Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Visibilidad variable en el documental: los límitos del ocularcentrismo en Invisibles

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2010), 87, (2), 241–257.

Abstract

Uno de los focos de crítica de la filosofía francesa asociada al postmodernismo ha sido la tradición de pensamiento ocularcentrista. El propósito de este ensayo es reconstruir los argumentos más relevantes de este debate y ubicar en este marco el documental producido por Javier Bardem, Invisibles. Este film presenta, de hecho, una doble dinámica interna. Si por una parte se muestra muy crítico con el atributo de la invisibilidad con el que se silencian situaciones de pobreza y marginación; por otra, lleva a cabo esta labor con una retórica de la invisibilidad o, al menos, de una visibilidad deficiente, parcial. Este énfasis en señalar explícitamente los límites de la visión se compagina paradójicamente con unos extensos títulos de crédito que construyen meta-narrativas totalizantes para los casos abordados en cada uno de los episodios del film. En conclusión, si las imágenes esgrimen una epistemología de las carencias, de la fragmentariedad y de los límites; los extensos títulos de crédito postulan implícitamente una epistemología anti-fragmentaria y totalizante. Esta tensión explica, en última instancia, Invisibles y el lugar que le otorga a la mirada.

Modern ocularcentrism has been intensely criticized by French postmodern philosophy. This essay aims to reconstruct the most relevant arguments of this critique in relation to the documentary, The Invisibles, produced by Javier Bardem. This film presents a double dynamic. On the one hand, it demonstrates that invisibility is a strategy to silence poverty and marginalization. On the other hand, this argument is posed through the rhetoric of invisibility or, at least, of partial or deficient visibility. This emphasis on revealing the limits of vision is, ironically, combined with extensive credits that construct totalizing meta-narratives for the cases presented in each episode of the film. In conclusion, if the images wield an epistemology of the shortages, fragmentations and limits, the extensive credits postulate implicitly an anti-fragmented and totalizing epistemology. This irreducible tension explains The Invisibles and its approach to visibility.

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Adorno, Theodor, 2001. The Culture Industry. Selected Essays on Mass Culture (London: Routledge). The Culture Industry. Selected Essays on Mass Culture Google Scholar

Ahmad, Aijaz, 1987. 'Jameson's Rhetoric of Otherness and the "National Allegory"', Social Text, 117: 3-25. Jameson's Rhetoric of Otherness and the "National Allegory"' Social Text 117 3 25 Google Scholar

Bal, Mieke, 1993. 'His Master's Eye', in Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision, ed. David Michael Levin (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press), pp. 379-404. Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision 379 404 Google Scholar

Ballesteros, Isolina, 2001. Cine Ins(urgente): textos fílmicos y contextos culturales de la España posfranquista (Madrid: Editorial Fundamentos). Cine Ins(urgente): textos fílmicos y contextos culturales de la España posfranquista Google Scholar

Benjamin, Walter, 1999. 'The Author as Producer', in Selected Writings. Vol 2, 1927-1934, ed. Michael W. Jennings et al. (Cambridge, MA : Havard University Press), pp. 769-82. Selected Writings 2 769 782 Google Scholar

Callinicos, Alex, 2007. Social Theory. An Historical Introduction (Cambridge: Polity Press). Social Theory. An Historical Introduction Google Scholar

Castillo, David, 2005. 'Horror (Vacui): The Baroque Condition', in Hispanic Barroques: Reading Cultures in Context, ed. Nicholas Spadaccini and Luis Martín-Estudillo (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press), pp. 87-104. Hispanic Barroques: Reading Cultures in Context 87 104 Google Scholar

Clark, Stuart, 2007. Vanities of the Eye. Vision in Early Modern European Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Vanities of the Eye. Vision in Early Modern European Culture Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques, 2006. Specters of Marx. The State of Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, tr. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Routledge). Specters of Marx. The State of Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto, 1989. Open Text, tr. Anna Cancogni (Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press). Open Text Google Scholar

Eagleton, Terry, 1996. The Illusions of Postmodernism (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing). The Illusions of Postmodernism Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel, 1995. Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Random House). Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund, 1997. 'Lo inconsciente', en Obras Completas. Tomo VI (1914-1917) (Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva), pp. 2061-82. Obras Completas. Tomo VI (1914-1917) 2061 2082 Google Scholar

Galán, Diego, 2007. 'Los niños de la guerra y otras tragedias', El País 17 febrero 2007: 56. Los niños de la guerra y otras tragedias El País 56 Google Scholar

Gardimer, Michael, 1999. 'Bakhtin and the Metaphorics of Perception', in Interpreting Visual Culture. Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual, ed. Ian Heywood and Barry Sandywell (London: Routledge), pp. 57-73. Interpreting Visual Culture. Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual 57 73 Google Scholar

Gómez López-Quiñones, Antonio, 2006. 'La política del documental: observadores y observados, unidad y dispersión en La espalda del mundo', Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 10: 95-113. La política del documental: observadores y observados, unidad y dispersión en La espalda del mundo Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 10 95 113 Google Scholar

Hall, Stuart, 1988. 'Media Power: The Double Bind', in New Challenges for Documentary, ed. Alan Rosenthal (Berkeley: University of California Press), pp. 357-64. New Challenges for Documentary 357 364 Google Scholar

Harvey, David, 1990. The Condition of Postmodernity. An Inquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Blackwell). The Condition of Postmodernity. An Inquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change Google Scholar

