only one direction), in learning history (history follows a linear chronology), and in watching conventional films whose plots are linear. During the arrival of modern films, surface time is introduced. Surface time is nonlinear. Its movement is similar to looking at a photograph or a painting. By virtue of Flusserian rupture, the movement of the eye glides through the surface of the open image by contemplating on different regions of space in a singular present time.

The process of opening of an image in time also constitutes a process of abstraction. The image de-stratifies space and body by adding a region of indeterminacy and uncertainty, thereby causing a partial disintegration of spatial and bodily representations. From ‘geological’ or physical space, the space becomes ‘geopolitical’ – a space of relations. From ‘theatrical’, the human body becomes gestural and instinctive. The open image’s expansive grasp of its perpetual present allows Diaz to create a space for micropolitics. Diaz uses the durational power of the long take to inscribe complex discursive strands of relevant social, political and philosophical issues that he has been exploring his whole life.

The Nomadic Sight

A gift of nomadic sight lets us see the world anew.
(top) Melancholia (2008); (bottom) Batang West Side (2001)

The open image of Diaz also materializes what I call the nomadic sight, a new sight that we, sensing bodies (viewers), embody after the Flusserian event. The nomadic sight constitutes not only a return to surface. It also enacts instinctual exploration of unexplored terrains of life. It pushes our habits of looking to reach a certain ‘beyond’ – a ‘beyond’ space and body – to look at life’s minoritarian actualities and potentialities. Since its function is to glide through the surface of image, and thereby unhinging our habits of looking beyond our preexisting experiences, the open image takes us to a nomadic walk outside the dominant, majoritarian, commonsensical regimes of truth.

This nomadic sight becomes a materializing force of minoritarian discourses. It materializes subaltern spaces and bodies, most of which are silenced, displaced, decentered and absented from the visible layer of society. The gift of nomadic sight also creates a new ethical dimension of looking. It lets us see the world anew. The open image, because of its inescapable temporal design, lets the sensing body – the viewer – to participate in sense-making, in world-making, and in assessing the capacities of existing power relations in society. It is an ethical sight, a sight that can only see the geography of silence.

As a take-away, while it is still important to write about Diaz as socially and politically committed filmmaker, it is also important to return to the more basic and inescapable discourse of time. Giorgio Agamben once wrote:
“The original task of a genuine revolution… is never merely to ‘change the world,’ but also – and above all – to ‘change time.”6
Thank you!


1. See Diaz’s biography in one of his websites retrieved from

2. For further reading on the concept, see Gilles Deleuze’s essay 'Immanence: A Life'His book with Felix Guattari 'A Thousand Plateaus' also discusses the relationship between plane of immanence (also known as plane of consistency) and plane of organization. 

3. See Jean Hillier’s essay 'Strategic Navigation' which summarizes the differences between plane of immanence and plane of organization in relation to strategic planning retrieved from

4. See Keith Ansell Pearson’s Chapter 1 of ‘Philosophy and the Adventure of the Virtual: Bergson and the time of life.

5. See Gilles Deleuze’s ‘Cinema 1: The Movement-Image’ and ‘Cinema 2: The Time-Image’.

6. See Agamben’s essay ‘Time and History: Critique of Instant and the Continuum’ in his book Infancy and History.