Antonioni's Blowup: Freeing the Imaginary from Metaphysical Ground

Elena del Rio

Abstract


Antonioni's approach to filmmaking provides a clear example of philosopher Wilhelm Wurzer's notion of *filming*, a term Wurzer uses neither to signify the specific practice of filmmaking, nor in the sense of a 'quantitative proliferation of images' that carry out the calculative and productivist goals of the visual in a technocratic society. [1] *Filming* denotes, among other things, 'an imaginal mode of discerning which releases the imagination toward radical disinterestedness . . . imagination's fall from the principle of *telos*', and the possibility of representation being 'free of the explicit dominance of subjectivity'. [2] In this discussion I would like to examine a few scenes from Antonioni's _Blowup_ (1966) that consistently enact the representational features just mentioned. By radically deconstructing notions of illusion no less than those of reality, Antonioni ultimately demonstrates that the psychoanalytic notion of the imaginary -- adopted by Christian Metz and others, and based on the persistent opposition reality/illusion -- is no less implicated in a metaphysical dynamics of presence than any naive notions of realism.

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