Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Tapping into the senses: Corporeality and immanence in The Piano Tuner of EarthQuakes (Quay Brothers, 2005)

Buy Article:

$14.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract

In The Piano Tuner of EarthQuakes (2006), the Quay Brothers' second feature, the sensual form and the meta-artistic content are truly interweaved, and the siblings' staple animated materials become part of the theme itself. Using Michel Serres's argument in Les cinq sens (2014, whose subtitle in English is A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies), I address the relationship between the Quays intermedial animation and the way the art forms of music, painting, theatre and sculpture are used to captivate the film viewer's sensorium in the same way that some of the characters are fascinated by the evil Droz, a scientist and failed composer who manipulates machines and people alike, among them Felisberto, a meek piano tuner with the ability to stir the natural elements. I further proceed to posit the entire film as an intended allegory of animation on the Quays part. Their haptic construction of a three-dimensional world which they control artistically is replicated in the film in Droz's and Felisberto's activities vis-à-vis Malvina van Stille, an abducted opera diva who is kept in a suspended animation state (just like a marionette) and several hydraulic automata with musical resounding properties, some of them made up of an uncanny assortment of body parts. The artificial life of these creatures is contrasted, in two ways, with their physical reality as beings that exist in the world: first, via Serres's sensorial strategy to transform a body into a conscious entity (i.e., endowed with a soul), an embodiment I call 'Corpo-Reality', and second, by resorting to Deleuze and Guattari's theory of the body without organs (BwO) in its advocacy of 'hard' nature and the rejection of a rigid assortment of body parts (either biological or social). The paradoxical organic objectivity of the 'marionettized' Malvina is pitted against the seemingly subjective doings of the mechanical automata, especially an android woodcutter. However, just as in the story things are not what they seem, and the automata actually reflect the 'real' world of Felisberto's tuning of them (and vice versa, in a process entitled 'vertical mise en abyme'), so the film itself can be a 'crystal-image' (per Deleuze), offering itself to the senses of the spectator.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: BwO; Quay Brothers; allegory of animation; corporeality; manipulation; senses

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000090840599 Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon

Publication date: November 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Intellect Books page
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
UA-1313315-26
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more