‘The body is our general medium for having a world.’
- Maurice Merleau-Ponty
The epigraph statement, taken from Phenomenology of Perception, is particularly apt when looking at Samuel Beckett’s Film - in it, the protagonist wishes not to be observed. Thus the actor portraying the lead must act against his training as the film prompts us to rethink our watching of all film. In fact, any direct observation the camera makes of characters in Film results in their faces contorting to an expression of fear. The film begins with an ‘all-seeing-eye’ that the main protagonist runs away from and wishes to keep his back turned to at all times. This wish to remain unseen, to be away from the eye, follows a school of French thought that explored a denigration of vision as the primary sensory faculty throughout the 20th Century.
Well explored in Martin Jay’s Downcast Eyes this denigration of vision, and therefore elevation of the physical, is evident throughout Beckett’s works but I would argue it is especially evident in Film. Throughout, Film can be seen as an emphasizing of muscular, proprioceptive experience – phenomenologically haptic experience, then. Much description of this experience is rough and time-consuming conveying Beckett’s roughened – therefore deeply rooted in touching and moving – ontological textures. Through contemporary explorations of a phenomenology of ‘touch’ and ‘haptics’, I intend to evince the haptic phenomenology of Beckett’s Film.
Working from contemporary cinema theory, haptic explorations, dis-and-re-embodiment theories, to philosophical touchstones while interweaving Beckett’s works, and their context – also within the context of his life and his experience – I will not only retrospectively evince phenomenology in Beckett’s works but also uncover Beckett’s own primary use of a philosophy of touch.
‘And I found that of all the senses the eye was the most superficial, the ear the most haughty, smell the most voluptuous, taste the most superstitious and inconstant, touch’
- Denis Diderot
Chapter 1 – The Eye’s Touch: situating the tactile in philosophical theory and contemporary theory throughout the 20th Century.
In order to evince Beckett’s tactility, we must first connect all the salient points of tactility itself within their wider contexts.
The 20th Century saw the fullest definition of a philosophy of phenomenology. In arguing that Beckett denigrates the eye so much in Film that the body becomes the only philosophical and experiential truth, we must also connect the salient points of tactility with a philosophy of phenomenology as the two are so intertwined throughout the 20th Century. The beginning of the 20th Century is where we will begin our exploration.
In 1907, the neurophysiologist Charles Scott Sherrington wrote On the Proprio-ceptive System, Especially in its Reflex Aspect. This clearly defined the terms proprioception, interoception and exteroception as three differing bodily reflex-states of understanding sensory data as we can see in this quote:
This part of the receptive field of the animal’s surface, which is turned inward upon the alimentary contents, may be termed the intero-captive, in contradistinction to that larger part of the surface field which looks outward upon the free environment in general, and the latter may from that circumstance be termed the animal’s extero-ceptive surface.
Here Sherrington delineates types, and begins the lexicon, of tactility. What sensory data we feel emerge from within us – such as pain, abnormalities or hunger – is interoceptive and stimulus from without us is exteroceptive. He then goes on to define how we feel our whole-selves:
Therefore, a character of the stimulations occurring in this deep field [of sensory data throughout the body] is that the stimuli are traceable to actions of the organism itself, and are so in much greater measure that are the stimulations of the surface field of the organism. Since in the deep field the stimuli to the receptors are delivered by the organism itself, the deep receptors may be termed proprio-ceptors, and the deep field a field of proprioception. [Original emphasis].
Proprioception then is how we feel our bodies as a whole – where each limb, muscle, tendon, etc. sits and how they sit in connection with the rest of the body. These terms are integral to discussing Beckett’s Film in light of its tactile-haptic qualities and so have been given in-depth quotations to allow us to return to these definitions later. For now, we can see an interdisciplinary lexicon of somatic tactility emerging at the beginning of the 20th century in more than philosophy.
Many 20th-Century philosophers re-examined the focus of philosophical thought. Such figures include Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Luce Irigaray, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Luc Nancy. We will be using these philosophers later in this exploration – especially in Chapters 2 and 3 – to further understand how interwoven phenomenology is in Film. They explored notions of embodiment while other areas of the sciences were beginning to investigate the body further, also – it is within this re-examination where our philosophical focus begins in earnest.
From Husserl’s lead, Heidegger began his work in a philosophy of phenomenology. Our phenomenological focus lends itself to Heidegger’s work Being and Time where he considers a philosophy wherein ‘…being in the world’ is experienced as ready to and ‘…present-at-hand’. Heidegger’s theories on technology are also apt here – his definition of technology is any extension of our embodied selves – much as his theory of our relationship to the world is embodied, so too is his understanding of technology. This approach will be useful when looking at haptic technologies in Chapter 2.
Both Husserl and Heidegger influenced the French thinkers of the mid 20th-Century: importantly for us, Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Sartre is especially important as he wrote on both phenomenology and Existentialism. Sartre’s 1943 treatise, Being and Nothingness: An essay on phenomenological ontology, echoed Heidegger’s work by stating that consciousness does not come into being or understand things without external input; thus it is a phenomenological treatise through its further definition that consciousness is a somatic consciousness-of-things. A definition of phenomenology for the purposes of this paper will be given in Chapter 2 where we will use Heidegger, Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s seminal work, Phenomenology of Perception, was an extensive engagement with the importance of the senses in understanding perception and experience. This further thrust embodied theories into the academic limelight by engaging with Cartesian theory as a point of theoretical departure alongside associating phenomenology with psychology and social sciences. This engagement is evident too in the chronological progression of Beckett’s works and will be evinced in Chapter 5. Merleau-Ponty’s interdisciplinary work meant a renewed vigour came to the study of the body but few focused on skin and touch.
Post-Merleau-Ponty, whose mid-1960′s period was prolific with useful work for us, we have seen a growth-spurt of studies on skin, cutaneous consciousness and interdisciplinary research on the importance of considering the body as a holistic sensory organism.
Ashley Montagu’s 1971 study Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin is a seminal example of the work done from a socio-biological approach – though its focus isn’t philosophical, its content and repercussions are. Here we see him discuss his focus that is, in turn, an element of our focus:
The skin as an organ, the largest organ of the body, was very much neglected until quite recently. But it is not an organ as such that I am here concerned with the skin; rather, in contrast to the psychosomatic or centrifugal approach, I am interested in what may be called the somatopsychic or centripetal approach. In short, I am interested in the manner in which tactile experience or its lack affects the development of behaviour; hence, “the mind of the skin”.
In this Touching quote, Montagu declares the importance of his ‘mind of the skin’ and then goes further in the book to evince “…the more we learn about the effects of cutaneous stimulation[,] the more pervasively significant for healthy development do we find it to be.” So we can see its somatic focus and wider ramifications to late 20th Century thought.
Mikel Dufrenne furthered Merleau-Ponty’s work in 1973 with The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience when he says:
…the quality of the atmosphere gives rise to a new countenance for the object…the cinema in this way can convert the objects which it represents, and not only by exiling them on screen…it is in like manner that the space and time of the novel or theatre can become veridical.
Here Dufrenne works examples of film into his philosophical exploration and indirectly begins our upcoming work for us. Through a projected embodiment, ‘…the space and time of’ art becomes truthful.
From Dufrenne in 1972, our next important marker is Didier Anzieu with The Skin Ego in 1974; in 1979, James J. Gibson published the psychology-focused The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception which challenged the basic assumption that vision depends on the eye and instead stated “vision is kinaesthetic”; and from there many interdisciplinary explorations persisted in studying embodiment throughout the 1980s – notably David Appelbaum’s The Interpenetrating Reality, Michel Serres Les Cinq Sens and Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 1 – followed by an explosion of somatic-based, inter-disciplinary, academic explorations in the pre and post-millennial years.
All of the works mentioned so far offer us signposts toward a growing understanding, throughout the 20th to the 21st Century, of the necessary importance of discussing embodiment however it is only in the latter half of the 20th-Century and the beginning of the 21st that a language of holistic embodiment has begun to emerge. By holistic embodiment I mean phenomenological discourse that is based on more than one sense, grounded in the body’s experience and not abstracted but investigating the connections between philosophy, biology, arts, the skin and technology on a fundamentally physical level. It is the texts published in the aforementioned pre-and-post-millennial years that are the theoretical foundations of that holistic discourse. Our exploration of Beckett’s Film will use that discourse.
Grounding themselves in the noted examples here as well as many cross-discipline, non-humanities based theorists, contemporary studies have taken embodiment further into a discourse exploring holistic embodiment, tactility and haptics. By contemporary, I mean from 1990 until 2010. Here we’ll look at 1990 to 2000 and in Chapter 2 we will look at 2000 to today.
From 1990 to 2000, hundreds of studies were released furthering this interdisciplinary discourse. At least twenty of those apply directly to us however, due to limitations, many of these will have to be condensed.
Drew Leder’s The Absent Body followed on from Sherrington’s work by taking philosophical conclusions from Leder’s medical background and found that “As such, the body itself is not a point but an organized field…Thus, at any given time the body manifests a gestalt structure.” Leder’s position within phenomenology is particularly interesting as he attempts to combine it with Cartesian thought through the use of his Cartesian-dualism term “a phenomenological vector” - this emerges from “the ecstatic and recessive nature of the lived body” which create vectors as “a structure of experience that makes possible and encourages the subject in certain practical…directions, while never mandating them as invariants [that might cause a conflict with Cartesian models of knowledge].” It is especially important to us because, as Merleau-Ponty engaged with Descartes, Leder does also and this connects to Beckett’s own philosophical path [from Cartesian to phenomenological] that this essay will detail. Leder’s Absent Body was published in 1990 and marked the beginning to two decades of renewed vigour in the discourse of tactility and embodied understanding.
