Constructing a Monstrous Offspring: A Few Steps Toward the Process of Montage
journal contributionposted on 28.04.2017 by Hélène Frichot
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"Proceeding by fits and starts, this paper will be arranged as a montaged assemblage. By appropriating the technique of montage, inaugurated within the realm of modernism, I will attempt to create a post-modern experiment. The material of this fitful accumulation will be composed of a loose collection of monsters or monstrous offspring. As they line up (and they will not be able to help but fidget), their awkward forms will admit an ongoing debt to the magnanimous conjunctions of the imagination: a faculty that has always lent itself to the monstrous. (2) Here, the figure of the monster will be organised as an imaginary body bound up in the ongoing process of constructing subjectivity. Such an 'imaginary body' designates an uneasy collection of 'ready-made' images, symbols, metaphors and representations. (3) This paper will be concerned with the arrangement of these 'fragments', that is, the construction of subjectivity through the process of montage. Once a search for the ungainly figure of the monster begins the ubiquity of its display becomes unnerving. It appears, for instance, at the juncture between the work of Gilles Deleuze and the eighteenth century empiricist philosopher David Hume. Desiring to sire a monstrous offspring, Deleuze takes Hume's work from behind and poses the following problem, 'how does the subject constitute itself within the given?' (4). Subjectivity, according to both Deleuze and Hume, is a fiction of the imagination, but this is not to suggest that the expression of subjectivity should be disregarded. Rather, its perpetual construction requisitions material from the plethora of the given by way of the expansive leaps of the imagination, which brings it into close proximity with the monstrous."