Palimpsestic forms, Cracked spines
Archives of interiority, Vampiric codes
Bell, book, and candle.
—Charles Bernstein, Shadowtime
A Gregory Crewdson photograph, “Ophelia,” shows a typical living room, properly and suburbanly adorned, filled halfway up the first flight of stairs with water. The light appears flirting with twilight, the reflections of lamps and windows still in the water, but most remarkable of all is a lithe young woman wearing plain white undergarments and a translucent (due to being wet) slip, floating in the center of the frame of the photograph, head turned slightly toward the camera but eyes gazing, almost lifelessly, into some unseen corner, entranced. We know she is alive or recently alive, anyway, because her skin is still taut and pale, her lips red. It is a photograph which captures the stillness at the center of what we must otherwise assume has been, at some time or another, a scene of chaos; if not chaos, at least the liminal ambiguity of the unexpected event. One wonders what she is staring at…she does not attempt to swim away or go to the stairs in order to go up or out the door. We do not know if the water is rising or receding—and yet, surrounded by this oddly placid scene, domesticity transfigured into surreal melancholia (as is so typical of most of Crewdson’s work of this period), she stares not quite blankly but fixedly at some unseen point of interest. One would have to attempt to assume her position in just such a scene, the conditions exactly replicated, the narrative precisely copied, the adornments seen and unseen the same, to understand the enchantment or narcosis at work. Such, it seems, is the argument of Conceptualism—the melancholy scribe at the heart of the crisis of liminality within capitalism (much as the Modernists could similarly be interpreted within the tableau of the Great War). All that is left is to see whether Babylon or ruin remains when the tide rolls back and if—against all odds—we maintain the magic to determine this future present or if we are to be something other than actors or martyrs.
Anon. “Once…I ate unmade cornbread mix.”
Me. “You can’t lay heavy shit like that on me when I’m high, man. I’m going to go read Sartre ‘cuz that’s less heavy than what you just said.”
Elvis Costello and Tom Waits —offering you a beer.
They were interviewed about songwriting in 1989. It’s a good read: http://tomwaitsfan.com/Official%20Tom%20Waits/html/tomwaits/i_twec.htm