This renewed vigour can be seen in the publications made in that first decade: The Irigaray Reader in 1991 alongside the 1998 release Textures of Light: Vision and Touch in Irigaray and 1999’s Irigaray and Deleuze conveyed a renewed interest in the feminist-phenomenologist Luce Irigaray; three books published revealed a renewed interest in the big thinkers of phenomenology – Routledge’s 1992 reprint of Merleau-Ponty’s The Phenomenology of Perception, Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space was reprinted by Beacon Press and The Cambridge Companion to Husserl was published in 1995; alongside the second edition 1996 reprint and re-titled work E.H. Weber and the Tactile Senses which was originally titled E.H. Weber: The Sense of Touch; especially important to us is Martin Jay’s 1994 book Downcast Eyes which explored the slow denigration of sight as the primary sense within 20th-Century French philosophical thought; 1993 saw the publication of Constance Classen’s anthropological approach to embodied understanding, Worlds of Sense – Classen is notable because she would later go on to edit The Book of Touch. In making this short list, my intention is not to show all of the works that have influenced this essay – by no means as there are more – but instead create a brief glimpse of the swell of publications that arose around our subject.
It is the continued hybridity of the social and the hard sciences with the humanities in this pre-and-post-millennial period that makes our study all the more potent. Access to technology and information has undergone an exponential growth in this period due to the increasing spread of the internet. This has lead to further growth in all areas of study but has been especially evident in artists exploring the limits of the scientific body. This exponential growth in interdisciplinary work has meant we now have a much fuller and more comprehensive lexicon of tactility.
This lexicon has bridged many disciplines and also made an art, initially presumed to be primarily based on vision, embodied – the art of cinema. Though there are precursors, we’ll begin our understanding of embodied cinema with Walter Benjamin because it runs truer to my line of thought and the analytical tools we need to look at Beckett’s works.
Benjamin’s famous essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, says “…the film, the distracting element of which is also primarily tactile, being based on changes of place and focus which periodically assail the spectator.” Benjamin’s essay was seminal in beginning to explore socio-political effects of new media in the 20th-Century and in detailing its importance. Here he has stated the way that film is somatically felt in the observer by way of habitually understanding and analyzing space. Much as Condillac argued that ‘touch…was capable of discovering space and also of instructing the other senses to relate their sensations to bodies extended in space’, Benjamin is arguing that cinema lets the senses project onto the screen and the on-screen actors project their senses, and their surrounds, onto the audience – reason enough for the labour of projectionists to be explored but also an entirely apt name for the practice. This dual process of reciprocal projection situates the audience within the space on screen and allows Sherrington’s proprioceptive centre to be shifted, through the eye, into a new habitat – and thus habit – of understanding. Contemporary film theorist Giuliana Bruno agrees when she says “From Condillac’s sensate statue to film’s own sentient cyborg, the sense of space is confirmed as more than the product of the eye alone…it is the tactile sense that extends surface into space” and “As a house of moving pictures, film is as habitable as the house we live in.”
There has been much cross disciplinary work on the tactile eye that has helped further the phenomenological approach. The psychologist Robert H. McKim wrote of how “the tactile, kinesthetic eye” might be tested and prefaced those tests with a quote from Rudolf Arnheim – “In looking at an object, we reach out for it. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us.” Anthropologist Laura Marks carefully reviews and summates vision’s place in cinema studies while confirming that “…the critique of visuality has come to a turning point,” turning toward engaging the eye with the body. As Marks details the way a film ‘…[uses] my vision as though it were a sense of touch…brushing the …fabric with the skin of my eyes’, so too does Beckett’s camera brush up against Buster Keaton’s character ‘O’ in Film. Like phenomenologists before her, Marks engages the projected eye with the philosophical body when she writes ‘…so cinema bears the marks of sense memories that do not find their way into audiovisual expression’ and from this we can extrapolate that cinema innately teases out philosophical arguments differing from simply the Cartesian. These philosophical cinema studies will be further explored in Chapters 2 and 4.
It is apt to have started this chapter with a quote from the Enlightenment as Beckett made Film in response to the Enlightenment philosopher Bishop George Berkeley’s statement that “…real things, in themselves imperceptible, are perceived by sense” or as it has been put since, ‘a thing does not exist unless it is seen by man.’
All of this compounds to give us a thorough history and contemporary-history of the (ignored and renewed, respectively) academic interest in skin, embodied approaches, touch, movement and haptics – a term we shall explore fully in Chapter 2. In this history we can see a networked theoretical structure of the salient points of tactility that I will use to feel out Film.
‘As such the body is not distinct from the situation of the for-itself since for the for-itself, to exist and to be situated are one and the same…’
- Jean-Paul Sartre
Chapter 2 – Contemporary Touching: contemporary haptic-phenomenological philosophy and film studies explored, detailed and applied.
Before we discuss contemporary haptic-phenomenology, we must first define phenomenology for the purposes of this paper so that we may see the connecting (t)issues between them and, therefore, between them both and Film. As stated in Chapter 1, we will use Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty to flesh out our definition.
Our definition of phenomenology begins with Heidegger’s Being & Time. Though much richer and more complicated than we have room to go into, we will look specifically at Heidegger’s terms ‘Dasein’, ‘ready-to-hand’, ‘present-at-hand’ and ‘everydayness’ and how these help us understand contemporary haptic-phenomenology.
Heidegger defines Dasein as ‘This entity which each of us is himself’ and says that ‘…Dasein is essentially an entity with Being-in, it can explicitly discover those entities which it encounters environmentally, it can know them…’ – in the latter quote, Heidegger has stated what is most important to further our discourse: that physical bodies can know environments and that each of us is ‘with Being-in’ or, put simply, each of us is within (and therefore connected to) and influenced by our environment.
Time to Heidegger was a matter of both Dasein and ‘present-at-hand’. Dasein understands itself by projecting itself through-and-in-time as both its possibility and its thrown-possibility. The thrownness of Dasein is its ‘having been,’ and the projected possibility of Dasein is its ‘already being’ plus its ‘not yet.’ Thus, Dasein unifies the past, the present, and the future. As Heidegger unifies time so too does embodied touching in its understanding of temporally unified phenomenological experience. The past, present, and future are referred to by Heidegger as the ‘ecstasis’ of temporality: ‘That Present which is held in authentic temporality and which thus is authentic itself, we call the “moment of vision”. This term must be understood in the active sense as an ecstasis.’ An ecstasis that Jennifer M. Barker says is present in experiencing a film when she writes ‘Rather than being “stitched into place”, we are neither “here” nor “there.” We are caught up in a constant oscillation…’. We will be weaving Barker and other film studies theorists into this chapter later also but here we can see the first stitch in connecting the tissues of early 20th Century phenomenology into contemporary haptic-phenomenological-philosophies’ understandings of time.
Ready-to-hand and present-at-hand can be understood, for our purposes, to be a sense of potentiality in experience and touching (in all the senses I will detail later in this chapter) as well as potential-connectedness to existing ‘within-in-the-world’. Therefore all things that we touch and are touched by us can be considered ready-to-and-present-at-hand, this is evident in the following quote:
Thus along with the [art, craft, personal, product, tool & touch] work, we encounter not only entities ready-to-hand but also entities with Dasein’s kind of Being – entities for which, in their concern, the product becomes ready-to-hand; and together with these we encounter the world in which wearers and users live, which is at the same time ours. Any work with which one concerns oneself is ready-to-hand not only in the domestic world of the workshop but also in the public world. [My emphasis formerly, original emphasis latterly.].
In this quote, Heidegger informs us of two things: how individual Dasein can co-exist with other individual Dasein entities while existing ‘at the same time’; and the blurring of what is ready-to-hand and present-at-hand – an immediately private experience – with ‘the public world’ as well as that all things we touch and are touched by us can be considered ready-to-and-present-at-hand. So it is with watching a film. If we are touched by it – in the broadest sense – then we are experiencing it as present-at-hand as our eyes handle the oscillation of space and time in the action on screen. Here is the blurring of the object and subject that is important to us – we will be coming back to this time and again throughout the course of this essay and also later in this chapter.
These film-watching experiences are to us, now, an everyday experience. Whether it is television, online advertising or going to the cinema, we see film on a regular basis which could make us jaded to such experiences and not appreciate the phenomenal and phenomenological understanding of them. In the following quote, Heidegger counters this and argues that when a thing becomes undifferentiated from day-to-day experiences, it can be enriching as opposed to jading:
This undifferentiated character of Dasein’s everydayness is not nothing, but a positive phenomenal characteristic of this entity. Out of this kind of Being – and back into it again – is all existing, such as it is. We call this everyday undifferentiated character of Dasein “averageness”.
