Our thesis is very modest and shall limit itself to a rough sketch of what could be described as a failed meeting of film theory and Post-Fordism. In reading one of
the more popular philosophical variations on the theory of Post-Fordism, Virno’s Grammar of the Multitude, which asserts that “idle talk is the basis of Post-Fordistic virtuosity”, one cannot avoid a certain feeling of unfamiliarity. And indeed, if we look at the virtuosity of speakers-workers in the Post-Fordistic work process from another perspective, suddenly everything Virno is saying seems very familiar. The Fordistic slogan – “Silence! We are working!” – seems familiar. As if we had heard it somewhere before. Of course – “Silence! We are shooting! – is the shout of filmmakers. Not just any filmmakers, the filmmakers of the sound period. They kept repeating that shout, especially at a time when it really meant something, when the ear was not yet accustomed to it, at the time when sound cinema replaced silent cinema, when actors, crew and everyone on the set needed to be reminded of that. A similar situation can be found in Virno, who tries to follow the shift of the economic paradigm of Fordism into Post-Fordism: as if the previously mute working process suddenly came to life in the sphere of sound. As such, the theoretical background of Paolo Virno is equal to the theories of those, especially Michel Chion, who explored the shift from silent to sound cinema.
The integral version of this article can be found in the printed KINO!