22.11.2015

Chris Marker as Cinematic Witness by Kia Lindroos

Artistic witnessing is in this article here seen as closely related to fragments from the past, different and partly controversial images of historical and contemporary political world. My article focuses on Chris Marker’s work, examples on his films, such as Sans Soleil and The Last Bolshevik, and especially on his multimedia-work and exhibition “IMMEMORY”. Marker’s aesthetic work is not only intertwined with rethinking questions of political history and the philosophy of time. He also experiments with new technologies, with reproducing different aesthetic modes in order to narrate political and historical events.

Marker’s movies have taken the form of personal essays, combined with the genre of documentaries. His carrier began with writing poems, essays and translations, and he also worked as a journalist. He founded the Edition du Seuil’s petit planete series, which is series of books generally photographed and each devoted to a particular country, combining subjective experiences with historical facts. His films are a combination of visual imagery with philosophical speculation and erudition. The commentaries he creates to accompany the film-images come close to streams of consciousness and they can be very poetic. The poetry of the text combines with rather subjective seeing and hearing experiences. Marker has made several portraits and documents on, for instance Akira Kurasawa, Christo, Tarkowsky and Simone Signoret. His latest film is Le Tombeux d’Alexandre (The Last Bolshevik, 1993) that was prompted by Alexander Medvedkin’s death.