Cinemaesthesia

Cinemaesthesia: Eyes Wide Shut and The
Artistic Farewell of Stanley Kubrick


John Dotson, presenter
Monterey Peninsula Friends of C. G. Jung
St. James Church, McGowan House, Monterey
Friday-Saturday, February 14–15, 2003


Shortly before his death, Stanley Kubrick, director of Dr. Strangelove, 2001:A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and other great films, referred to Eyes Wide Shut as "my best film ever." In my view, Eyes Wide Shut is among the great artistic achievements of all time, masterfully and intimately portraying the "de-composing/re-composing" of archetypal patterns on apocalyptic scales of magnitude in our time. I feel this artistic farewell—whether or not Kubrick was conscious of it being that— to be similar to that of Shakespeare's Prospero in The Tempest. In some respects, I also think of Eyes Wide Shut as Kubrick's Vertigo—another of the most important films ever made (by local director Alfred Hitchcock).

Cinemaesthesia is an expression for a changing state of human awareness. I use the term to approach the emergent, integral structure of consciousness (Jean Gebser) and processes of synchronicity and individuation (C. G. Jung) that include "fracturing," "turning," "sliding," "superpositioning," and "letting go." Cinemaesthesia refers to timefree or atemporal openings, portals, and bridges of light playing and shining through integral insights.

The Friday session will begin with a viewing of a short documentary by Vivian Kubrick on her father's making of The Shining. Next, we will view and discuss scenes from Eyes Wide Shut in cinemaesthetic terms, and then watch the entire film.

We will close on Saturday with allusions between Eyes Wide Shut and AI (Artificial Intelligence), produced by Kubrick and completed by Steven Spielberg, and with a few considerations of "surflectants" and a "new arrival of spectropoetics" (Wilhelm S. Wurzer).


SEBASTIAN       . . . and surely
  It is a sleepy language, and thou speak'st
  Out of thy sleep. What is it thou didst say?
  This is a strange repose, to be asleep
  With eyes wide open—standing, speaking, moving—
  And yet so fast asleep.

The Tempest Act 2, Sc. 1