From Eye to Brain

Patricia Pisters, From Eye to Brain (PhD, University of Amsterdam, 1998) 295 pages

From Eye to Brain presents an explorative journey through a landscape of images and sounds. Gilles Deleuze, often accompanied by Félix Guattari and others, is the virtual guide on this voyage. Along the way three basic questions will be addressed. The first question concerns the classic “images of thought,” which is defined by representation and the model of the eye. Can we still take the eye as a model of thinking or would it be more appropriate to install a model of the “rhizomatic” brain? The psycho-semiotic apparatus theory in film studies is connected to the model of the eye. Even though representation has been criticized, especially by feminist psychoanalytic film theory, the second questions in this book concerns the function and adequacy of Freudian and Lacanian theory for conceiving cinema and new images at the end of the second millennium. The first two questions are related to a third one: the underlying question of the subject. Psychoanalytic film theory has provided a strong model for subjectivity based on opposition (with the “other”) and desire (caused by a fundamental lack). However, we might ask if this model is still adequate. The model of the brain, looking for heterogeneous connections, calls for a refiguration of the subject in film theory as well. The many encounters with contemporary audiovisual products presented in this book force us to open up the subject, defining desire in an affirmative way and invading “the subject” with multiplicities of all kinds.