Shimmers in the Water: An Object-Oriented Approach to Tarkovsky

Josh Grant-Young

Dimanche, UdeM – 11h à 11h45

The landscape surrounding the Zone in Tarkovsky’s film « Stalker » is one littered with various objects: detritus, glimmering ikons, coins and pamphlets, drawing one affectively with various responses: fear, confusion, whimsy or nostalgia. Through the camera lens, the viewer surveys an ecology of (as Skalov states) “the debris of human civilization” – strewn about by the flow of water, wind and other forces of the nonhuman. Yet, in this remarkably beautiful scene where the Stalker lies within the water where these objects inhabit, one cannot help but feel some affective draw and mysterious resistance from these objects. Why is this?

In this paper, I intend to explore an ‘object-oriented’ approach to « Stalker », noting Tarkovsky’s attentiveness to the ‘debris’ of the world – treating these objects as more than mere junk, but rather objects with their own agency. Drawing on the work of Graham Harman, Naramin Skalov and Levi Bryant, I will explore the potential philosophical importance of objects in « Stalker ».