Zowi Vermeire – From a Ten Hour Clock to a “Primitive” Robot: Metropolis as a Temporal Critique

Abstract

We do not often think of the clock or calendar as a mechanism of translation. A clock renders time linear, measurable, and comparable. This static conception of time is referred to as homogeneous time. Heterogeneous time is a much more abstract concept and a different way of experiencing time. Heterogeneous time can be viewed as time without our pragmatic filters of logic and organization. This experience of time is heterogeneous as it allows for the perception of the heterogeneity and dynamics of the "real"; there are no filters of organization. Henri Bergson argues in favor of a more abstract, heterogeneous conception of time as opposed to the homogeneous time of the clock. Bergson’s theory has led to the argument that film has the possibility to disrupt homogeneous time; an idea which others such as John Mullarkey and Bliss Cua Lim have developed further. In this paper, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) will be discussed as an example of the ability of film to disrupt homogeneous time.

Keywords

Time, Bergson, film, Metropolis.

Section

Articles

Pages

Digressions 1.1 (2015), pp. 31-43

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Zowi Vermeire - From a Ten Hour Clock to a “Primitive” Robot: Metropolis as a Temporal Critique