Ahad, Februari 12, 2012

A blog is a book is a blook is a blog

Berikut adalah/ialah (duh dah tulis tiga novel masih tak tau yang mana betul) prakata bagi samizdat KITAB BIN FILEM: SINEMA yang diterbitkan secara mandiri pada tahun 1430 Hijrah / 2009 Masehi. Memandangkan saya dan Dewa sudah lama tak sentuh blog ini, dan merasakan saya tiada sudi dan upaya untuk berblog, kerana saya sudah bertemu dengan satu medium yang lebih menarik dan ortodoks daripada blog iaitu novel, yang mana perasaannya sama seperti mula-mula saya berblog (tanpa menjadi seorang blogger LOL), ceria, seronok, gembira, dan apa yang lebih canggih selain menamatkan blog ini dengan sebuah prakata sebagai entri terakhir, seolah seperti ia sebuah buku di mana ia dapat memberikan sedikit gambaran binfilem ini mengenai apa (kerana saya sendiri sudah tidak ingat apa yang saya dan kawan-kawan saya tuliskan selama ini), membiarkan ia terawang-awang abadi di dalam alam maya bersemadi sepertimana sebuah buku bersemadi di dalam perpustakaan, menjadi kapsul memori, ditujukan buat mereka yang telah/sedang/akan dilahirkan seperti kami.

Film, Architecture & dot dot dot

There’s something seductive about Bin Filem, which holds on to the mazhab that ‘everyone is entitled to my opinion.’ There’s the bratty insouciance; the ease with which it tosses off references; its confidently measured but oddly gleeful prose.

There’s lots about film (of course) and architecture (at least one of the blokes behind it studied Architecture), and this leads to ruminations on Space and Time. But the most important Space is the one between the ears. And the most important Time is now. Bin Filem knows this, and makes sure that you do, too.

These Boy Wonders have the precocity of youth and the smirkiness of proud outsiders. Self-righteousness can usually be forgiven in the young and the cute. (Some of them do end up kind of bonkers, like Holden Caulfield, but …) It’s nice that I don’t hang out with them; they should remain somewhat enigmatic. Besides, I am probably too bourgeois.

Another important Space that the Bin Filem project actually explores is the democratic space of society. It’s exciting that it’s taking place now because Malaysia is like a sponge with a furious hamster trapped inside it, making all sorts of odd bulges.

Reading the entries somehow reminded me of that bit in a Saul Bellow novel where a dog marks, and the narrator imagines that the bark actually means “For God’s sake, open up the universe a bit more!”

Hence, Soviet montage and Le Courbusier aren’t retreats from the reality of today but an effort to reframe and recontextualise, to reawaken our senses that have been slowly massaged to near paralysis. Hence, complacent consumerism is excoriated (or at least spanked) while ground-level individual integrity is celebrated.

Malaysia is facing either institutional inertia or institutional meltdown. Bin Filem is, in its defiantly modest way, one of the forces that are cataloguing, indexing, footnoting our years of living tsunamically. And when the lights go out and walls come tumbling down, who’s to say whether these epistles won’t actually survive and read better than the ephemera of ‘headline news’?

“Energy is eternal delight. Exuberance is beauty,” bak kata orang kampung. (And who says villagers can’t quote Blake?)

It’s completely apposite that pirated DVDs are celebrated here. Piracy exists because globalisation is unfair and perpetuates unfairness. Hoarding knowledge is far more immoral than (to use Yasmin Ahmad’s definition of cetak rompak) “stealing from greedy people.”

The hegemonies of culture and power should be critiqued and exposed in efforts to dismantle them. To quote the Remix Manifesto: 
1. Culture always builds on the past. 
2. The past always tries to control the future. 
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.

Although it’s part of a hyperlinking generation that can mix and match from the whole world, Bin Filem can actually draw on an older tradition of democratic dissent and artistic anarchy, made all the more (rather than less) vivid because the writing itself is quite meticulous, even proper.

Bin Filem is progressive and egalitarian and sometimes gets bizarre bees in its bonnet. It also implicitly agrees with Nabokov: “Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity,” as its haha articles on Malay commercial cinema can confirm. Perhaps it’s this redeeming humour that will save them from full Holden Caulfield mode.

Although not ‘merely’ a film blog (and I find it charming the way they deny being bloggers!) it’s a necessary corrective to much of the writing on film that this country has joylessly produced, which tends to either be extended synopses, or just written by people who don’t seem to get laid enough.

It’s somewhat perverse to transfer this material from its online home (where it can be accessed by anybody) to a limited samizdat such as this. But perversity always has its fans! And even in this small-scale way, in this hi-tech age, there’s a tabik spring to the ways in which cultural work used to be more painstakingly shared.

And who knows where Bin Filem will venture after this? I ask; I do not know. A T-shirt will be good, though. I warned you I was bourgeois.

Amir Muhammad