Notebook (dark branches)
June 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
He remembers reading about May & June in the Latin Quarter, bodies running down the corridors of the Sorbonne as if recreating Bande a Part, the seemingly transparent formula of collectivity with massed & mobile & proximate bodies, bodies that could without contradiction isolate into images – lithe, artfully dishevelled, marked already with the self-possession bestowed by the brand of glamour – students, in the physical repertoire of Alain Delon & Monica Vitti, Warren Beatty & Julie Christie, Terence Stamp & Jean Seberg, the age he was however many years ago now fucking in momentarily locked classrooms. (It was years until he saw The Dreamers, as if already wary of the evasions and false equations the film integrated by the luscious regard of Fabio Chianchetti’s cinematography.) He remembers how that image appeared as if down the inverted telescope of memory, & recedes further & further into the realm in wh/ it always belonged: the self-parody that capital makes of its alternatives.
He remembers leaving, half-drunk, the late screening of Under The Skin, the texture of the night air seeming somehow different. The frames of environment, body & cosmic material dissolve, matter intermeshing in the constant buzz of visual haze & distortion, technology, nature & the body undergoing their longed-for carnal union in the cinema.
He remembers seeing a girl outside the ATM as he turned the corner at the top of the Parade, in the first days of summer – yellow paisley shift dress, rich brown patent brogues, a burgundy scarf encircling tousled brunette hair. An image such as he had seen enough times before: of the hermetic completeness of the form of the image itself, its difference from the porous, damaged, disappearing extensity of the body. Knowing that, down the perspective flight of identical years, such self-closure is itself a falsity – a logic that suspends itself over & against the body, his own included.
All the troubling traditions of visuality he can name but never entirely escape. Maria in Metropolis, the 20th-century ur-image of frozen eroticism. Art history’s frames of flesh. The narrator & his ghostly “budding grove”. “The unique apparition of a distance, no matter how near it may be.” But also the refusal to believe in tabula rasa rejection, the retreat into crustie ontology, in spite of his own proximity to the dun sub-existence of The Rejected tees & Nepalese trousers. The persistence of a notion of fashion as transformation, of the image as the real form of a false world. “I’m here looking through an old picture frame/just waiting for the perfect view/I hope something special will step into my life/another fine edition of you”.