Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

Nom de Voyage

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I chose a pseudonym, Chris Marker, that is easy to pronounce in most languages because I intended to travel. You need search no further than that.
Sergei Murasaki

An interview conducted within Second Life, through the mediation of avatars and the conversational interface of textual chat. Folds within folds. This inter-face, playful subversion of the tête-à-tête, causing an aleatory truncation of discourse: la cristallisation presque instantanée d’une pensée infiniment alerte et malicieuse.*

Le Baroque ne renvoie pas à une essence, mais plutôt à une fonction opératoire, à un trait. Il ne cesse de faire des plis. Il n’invente pas la chose: il y a tous les plis venus d’Orient, les plis grecs, romains, gothiques, classiques… Mais il courbe et recourbe les plis, les pousse à l’infini, pli sur pli, pli selon pli. [Gilles Deleuze, Le Pli: Leibniz et le baroque, Paris: Minuit, 1988].

Adorno stated exactly this about the essay form: It starts not with Adam and Eve but with what it wants to talk about; it says what occurs to it in that context and stops when it feels finished rather than when there is nothing to say. Both with and against the baroque comes Marker’s insistent dismissal of complication: the interviewers’ presumptions returned as small darts, and an artisan occupational designation as bricoleur. Je m’en tiens au bricolage, avec ce qu’il y a d’honorable dans l’artisanat. Leila Attacks by Chris MarkerMiniaturization of product in Leila Attacks: the masterpiece as cinéma mineur. Epic poems reduced to haiku. The relation of the essay film to craft, seen too in Farocki’s elegies to the artisan, coded with the melancholy of the loss of craft in the desertified Real (“RL”) and its return in a minor mode of filmmaking. The essay relieves thought of the systematic and replaces abstraction with the concrete feel, taste and smell of materials placed next to each other with care, “cobbled” together. In this manner, a break is rendered possible: a break with the insane means of production of the cinéma majeur. An unheralded yet profound sensation of triumph that one is, finally, able to successfully write and distribute the “caméra-stylo.”

Pouvoir faire tout un film, Chats perchés (2004), avec mes dix doigts, sans aucun appui ni intervention extérieurs… Et ensuite aller vendre moi-même le DVD que j’ai enregistré à la braderie de Saint-Blaise… Là j’avoue que j’ai eu un sentiment de triomphe : du producteur au consommateur, direct. Pas de plus-value. J’avais accompli le rêve de Marx.”

To be able to make a whole film, The Case of the Grinning Cat [2004], with my own ten fingers, without any external support or intervention . . . and to then go sell the DVDs I’d burned myself at the Saint-Blaise market . . . I confess, I felt triumphant. From producer to consumer, directly. No surplus value. Marx’s dream come true.

* Original SL entretiens with available here. Translation by Dorna Khazeni for


  • Of particular note in Farocki’s work in relation to the artisan motif is his 1988 film Georg K. Glaser – Schriftsteller und Schmied. Farocki writes:

    Georg K. Glaser is a working-class writer. Quite literally: he spends the morning at his desk and from midday on he is in his workshop in the Paris district, Marais. There he makes bowls, lamps, vases, jugs, and other metal products. He has mastered techniques that almost no other smith is able to carry out. Born near Worms in 1910, Glaser left home early and went wandering. He was put in children’s homes and joined the Communist Party. In 1933 he went underground and fled through the Saar region to France. There he was naturalized and worked for the state railroad until he was conscripted in 1939, soon finding himself in a German prison camp. For years he had to pretend to be a Frenchman who could speak German well. After escaping and being placed in a penal camp, he returned to Paris and worked for Renault. He found working on a conveyor belt intolerable and inhumane. And so, almost 40 years ago, Glaser opened a craft workshop in order to exercise his critical facul-ties in thought and practice. He combines his craft with writing and points out that the French word for craftsman, artisan, contains the syllable “art,” so that art is no longer separated from work. (Harun Farocki)

  • Meet C.Marker in Israel ( 1959) and Paris 2004 . Exchange EM in 2005. Lost his EM personnal adress. Can you help me .
    Many thanks. Albert

Chris Marker Notes from the Era of Imperfect Memory

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