The Museum of Vestigial Desire

The cut

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The cut is the first wound.

Footage being a continuous record of reality has no breakage. It can be like memory, narrating a continuous stream of experience. When the desire to construct is born, the cut is born. The cut is the cement. Aesthetics and arrangement was born out of the need to hide the cut.

When the cut is placed on a timeline, suddenly fiction is born. Each cut video gets a duration, from a mass of footage it becomes a clip. A clip has to be put in a sequence of progression and within a finite window of time.

Montage attempts to synthesise a natural order of visual experience so that the cut can disappear. It all starts with the cut. Where does it come from and why does it want to rupture the fabric of continuous fabric?

The cut was born of the desire to falsify, to tell stories. The cut is a storytelling device.

If there were no cut, there would have been no way to tell a story. To isolate something first you have to be able to detangle it from the mass record of experience. To do this, a surgery has to be performed on the mind that wants to offer its memories for processing as story. This operation is performed on the mind by the cut, the cut is able to perform an incision, bring about a break in continuous experience and cull out a unit for story construction. The action of the cut denotes the entire sequence of action from the performance of the operation to the moment when the actual incision is performed.

The task of picking the video clip and placing it on the timeline to produce another continuity for narrative production is another process all together. The join is a more insignificant process in terms of narrative production. Once the cut has been made and the durations have been determined the job is done and very little scope for decision making is left.

The cut is the main event. The join is the side-event.

There is a lot of information to be processed, a lot of decisions to be made before the cut can be made.

The eventual decision is still the most important decision, but the process is transparent to us so we can also identify which parts of the process are essential and have a critical effect on the eventual decision.

What is this process?

During the cutting process, when the cutting point is being identified, there is a kind of scanning at play and this scanning searches for fragility. Which are the moments in the continuous record of reality, in the footage that seem to want a rupture. What records can't hold well together?

Wanting to rupture means acknowledging an instability and deciding to act on that knowledge. Not all instabilities are so fragile and precarious that the want to rupture doesn't germinate.

This want doesn't germinate as a result of special material properties. This rupture has something to do with the content. The record has managed to record a moment, a sequence of moments which do not want to sit well together. The record wants to rupture.

The cutting process is about finding the cutting points in the records that want to rupture.

But going forward, cutting might be performed automatically. Cutting might be a performed as a part of a pattern or the evidence of a logic.

How will the cut find its cutting points then?

The cut will be an expression of the deflection points on the graph of each segment of uncut footage. If you track the deflection points, you can access the latent tendencies that exist in the material.

At one level of disassociation the cut can be managed by rhythms jointly permeated by noise, randomness and a mimicry of thoughtfulness.

When the cut is able to make stable cuts with a mindless speed, a threshold will be crossed in terms of auto-cognition that can be mechanised. We can make intelligent machines then, machines with speed as a function and with a sensitiveness to content as a facility.

As we are already talking of a cinema with no pre-baked viewport, such a cutting device will regulate out sensory experience which will then synthesise a cinema on its own.

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