Introducing The Neutral


What is it that makes me weary? Is it the burden of knowledge itself, of having to know; or the silence behind all knowledge that threatens to turn it all to chatter?

“The neutral,” as an utterance in language, is bound to its own paradox: even as it names itself the bafflement of the paradigm, it is seized by the paradigmatic structure of language: its dream of meaninglessness becomes only so much spilled ink.

The affects of the neutral: nonchalance, depression, exhaustion, the concentration born from Adorno’s lecture halls painted gray?

How can a word feel weightless and yet weigh on you like a concept? What emerges in this sensation of paradoxical weight when we encounter the word ‘neutral’? Imagine the state of neutrality as a pause in spacetime. Imagine a slow-motion cloud of cigarette smoke.

The neutral is that indifferent, disinterested, searching thought that embraces doubt, uncertainty, growth or deterioration. It requires a resistance to the demands placed on ideas, yet such a resistance is itself contrary to the character of the neutral.

Because the neutral can’t be, we desire the neutral to be what it is not: transfiguration, renewal, repair, the holding open of space, unbound possibility, potentiality, reflexivity, the destabilizing of norms. The neutral, a blase mirror of our fantasies, is the temptation of its appropriation. Or some such general gist along those lines.

Why call our cinema journal “The Neutral”?

The neutral threads its way through everything and nothing, ordinary in its ontological form yet extraordinary in its capacity to give us space to question the very structure of cinematic inquiry.

Publications associated with the moving image invariably name themselves with visual metaphors. There, sight reigns. Our emphasis on the neutral, neutrality, and neutralization makes possible alternatives to the dominant regime of visuality by holding open an indeterminate space to be filled annually by our contributors. We aim for minimum prescription.

The neutral, as name, as figure, asks that we rethink the regulative norm of an editorial logic. Where editorial thinking emerges from a commitment to the work of categorization, classification, and discipline, engaging the neutral will slacken this curatorial practice into a gesture of hospitality, where a little bit of ignorance is the seedbed of a lot of intelligence.