Here Dasein is highlighted as an everyday experience that can become so ingrained in us as to become average but must be appreciated as such in order for those experiences to be enriched, much as it is with touch – we can feel that we’re touching things all the time in our everyday interactions with the world but do we think about our proprioceptive centre when we move or do we try to memorise cutaneous-touch-memories? Not so in academic history which has largely ignored touch until the last ten years, as it is discussed in the contemporary-haptic-philosopher Mark Paterson’s ‘The Forgetting of Touch’ chapter in his book The Senses of Touch. These terms everyday and averageness are important to us. Through Heidegger and contemporary discussions, we can begin to feel that it is in touching’s averageness that we can find our enriching experience if we feel it out enough.
Steven Connor, in his essay in Beckett and Phenomenology, when discussing Sartre’s work and embodied phenomenology says ‘The problem with Sartre is that the body is such a problem for him, that the body is always a form of foreign body.’ Since I agree with this and so as to avoid any conflict, the elements of Sartre’s phenomenology that we are using will be limited to his: ‘Phenomenological Concept of Nothingness’ from Part I of Being and Nothingness; and certain elements of The Body chapter of Part III.
Sartre deals with the concept of Nothingness when addressing phenomenological philosophy as a whole and when in need of a definition of Nothingness states ‘Is Nothingness not in fact simple identity with itself, complete emptiness, absence of determinations and of content? Pure being and pure nothingness are then the same thing.’ So Sartre equates Nothingness with being and goes on to include Nothingness within Heidegger’s Dasein also, especially when he says the following two quotes:
There is another possible way of conceiving being and nothingness as complements. One could view them as two equally necessary components of the real without making being “pass into” nothingness…and without insisting on the posteriority of nothingness…
We will willingly admit with Heidegger that “human reality” is “remoteness-cancelling;” that is, that it rises in the world as that which creates distances and at the same time causes them to be removed. But this cancelling of distances, even if it is the necessary condition in order that there may be remoteness in general, envelops remoteness in itself as the negative structure which must be surmounted…Nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being.
Here Sartre further reinforces the connections between his understanding of phenomenological being and Heidegger’s. Later we’ll see how they agree on being-in-the-world but for now we can see from these quotes that both accept the everyday thrownness of being [or Nothingness within Being] as an important concept of Being. These terms are important ones that we will also return to. Though Sartre disagrees with Heidegger on many points, for the purposes of this essay, we will focus on where they agree so we can build a definition of phenomenology to add to with contemporary-haptic philosophies.
Sartre, though he terms it as something else, agrees with Heidegger on being-in-the-world and the body’s relationship to Being, as we can see here:
…on this level we encounter phenomena which appear to include within themselves some connection with the body…But these phenomena are no less pure facts of consciousness…That is why we ought not to take this as our point of departure but rather our primary relation to the in-itself: our being-in-the-world. We know that there is not a for-itself on the one hand and a world on the other…The for-itself is a relation to the world…But when we say that the for-itself is-in-the-world, that consciousness is consciousness of the world, we must understand that the world exists in front of consciousness as an indefinite multiplicity of reciprocal relations… [Original emphasis.]
It is important to have the entirety of this quote so that we can see Sartre’s thinking and how he connects being-in-the-world to his notion of the for-itself. Here too the idea of a completely objective world is disavowed in favour of a consciousness dependent on ‘an indefinite multiplicity of reciprocal relations’ to the world. In this we can see the blurring of object and subject, once again. Sartre moves this further by saying, ‘Thus the concept of objectivity, which aimed at replacing the in-itself of dogmatic truth by a pure relation of reciprocal agreement between representations, is self-destructive if pushed to the limit.’ Again – as will be further detailed shortly in this chapter – from this our suture to contemporary haptic-philosophy grows stronger because there is much talk about the relative nature of touching, being touched and being touched from a distance within that discourse. It is through relativity also that we can feel-out the world’s affect on the body’s movements and feelings thus indicating a further blurring of object and subject; as Sartre also says here:
The body is nothing other than the for-itself; it is not an in-itself in the for-itself, for in that case it would solidify everything. But it is the fact that the for-itself is not its own foundation, and this fact is expressed by the necessity of existing as an engaged, contingent being among other contingent beings. As such the body is not distinct from the situation of the for-itself since for the for-itself, to exist and to be situated are one and the same.
This quote embeds the bodies of contingent beings in the foundation of the world and therefore the world in Being which leads us directly to Marcel Merleau-Ponty’s dense summation of all that we have discussed in this chapter so far:
The body is our general medium for having a world. Sometimes it is restricted to the actions necessary for the conservation of life, and accordingly it posits around us a biological world; at other times, elaborating upon these primary actions and moving from the literal to a figurative meaning, it manifests through them a core of new significance: this is true of motor skills such as dancing. Sometimes, finally, the meaning aimed at cannot be achieved by the body’s natural means; it must then build itself an instrument, and it projects thereby around itself a cultural world.
So here too our definition of phenomenology for the purposes of this essay is clarified. ‘The body is our general medium for having a world’ – cultural, experiential, or otherwise: the body is central to being and connected to the world through relative-contingent-being and other beings.
So our definition of phenomenology, for the purposes of this essay, can now be summated and then used to sew that definition to contemporary haptic-phenomenological-philosophies. Heidegger tells us that each of us is within (and therefore connected to) and influenced by our environment; his concept of Dasein can co-exist with other individual Dasein entities while existing ‘at the same time’, thus making our notion of time more relative; this occurs every day and is included in what we experience as averageness; both Heidegger and Sartre accept the everyday thrownness of being [or Nothingness within Being] as an important concept of Being; Sartre adds to our understanding that the environment affects us as we affect it when he disavows the idea of a completely objective world in favour of a consciousness dependent on ‘an indefinite multiplicity of reciprocal relations’ to the world – thus a blurring of object and subject becomes a central element to our definition; it is also through relativity that we can feel-out the world’s affect on the body’s movements and feelings thus indicating a further blurring of object and subject, after all ‘The body is nothing other than the for-itself’; and Merleau-Ponty put’s it simply by saying ‘The body is our general medium for having a world’ and so we can only know the world and Being through the body.
So our definition stands as connectedness to our environment, relative-time in everydayness and averageness, thrownness and Nothingness within Being, a blurring of the object and subject, relativity itself and only knowing the world and Being through the body. These are the terms we will use to unction our definition of phenomenology into contemporary-haptic-philosophy. With this fleshy foundation of a definition, we will now suture a skin of contemporary-haptic-philosophy onto it so as to further feel out Film.
Much of the discourse within contemporary, embodied philosophies comes from a cross-discipline perspective – particularly disciplines concerning spatial relations and communications. For example, two principle works referenced in this chapter come from a lecturer in human geography and an architect – Dr. Mark Paterson and Dr. Leon van Schaik, respectively – however both of these also look at the ubiquity of communication technologies and, specifically, human-computer interfaces involving touch and/or proprioceptive intelligence; here we can see the crux of contemporary haptic-phenomenological philosophy – it is rooted in both an embodied philosophical understanding emerging from cross-academic-disciplines as well as information technologies.
Let us first quickly define what I mean by ‘haptics’ and ‘touch’ within this essay, once this is done, we can get to the meat of our discourse. I say quickly because many of the unfamiliar terms have been looked at in Chapter 1 and are reiterated here, concisely, whereas our other terms are self-evident and need only a sentence of explanation.
When using the term ‘haptics’ hereafter, I mean all of the following: the proprio-, intero-, and exteroceptive senses described in Chapter 1; the kinaesthetic senses – the sensations of movement in muscle, limb, eye and all parts of the body – or, put simply, a sense of movement itself that was ascribed to vision in Chapter 1; the vestibular sensations – those sensations of balance whether inner ear information, falling, close-to-falling, speeding up, slowing down or feeling balanced within oneself and feeling those vestibular sensations in something or someone else; cutaneous sensations – all the sensations that the skin feels like heat, pressure, pain, tingling, dryness, moisture, etc all sensations experienced that prove the skin to be a sensory organ; and, finally, tactile sensations or ‘tactility’ – this is a subsidiary of the cutaneous sensations but an important one to mark out as it refers to weight and pressure sensitivity in the hands, specifically. All of these terms come under my usage of the term haptics.
When understanding how I will use the terms ‘touching’ and ‘touch’ hereafter, we have to go into detail of their redefinition in contemporary-haptic-philosophy. In his book, The Senses of Touch, the aforementioned human-geographer Mark Paterson discusses an expansion of the term ‘touching’ into its broadest sense – to touch is also to affect, to be affected and project affectation onto, through and from another contingent being – in light of a phenomenological appreciation of aesthetics, explored in the following quote:
From the active touching, reaching out and measuring of space, we consider how we become touched and affected by things through artworks…Quotidian embodied experience involves a self-evidently tactile component, as in the perception of weight, mass texture, density and so forth, and this is nowhere clearer than in the aesthetic encounter with an art form, whether two-dimensional canvas, three-dimensional sculpture, or a building with its surrounding environment.
Here Paterson has furthered our expansion of the term touching by going through a particularly phenomenological process – an encounterance with a contingent being of Sartre’s for-itself and something of Heidegger’s ready-to-hand. From this new notion of touching, touch and being touched through the ready-to-hand contingent beings of the for-itself, comes a different form of appreciating artworks – namely, Haptic Aesthetics. This is the main way we will look at Film to evince its use of a philosophy of touch. To define Haptic Aesthetics proper, we must take in more than philosophy; we will now look at architectural theory and film theory and their phenomenological approaches.
