Speaking Nearby

One of the questions that seems to pop up every few months in our collective is the question of speaking. We are all supported by privileges of caste/class/gender/race/religion at different times in different spaces and differently. And the question of where we are located when we are asked to propose becomes quite an insurmountable one to get through. As we explored the question again I was reminded of this wonderful interview with a favourite writer (she’s known for her films!) Trinh T. Minh-Ha about the places we speak from:

In other words, a speaking that does not objectify, does not point to an object as if it is distant from the speaking subject or absent from the speaking place. A speaking that reflects on itself and can come very close to a subject without, however, seizing or claiming it. A speaking in brief, whose closures are only moments of transition opening up to other possible moments of transition — these are forms of indirectness well understood by anyone in tune with poetic language. Every element constructed in a film refers to the world around it, while having at the same time a life of its own. And this life is precisely what is lacking when one uses word, image, or sound just as an instrument of thought. To say therefore that one prefers not to speak about but rather to speak nearby, is a great challenge. Because actually, this is not just a technique or a statement to be made verbally. It is an attitude in life, a way of positioning oneself in relation to the world.

The full interview is available here: https://docfilmhist.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/chen.pdf

Her website: http://trinhminh-ha.com/

 

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