Is there a fringe in the story?

October 31, 2009


The most horrifying moment in the first Saw movie was of course when, at the end, we get to know that the corpse lying on the floor is really the living Jigsaw. Following the traditional receipt of classical mystery story, the first Saw movie seems to play a conscious play with what Donald Kunze calls ‘teleological hinge’. ‘This device is what manipulates spatiality within any kinds of fiction: the effective use of time and space is crucial.

Within the diegetic reality, when our spectatorship is disturbed, just as in the case of Saw,  we have to re-construct our ‘frame’ in order to even out the disturbancs and let us enjoy the show. This is a common cinematic device, to use these kinds of internal frames, or teleological hinges. What immediately comes to one’s mind is what Lacan said about the free play of signifiers, the inconsistency of meaning. That is there is never an ending proper in the text.The same cinematic device was used in the show (Fringe) that kindly piqued my interest in the paranormal (maybe, because i haven’t seen too much X-Files). This show had a weak, but intriguing pilot episode, in which two FBI agents (man and woman) fall in love with each other, and the man acquires an airborne disease that induces coma. At the end of the story, we acknowledge that the agent was infected by someone who had interest in spreading the disease and with whom he had previously had common business. 

Both the Saw and the Fringe pilot episode prove the return of the impossible -Real, e.g we cannot believe what we see, we are left contemplating who the insider from the FBI can be, when it is made obvious that he was all along in front of our eyes.

The postmodern gist in the Fringe episode is the following: the only way Olivia Dunham can catch the bad guy is through the agent’s mind in coma (á la The Cell). The body of the FBI-agent in coma is transparent, implying a system, where the Žižekian subject is thrown into (in the figure of the woman agent, Olivia Dunham). According to Žižek, there is a move from the modernist culture of calculation to the postmodernist culture of simulation. The term ‘transparency ‘ gives the indication of this move. Olivia Dunham has to find her way through the agent’s mind, just like one has to find their way in the postmodernist cyberworld (that are not regulated by logical or rational rules). Žižek moreover propses the very proper question: what if our phenomenological sense of the world is another interface, another IRC (Internet Relay Chat) world? Or our consciousness is a frame through which we perceive the universe, as a kind of interface?

The phenomenological play with the frames is best shown in the Buster Keaton movie, Sherlock Jr. (1924) where our main hero has to travel through scenes – mediated between real life and diegetic reality – to get his lady back.


One Response to “Is there a fringe in the story?”

  1. psych Says:

    Errrrm. Receipt = recipe => formula, right? 😉

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