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posted on 12.04.08

::privileged instants::

Privileged instants are one illusion that misjudges movement as a transcendental pose. Deleuze describes this via an ancient conception of time and movement where the pose is understood to be the pure moment or essence that expresses (and contains) that which is the summation or encapsulation of a pure movement as moment. Things like the piéta immediately spring to mind, don't they? Those sorts of Platonic ideas given a form that though it may never be pure are premised on the ideality of a pure expression of an ideal moment.

The need for such poses (dance is an example that Deleuze uses) is premised on the idea that the material of the world is in flux, a sort of fallen materiality (the Platonism here ought to be obvious) where the potential of the ideal form (or idea?) need material embodiment, yet by being material they of course lose their ideality. Movement in this view then becomes a series of movements, regulated as or by a series of poses (no wonder the Greeks came up with the Olympics) where the transition between poses is subject to regulation.

Early photography, at least portrait photography, would appear to have attempted something like this with its highly mannered poses. Of course much painting and sculpture has also pursued the pose, and I suspect much religious iconography could be thought about in terms of a theological pose. In each case the pose is an abstraction that expresses an ideal and so in its formalism wants to rarefy itself within the aura of that ideal so as to approach a transcendental purity. Or something like that.

This does not have to mean still moments, only those moments within movement that encapsulate and sum that which the moment is thought to express of the enduring where that which endures is not the contingent or the accidental but the almost sublime. The infant's glance to Mary, Mary's glance to the infant, or perhaps those moments imagined during movement - the throw of the discuss, a horse galloping, or even perhaps a discus thrower.
Adrian Miles

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