Humphrey, Michael, 2002. The Politics of Atrocity and Reconciliation. From Terror to Trauma (London: Routledge). The Politics of Atrocity and Reconciliation. From Terror to Trauma Google Scholar

Invisibles, 2007. Dir. Isabel Coixet, Wim Wenders, Fernando León de Aranoa, Mariano Barroso y Javier Corcuera. Perf. Niole Ndokasa, Luzmila Castillo, Ouma Oscar, Joseph Ogaba and Bianka Kandi (Pinguin Films y Reposado). Google Scholar

Jameson, Fredric, 1986. 'Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism', Social Text, 15: 65-88. Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism Social Text 15 65 88 Google Scholar

——, 1992. The Geopolitical Aesthetic. Cinema and Space in the World System. (London: British Film Institute Publishing) The Geopolitical Aesthetic. Cinema and Space in the World System Google Scholar

Jay, Martin, 1993. Downcast Eye. The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press). Downcast Eye. The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought Google Scholar

Kinder, Marsha, 1997. 'Documenting the National and its Subversion in a Democratic Spain', in Refiguring Spain, ed. Marsha Kinder (Durham: Duke University Press), pp. 265-75. Refiguring Spain 265 275 Google Scholar

Kozloff, Sarah, 1988. Invisible Storytellers. Voice-Over Narration in American Fiction Film (Berkeley: University of California Press). Invisible Storytellers. Voice-Over Narration in American Fiction Film Google Scholar

Labanyi, Jo, 2006. 'Historias de víctimas: La memoria histórica y el testimonio en la España contemporánea', Iberoamericana, 24: 87-98. Historias de víctimas: La memoria histórica y el testimonio en la España contemporánea Iberoamericana 24 87 98 Google Scholar

LaCapra, Dominick, 2001. Writing History, Writing Trauma (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press). Writing History, Writing Trauma Google Scholar

Levin, David Michael, 1999. The Philosopher's Gaze: Modernity in the Shadows of Enlightenment (Berkeley: University of California Press). The Philosopher's Gaze: Modernity in the Shadows of Enlightenment Google Scholar

Lyotard, Jean-François, 1984. The Postmodern Condition (Manchester: Manchester University Press). The Postmodern Condition Google Scholar

Martí-Olivella, Jaume, 2001. 'Cuba and Spanish Cinema's Transatlantic Gaze', Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 5: 161-76. Cuba and Spanish Cinema's Transatlantic Gaze Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 5 161 176 Google Scholar

Martin-Márquez, Susan, 2006. 'Brothers and Others: Fraternal Rhetoric and the Negotiation of Spanish and Saharwi Identity', Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, 7.3: 241-58. Brothers and Others: Fraternal Rhetoric and the Negotiation of Spanish and Saharwi Identity Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 7 241 258 Google Scholar

Martínez-Carazo, Cristina, 2006. 'Cine e inmigración: Madrid como espacio de encuentro/desencuentro y su representación en ExtranjerasM de Helena Taberna', Hispanic Research Journal, 6.3: 265-75. Cine e inmigración: Madrid como espacio de encuentro/desencuentro y su representación en ExtranjerasM de Helena Taberna Hispanic Research Journal 6 265 275 Google Scholar

Minh-ha, Trinh, 1993. 'The Totalizing Quest of Meaning', in Theorizing Documentary, ed. Michael Renov (New York: Routledge), pp. 90-107. Theorizing Documentary 90 107 Google Scholar

Nichols, Bill, 1991. Representing Reality. Issues and Concepts in Documentary (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). Representing Reality. Issues and Concepts in Documentary Google Scholar

Ochoa, Javier, 2007. 'Hacer visible lo invisible', El País 30 diciembre 2007: 64. Hacer visible lo invisible El País 64 Google Scholar

Plantinga, Carl, 1997. Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film Google Scholar

Renov, Michael, 1993. 'The Truth About Non-Fiction', in Theorizing Documentary, ed. Michael Renov (New York: Routledge), pp. 1-11. Theorizing Documentary 1 11 Google Scholar

Santaolalla, Isabel, 2005. Los 'otros': etnicidad y 'raza' en el cine español contemporáneo (Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza). Los 'otros': etnicidad y 'raza' en el cine español contemporáneo Google Scholar

Shapiro, Gary, 2003. Archaeologies of Vision. Foucault and Nietzsche on Seeing and Saying (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press). Archaeologies of Vision. Foucault and Nietzsche on Seeing and Saying Google Scholar

Silverman, Kaja, 1996. The Threshold of the Visible World (New York: Routledge). The Threshold of the Visible World Google Scholar

Smith, Paul Julian, 2004. 'The Emotional Imperative: Almodóvar's Hable con ella and Televisión Española's Cuéntame cómo pasó', Modern Languages Notes, 119.2: 363-75. The Emotional Imperative: Almodóvar's Hable con ella and Televisión Española's Cuéntame cómo pasó Modern Languages Notes 119 363 375 Google Scholar

Storey, John, 2003. Inventing Popular Culture (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing). Inventing Popular Culture Google Scholar

Tranche, Rafael, 1995. 'Cine español (1975-1992): otras prácticas, otras escrituras', Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, 20.1: 143-50. Cine español (1975-1992): otras prácticas, otras escrituras Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 20 143 150 Google Scholar

Wilson, Douglas, 1993. The Romantic Dream. Wordsworth and the poetics of the unconscious (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press). The Romantic Dream. Wordsworth and the poetics of the unconscious Google Scholar

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López-Quinones, Antonio