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measure and scale · referential space · asynchronic concepts · asynchronic actions

Measure and scale

Detail: This research covers mainly a “low-threshold asynchrony.” An asynchrony that works at small scale, even tiny. It goes hand in hand with precision.

Precision: Central quality to the concept of asynchrony, based on details. No matter how small the detail is – the more precise, the more asynchronic it is.

Quantity: Quantity can be expressed on various levels in asynchrony: sound, light, or corporeal and emotive. It refers to different parameters, such as intensity (volume, mass, weight), and density (spatial or textural; a space can be characterized by a lack of elasticity or plasticity, then the density is lower).

Over the top: This parameter relates to intensity. This can be applied on the material (movement, text, images…) through exaggeration (quantity, expression, rhythm).

Referential space

Rectangle: Before anything, we need a referential space to study asynchrony and to situate the following glossary in relation to asynchrony. Museum room, stage, television, comic strip, photograph, film, screen: rectangles are everywhere, and they frame our vision. Whether vertical or horizontal, they allow us to situate objects. A rectangle is a scale by which one can research asynchrony.

Out of the frame/rectangle: A term borrowed from film, designating something outside of the frame, out of the rectangle. It also refers to the notion of a blind spot, a place not accessible to vision. “Hors-champ” (in French) emphasizes the outside component; Jean-Luc Godard works a lot with it in his film. In one scene of Passion, a couple is having an argument, but the discussion becomes covered by the sound of the vacuum cleaner from the apartment upstairs (out of the frame).

Asynchronic concepts

Pebble: The pebble is a dynamic element (on a small scale) that comes from out of the frame – t enters and causes a disturbance. A good example is the character of the Visitor in Per Paolo Pasolini’s film Teorema. Out of nowhere, the stranger arrives in a bourgeois family and transforms each member of the family through very brief sexual encounters. The pebble is a detail that produces a low-threshold asynchrony, on a small scale, and comes to modify or disturb our perception. The pebble is the big concept under which other subconcepts are involved in similar ways:

Anachronic pebble: An unexpected element in a time period. An out-of-the-blue element. A surprise.

Eccentric pebble: An element that does not fit: unconventional, marginal, queer, wacky, bizarre, extraordinary.

Glitchy pebble: Mistakes, glitches, errors, details, and unpredictability are of great value in asynchrony. They are like attention attractors.

Out-of-the-frame body: As a general concept, the out-of-the-frame body appears in three principal forms: the meteorite body, the porous body, and the perforated body. While the pebble highlights the process by which things outside the frame disturb what is inside, the out-of-the-frame body is the embodiment of this interruption in its physical dimension. The pebble and the out-of-the-frame body are two aspects of the same dynamic.

Meteorite body: the Visitor in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Teorema is this body. The primary purpose of the meteorite body is to disrupt a given space in a single time. Its action is furtive; as soon as the action is accomplished, the body withdraws.

Porous body: Parkour adepts are excellent examples of this. Their bodies seem to mould to the environment by penetrating buildings, materials, objects, and urban spaces. The porous body tries to enter into osmosis with that which surrounds it.

Perforated body: It could be like a corporal version of an attention deficit disorder. This body becomes taken over by absences of all sorts (forgetfulness, sleep, inattention, catatonia, ecstasy, etc.).

Fake space: The main function of the fake space is to break the linearity of a movement phrase, a movie sequence, or a text. It can be produced by the removal of movements (see holes) in a gestural sequence, keeping for instance only the beginning and the end of it. In video works, a fake space is usually produced by editing techniques such as the insertion of extradiegetic sounds or images from other sources that generate an artificial space. It manifests through superpositions, juxtapositions, insertions, or removals of visual or sound material. It generates an uncanny quality. The fake space is the core concept under which the followings also gravitate:

Fake body: A fake body seems emptied of its weight. A body without depth. The body appears artificial, flattened, as made of cardboard. Its movements are detached and without temporal continuity. A fake body has no interest in the body’s physicality. It is like a technicolour object from the cinema of the 1950s and 1960s; it is a saturated body, without nuance; a monolith, without interiority. A great example and translation of this concept could be observed at the photographs of Miklos Gaál (see letter to him).

Fake movement: In its style, a fake movement is like a Nouveau Roman movement: descriptive and a priori emotionless; rather linear, functional, and dry. It brings to mind the characters of L’année dernière à Marienbad directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by Alain Robbe-Grillet, a central figure of the French Nouveau Roman. To do a fake movement, the person remains more or less in place, set in motion by linear body language of a semaphoric kind (communication gestures used onboard ships, on landing strips, or by a traffic police officer).

Asynchronic actions

To erase: Erasing is a way to perturb the equilibrium in a given space. Concepts such as hole, self-destruction, short-circuit, and the fake space offer the specific quality and texture this action can generate. Mainly, there are two ways to erase:

  • a) by removing information, through obliteration, hiding, making holes, denial
  • b) through accumulation by superposing information (reprise, repetition, overdose, etc.). A good example of erasure is the superposition in the portraits of the painter Alberto Giacometti. On the same canvas, Giacometti used to draw over and over again, through multiple traces, superposed on each other.

Hole: The hole serves to erase and remove information from a sequential space to produce asynchrony. In literature, the writer Marguerite Duras addresses this concept. Duras used the term “trouer” in her writing process, referring to making holes in the narrativity in order to create new, unnamed spaces. Her characters might not have names. We might even not know where they are; we think they are outside, but in the next moment, they are already in the room.

Self-destruction: It involves a constant renewal of materials and space to ensure that they may be perceived.

Short-circuit: Like in an electrical environment, a short-circuit means that the course of action suddenly fades out, cuts, or becomes interrupted. We can apply it on material or as a way to perform. The quality is important. It is not only a cut, but a quality in the way of withdrawing.

To bifurcate: A change of spatial direction.

To edit: Asynchrony is all about editing, assembling. Montage refers mainly to editing in film, but also in literature. Asynchronic montage can work through opposites, disassembly, then re-assembly.

* This is a list of concepts and metaphors related to asynchrony. It emerged from the artistic practice of Lynda Gaudreau.