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Type: Thesis
Title: Ephemeron.
Author: Carmody, Emma
Issue Date: 2014
School/Discipline: School of Humanities
Abstract: Ephemeron is a hybrid, Deleuzian creature, a product of two creative mediums, two languages and two cultures. Comprising a feature-length film script and a collection of poetry (written in French and English, respectively), it embodies the chief characteristics of Deleuze’s second semiotic, l’image-temps. These characteristics may be broadly described as non-linear narrative and the absence of both causation and resolution. The resultant ambiguity, though destabilising, is ultimately liberating insofar as it gives rise to possibility, to an ongoing coming-into-being, as opposed to closure. Accordingly, Ephemeron’s bilingual, script-poetry interface seeks to express the possibility inhering in creative dialogue, in the layering of meaning across time and space. The script is set on an unnamed francophone island in the Mediterranean beset by unexplained ecological disturbances. Against this backdrop, three generations of a small family (granddaughter, mother, grandfather) negotiate the complexities of intergenerational trauma and memory loss, while a fourth ‘silent’ character - a seer – investigates environmental anomalies. While the script and poetry are physically separate, poems are linked to specific scenes, generating a ‘crystalline’ structure of meaning. The poems are further divided into ‘cycles’ which explore particular themes (such as civilizational and environmental decline), the backstories of particular characters, memory loss and my own personal encounters with art, place and culture. As a consequence (and in keeping with the core features of Deleuze’s second semiotic), the links between scenes and poems are generally non-linear, and at times elliptical. Put differently, the poems perform an archaeological function, acting as the script’s memory, enabling ‘fossilised’ knowledge, ideas and emotions to emerge, thereby forming a multiplicity of epistemological and ontological circuits. Consistent with Deleuze’s notion of the ‘perfect crystal’, the poetry also carries traces of possible futures, again generating open-ended networks of meaning and possibility. The script-poetry interface is supported by an exegetical work, ‘Between two Worlds’, which examines connections between French Symbolist poetry and post-war time-image cinema. While Deleuze focuses on links between the war and the emergence of time-image film, I broaden the field to include another, possible dynamic: a dynamic that relies on the idea of a creative gene pool, which by definition is diffuse, and its legacy uncertain. Specifically, I argue that the ancestral gene pool of post-war, time-image cinema includes late nineteenth century French poetry, in particular the work of Arthur Rimbaud. This argument is based on the assertion that Rimbaud revolutionised creative practice by undermining formalism, destabilising the subject and rejecting rhetoric. As such, his prose poems and free verse not only reimagined the linguistic vehicle for poetry, but the act of communication itself. The echoes of this revolution were felt some 80 years later in time-image cinema, characterised in the first instance by Italian neorealism. The films of Claire Denis, many of which are meditations on time and space, also embody this cinematic form. The exegesis therefore includes a case study examining the links between Rimbaud’s seminal collections, Illuminations and Une saison en enfer, and Denis’ 1999 film, Beau Travail. It also includes a reflective component (incorporating a brief conclusion) examining my creative process and the structure of Ephemeron.
Advisor: Butterss, Philip
Castro, Brian
Poiana, Peter Bruno
Jones, Jill
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2014
Keywords: creative writing; poetry; cinema; French; deleuze; Claire Denis; script
Provenance: Vol. 1 [Novel]: Ephemeron -- v. 2 [Exegesis]: Between two worlds
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