Toward an Integral Cinema

Announcing the publication of…

Towards an Integral Cinema: 
The Application of Integral Theory to Cinematic Media Theory and Practice

By Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT: Germaine Dulac’s “integral cinema movement” of the 1920s and her integral cinematic work, La Coquille et le Clergyman (1928), are analyzed from a historical and theoretical perspective. Results suggest an early introduction of integral consciousness into cinematic media that corresponds to and predates the integral theories of both Jean Gebser and Ken Wilber. Defining characteristics of what may constitute an integral cinematic work are mapped out and developed into a set of evaluation criteria using the works of Dulac, Gebser, and Wilber. A test of these evaluation criteria with the viewing of several motion pictures is summarized; the results suggest that several past and recent films demonstrate qualities that could be said to constitute an integral cinematic work. A preliminary typology of forms of integral cinematic creation, and the potential benefits and challenges for the application of Integral Theory to cinematic theory and practice are presented and discussed.

Published in The Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2010, Volume 5, Number 4, Pages 112-138.

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Transformative Creation States

I have been researching what I call transformative creation-states for several years now. By this I mean the use of spiritual, transpersonal, and integral approaches for creative expression to induce altered states of consciousness in order to intentionally convert the creative act into a deeply transformative experience for both the artist and the viewer.

During my research in this area I have discerned several discreet transformative creation-states including creative inspiration-states, catharsis-states, visioning-states, witnessing-states, resonance-states, integration-states, and states of creative grace. I also observed and experienced various group creation states including creative group fields and I-Thou creation states in which members of the creative environment become the “sacred other.”

In addition, during this inquiry I also found a confluence of both structure and flow in the transformative creative process, manifesting within, around, and between any and all of these various transformative creation states. There also appears to be a process in which these two state typologies converge, leading to a transformative creative synthesis of structure and flow.

For example, in my own creative work (film, writing, drawing, etc.), I have found that I can approach the transformative-creative act from a pure flow approach (mindfulness/beingness approach) or from a pure structure approach (e.g., applying sacred rituals and practices or esoteric spiritual structures like Kabbalistic Divine-creation patterns). When I really click into either one of these two creation-state typologies a synthesis appears to occur: The flow-process produces previously hidden structures, and the structure-process leads to a kind of structure-flow experience in which Divine energy appears to move through the structures and, if I am open to it, takes me into a flow through the structures along with it. These experiments have led me to play with a synthesis approach, consciously marrying flow and structure in a sacred-creative dance.

Looking at this triangulation pattern through the masculine/feminine typology lens, the flow-process can be correlated to the feminine, the structure-process correlated to the masculine, and the synthesis of the two can be seen as a union of the deep masculine and feminine.