Thursday, December 09, 2010

Dave McDougall: History Lessons (Pt. 1) -- Notes on Steven Soderbergh's Che

History Lessons (Pt. 1): Notes on Steven Soderbergh's "Che"
by Dave McDougall


What is a political image? How does it work, and what are the elements that make it work? This is a difficult enough question for the still image; but how is it that political moving images work? Relatedly, how can we unarchive the politicality of images as separate from their political sheen—or, put differently, how can we authenticate the politicality of the moving image?


Spend a few minutes watching the BBC series Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession or take a quick trip to the British Library this fall, and confirm what you might already know: maps, in their chief purpose, are tools of conquest and control. Maps are weapons that structure military campaigns and show geographic realities, and geography can determine history.

A film that entrenches itself in the logistics of the struggle for control, then, ought to situate itself in a context in which this control can be codified, visualized: mapped.

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