Paterson never full-succinctly defines Haptic Aesthetics but, instead, brings together disparate elements to illustrate its meaning. So too shall we. When Paterson says ‘…a haptic aesthetics effectively brings together touching and feeling, tangibility and affective forces’, it is the closest he comes to putting a definition in one place – from there he discusses the connections of optics and haptics as a holistic corporeal-sensory-motor system and from there he states how the ‘…haptic body moulds and can itself be shaped and motivated by the architectural discipline.’ This brings us neatly back to the blurring of subject and object discussed earlier when defining phenomenology for our purposes but also takes it further; Paterson is effectively saying that within haptic aesthetics ‘affective forces’, or artworks and our surroundings, are appreciated on an embodied level and therefore understood through the body as ‘…our general medium for having a [culturally appreciative] world’, to use Merleau-Ponty again. He also discusses the everydayness of kinaesthetic experience and the importance of understanding that averageness alongside spatial orientation. Paterson’s usage of architecture and spatial orientation is linked to Leon van Schaik’s notion of ‘spatial intelligence within architecture’ where Schaik emphasizes how we read, live through and grow or suffer within different environments through embodied experience. Specific architectural theory to us is the architect Yeoryia Manolopoulou’s phenomenological examination of Film which we will come to in Chapter 4. In order to understand how haptic aesthetics includes watching a film, though a primarily visual experience it too is as embodied as the eye is, we must now look at vision’s hapticity.
As we saw in Chapter 1, “vision is kinaesthetic” and this too defines haptic aesthetics – the notion of the tactile eye. Tactile here is to be understood as defined earlier in this chapter but also through the work of Jennifer M. Barker and her film theory book The Tactile Eye where she ‘…follows that deepening of touch from surface to depth, from haptic touch to total immersion.’ There Barker has stated her intent, akin to ours, but goes on to state how the watching of film can be a haptic experience:
The film’s body also adopts toward the world a tactile attitude of intimacy and reciprocity that is played out across its nonhuman body: haptically, at the screen’s surface…; kinaesthetically, through the contours of on- and off-screen space and of the bodies, both human and mechanical, that inhabit or escape those spaces; and viscerally, with the film’s rush through a projector’s gate and the “breathing” of the lenses.
In this quote, Barker has explained how she, and in turn I, experience a film through the body. The “breathing” of the lenses can be read as an epidermis/dermis relationship between lens/viewer, respectively – Steven Connor, in The Book of Skin, comments how ‘…it is not possible to distinguish the actuality of touch from its phantasm or aura, nor to detach the thought of the touch, or the image of the touch impressed on our thought…’ and it too explains the reciprocal nature of the lens. Barker has also given us the essential terms we will use to feel out Film through haptic aesthetics: intimacy and reciprocity, the screen’s surface, on- and off-screen space, inhabiting and escaping space and the life of the lens.
Throughout both Barker and Paterson’s books, connections to and quotes from the tenets and proponents of phenomenological philosophy are made, much as we can see the terms in haptic aesthetics are linked to those defined earlier in our usage of phenomenology. It is fitting now to recap our haptic aesthetic terms: the proprio-, intero-, and exteroceptive, the kinaesthetic, the vestibular and cutaneous sensations; tactility; an affective touch enabling reciprocal touching from a distance, itself a blurring of subject and object; the everydayness of kinaesthetic experience; spatial intelligence; the tactile eye; intimacy and reciprocity; the screen’s surface; on- and off-screen space; inhabiting and escaping space; and the life of the lens.
Before we move on to reinforce and apply haptic aesthetics then, let us unction our definitions into a whole. We can see in both phenomenology and haptic aesthetics: a blurring of the object and subject through all the senses, affective touching, touching with the tactile eye; thrownness of embodied-screen-space experience and Nothingness (within Being) in spatial intelligence; inhabiting/escaping space; relative-time in everydayness and averageness of movement and experience; a reciprocity with our cultural and actual environment; relativity itself and only knowing the world and Being through the body and therefore through the life of the lens. Here we have the definitive list of terms we will use; this will be referred to from now on as the ‘theoretical framework’ we will use to flesh-out Film.
Another film theorist, Laura U. Marks, has written on the importance of experiencing films through the body and has points that contact and reinforce ours in her book The Skin of the Film. Marks argues ‘…that cinema itself appeals to contact – to embodied knowledge, and to the sense of touch in particular ‘ so much so that she goes on to say that cinema itself should be more fundamentally haptic in this quote:
According to Erich Auerbach (1953), mimesis requires a lively and responsive relationship between listener/reader and story/text, such that each time a story is retold it is sensuously remade in the listener…we might expect the relationship between “viewer” and the more physical object of cinema to be more convincingly mimetic. [My emphasis.]
Here we see a crossover between Marks’ theory and our own, further reinforcing the embodiment of experiencing a film. Mark’s theory can be seen to relate to spatial intelligence and the intimacy and reciprocity of experiencing film.
Further reinforcing our application of haptic aesthetics to Film, Steven Connor comments in an essay on Beckett that ‘Breath is a kind of skin…’ much like Paterson does when discussing ‘A Touching Experience’. We too have defined that we are in reciprocity with our environment and so must also be with the air we breathe. Connor continues, ‘Beckett’s work has a strong sense of [the] materiality of air’ and this quote from a phenomenological look at Beckett’s works leads us easily into the next chapter where we will use the terms defined and gathered here to find the haptically focused, rough ontological textures interpreted from Beckett’s works.
‘Close inspection namely detail by detail all over to add up finally to this whole not still at all but trembling all over. But casually in this failing light impression dead still even the hands clearly trembling and the breast faint rise and fall.’
- Samuel Beckett
Chapter 3 – Beckett’s Smokers Hands: the embodied, rough ontological textures of Beckett’s work found within the Beckett Studies canon.
In this chapter we will use the terms defined and gathered in Chapter 2, alongside critical literary studies of Beckett’s oeuvre, to find the haptically focused, rough ontological textures felt from Beckett’s works. Before we begin critiquing the critics, I’d like to briefly take a walk through what’s been written about Beckett’s personal experiences of roughness.
In looking at Beckett’s personal experiences, both his letters and James Knowlson’s authorized biography, Damned to Fame, are valuable sources of information. Working chronologically backwards, we will take a look at some experiences of Beckett’s that are significant to our phenomenological focus.
In a chapter of Damned to Fame detailing Beckett’s experiences of World War II, we read how at most turns after escaping the occupation of Paris, Beckett was ‘tired and hungry’, so much so that Beckett would later write that the last time he ‘…wept was in Cahors, in 1940.’ Here, as much as on his return to live in occupied Paris or his time with the French Resistance, Beckett’s body would have been knocked with rough, urgent travel with his skin tingling for fear of Nazi aggression as well as sleeping on hard floors and understanding through his whole body just how rough Being is.
Before the war, in a letter dated March 30th, 1937, Beckett tells Gunter Albrecht that he has been given Karl Ballmer’s Aber Herr Heidegger [But Mr. Heidegger] to read – far before he was to write Film and with plenty of time to develop a further interest in Heidegger’s works through reading and his aforementioned war experiences.
Much of what is interesting and valuable about Beckett’s letters are that they reveal the people he met and felt compelled to write to in his life. Jean Beaufret studied in 1930 at the Ecole Normal Superieure as a philosophy student while Beckett studied, and eventually taught, there. The two would later write many engaging letters to other on many topics. Beaufret’s focus was on German philosophers and he later ‘…engaged Heidegger in dialogue about French existentials and Greek philosophy, publishing Dialogue avec Heidegger (in four volumes)’. From this we can see that Beckett would have encountered Heidegger from a very early point and would have probably been engaged in in-depth debates. Beckett also wrote frequently, before and after the war, to Percival Arland Ussher; Ussher published Journey Through Dread (1955) which referenced Heidegger among others. Of Beckett’s personal, physical history, Steven Connor writes:
Didier Anzieu has suggested that Beckett’s [physically personal] sufferings took the form of a ‘toxic skin’, in which the phantasmal epidermis that should serve as a model of containment and communication between self and world was both itself lacerated and acted as a suffocating constriction on the self
From this quote, we can see Connor stating Beckett’s struggle with ‘communication between self and world’ in his texts; Beckett was once told that he had ‘Barber’s Itch’ [Sycosis Vulgaris – or vulgar skin, if you will] after he had contracted an infection and this difficulty in communication, this barrier, would have been literally represented on and to Beckett at that time. Having rough skin must have added to his personal experience of roughened Being.
Though rough, Constance Classen points out the ‘perfection’ of excited, roughened and different skin when she quotes the Futurists in her book, The Book of Touch:
“On the other hand, diseased sensibilities, which derive their excitability and their apparent perfection from their bodies’ very weakness, achieve the great tactile faculty less easily, more haphazardly and unreliably”
So even those cold mechanics the Futurists saw the importance of ‘diseased [roughened] sensibilities’ and the ‘great tactile faculty’ – this I have included because Beckett’s involvement in the war may have alerted him to their ideas at the time but their cultural effect after the war would definitely have been in his awareness and so the quote is apt both to his understanding and experience of roughened personal experiences, not to mention reminiscent of many of the characters in his later works.
From personal experiences of roughened Being, we can now move on to see how rough, embodied, cutaneous and tactile studies in literature have found Beckett’s work. Steven Connor’s essay in Beckett and Phenomenology, while briefly pointing out that ‘Beckett and Sartre’ discussions have been worn out and need reinvigorating, discusses Beckett and Sartre’s rough, struggling understanding of the body. Connor works throughout his essay to reinstate Sartre’s place – a place of slimy haptic struggle – in the body of phenomenology and therefore its relevance to Beckett and the problematic body, all as ‘a project of striving’. Striving then is a form of continued, roughened Being.
