Day 28:
Day 28:

Day 28:

The conversations about pink and pink clothing are really interesting. It’s juvenile, it’s girly, it’s saucy. It’s ditsy, it’s dirty, it’s not for people who want to be taken seriously. It’s bullshit. The values we assign to colour is completely cultural in influenced by the mood of the moment. Today pink means slutty tomorrow virgin. Such arbitrary ideas about outfits.

What My Fingers Knew: The Cinesthetic Subject, or Vision in the Flesh

My body is not only an object among all objects, . . . but an object which is sensitiveto all the rest, which reverberates to all sounds, vibrates to all colours, and provides words with their primordial significance through the way in which it receives them.

Maurice merleau-ponty, Phenomenology of Perception

Sobchack, in her essay, begins by acknowledging that while film reviews see film as a bodily experience, scholars often do not.  Movies seem to have the ability to create a sensorial experience that is a sort of digital aura that only exists in the combination of imagery, words and music on the same hierarchical level. The goal isn’t just to tell a story visually anymore but to bring the feelings of the movie to life and create a unique visual-sensorial-tactile synesthesia.

Our bodily response is unclear, however – “our lack of ability to explain its somatism as anything more than ‘mere’ psychological reflex or to admit its meaning as anything more than metaphorical description” Sensual description in film criticism is considered “excess”.

Sobchack references the work of Walter Benjamin. In his famous “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” he “speaks of cinematic intelligibility in terms of ‘tactile appropriation’ and elsewhere he speaks to the viewer’s ‘mimetic faculty,’ a sensuous and bodily form of perception”. 

“Contemporary film theory has had major difficulties in comprehending how it is possible for human bodies to be, in fact, really ‘touched’ and ‘moved’ by the movies”.

“Film experience is meaningful not to the side of our bodies but because of our bodies. Which is to say that movies provoke in us the ‘carnal thoughts’ that ground and inform more conscious analysis”.

“Meaning, and where it is made, does not have a discrete origin in either spectators’ bodies or cinematic representation but emerges in their conjunction. We might name this subversive body in film experience the cinesthetic subject – a neologism that derives not only from cinema but… synaesthesia and coenaesthesia”

“A phenomenology of the cinesthetic subject having and making sense of the movies reveals to us the chiasmatic function of the lived body–as both carnal and conscious […] –and how it is we can apprehend the sense of the screen both figurally and literally. […] [T]he film experience […] mobilizes, differentiates, and yet unites lived bodies and language, and foregrounds the reciprocity and reversibility of sensible matter and sensual meaning. Our fingers, our skin and nose and lips and tongue and stomach and all the other parts of us know what we see in the film experience. As cinesthetic subjects, then, we possess an embodied intelligence that both opens our eyes far beyond their discrete capacity for vision, opens the film far beyond its visible containment by the screen, and opens language to a reflective knowledge of its specific carnal origins and limits. This is what my fingers know at the movies.”


  • Sobchack, Vivian. What My Fingers Knew: The Cinesthetic Subject, or Vision in the Flesh