#Abstract – Choreographing For the Vortical: McLaren and Lambart’s “Lines Horizontal”

This should be the last abstract I am writing for 2013. This proposal is for the Film Studies Association of Canada‘s annual conference that will take place at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario at the end of May.

Here is the abstract and below it you will find the film I am writing about.



Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart’s film Lines Horizontal (1962) begins with one black line in the middle of the screen. The line then starts moving up and down within the flat, two-dimensional screen space. Slowly, one by one, the number of lines increase. With each new line, new relations emerges and older ones are altered. With each new line, the perception of movement and space changes becoming more complex. By the middle of the film, the abundant number of lines feel like they are rapidly tumbling over each other in a circular motion within a space that seems three dimensional. This film’s ability to transition from a flat two-dimensional space with simple movement to one that is able to produce a perceived voluminousness of vertiginous motion is the subject of this paper. I will examine how the choreography of the lines generates, in the words of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, a vortical space of absolute movement. To do this I will first explain the relationship between vortical space and absolute movement and how the two work in concert through a co-generated intensity. I will then suggest that this intensity is produced by a series of centrifugal and centripetal forces. These seemingly opposing, paradoxical and vertiginous forces work with each other to generate a composition. As the number of lines are increased in McLaren and Lambart’s film, I will conclude that they produce these vertiginous forces, thus enabling the film to develop the perceived vortical, three-dimensional space that comes to be seen.

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