Connor states clearly, at the start of his essay, that ‘Discussions of Sartre and Beckett have tended to emphasize the anguish of subjectivity rather than the lived condition of the body’ and then sets out to define what it is about Beckett’s works that are both related to Sartre and the way they both use the body. In the following quote, Connor highlights this connection well:
The list of examples Sartre provides of the way in which the world ubiquitously indicates the body which is my way of being in it (really, and more briefly, my way of being it) not only has Beckettian cast, it also employs some distinctively Beckettian properties.
So not only is their shared conceptual usage similar but the way in which Sartre writes about the body is a little absurd, abstracted and ‘distinctively Beckettian’. This highlights not only what rough ontologies the Beckett Studies canon has found in Beckett but what roughness is found in one of our originary framework-definition-texts within this essay – thrusting us further toward a reevaluation of Film through the tactile eye of phenomenology.
This absurd, rough relationship to the body continues in Connor’s essay by taking on the oscillation of Beckett’s characters between being-in-the-world and spectrality:
The spectrality of Beckett’s later works, the quality…of not quite being there, has been the subject of much attention in recent years, by critics who have related it to the ‘ghosting’ of the body in technology and media. Sartre’s formulation helps us to grasp this spectrality in a different sense. They are spectral, not because the body is erased or made less manifest, but because they are ‘body-haunted’…they are ghostly because they disclose the haunting of the body that is characteristic of the living…
In this, the Beckettian state of ‘not quite being there’ is equated with an internal disconnection with the body or, as is more fully explained in the following quote, Connor says, ‘The body is brought into existence by the way in which consciousness exists as embodied, which is to say, in both necessarily recognizing and refusing the body as itself.’ So the spectral nature of characters in Beckett’s work are not always ‘body-haunted’ – except when they are a Ghost Trio, one would imagine, possibly – but instead simply Being, when Being is both Dasein, through Dasein’s thrownness, and Nothingness through an absence of identity/body-identity/self-identification. Connor concludes these points succinctly when he says, ‘ For both Beckett and Sartre, embodiment takes the form of a nausea, a proximity-to-self which can neither be purged nor absorbed.’
As editor of and essayist in Beckett and Phenomenology, Ulrika Maude pairs Beckett’s works with Merleau-Ponty’s approach to perceptual experience. She says of the pairing:
Merleau-Ponty evokes the sense of touch side by side with vision…vision itself becomes a kind of caress, a complete intermingling of the subject and the world…What Samuel Beckett shares with Merleau-Ponty is his…strikingly similar treatment of perceptual experience.
In this quote, Maude has put Merleau-Ponty and Beckett side by side in their phenomenological as well as conceptual approach – the ‘intermingling of the subject and the world’ evident in Merleau-Ponty, and phenomenology in general, is key to our exploration of Film. Continuing from a general philosophical standpoint, Maude says ‘For Beckett….the object of representation resists representation… [-] a view that Beckett shares with Merleau-Ponty…’ and this too is reinforced by our earlier look at Beckett’s toxic skin/sycosis vulgaris; in having felt that resistance within and without himself, we can easily see – especially holding onto our immediately previous Maude quote – how objects would resist representation when Beckett resists representation himself.
Maude uses an excellent quote from Beckett’s letters to focus her essay. In its full context, Maude writes:
…somatic immediacy may finally be one of the ways in which Beckett’s work achieves that mourned for ‘integrity of the eyelids coming down before the brain knows of grit in the wind’.
The quote at the end is taken from a letter Beckett wrote to Tom McGreevy in October 1932 criticizing his own writing for not having that integrity. However, Maude is right when she says his focus on somatic [bodily] immediacy helps Beckett achieve works of integrity and necessity. Beckett’s works have often been discussed in terms of concrete essentials and making only what is necessary to the theatrical event available on stage – this is also true of Film – and one of the main ways he achieves this is by being so focused on the body in his stage directions, directions and his approach.
Maude describes Beckett’s ‘fleshy nature’ and so constitutes a bodily, messy, rough reworking of ontology when she says ‘Beckett’s preoccupation with the embodied nature of vision persists throughout his career…’. This is helpful to us when considering Film and the tactile eye. This fleshing out of vision is reinforced when we read that Maude thinks Beckett’s work also ‘…acknowledges the fleshy nature of vision in its realization that the senses eventually fail us and fade’ – more rough-edged somaticism.
On the body, but in light of what we just read of vision also, we can return to Maude’s reading of Beckett’s representation of object and subject. As seen in this quote and echoed from earlier, Beckett can be seen to have struggled through the creative process:
The challenge for Beckett’s writing would not only be to reimagine the relationship between subject and world, and hence to outline a new phenomenology of perception, but to create a mode of expression in which these reimaginings could be represented.
The reimagining of subject and object while maintaining the resistance Beckett felt to representation is the challenge in Maude’s words. One suggestion from Maude would be blurring the two, after all ‘Blurring is also an ironic comment on the codes of mastery inherent in vision, a theme Beckett revisits in Film, where the effect is achieved through the use of a gauze filter…’ and in so mentioning, reinforces our investigation into a philosophy of touch in Film.
In general, not much has been written specifically on Beckett’s roughened ontological textures except in the last few years – and mainly spearheaded by Ulrika Maude and her work – but critics have written on related matters over the course of the middle-to-end of the 20th century. David Pattie collates all the critical works published on Beckett in his book The Complete Critical Guide to Samuel Beckett up until 1999. As well as critical and literary study receptions, Pattie discusses directorial interpretations and in one found a director who felt Beckett’s works to be touchingly humanistic by being at their most spare. This is evinced when Pattie says, ‘For [Ruby] Cohn, the plays themselves had increasingly become dramatizations of essential existence.’ Essential existence in that quote can be equated to human contingent-being interactions and Being itself.
Following on from that phenomenological approach, Pattie states:
For [Lance St. John] Butler, Beckett occupied the same territory as Heidegger and Sartre… [and Butler thought] Beckett’s writing expressed the inaccessible mystery of being; it described a via negativa, a rejection of the world in favour of the spiritual truth contained, inexpressibly, in Being.
In Lance St John Butler, here we see another proponent of the phenomenological Beckett. Lance St. John Butler undertook a seminal, thorough investigation of phenomenology in Beckett’s oeuvre in his book Samuel Beckett and the Meaning of Being however, since he doesn’t undertake a thorough analysis of Film, we will be returning to Butler in Chapter 5. Pattie’s usage of ‘rejection’ sits closely to Maude’s earlier stated resistance to representation much as ‘spiritual truth’ always will.
We see another connection between a work Pattie mentions and one of our previously used essayists in the following quote:
…Hwa Soon Kim, in a study influenced by Derrida, Lacan and Bakhtin, argued that Beckett’s work in the theatre enacted a dialogue between the characters’ sense of hope, their compulsive need to act, and their strongly expressed wish for extinction.
The connection we have to Hwa Soon Kim is that Steven Connor, in his essay ‘Beckett’s Atmospherics’, states how ‘Beckett’s characters desire and aspire to the condition of expiry.’ This desire for expiration is a thrownness of Being, a wish for nothingness and a very rough ontological texture.
In his own words, Pattie tells us that Film ‘suggests that there is no escape from perception, because the self always perceives itself – that is, we regard ourselves both as subjects and as objects.’ Phenomenologically speaking, Merleau-Ponty could not have put it better himself. Pattie’s embodied understanding of the subject-object relationship in Film is an excellent starting point to Chapter 4 where we will unction our phenomenological-haptic-aesthetic theoretical framework and evidence of rough ontological textures into Film to evince their significance.
‘One can never be simply aware of the act or fact of being aware; one can only be aware indirectly, through being aware of something. Awareness is in fact interest, attention, absorption: being taken up in the world.’
- Steven Connor
Chapter 4 – Beckett’s Musculature: applying unctioned rough ontological textures, a Philosophy of Touch and contemporary-phenomenological cinema studies to Film.
We will now use all that we’ve discussed, explored and defined to analyze Film directly. We will be using the terms defined in our theoretical framework, from Chapter 2, as sections under which to examine Film – all the while, referring back to philosophical and critical factors that reinforce Film‘s tactility – but we will also do this in the spirit of Steven Connor’s academic practice of Cultural Phenomenology, feeling our way through analysis.
I. Blurring of object & subject [watched and watching], affective touching & the tactile eye.
Tactility is where we will begin looking at how we touch on, are touched by, and feel the textures of Film and how that, in turn, blurs the object-subject relationship between us as viewer and participant.
In the first second of Film, we see a leathery skin that then opens to reveal an eye. Though much focus has been put on the eye of that opening sequence, in the opening and closing of that eye we can feel depth and folds of the leathery eyelid. This transposes [and transforms] into an outside wall of much the same texture – a long, panning shot is then given of the wall. This too lets us feel and breathe in the texture with our eyes as the camera invites us to caress what it sees.
