A Fábrica de Nada/The Nothing Factory (Pedro Pinho, Portugal, 2017)

Blogpost, Portuguese Cinema, Uncategorized
A Fábrica de Nada de Pedro Pinho é o premeiro grande filme do meu 2018/Pedro Pinho’s Nothing Factory is my first great film of 2018.
Thoughts provoked by the film with which I am struggling:-
Can capitalism exist without capitalists? This seems to be the central question. Capitalism without capital. Ecology without nature. Humanity without humans. Cinema without films.
If capital requires bodies in order to produce value, then two things:-
1. The bodies that are humans are sacrificed to capital in the form of debt and unemployment; they are rendered in the zone of something like the homo sacer.
2. In order for capital to continue to create value via machines, it makes sense that we confer humanity on to machines – so that value continues to be produced. The recognition of machines as human, then, would also be to allow machines to unionise, strike, refuse to work, and to rebel – not just against their human overlords, but against the system that exploits them.
But more…
Capital demands bodies for two linked but paradoxical-seeming reasons.
1. It demands bodies for food. Bodies must be sacrificed to capital so that capital can live by consuming humans.
2. In consuming human bodies (or the bodies of machines that now are considered human), capital can continue without a body – existing not in the physical realm of the tangible human, but as an ethereal, bodiless form that through not having a body exists in the realm of the god.
But capital is not god. The trick that it plays in order to be or to become a god is in making us think it does not have a body and thus is eternal and unchanging, in making us think that it does not age, grow old or die.
To speak of capitalists without speaking of capital might seem simply to deny the existence of capital, as to speak of films without cinema would be to deny the existence of cinema. But in that denial – in that denial that capital and cinema have bodies – it continues on the ethereal, godly realm, intangible, virtual, unreal. The singularity of an embodied A.I. (machines as humans) only allows the real A.I. to continue in its godly dimension.
So to prove that capital is not god, we must do one or both of two inter-linked things.
1. Either we must recognise that there are only humans (and that machines and animals and everything are humans, consisting only ever of the same stuff or force). In such a world without boundaries, we can perhaps get around the generalisation of boundaries and borders that in the contemporary age are not just physical but also intangible – with that very intangibility being what empowers them, being what allows power to exist as such. This is a world not of nature, but of natures, a world not of capital but capitals, a world not of a world, but of worlds. All is alive – both the virtual and the actual, such that all can also change, become and even die. No eternity, just immanence. Nothing out of time, just time. Total democratic difference, with all that is godly being rendered human. Total humanity – a humane world in which that which is human is not confined within a controlled border, but generalised (humanity without humans; or only humans without humanity).
2. And/or we must give to capital a body; we must show that it has a body, and thus that it, too, ages, crumbles, withers, dies, disperses into the chaosmos and becomes other. Rather than humans aspiring to capital (to live forever via remaining forever young, stopping time, becoming eternal, an endeavour that really involves us sacrificing ourselves to capital, which does continue to exist, invisible and eternal), we must show that capital is human.
But how to do this, especially the latter? We must show that there are no gods, we must refuse to sacrifice ourselves, we must age, and thus we must die – or understand that there is not really death, just continuous becomings and that the I is simply a temporary form. Infinite becoming rather than the vain pursuit of stasis-as-eternity/eternity-as-stasis. We must show that capital is human by giving to it a body, by giving to it ageing, by giving to it becoming, by giving to it change, and thus by creating a world in which capital – like all of us – perishes. We must create a new world. We must create. We must lead lives defined by poiesis; we must lead poetic lives.
But how does a man survive on poetry? Perhaps the aim is not to sur-vive but just to ‘vive’/to live, and in this we realise that all life is survival, and that the surreal exists with the real. And in the meantime, we commiserate and share our bread (companionship).

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