Towards the end of his film essay Histoire(s) du cinéma Jean-Luc Godard calls himself an “enemy of our times”, of “the totalitarianism of the present as applied mechanically every day more oppressive on a planetary scale.” The article regards Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988-1998) as “a thinking form” that tries to resist the synchronizing, standardizing time of global capital, the pervasive uniformity of the global super-present, brought about by today’s televisual and digital communications, which threatens to trivialise the different processes of memory and history, and art and culture in general. According to philosopher Bernard Stiegler, the final stage of capitalism is the control and synchronization of what former CEO of TF1 Patrick le Lay called “available brain time”. The paper argues that Godard’s work opposes this control and synchronization of our minds through an aesthetics of contemporaneity. The argument is based on the development of a theoretical framework that combines recent theories of contempraneity with theories of image-politics. Focusing on the interrelation of the individual, the social and the media environments, the paper deals with Godard’s image-political creation of temporal contemporaneity through a montage of clips of old films and newsreels, photographs, stills, images of paintings, new footage, advertisements, music, sound and voice recordings, textual citation, narration and commentary.
contemporaneity, image-politics, television, time experience, Godard