Parallax is the apparent displacement, or difference in the apparent position, of a visual object, when viewed along different lines of sight. In his book Transcritique, the Japanese philosopher Kojin Karatani uses the word ‘parallax’ to describe Kant’s shifting between contradictory perspectives. Kant’s “Antinomies of Reason” are contradictory propositions, which seem valid from their own perspectives, but which cannot be simultaneously true. Kant argues alternately from one perspective, then from the other, and Karatani describes Kant’s approach as establishing a parallax between philosophical positions. Karatani asserts that parallax does not equate with negativity, but it does not negate negativity either. The basis of parallax is the positivity of both positions.
Slavoj Žižek argues that in Karatani’s concept of the parallax view, the observed difference is not simply subjective, but that the viewer’s change in perspective reflects an ontological shift in the object itself; “the subject’s gaze is always-already inscribed into the perceived object itself, in the guise of its ‘blind spot’, that which is ‘in the object more than the object itself’, the point from which the object itself returns the gaze” (Žižek, The Parallax View, 2006). “Sure, the picture is in my eye, but me, I am also in the picture” (Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 1979).
For the PoetryFilm Parallax screening at The ICA on 16 August 2015, Zata Banks will introduce a curated selection of short film artworks, chosen for their alignment with poetic structures and experiences, and with the visual, verbal and aural languages of poetry in various forms.
PoetryFilm is the influential research art project founded by British artist Zata Banks in 2002, to explore and exhibit experimental text / image / sound material. Since 2002, Zata Banks has presented over 70 PoetryFilm events at venues including Tate Britain, The ICA, CCCB Barcelona, O Miami, The Groucho Club, Cannes Film Festival, The Royal College of Art, FACT Liverpool, Mengi Reykjavik and Curzon Cinemas. Zata has judged poetry film prizes for the Southbank Centre in London, Zebra Festival in Berlin, and for the American journal Carbon Culture Review. PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England, and is a member of Film Hub London and part of the BFI Audience Network. The PoetryFilm Archive, which at present contains over 1,000 artworks, welcomes submissions all year round.
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*Image: Eye by Guy Sherwin, courtesy of the artist