The beginning—or how Poetica became Kino

When you start something like this – and by this I mean what is implicit in any publishing form of sorts – one should always start by what the abstract reader probably needs first; and that often means a sort of initial rhapsode about the author which though elusive serves as a kind of slow paced parenthesis of gentle and enticing but ultimately obscure opening words …

So I will jump ahead and, while commenting that my name is Matias and this place is my journal, go straight into the the focus of my writing and thoughts: which is film, philosophy and design. That is, in no particular order. There are things in common among these topics. Aesthetic is one of those. I tend to think about aesthetic and beauty with a scent of kantian philosohpy. That is:

The beautiful is that which, apart from a concept, pleases universally.

That should be enough for plenty of unwell faces. Apart from a priori controversy, I am targeting a meaning of beauty as an idea that could be discussed and disputed in the different ways it is devised.

I should be the first one trying some coherence here, so I would go and say that this notion applies to the diferent topics I might write about. That is, film as an art that can be discussed in an aesthetical way, thus, the personal “I am pleased with that outcome” does not essentially matter; but why should an opus be regarded as a masterpiece of ubiquitous pleasure, or why not. That is what can be communicated and shared, that is what we can learn; the rest remains as the solipsism of art.

This is not to say that film as entertainment – when entertainment is regarded as well-crafted storytelling – is not possible; because it is. One could argue that every good piece of art is, in its own way, entertaining. But film can – and should – be much more than ephemeral entertainment. This is not to draw a line between the great art of cinema and the mere superficial aspect of the film industry. There is craft in every authentic piece of entertainment. When in doubt try to create Spielberg’s E.T.

But there are vast abysses to evade.

As you probably know, I’m often accused of intellectual exhibitionism and all forms of elitism. Although I can understand this point of view, it’s a rather wasted argument because, if we regard areas of information as being elite and therefore somehow not usable, it means our centre-ground of activity becomes very, very impoverished. — quoting Peter Greenaway

It is important, though, to state that neither an effort of excluding elitism nor pretentious grandiloquence drives the writing of this journal, but a true urge to share ideas. It is one of the easiest and most vulgar routes to state someone as overly intellectual when what is behind is the self intellectually-less of the accuser. Bertolt Brecht said somthing along those lines, though more succintely:

If all people want is to see something they understand, they shouldn’t go to the theater. They should go to the bathroom.

The effort to understand pushes us forward. Is there any place in the web for confronting constructed ideas? Or on the contrary, elaborated thoughts are to be left to the meld of thousands of brief bits of information and people’s spirit to cope with them? But then there are those who write pieces pleading for a book-length chapter that could easily be said in a status two-line message. We shall not be naif: the amount of words does not inherently count for its quality, but it is an instrumental part of the way ideas are conveyed.

The Internet, as it seems, might not be just a medium but a form of constraining the speech and conforming it in a way that could easily devolve into some “terribly bad” writing. Should we stop experimenting with it then? Leaving it for the more banal and succinct but not necessarily to-the-point thoughts? Not at all. As there are indeed bursts of intelligent words from time to time, it is this very challenge that makes it more appealing.

This first article tries to outline the overall aim and path this site will follow, because in beauty – and one which pretends to be universal – a closed autarchia stands for no meaningful value when sharing ideas. I respectfully invite you now to join me on this slippery path of self-induced reverie.