Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 16, 2016

Film and Phenomenology

Mauro Carbone
Pages 325-342

The Mutation of our Relations with Screens as a Mutation of our Relations with Being

Traces of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s constant philosophical interest in cinema have been multiplying since the mid-1990s. These traces lead us to understand that such an interest was implicitly linked to the effort of ontologically rehabilitating the screen understood as the condition of possibility of our vision. Therefore I believe that the late Merleau-Ponty was trying to elaborate a conception of our way of seeing that can no longer be shaped on the representative window model, but rather on the screen model. In this light, my aim is to develop, specify (mainly through my notion of “arche-screen”), and update Merleau-Ponty’s insights concerning the screen as a decisive element of our visual experiences. In such a perspective, it is no doubt very important to reflect on the modified spatio-temporality of desire at work in our present relations to screens. This is what I try to do in the second part of my paper. Indeed, concerning the way in which nowadays screens surround and accompany us at every turn, in which we live through them (and not merely with them), we can state something similar to what Merleau-Ponty wrote about modern painting in Eye and Mind, that is to say that the novelty of that way of painting gave him “a feeling of mutation within the relations of man and Being.”