At 1 minute 11 seconds, when the camera [referred to in the film script as E and hereafter by us as E] begins to follow O [played by Buster Keaton], a very distinct distance is kept between the two but due to the angle taken it feels as though E is reaching toward, and holding onto, O’s shoulder. This vestibular sense of a leaning forward affects us to reach for O and so we are touched through a desire to touch on. This also blurs the relationship between us as viewer and participant as we begin to lean into the body of the film and the for-itself world of the film progressively. O also blurs his subject with all objects in the film as he rubs up against them – walls especially and we will come to look at this more when analyzing inhabiting/escaping space.
The substance of the celluloid-film itself is a tactile object in Film, also. At various moments a white line will appear down the right hand side of the screen – some might say that this was a mistake but due to the production being done in 1965, this line could have easily been removed or filmed on better quality film. So then we have to see this line as a specific choice. It is as Enoch Brater says:
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Film is its period quality…Temporal location is crucial to Film, for Beckett sets out not only to re-create the ambiance of the late twenties but to incorporate the cinematic techniques in use at that time.
Indeed the cinematic techniques of the late nineteen twenties are evident in the white line, the scratches and the bobbles on the film. So too is the actual blurring filter, of O’s vision-perspective, that is applied to the lens of the camera a cinematic technique applied in order to enable our tactile eye and blur the subject-object relationship while encouraging us to feel further into the celluloid of the film and the world of Film. This is well put by Barker when she says:
…film obscures its objects…to make vision difficult and thus to invite the viewer to feel rather than see the film, to make contact with its skin. And we respond accordingly, touching back, concealing and revealing ourselves to the film and pressing ourselves against it. [My emphasis.]
Here Barker is discussing a movie from her explorations in The Tactile Eye but it applies to Film and all film, too. We can feel instant parallels here to Film. The obscuring of objects through O’s blurred perspective encourages us and makes O reach out and touch things in reciprocity instead of passively absorbing Film. O frequently pauses and checks his pulse throughout Film – another series of moments that encourages us to question what we are seeing and to feel further into the film’s body, especially when it is blurred from O’s perspective but not from E’s.
Directly tactile scenes and individual shots from Film are evident, also. Remembering that our definition of tactile refers to weight and pressure sensitivity in the hands, it follows that O’s aforementioned pulse-checking is just one of many opportunities for us to sense the pressure and weight being applied within, and without to us, Film. At 2 minutes and 36 seconds, an old woman descending the stairs fondles the flowers in her flower basket, then at 2 minutes and 44 seconds the camera follows the motion of her hand as it goes to and grabs the staircase banister. The weight of these movements, light and heavy respectively, are pushed on to us by the weight the camera bestows on them through its following – not only that but it is the focus on the hands that gives a real sense of the importance of tactility within Film.
O’s hands are also emphasized regularly for a further handling of tactility. When removing the material over his face, it is significant that O’s hand lingers in shot; as it is when he is putting sheets over things in the apartment, to rid him of their gaze, O rubs the sheet down to feel that it is in place and E sees only O’s hands several times over. This emphasis on the hands is significant not only for tactility’s sake. In presenting to us the pressure sensitivity of O’s hands, we experience an affective touch where we seem to feel what O feels while we are being encouraged to use our hands in feeling things out then instantly a blurring of us as viewer and actor in the film occurs. This continued phenomenological blurring of object and subject through touching is further weight to this essay’s argument.
Further, more vigorous affective touching takes place when O destroys paintings and pictures – O rips up a painting that has particularly large eyes and later destroys photographs of his history after encountering a picture of his contemporary-self looking directly at him. In seeing these objects destroyed from O’s subjective position, we are implicit in their destruction through O’s quick and forceful hand movements – especially since a moment before ripping up the photographs, O strokes one softly and we are blurred into a moment of tactile tenderness amidst the comedy and the tragedy.
Though seemingly tragic, the end of Film is touching – O puts his hands to his eyes then the credits end with a close-up shot of O’s other, cataract-ed eye closing so we end, as we began, with the leathery eyelid. In this ending we have: assured tactility as the O’s hands take the weight of his head and we feel the texture, not only of the leathery eyelid, but of the glassy depth to the cataract eye; so too do we have an affective touching because we are touched by O and the impossibility of escape from contingent-beings and Being-in-the-world; and the object-subject relationship is blurred here, not only in the watched and watchings’ shared tactility and affected touching but, through the answer to the question running through Film – namely, can we escape perception? Can we ever not be perceived? In us watching O being known, felt and watched by E, only forces us to come to know that O is E, the answer becomes a matter of Nothingness in spatial intelligence. It is as Brater says, ‘O’s attempt to remove all perception ultimately fails because he cannot escape self-perception.’
II. Thrownness of embodied-screen-space and Nothingness in spatial intelligence
Embodied existence is what gives O his inability to escape self-perception. As viewers, our thrownness (our projecting of our body onto O’s and the for-itself of the film’s body) makes us doubly aware of this embodied existence. So too does our spatial intelligence, even when sitting to experience a film. There are many moments in Film that upse(a)t our experience to make it more than simply watching.
O’s lowered body stance on entry then his abrupt upright change, then immediate pause give our own bodies an upthrust into the body of Film. In this early, short sequence of Film we are not only entering into O’s kinaesthetic experience of the movie but we are given a relative movement to follow and breathe in. Once following O in body and movement, we are weighted with the struggling scuttle of his movements which knock down a (working bench/a makeshift sign) a hurdle at 1 minute, 14 seconds only to walk the (railway sleeper) plank at 1 minute, 20 seconds. These points of upsurge to hurdle to walking could be a representation of growing from child to man and/or growing from not-entirely-self-conscious to self-conscious – what they definitely are are challenges to our bodies to feel the kinaesthetic and vestibular movements and the actual space traversed by O as well as an immediate sub-conscious analysis of the spatial distance between us and O. Even as the angle of E leans forward to reach for O, we experience that distance and that leaning reminding us of how we throw our bodies into the screen-space.
At times, initially 1 minute and 20 seconds in to be precise, O seems to have no spatial intelligence and bumps into a couple. When we see from O’s blurred perspective, there is little but the expected reaction from the couple but when the couple see E – and in so doing see us, the moviegoer – there is a reaction of revulsion. In seeing E and us seeing them, they experience ‘…a kind of shared coenesthesia, in which I affectively (nauseously) participate in the Other’s nauseated self-tasting… [they] get a taste of the Other’s taste of himself’ as Steven Connor describes Sartre’s understanding of phenomenological encounterance with other contingent beings. The nothingness detailed in Chapter 2 is now present here in Film, in the body of the film, in us and between us and the screen.
Once in the ‘maternal womb’ of the apartment, O feels less eyes on him and able to exist a little more freely – signified by his removal of the material covering his face. Once O has inspected the entirety of the apartment twice and removed all the eyes of the room, he falls asleep (at 14 minutes and 53 seconds) in a rocking chair; E then tries to move around to face O but (at 14 minutes and 59 seconds) O wakes up, sensing someone is trying to perceive him. O’s spatial intelligence kicks in even when asleep. Before that, he has measured up his surroundings and taken in the space in which he now exists – spatial intelligence is key to O when in the apartment, if not before. We too sense a heightened awareness of space in the apartment and especially as we are now given a different, far closer embodied-screen-space. When O is in the rocking chair, we see over his shoulder and when O has fallen asleep, the camera comes around his side as if we were side stepping around the chair. This encourages a thrownness, on our part, to get involved in the scene and sneak around the screen-space to see O; in large part, this has been encouraged throughout the film, not only by the camera’s placing and our haptic-philosophical approach but, by denying us access to O’s face. This distasteful encounter, though not entirely upsetting, does remind us of the nothingness present in being physically close to other contingent beings.
This nothingness and thrownness is experienced physically by O in Film in that he actually sees himself wholly and in the flesh watching himself. We are also thus physically thrown, both by our adjustment to E’s physical form and our entering into the film body, as well as our empathic upseating as O is taken aback enough to sit up in his seat. This is a scene with very short frame cuts – now that the camera is revealed as E, we can only see O seeing E and E seeing O – and this too upsets us due to its violent nature. We are thrown re-embodied into the body of the film via E’s new physical presence; our screen-space is now wholly in between E and O but due to the fact that E is O, our understanding of the previous screen space leaves us disembodied; our nothingness revealed, we are upset and upseated, much as O is at the end of Film.
III – Inhabiting/escaping space
Near the beginning of Film we are presented with a long, slow shot of decrepit tenements, and then O abruptly enters. Later, just before O enters a building, we are given a slow shot of an alleyway that eventually zooms in on O. All of O’s actions are either done with kinaesthetic struggle or sharpness. These actions juxtaposed to the slow, imposing shots of his surrounds represent the immediate difficulty in occupying a space, reminding us that we are always inhabiting some space or escaping what we consider one only to be in another but also representing the long struggle between inhabiting and escaping both the body and our environments. If we are watching ourselves watching, we are also pushed to feel ourselves inhabiting space – the aged tenements and dirty alleyway are very different from a cinema screening or even watching from the comfort of home and so Film encourages us once more to feel out our space as much as it encourages us to inhabit the world of the film. Yet our focus is supposed to be on the screen – here lies the struggle Film makes us consider.
