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Maya DerenIncomplete Control$
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Sarah Keller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162210

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162210.001.0001

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Unfinished Business

(p.1) Introduction
Maya Deren

Sarah Keller

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of Maya Deren's cinema. In her writings and films, Deren prompts reflection on interaction between and among sets of binaries: life/death, conscious/unconscious, visible/invisible, and so forth. Rather than resolving the tensions between opposites to discover truth, or synthesizing or creating a collision between them to generate a third term, Deren fixates on the space between them, and strives to maintain a “tension plateau” that will extend the life of binary pairs for as long as possible, without resolution or closure. Through this strategy, she articulates a vision of how cinema specifically relates to the realities it encounters, records, and transforms—so that her films consciously connect and rejoin locations to create effects of proximity and relationship for her subjects. Eschewing permanent conclusions and fixed relations, Deren's work embraces incompletion as a way to keep things open to possibilities.

Keywords:   Maya Deren, cinema, tension plateau, realities, permanent conclusions, fixed relations, incompletion

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