The Noise of the Marketplace

Victor Burgin’s “The Noise of the Marketplace,” the opening chapter to The Remembered Film (2004) falls somewhere between Michel Foucault’s work on the ‘heteotopia’, Roland Barthes observation of everyday sounds, and a psychoanalytic emphasis on film fragments. In Burgin’s “cinematic” heterotopia, images are delayed and replayed, stored and advertised, and sometimes substituted for actual images of memory. Here, a sequence of images is involuntary organized within the relationship between individual and their cinematic surroundings into what Burgin calls “the sequence-image.” The sequence image operates in multiple disordered times (synchronous time), as opposed to an ordered linear trajectory (diachronic time). These temporal shifts in the cinematic heterotopia collapse the antagonisms between ideological and poetic approaches to film.

Using the trailer, and a film poster based on the trailer (both from Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut []1999), Burgin demonstrates how this fragmented media environment acts upon our own consciousness as a ‘rebus’, i.e., a puzzle of words and images (think of the words “eyes”, “wide”, “shut”) which do not form sentences but exist as objects. In this way, and in this “cinematic heterotopia”, narratives commonly associated with images come undone.

Burgin, Victor. The Remembered Film. London: Reaktion Books, 2004.


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