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Johannes Binotto | Touching Sound

Johannes Binotto | Touching Sound

[…] Touching of the sound is nothing but touching of the invisible, the uncanny, where the touching itself becomes something sound, and is simply going beyond the limits of cinema, exploiting its hidden resources.

At the House of Winterthur Filmexplorer has met the film scholar and filmmaker Johannes Binotto to discuss with him on his film-essay «Touching Sound», presented at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2018.

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On the seat in a cinema theatre, we see images, hear sounds, but do not touch the screen, nor the people, the objects, the landscape on the screen. This asymmetry notwithstanding, kinaesthesia and synaesthesia are certainly two major features of cinema. The perception of movement stimulates the movement that backs up our cinematic perception, and the sense of touch has always fascinated the edited (re-)construction of the senses in cinema. Touching seems to be the filmic vanishing point of synaesthetic exercises and expressions. The haptic world of the moving images works as a silent (and sound) magnet of our cinematic perception.

In his Touching Sound, Johannes Binotto dissects an infamous scene of Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955) where Lily/Gabrielle (Gaby Rodgers) tries to open a magic box. The deconstruction of the filmic matter reveals the sound track, which is “pixelized”, and becomes the guiding line of Binotto’s dramaturgy. More than an analytic study on a classical movie, he uses this matter to explore the physical and symbolic layers of this scene and, more in general, of the intertwining between touching and sound. Touching of the sound is nothing but touching of the invisible, the uncanny, where the touching itself becomes something sound, and is simply going beyond the limits of cinema, exploiting its hidden resources. In the meantime – in the time of the meaning – images and texts are subject to a double reduction: to their material surface, and to their essence as icons and ideas, so creating a sort of prismatic unfolding of the scene.

Tom Dirks has labelled Kiss Me Deadly as the «definitive, apocalyptic, nihilistic science-fiction film noir of all time». In a way, Binotto’s refined and amused playing with the elements of cinema expresses exactly Lily/Gabrielle’s pleasure of exploring a dimension that goes beyond the compact delivery of a story. If Gilles Deleuze has considered cinema as a way of thinking, in Touching Sound Binotto seems to use his essayistic thought on the cinematic elements to make – literally (build and rebuild) – cinema.

 

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore | Audio/Video: Ruth Baettig

First published: December 09, 2018

Touching Sound | Short | Johannes Binotto | CH 2018 | 5' | Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2018, Festival Videoex Zürich

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