Daniel Eisenberg's 'The Unstable Object': An Exploration of Things | KCET
Daniel Eisenberg's 'The Unstable Object': An Exploration of Things
In one of the many oddly riveting shots in Daniel Eisenberg's new film "The Unstable Object," large black-and-white plastic clocks glide across the frame from left to right carried by a rubber conveyor belt. A woman's hand pushes one back out of the frame, but it returns, pushing forward once again across the frame. In another shot, several of the round clocks are suspended crookedly on a pegboard. And in a third, we see wall after wall of clocks, all pointing to noon (or midnight) in a captivating portrait of analog time. The images are at once precisely what they are -- clocks being produced in a factory -- as well as indexes of so much more. They suggest our current moment, a sense of transition, the history of cinema itself and its shift from an analog art form that understood time in one way, to the digital and its focus on intensities...
Eisenberg, a Chicago-based filmmaker who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, writes eloquently about his film: "I am interested in the ways that 'things' transmit and elicit sensations of all kinds, both for the producer and the consumer." He continues, "The object becomes an intermediary, a medium for the transmission of sensation from the one who makes, to the one who takes." The things in "The Unstable Object" become the nexus for thinking about products and production, about consumers and consumption, and about more virtual systems of commerce, finance and exchange. But the genius of the film is how it manages to communicate all of this despite its relentless focus on the things at the center of the three portraits.
To read more about Eisenberg's work, see his essay about the film here, or take a look at "Postwar: The Films of Daniel Eisenberg", edited by Jeffrey Skoller and published by Black Dog Press; the book centers on four specific films from the filmmaker's larger body of work: "Displaced Person " (1981), "Cooperation of Parts" (1987), "Persistence" (1997), and "Something More Than Night" (2003).