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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Old blog new blog

When I initiated this blog in 2006, I always meant it to be a collaborative project, it was a sort of transition from the assignment-happenings offered by the "blogathons" (that were popular back then) to a more formal collective workshop to foster a group of like-minded people around a common interest (i.e. Contemplative Cinema, or "boring art films" at the time). Well, the age of communities has faded out pretty fast, and the annual meeting to produce content was too much work for many.
All the original members had administrator rights to edit and manage the team blog, but sharing responsibilities didn't enthuse some to co-pilot with me. I can't force anyone to feel passionately commited.

I tried to compile useful resource on this blog in the hope to raise awareness, and entice the production of more serious critical material on this trend that needed to be defined, on the published articles out there that needed to be cross-examined, on the new films coming out, on the precursors that needed to be acknowledged. I was very naive to believe that if every visitor could add a couple of links when they had the opportunity, save an article when they discover one, share their bookmarks on these auteurs, our survey would grow very quickly and without heavy load for anyone in particular... The collaborative web 2.0 is so over now.

Everyone added their own favourite films and auteurs, without any sense of global coherence, without respect for the self-proclaimed restrictive criteria of this blog. At the beginning everything was welcome, from past to present, from mainstream to experimental. It helped to draw lineages and recessive traits. But as the list of candidates lined up ad nauseum, finding any form of precise and pertinent unity in this extended family was impossible. Back to the roots, CCC (Contemporary Contemplative Cinema) clearly limited the scope of this study to recent films which structure had a contemplative perspective from beginning to end. Older films with occasional "contemplative" or "slower" moments in the middle of a perfectly traditional use of narrative articulations were just not developping a similar aesthetic, even if they are "cousins" on some chosen isolated aspects.
Anyway the purpose of this blog is not to rewrite the entire history of cinema, where any film using long pauses and unfinished storylines had a secret connection. Time is one of the fundamental aspects of cinema, so this alone doesn't create a sub-family with a unique style. The "Contemplative" family is much narrower than the "Minimalism" umbrella, which encompasses all sorts of formal economies, for different and sometimes contradictory reasons.

November 2008, Edwin Mak kindly offered to run a "peer-reviewed" academic journal for this blog and called it "Unspoken" after this very blog. I quickly understood he had no intention to play collective, and worse, that he didn't even agree with the trend described above, which is pretty much the raison d'être of this blog. He now shuts down the domain he secretly registered last year. No need to expose all that went wrong and disappointed me. Why steal and privatize an open access "toy" that you don't desire in the first place? It baffles me...

Suffice to say I had strong reservations before engaging in this over-ambitious project with a stranger, but now you can be sure I'll think twice before giving my trust to people who pretend they've read and understood what's on this blog.

The internet is big enough for many concurrent journals! I hope we'll soon be able to read his new own journal, which will be better, greater and smarter than anything we've done here so far, no doubt about it.

It was a great honor and a hopeful moment to be part of this collaborative project, to discuss with everyone who visited and to read all these insightful contributions. Thank you to each and everyone who participated for three years and a half.

Time to move on. This blog never really became a proper team, so let's call things by their name and clear up the slate. I only want active members on this blog, so only contributors who posted in the last 12 months will retain rights to post here. By the end of April all inactive memberships will be cancelled. Otherwise this project doesn't make sense, hopefully you'll understand. I will still welcome spontaneous contributions, provided they fit in the statement of purpose. Please contact me for confirmation.

This is the new Unspoken Cinema blog. Contemplative Cinema is CCC and nothing else, at least over here. Watch out for pale imitations.


HarryTuttle said...

his reaction explains why I totally misjudged him at first :

On 28 March 2010 16:32, Edwin Mak :
"Whatever our disagreements, I never aired it in the public domain – how fucking dare you.
You rotten fucking disgraceful cunt."

josh said...

Ha! Well, as a newcomer to this site, but one who has already received enormous benefit from it, I'm just glad to hear it will continue. Somewhere in reading your last post I started to worry about that. This place is one of the few intelligent resources for this kind of cinema and i hope it continues for a good long while.

Adrian Mendizabal said...

thank you for keeping CCC alive amidst this Edwin Mak thing. did he close the journal without your permission? what is his reason for doing so?

HarryTuttle said...

You should ask him.