In considering space and spaces, the space begins to inhabit the body as much as the body inhabits the space. Once in the apartment, O feels out the entirety of it with his tactile eye; looking around, he gathers a sense of space and inspects all the elements in the room; one of his first actions is to draw the blind and close the curtains but in order to do that he must make his way around the wall. O does so by feeling his way around the wall with his hands. I read all of these movements not only as further thrust for our haptic argument but also as an extension of that – O is actually feeling out his space, first with a tactile eye, then reading spatial intelligence with haptic-vision and then, when he is using his hands, he is blurring his sense of presence (his self) with that of his habitat. Yeoryia Manolopoulou hints at this in her essay on Film when she says:
The architectural interior may have clear physical boundaries, but the interior of vision oscillates between the eye and the gaze, physical and psychological relationships that constantly shift in space.
This constant shifting in space is relatable to the blurring of object and subject. If an apartment O is in is actually felt by his hands, does he not affect the apartment? And is he not affected by the apartment? Though O inhabits and affects the space, he still wishes to escape perception. Though his wish is answered with a resounding ‘no’, O’s inhabiting/escaping struggle is an essential part of the Sartre understanding of embodied phenomenology and so then contemporary-haptic-phenomenology.
IV – Relative time in everydayness and movement, encounterance and experience
Though we will come to it later in more detail, the camera lens too is embodied. So much so that its movements often feel as if they are being done in real-time – relative time in everyday movement, then.
In the opening shots of Film after we have seen the eyelid and eye, the camera looks slowly over the rough-textured wall for a full 20 seconds before lingering over the tenements for another 10 then moving slowly back over the course of another 20 seconds to the wall. This movement feels out the texture of the wall as if it were a person looking, moving their head slowly as to take in all of their surroundings. This is a phenomenological approach because, not only is the audience subject blurred with the camera object instantly in the real-time taken to absorb the surroundings but also because, of the relativity involved in understanding those opening shots – it is a human real-time movement to take in its surrounds in a slow sweep and also, as it is in black and white and the area is run down, we also assume that these are shots from a past time. A relative understanding of time is necessary here then – Beckett made Film in 1965 and so any viewer watching it has had to consider its 1920′s silent-film aesthetic and understand Film as relative to that but removed from it – this relativity is something we saw as necessary to phenomenology and contemporary-haptic-phenomenology.
In section II of this chapter, I wrote about the possibility that – when considering the odd physically upsurging nature of O’s entrance, the sign he knocks down at 1 minute, 14 seconds and the railway sleeper he walks at 1 minute, 20 seconds – it could be seen as a representation of growing from child to man and/or growing from not-entirely-self-conscious to self-conscious. As this whole series of events ends at 1 minute, 27 seconds with O encountering and bumping into other people, we could see this as a fitting end to the visual metaphor of growing from child to man because in O’s encounterance of others, he is also encountering the social world of adults and being perceived as a part of that world. This possible visual metaphor is specific to time as a relative concept because of its condensed nature – O is born into the world (of the film) and is fully-grown then thrown into the world, all in 1 minute 27 seconds. This is aided by knowing that Beckett wrote many of his works with philosophy in mind and the phenomenological term of an ‘upsurge’ is used, in different ways, by both Merleau-Ponty and Sartre. So then, O’s condensed trajectory is both his upsurge into the world of the film (his birth), and the upsurge of the world at him (his grown entering into encounterances with the adult world and others) and so fitting the experience of growth and the concept of relative time.
V – Reciprocity with environment
Film itself charts a trajectory of the continued blurring of object and subject through a focus on O’s environment. As mentioned earlier in section I, O rubs up against most surfaces he encounters to make sure that things are in place and affirm their position. Read earlier as a blurring of subject and object, this is also a form of O’s reciprocity with the environment of the world of Film. Without the walls that he rubs up against being there, O wouldn’t have a wall to guide him or an apartment wall to feel his way around. The reverse of this need for the environment is evident in the long slow tenement shot we see at the beginning because without it we would not understand O’s desire for the safety of the ‘maternal womb’ apartment and O’s environment would not be home to said apartment. Therefore a reciprocity with the environment within Film is established from the start.
Our own reciprocity with our environment, as cinema-goers, is continually challenged while experiencing Film. Throughout this chapter we’ve already explored ways in which Film draws us into the body of film but when it pushes us to be perceived, for example, when the couple first look at us in nauseous horror, it also upsets us enough to look around us at the other members of the audience. While in reciprocity with the body of Film we are also forced to consider how our cinema environment touches us as we affectively touch and are situated in it.
Even the camera in Film has a reciprocity with its environment. Not only the close up textured walls and the long tenement shots but, in order for E to face O in the apartment, it too feels its way around the walls of the apartment. This necessary touching on the walls by E conveys a utilization of – and therefore a need for – the wall that also breathes a life into the lens.
VI – Relative Being and the life of the lens
Not only is the reel of film embodied but so too is the lens – it has a life of its own. We will now evince this life in Film.
In the long, sweeping shots of the roughly textured wall and the decrepit tenements at the beginning of Film, the action of the camera feels as if it were a human – or an audience member – standing looking slowly down the street and turning our heads in the time that it would usually take someone to turn their head. It is a slow absorption of the body of the film – in texture, in colour, in weight and space – as well as breathing life into the lens by giving it a relative kinaesthetic reality. This weighted approach encourages us, as watchers, to lend our tactile eye to lens of the film and thus give it life.
By making Film in black and white, Beckett chose to convey the feel of the grit of the 1920s and the difficult struggle of artistic experiments tried then, as Brater says ‘Beckett’s Film displays a fascination with the technology of the camera lens linking it very closely to the more ambitious films of the twenties.’ This too gives us a relative life of the lens – its own chronology, from early experiments to the 1960s when Film was made, is one life layer but so too is it – when experiencing the body of the film in black and white. The black and white nature of the film gives us an instant dichotomy to consider – on or off, black or white, perceived or not. In its 1960s context, this question is answered as O’s question about the possibility of not being perceived is answered – with a resounding ‘no’. However it isn’t the answer that we want but the use of black and white that gives us the question. This question then gives the lens a history, a question and a resounding intent, all of the things needed for an experience of life.
The lens’ balance – or vestibular sense – is also evident in Film. As soon as O enters, it is thrown in a jerky fashion to the left and then a strict distance is kept between O and E, as if leaning in but also, as if this balance of distance and observation were broken then E may fall down, off-kilter. This not only conveys the thrownness of Being and embodiment, as discussed earlier, but also a sense of the exteroceptive forces on the lens and the very proprioception of the lens – in short, how it holds itself.
At 3 minutes and 12 seconds in, E sees directly from O’s perspective. This occurs many times throughout Film as indicators that O is E and vice versa. This ‘…surrealist habit of juxtaposing unexpected visual perspectives (E’s point of view colliding in montage with O’s)…’ is used to give the audience early warning that O is E but also to supplant O with E and give a new body to E, a new life.
A new life is what Beckett wanted for the actor playing O, also. Though Beckett had wanted Charlie Chaplin initially, he was very pleased that Buster Keaton could act for Film. The 1920s setting of Film required a 1920s screen star; given its 1960s filming, this choice was intended to transform the star – once a slapstick star, now Keaton was in a role as serious and as philosophically eerie as any of Beckett’s theatrical characters. The look that E gives O at the end of Film, though not negative, is one of portent. Thus the lens transforms Keaton from comedy figure to portentous perceived and perceiver.
‘The final confrontation with self becomes the ultimate “film” itself…The real privilege in Film belongs neither to E nor to O…but to the cinematographic eye…Film is thus a movie about the experience of our eyes watching other eyes watching us…Far from distancing us, Beckett has his eyes on us, carefully drawing us into the action and making us the protagonists.’
- Enoch Brater
Chapter 5 – Corneal Denigration & Cortical Reconfiguration: concluding Beckett’s philosophical history and clarifying his Film-ic philosophical intent.
Chapter 4 ended with an allusion to the technological. I have refrained from focusing on technology in this essay so that the connections between Film and contemporary-haptic-philosophy can be made but as this chapter’s epigraph makes clear, the technology of the camera – the cinematographic eye – is very important in both the life of the lens and the philosophy Beckett was working with.
In embracing and playing with the form of film, Beckett was opening up the cinematic eye’s history and self-knowledge. Achieved by using black and white and references to eyes, Beckett’s technological exploration is fitting for contemporary-haptic-philosophy as was noted in Chapter 2. I propose that Beckett understood the somatic nature of the technologies of film so much that he knew the questions raised in Film would not be done as well in any other medium.
This essay owes a great deal to Lance St. John Butler’s Samuel Beckett and the Meaning of Being, mentioned in Chapter 3, for his in-depth phenomenological exploration of Beckett’s oeuvre however Butler doesn’t ever fully analyze Film but instead gives a thorough look at the deep connections between phenomenology and Beckett. Due to this essay’s debt to Butler, I have reserved two quotes to use in conclusion and to further reinforce my argument’s strength in the last chapter. Butler writes, ‘Beckett’s characters may be said generally to ‘exist’ in the Heideggerian way,’ and ‘Being is Being-with, Beckett expresses the same thing…especially in Film where the Other is carried within.’ Here we see Butler connect Beckett to Heidegger and Sartre in two dense but simple sentences.
Much as Butler connects Heidegger, Sartre and Beckett, we have connected the contemporary, interdisciplinary work of 21st century phenomenologists to their forebears and to Beckett through our theoretical framework and cultural phenomenology. In doing so, our praxis has thoroughly felt out the haptic-phenomenology in Film. Though this essay has had to connect many new terms to old ones, its argument is clear and that Beckett’s musculature can be seen in Film.
