Events in Venice have something to do with the past...as perhaps most events do in a way. This new
movie, la linea generale is totally of the present, while the dialogue
was written in 1630 by Galileo Galilei from his works
and read, in italian by Giorgio Agamben.
The movie was presented by the Signum foundation Palazzo Dona', and there was a
conversation with Daniel Heller-Roazen, Ernesto Rubin de Cervin
and P. Adams Stiney after the showing.
A premovie discussion with Oleg Tcherny in the foreground
setting up the audio...
Just about ready to begin.
..."If the nib of a writing pen which wasin the ship during my voyage direct from
Venice to Alexandria, had had the power
of leaving a visible mark of all its path,
what trace, what mark, what line would
it have left? "Simplicio. It would have
left a line stretched out thither from
Venice not perfectly straight, or to speak
more correctly, not perfectly extended in
an exact circular arc, but here and there
more and less curved accordingly as
the vessel had pitched more or less ; but
this variation in some places of one or
two yards to the right or left, or up or
down in a length of many hundred miles,
would have occasioned but slight altera-
tion in the whole course of the line, so
that it would have been hardly sensible,
and without any great error we may
speak of it as a perfectly circular arc.
Sagred. So that the true and most
exact motion of the point of the pen
would also have been a perfect arc of a
circle if the motion of the vessel, ab-
stracting from the fluctuations of the
waves, had been steady and gentle ; and
if I had held this pen constantly in my
hand, and had merely moved it an inch
or two one way or the other, what alter-
ation would that have made in the true
and principal motion? Simpl. Less
than that which would be occasioned in
a line a thousand yards long, by varying
here and there from perfect straightness
by the quantity of a flea's eye. Sagred.
An accurate view of the film.
If then a painter on our quitting the
port had begun to draw with this pen
on paper, and had continued his draw-
ing till we got to Alexandria, he would
have been able by its motion, to produce
an accurate representation of many ob-
jects perfectly shadowed, and filled up on
all sides with landscapes, buildings, and
animals, although all the true, real, and
essential motion of the point of his pen
would have been no other but a very
long and very simple line ; and as to the
peculiar work of the painter, he would
have drawn it exactly the same if the
ship had stood still. Therefore, of the
very protracted motion of the pen, there
remain no other traces than those marks
drawn upon the paper, the reason of this
being that the great motion from
was common to the paper, Alexandria
the pen, and everything that was in the
ship; but the trifling motion forwards
and backwards, to the right and left,
communicated by the painter's fingers
to the pen, and not to the paper, from
being peculiar to the pen, left its mark
upon the paper, which as to this mo-
tion was immoveable. Thus it is like- "...
The three had an animated and clear discussion of movie making, incorporating comments from the audience and related thoughts as to philosophy, semiotics, and the making of meaning in film.
The film was shot with a long telephoto lens in one take, aboard a ship leaving Venice. It was then digitally edited to adjust time. One of the effects was that the Alps loomed large and fixed over Venice while the foreground- Venice itself- began to blur.