ABSTRACT

The museum object as an affect in movies is particularly potent when faces are inscribed in cultural artefacts. Deleuze discusses the powerful effect of inanimate objects in film, giving the example of the pointed end of Jack the Ripper’s knife as no less an affect than the fear which overcomes the victim’s features.1 I like this riot of affects, human and inanimate, that cannot be experientially separated as this gestures to the complicated virtual multiplicity of encounters with objects. Museum artefacts, already endowed with meaning within human taxonomies, take on a double life in linking to different possible futures. In a film image, affects are abstracted from the more ‘real’ spatio-temporal coordinates in the image that relate a perception to an action. The affect happens, as it were, in-between, such as the Egyptian death mask in Blackmail affecting the suspect’s future. It is this inkling of what may come that is an intriguing role of museum objects as affects in movies. Delirious because it is not expected and may change everything. The force of the image is an inkling of this prior to the action it influences.