 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith, (1962). (London: Routledge Classics, 2002. p. 169)
 Samuel Beckett (Writer), Alan Schneider (Dir.), Film. (USA: Evergreen Productions, 1966)
 Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes. (USA: University of California Press, 1994)
 Denis Diderot (1749), ‘Letter on the Blind, for the Benefit of Those who See’ trans. M.J. Morgan in Molyneux’s Question: Vision, Touch and the Philosophy of Perception. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.)
 Charles S. Sherrington, ‘ON THE PROPRIO-CEPTIVE SYSTEM, ESPECIALLY IN ITS REFLEX ASPECT’, Brain.(1907) <http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/29/4/467.pdf> [accessed on 08th April, 2009.] (p.469)
 Ibid. (p.472 )
 Edmund Husserl, [trans. Dorion Cairns], Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology (The Hague: M. Nijhoff , 1973)
 Martin Heidegger (1927), [trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson], Being and Time. (London: Blackwell Publishing, 1962. p.267)
 Martin Heidegger, (1954) ‘The Question Concerning Technology,’ Basic Writings, [ed. David Krell] (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993. pp. 328-340)
 As has been re-highlighted by Steven Connor’s essay in Matthew Feldman and Ulrika Maude [eds.], Beckett and Phenomenology (London: Continuum Literary Studies, 2009) which we will consider in Chapter 3.
 Jean-Paul Sartre (1943), [trans. Hazel E. Barnes.], Being and Nothingness: An essay on phenomenological ontology. (London: Routledge Classics, 2003.)
 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, [trans. Colin Smith] Phenomenology of Perception. (London: Routledge Classics, 2002)
 Further useful examples of work from this period are The Primacy of Perception (1964) and The Visible and the Invisible, Followed by Working Notes (1968)
 Ashley Montagu, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin. (USA: Columbia University Press, 1971. p. viii)
 Ibid. (pp. 20 – 21)
 Mikel Dufrenne, [trans. Edward S. Casey] The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience. (USA: Northwestern University Press, 1973. pp. 188-189)
 Didier Anzieu, [trans. Chris Turner] The Skin Ego. (USA: Yale University Press, 1989)
 James Jerome Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. (Boston, USA: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1979. p. 2)
 David Appelbaum, The Interpenetrating Reality. (New York, Peter Lang, 1988)
 Michel Serres, Les Cinq Sens. (Paris: Grasset, 1985)
 Gilles Deleuze, [trans. Hugh Tomlinson & Barbara Habberjam] Cinema 1: the movement-image. (London: Continuum, 2005)
 Drew Leder, The Absent Body. (USA: University of Chicago Press, 1990. pp. 24-25)
 Ibid. (p.150)
 Tamsin Lorraine [ed.], Irigaray & Deleuze. (Ithaca, USA: Cornell University Press, 1999)
 Barry Smith & David Woodruff Smith (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Husserl. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.)
 Pages 91 and 92 detail his approach to skin succinctly.
 Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes. (USA: University of California Press, 1993)
 Constance Classen, Worlds of Sense: exploring the senses in history and across culture. (London: Routledge, 1993.)
 Constance Classen [(ed.], Book of Touch. (Oxford: Berg, 2005.)
 Stelarc, Orlan and universities embracing sciences/arts hybrids enough to make whole departments [Greenwich 2010, Edinburgh before them]
 Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility, and other Writings on Media, (eds.) Michael William Jennings, Brigid Doherty, Thomas Y. Levin. (USA: Harvard University Press, 2008. p. 39)
 Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, [trans. Geraldine Carr], Treatise on the Sensations. (Los Angeles: University of Southern California, 1930. p. 59)
 Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion: journeys in art, architecture and film. (London: Verso, 2002. p. 252)
 Ibid. (p. 251)
 Robert H. McKim, Experiences in Visual Thinking. (California: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1972. p. 61)
 Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film: intercultural cinema, embodiment, and the senses. (Durham, USA: Duke University Press, 2000. p. 131)
 Ibid. (p. 127)
 Ibid. (p. 129)
 George Berkeley (1713) and Colin M. Turbayne, Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. (Indianapolis, USA: Bobbs-Merrill, 1954. p. 45)
 Jean-Paul Sartre (1943), Being and Nothingness: An essay on phenomenological ontology, trans. Hazel E. Barnes. (London: Routledge Classics, 2003. p.333)
 Martin Heidegger (1927), Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. (London: Blackwell Publishing, 1962. p. 27)
 Ibid. (p. 84)
 However, as William Large points out, Heidegger is more clearly saying ‘I am not in the past, present and future, rather I am my past, present and future.’ – from William Large, Heidegger’s Being and Time. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. p. 90)
 Martin Heidegger (1927), Being and Time. (p. 387)
 Jennifer M. Barker, The Tactile Eye. (USA: University of California Press, 2009.)
 Martin Heidegger (1927), Being and Time. (p. 93)
 Ibid. p. 100
 Mark Paterson, The Senses of Touch. (Oxford: Berg, 2007. pp. 59-79)
 Matthew Feldman and Ulrika Maude [eds.], Beckett and Phenomenology . (p. 58)
 Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness. (p. 37)
 Ibid. (p. 40)
 Ibid. (pp. 44-45)
 Ibid. (p. 330)
 Ibid. (p. 331)
 Ibid. (p. 333)
 Mark Paterson, The Senses of Touch. (pp. 79-80)
 Ibid. (p. 85)
 Ibid. (p. 101)
 Ibid. (p. 95)
 Yeoryia Manolopoulou, (2004) ‘The interior of vision: Beckett’s Film and experiments with Viewing Instrument 1 (VI1)’, The Journal of Architecture, 9: 3, 315 — 330.
 James Jerome Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. (p. 2)
 Jennifer M. Barker, The Tactile Eye. (p. 2)
 Steven Connor, The Book of Skin. (London: Reaktion Books, 2004. p. 261)
 Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film: intercultural cinema, embodiment, and the senses. (p. 129)
 Ibid. (p. 138)
 Mark Paterson, The Senses of Touch. (pp.79-81)
 Samuel Beckett, The Grove Centenary Edition IV. (USA: New York, Grove Press, 2006. p. 415)
 James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett. (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1996.)
 Ibid. (pp. 297-318)
 Ibid. (p. 299)
 Ibid. (p. 302)
 Ibid. (pp. 303-318)
 Martha Dow Fehsenfeld & Lois More Overbeck (eds.), The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 1: 1929-1940. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. p. 480)
 Ibid. (p. 688)
 Ibid. (p. 717)
 James Knowlson, Damned to Fame. (p. 118)
 F.T. Marinetti in Constance Classen, The Book of Touch. (Oxford: Berg, 2005. p. 330)
 Matthew Feldman and Ulrika Maude [eds.], Beckett and Phenomenology. (London: Continuum Literary Studies, 2009.)
 Ibid. (p. 60)
 Ibid. (p. 57)
 Ibid. (p. 59)
 Ibid. (pp. 62-63)
 Ibid. (p. 63)
 Ibid. (p. 74)
 Ibid. (p. 77)
 Ibid. (p. 80)
 Ibid. (p. 90)
 Ibid. (p. 89)
 Ibid. (pp. 89-90)
 Ibid. (p. 85)
 Ibid. (p. 87)
 See Ulrika Maude, Beckett, Technology and the Body.
 David Pattie, The Complete Critical Guide to Samuel Beckett. (London: Routledge, 2000)
 Ibid. (p. 180)
 Ibid. (p. 183)
 Lance St. John Butler, Samuel Beckett and the Meaning of Being. (London: Macmillan, 1984)
 Ibid. (p. 196)
 David Pattie, The Complete Critical Guide to Samuel Beckett. (p. 94)
 “..more candour than rigour, more curiosity than critique, more immersion…closer to the grain of experience than had often been customary…cultural phenomenology, would enlarge, diversify and particularise the study of culture…It would inherit from the phenomenological tradition an aspiration to articulate the worldliness and embodiedness of experience – the in-the-worldness of all existence.” Steven Connor, ‘Making an Issue of Cultural Phenomenology’, Cultural Phenomenology, <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/english/skc/cp/incipit2.htm> [accessed 13th June, 2010]
 Enoch Brater, Beyond Minimalism. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. p. 75)
 Jennifer M. Barker, The Tactile Eye. (p. 23)
 See 8 minutes and 53 seconds into Film for a good, initial example.
 Brater agrees. Enoch Brater, Beyond Minimalism. (p. 78)
 Enoch Brater, Beyond Minimalism. (p. 78)
 Matthew Feldman & Ulrika Maude [eds.], Beckett and Phenomenology. (pp. 70-71)
 Enoch Brater, Beyond Minimalism. (p. 82)
 Enoch Brater, Beyond Minimalism. (p. 82)
 “…the camera and the cornea…Viewer and film share certain ways of being in, seeing, and grasping the world, despite their vast differences as human and machine, one blood and tissue, the other light and celluloid.” Jennifer M. Barker, The Tactile Eye. (p. 8)
 Enoch Brater, Beyond Minimalism. (p. 75)
 Ibid. (p. 75)
 James Knowlson, Damned to Fame. (p. 522)
 Enoch Brater, Beyond Minimalism. (p. 79)
 Lance St. John Butler’s Samuel Beckett and the Meaning of Being. (p. 13)
 Ibid. (p. 36)