I’m struck by how assertive Macpherson is that Borderline, and by extension, the technology of its medium is life (237). He says it in “As Is,” and H.D. in her paean to Macpherson says something similar as well (218). I’m compelled to associate the idea that “Borderline is life” with a platitude like “art imitates life imitates art” and gloss over this clearly-emphasized and highly particular claim. But he’s not saying that art in general is life. And narrative surely isn’t life, considering how he describes Borderline here. I read the literary materials first, and although I saw Borderline a few years ago in Dr. Drouin’s Modernism & Fascism class, it has more of a traditional plot than I remember it having. A big part of that is due to me reading the text first and then watching the film, but I also want to emphasize how Borderline is constructed by audience members as they do the work of associating sometimes disparate frames. Macpherson describes the film as chaotic, which is a term and concept often juxtaposed with order. If I had some more time I’d want to read about some of Eisenstein’s concepts of the intellectual montage in detail (218) because he seems like the Stirner of videography and photography. Macpherson writes, “I was going to take my film into the minds of the people in it, making it not so much a film of 'mental processes' as to insist on a mental condition” (236). Watching the film, then, is a condition that the audience member creates or is thrown into. In saying his film is life, I feel like Macpherson is speaking just as much to the mechanics and technologies of film production as to the associative patterns of thought that make up human life. It’s in the relation of—the splicing together of—images, events, people, experiences where MacPherson suggests life takes place. But the above quote that antagonizes “processes” in favor of “condition” seems to resist my gut reaction that the relation between frames matters much to Macpherson here.
Throughout the semester, my understanding of editorship has been influenced by how I understand the role of a film director, so this week’s texts—with MacPherson as both the editor of Close Up and director of Borderline (among other films)—prove especially captivating. In orchestrating a bunch of different national, racial, philosophical, sexual, critical, etc., viewpoints, whether through film strips or through the organization of print materials in a magazine, the director/editor has to be especially attuned to—an expert at—the ways in which (sometimes vastly) different points of view, images, concepts, etc. affect an individual when placed in a particular order on a page or screen. People in both roles have to intuit how an audience member might narrate the associations between (whether in editorial print matter or film shots) a starfish, followed by a daisy, followed by the night sky. They have to pre-narrate, almost. It's a preface/hypothesis of the way that the "live" narrative will take place in the psyches of audience members.