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Film as Artificial Intelligence: Jean Epstein, Film-Thinking and the Speculative-Materialist Turn in Contemporary Philosophy

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This article considers film as a form of artificial intelligence (AI). This non-anthropocentric hypothesis was first formulated in 1946 by filmmaker and theorist Jean Epstein and regards film as the thinking performance of a technical apparatus, the cinematograph, which is a manifestation of machine thinking based on the holistic entanglement of thought and world, film and philosophy. The article pursues an enquiry into ‘thinking’: one of the most prominent and oldest topics considered in philosophy, and also essential to art and film. Thinking is not only characterised as a sense (like sight or taste) but as a creative and, ultimately, intra-active act. The possibility of film as AI is approached not only from a Deleuzian angle, long appraised by film-philosophy, but also through questions recently raised by theories of artistic research and the speculative-materialist turn in contemporary philosophy. The latter have as a common denominator a strong critique of anthropocentrism in Western philosophy; the article enquires into this criticism from different angles and applies it to the main hypothesis of this analysis – to regard film as a form of AI.
Edinburgh University Press
Title: Film as Artificial Intelligence: Jean Epstein, Film-Thinking and the Speculative-Materialist Turn in Contemporary Philosophy
Description:
This article considers film as a form of artificial intelligence (AI).
This non-anthropocentric hypothesis was first formulated in 1946 by filmmaker and theorist Jean Epstein and regards film as the thinking performance of a technical apparatus, the cinematograph, which is a manifestation of machine thinking based on the holistic entanglement of thought and world, film and philosophy.
The article pursues an enquiry into ‘thinking’: one of the most prominent and oldest topics considered in philosophy, and also essential to art and film.
Thinking is not only characterised as a sense (like sight or taste) but as a creative and, ultimately, intra-active act.
The possibility of film as AI is approached not only from a Deleuzian angle, long appraised by film-philosophy, but also through questions recently raised by theories of artistic research and the speculative-materialist turn in contemporary philosophy.
The latter have as a common denominator a strong critique of anthropocentrism in Western philosophy; the article enquires into this criticism from different angles and applies it to the main hypothesis of this analysis – to regard film as a form of AI.

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