Haptic Viewing
In ‘Temporality and Film Analysis’, Matilda Mroz describes the entangled relationship of the viewer’s body with the going-ons up on the cinematic screen. She describes an experience-mode of haptic viewing, contrasting the idea of merely viewing on symbolic terms. She writes: ‘Against such notions of distance and passivity, embodied phenomenology and other theories of haptic cinema posit the viewer’s body as an active participant in an intimate relationship with the film.’ (2013) This intimate relationship is not to be confused with a complete appropriation of the film’s images as our own, Mroz reminds us through the thinking of Vivian Sobchack. There is a play between viewer and film and it is in this ‘mutual resilience and resistance’ that one experiences oneself experiencing. Film viewing is thus not monologic. ‘[T]he film’s vision and my own do not conflate, but meet in the sharing of a world and constitute an experience that is … intersubjectively dialogical’. (Mroz, 2013) Art historian Jennifer Fisher further describes how ‘haptic perception can elucidate the energies and volitions involved in sensing space: its temperature, presences, pressures and resonances. In this sense it is the affective touch, a plane of feeling distinct from actual physical contact. And inside the skin, it is interoception, an aspect of the haptic sense, which perceives the visceral workings and felt intensities of our interior bodies. (1997)

The experience felt beneath the skin – ‘of brushing the (image of) fabric with the skin of my eyes’ (Mroz, 2013) or taste the metallic flavour as a bloody French kiss is delivered on screen by a self-inflicted box-cutter-split tongue (Evil Dead, 2013) – is inherently a personal experience, but as manipulated heightened sensory moment on screen it would have the potential to affect a collective body assembled in front of the screen. Horror wants to do things to the body.

Cinema is a collective experience upholding a thin veil of political potential in the bringing together of bodies. Walter Benjamin associated certain moments of sensation, when confronted by the cinema viewing experience, as a violence of sorts. He describes cinema as a potential ‘instrument of ballistics’ that hit him as a bullet and in that sense became tactile. The sensation of ‘changes of place and focus which periodically assail the spectator’ (Benjamin, 1935) renders the cinematic experience into something endured by the body, or at least by the unconscious, and not contemplated by the waken mind. ‘The spectator’s process of association in view of these images is indeed interrupted by their constant, sudden change. This constitutes the shock effect of the film, which, like all shocks, should be cushioned by heightened presence of mind.’ (Benjamin, 1935) Where the Dadaists were thought to have created the same form of shock value in the guise of moral shock effect, Benjamin argues that ‘by means of its technical structure, the film has taken the physical shock effect out of the [symbolic] wrappers.” (1935)

Temps Morte
In ‘Temporality and Film Analysis’ Mroz also describes the notion of ‘temps morte’ or ‘dead times’ in relation to cinematic temporality. Moments where the presentation of images in duration is deliberately destabilising the efforts to abstract them from temporal flow, by extending ‘those moments when the characters are performing everyday actions or have left the frame altogether’. (2013) This term is associated with types of apparently empty moments, the camera lingering, the scene offering nothing of narrative interest. ‘This stretching out of the scenes provides a sense of indefinite time, rather than time defined by action.’ (Mroz, 2013) Dead time is often associated with a form of attack on the viewer’s centred subjectivity; a cause of anxiety brought on by the way the temporality or the duration destabilises the notion of essence. The slow movement of time and it’s disabling of action, may ‘hollow out subjects and their agency, showing us a devastating temporal reality that radically challenges our thought […] and [escapes] our desire for control’ (Mroz, 2013), but ‘from another perspective, however, viewers may not necessarily be waiting for something else to happen, but attending to the slow fluctuation of the images before them’, (2013) Mroz reasserts. She continues: ‘One of the important consequences of the “dead times” is that they allow us to pay attention to the modulations of the images through time. They may provoke a an impatience or boredom in som viewers, and in others, a calm sense of patient observation, entirely at ease with allowing the temporal development of the images to progress at their own pace.’ (2013) Through these moments of temps morte we are invited to spend time away from the plot always pushing ahead; outside of the image as productively valuable; to wait and linger and in this duration of aesthetic awareness experience the odd value of the non-productive.

Multi Channel Dead Time
Oceanic Horror teems with moments of dead time. Often the narrative drags and time is drawn out in a waiting for the plot to push forward. The characters sleep, walk aimlessly about and repeat trivial patterns; the camera, be it physical or virtual, lingers on inert objects, wind through repetitive environments, patiently waits for action to occur; and the editing tolerates when nothing occurs and allows for impatience to take hold. When working with multi channel video installations temporality works quite differently than in the linear narrative of a piece of cinema. In the linear narrative, with an audience transfixed in their seats, the moments of temps morte act like the slowing down of a specific temporal experience. One that may evoke frustration in the seated crowd or open up to aesthetic enjoyment. In the nonlinear open space of the video installation temporality is scattered, distributed, fluid, passing in-between different temporal forms, rubbing off on each other, disturbing each other in the corner of the viewer’s eyes. Building up the installation must therefore also take into consideration the way different temporalities take over from one another or superimpose each other in the full experience. Here the moment of dead time in one channel may prompt the viewer to shift focus towards action on other screens. By insisting on the reoccurrence, not only narratively but rhythmically and durationally as well, the installation that comprise the final artistic result of Oceanic Horror, is an attempt to create a collective pacing that highlights the existence of temps morte and invites the viewer to embrace these moments of dead time - or perhaps rather prolonged nows.

Finally, the moments of dead time are also narratively important artistic choices, that aim to create a certain counter-temporality to the pacing with which we are normally introduced to the trading business or the world of finance in general. All the speed and energy of the business - a velocity that might account for our helpless surrender to its proliferation into absolute capitalism and the collective capitulation of our imagination to its limited reality - is eerily non-present, or dragged out into moments of waiting. This transformation of temporality, the prolonging or deadening of it, is thought of as an invitation to moments for reflection or the cultivation of an unnerving sense of the sur-reality of the systems in whom’s hands we have left the shaping of our tempor(e)ality and our imagination.