Air Plato

Air Plato: “Baggage? I’m sorry, sir, our airline doesn’t allow you to carry any.” I briefly filmed from the back of a plane the video screens of the passengers. At first I was struck by the associations that came to me between this scene and my interest in the role of spectatorship in the production of contemporary societies and the marginality--in every sense of the word--of the undocumented migrants detained on Lesvos that I filmed. Looking at the footage again later on as I began editing this video essay, it brought to mind Plato's analogy of the cave in Book 7 of The Republic. I thought of Air Plato because of the plane where the video screens are being watched but also in regard to the meaning of “air” as a verb: we need to “air” Plato. Many more people involved today with the making of moving images are also involved with thinking about them. The feigned ignorance of many of yesterday’s filmmakers is no longer tenable for contemporary participants. The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord has rightfully become a book that many consider important to read and reread. This is equally true of Plato’s analogy of the cave in The Republic but I am not agreeing with either take on vision or spectatorship--I have differences with both--but I think we need to reread them, to air their views in public. When we do that we enter into vital ongoing conversations or public debates that will affect our practice as filmmakers--even if that is just with a cellphone--and as people who live in a world constituted to an increasing degree through moving images.