Sep 21, 2005


I've learned a wonderful term today - ostranenie. It's russian. Translated to english it becomes estranging and Danish (very funny translation) it's underliggørelse (more like weirdning, lol).

"This Russian term of literary analysis refers to the experience of having the familiar and commonplace made strange or alien. Such a process of estranging those experiences which are ordinarily taken for granted, challenges the perceiver to re-engage their significance and perhaps discover new or unexpected meanings."

This term will include a lot of the art, film and books that I find most interesting and entertaining - Duchamp, Jeunet (Delicatessen, Amelie...), Vonnegut and Kafka... A fascination I've untill now explained, calling it "reality with a twist".
This ostranenie-thing seem to be a very powerfull tool for any kind of artistic practice.

"One of the interesting corollaries of Shklovskii's idea is that of the invisibility of the commonplace: "they do not appear in cognition." Familiarity breeds a particular form of contempt in his mind. It is the contempt of not seeing ... Common perception, it might be inferred, is a kind of blindness. It is the poet's or the artist's role to open eyes."

So, it has everything to do with perception and memory - mmmm... iiinterresting...

Read all about it


Tara KM said...

There is a film called The Man with a Movie Camera (Chelovek Kinoapparatom - 1929) that uses animation techniques to demonstrate ostranenie. (If you like artsy films.) Its reflexive nature defamiliarizes the viewer. It is an interesting piece. Sorry for the random/dull comment. I was excited to see your interest in the term!

adam said...

Hello Tara, this is by no means a random/dull comment. Quite the opposite - I'm very happy to know about artsy russian animationfilms from the 20'ies. At the moment especially ones related to ostranenie... it's interesting, but difficult to find material about on the net. I would like to gather some more links about it.