Six fois deux/Sur et sous la communication

Six fois deux/Sur et sous la communication ★★★★★

"If those are Godard’s two ideas, do they correspond to the theme of “sounds and images” that constantly recurs in the programs? Images-learning from things-relating to work, and sounds-learning the language-relating to information?

No, there’s only a partial correspondence: there’s always information in images, and something at work in sounds. Any set of terms can and should be divided up in various ways that correspond only partially. To try and articulate the relation between sounds and images as Godard understands it you’d have to tell a very abstract story, in several episodes, and then finally see that this abstract story corresponds to a single episode of something terribly simple and concrete.

1 . There are images, things are themselves images, because images aren’t in our head, in our brain. The brain’s just one image among others. Images are constantly acting and reacting on each other, producing and consuming. There’s no difference at all between images, things, and motion.

2. But images also have an inside or certain images have an inside and are experienced from inside. They’re subjects (cf. Godard’s remarks on Two or Three Things I Know About Her in Godard on Godard, pp. 239-42) . And there’s a gap between actions upon these images and the reactions they produce. It’s this gap that enables them to store up other images, that is to perceive. But what they store is only what interests them in other images: perceiving is subtracting from an image what doesn’t interest us, there’s always Less in our perception. We’re so full of images we no longer see those outside us for what they are.

3. There are also aural images, which don’t seem to have any priority. Yet these aural images, or some of them, have an other side you can call whatever you like, ideas, meaning, language, expressive aspects, and so on. Aural images are thus able to contract or capture other images or a series of other images. A voice takes over a set of images (the voice of Hitler, say) . Ideas, acting as precepts, are embodied in aural images or sound waves and say what should interest us in other images: they dictate our perception. There’s always a central “rubber stamp” normalizing images, subtracting what we’re not supposed to see. So, given the earlier gap, we can trace out as it were two converse currents: one going from external images to perceptions, the other going from prevailing ideas to perceptions.

4. So we’re caught in a chain of images, each of us in our own particular place, each ourself an image, and also in a network of ideas acting as precepts. And so what Godard’s doing with his ”words and images” goes in two directions at once. On the one hand he’s restoring their fullness to external images, so we don’t perceive something less, making perception equal to the image, giving back to images all that belongs to them-which is in itself a way of challenging this or that power and its rubber stamps. On the other hand, he’s undoing the way language takes power, he’s making it stammer in sound waves, taking apart any set of ideas purporting to be just ones and extracting from it just some ideas. These are perhaps two reasons among others why Godard makes such novel use of the static shot (“plan fixe”). It’s rather like what some contemporary musicians do by introducing a fixed aural plane so that everything in music is heard. And when Godard puts a blackboard on the screen and writes on it, he’s not making it something he can film but making the blackboard and writing into a new televisual resource, a sort of expressive material with its own particular current in relation to the other currents on the screen." 1

*Three Questions About Six Fois Deux- Gilles Deleuze