So, I think it’s a gendered issue more than a simple one of dramatic/not-dramatic. Look back to Freud’s case study of Dora, the classic hysteric: her fits of melodrama made people uncomfortable because it forced them to acknowledge some previous hurt or wrongdoing. It’s easier for people to discount the dramatic female voice in literature as a substanceless performance rather than actually dealing with the issues that would cause someone, say, to want to put together something like Marie Calloway’s Google Docs, or Joyelle McSweeney’s Percussion Grenade – which is all about acting out, being loud, wearing costumes, and throwing a tantrum. There’s something poignant about the overgrown grass and weeds — entropy breaking down what would normally be a pristine space, nature asserting itself over one of Turrell’s meticulously designed indoor / outdoor portals. Bellamy’s latest book is a religious text using the television. The text introduces JVC, her TV monitor and “world renowned trance channel,” with which she will explore topics such as “How to consecrate your TV monitor as a sacred prostitute” and “Switching: who’s channeling whom.” A woman in the audience brings up an incident of object sex when a friend of hers wanted to come over and lick her monitor and film it, and her partner did not allow it. Place asks if she met her later with a laptop. Hilarity ensues. Thirty minutes in, Charlie is chased through the ghetto by Nazi stormtroopers. Charlie’s sweetheart Hannah (played by his real life half-Jewish wife Paulette Goddard) comes to his rescue with a frying pan. Predictably, she knocks Charlie on the head too. The stormtroopers go down and Charlie goes balletically stumbling down the street in a post-concussive haze. It’s a classic gag, but here’s the real joke, the one that sticks in your throat: Charlie careens down the sidewalk in one long tracking shot, and passes by storefront after storefront, all defaced with the same graffito: “Jew.” In the next scene there is a slightly pink tundra, flecked with spots of black. It is a probably the first slightly pink tundra in the history of movies the spots of black are lakes set into that frozen pink nothing is running across the tundra not one thing runs not even the wind the weave of the grass held in the permafrost does not move it is a beautiful landscape & it seems to extend forever. The slightly pink is tremendous, everywhere at once. Even though it cannot go past the edge of the screen that is it’s impossible to know if it does it is like a fog there is so much of it it seems that it could spill out forever that is exactly what the film seems to be saying listen the entire world is pink with flecks of dark listen there is not even a separate world that can be described as that color there is just the color that is all that one can expect if you want to call that fog a world that is your choice but you would just be consoling yourself once a fog gets into the lungs it will never leave you should learn to get used to this state of affairs because there is nothing to struggle against even if you cut the veins it will be fog fog fog not even morning noon & night just fog-morning fog-noon & fog-night pouring out of veins & frames. But the screen moves, zooming out to show more. There is a border to the tundra it is white and billowing in place this doesn’t mean that there is motion it means that it resembles the stopped crests of large waves on the sea at winter if it had frozen suddenly perhaps it is a frozen sea next to the tundra the ponds may contain tar as opposed to water that would explain why they black & are not frozen & not for that matter a sea of matter. However, the pools of black get smaller, as the territory of sea expands its portion of the screen. More of the tundra is visible as is more of the sea we are moving away from the surface one wants to cry out stop where is it that we will go if not here when will this stop why do we always have to leave where it is that we have been staying it is not the kind of film willing to answer those questions but it is not dismissive of them it seems to understand why a sadness would speak itself this way it is for this exact reason that it moves so slowly in this way it allows for some time to get used to being so far from the surface of what now seems to be a world indeed on the other side of the pink facing the frozen billows a curving edge of pink and white-green the edge of a steppe the screen is distributed amongst three zones of color pink with black white with white pink with white-green it is very balanced in this framing & one certainly wishes it would not change. But as there was no staying in place before, there is not now. It does not matter what we want we must be very far from that surface indeed we are now far enough to see that this is a smattering of used coffee grounds on the iridescent pink skirt of a doll this is the tundra it is partially covered by the white rumpled edge of a plastic bag this has been a frozen sea it is partially covered by a rotting piece of bologna this is a steppe but only ever of rotting lunch meat yet it is no less of a landscape for all that this dismissal of the conjunction of flesh & land has always been the fatal error of armies & cartographers alike costing them both infinite losses in the grave fields of history. There are other objects too, besides those that made up the first landscape. Were we to get closer to them they might seem jungles plains cities but we are not close it is clear that they are what they are not fake tundras although it was we who put that tundra quality over what was merely pink flecked with black yet even so there is so little time to look at the other objects or to think about what they are unlike the work in the factory there is not time to do so because they are disappearing not vanishing into thin air but blowing away from the pile as if a rubbish wind blew them away if such a wind was to exist we cannot see where they are going but they are leaving while they do so they heal themselves a plate puts its shards together it clatters away on its edge diapers shrug off their dried mess they flap their white wings to find the box they came from a TV replodes it tumbles away nail clippers scrape off their own rust with bent files they nip free from the junk covering them to find somewhere else to do their cutting tissues iron out their own folds they shrug off blood or mucus or ejaculate they lilt off in that supposed wind this is shown in a number of shots each of which lasts the exact same amount of time it is the only good way to deal with the different materials here the film does not want to treat any of them as more important than the others & some are more exciting than others but this is not allowed to matter. There are two toes in particular I can concentrate on to help me walk straight. Toward God-knows-where? I think of Atlantis buried under ice, gone / One day from sight, the shore from which it rose now glacial and stark. / Our eyes adjust to the dark.
[Note: Sources: Carina Finn, “Carina Finn Defends Her Life As a Movie + Melodrama !!”, at Harriet, 3 Jul 012; Jillian Steinhauer, “A Forgotten Piece of Santa Fe Sky”, at Hyperallergic, 6 Jul 012; Andrea Lambert, “Q.E.D. – Part 3: An evening of Authentic Objects”, at HTMLGIANT, 6 Jul 012; Patrick Harrison and Willie Osterweil, “Where The Hell Do You Think You Are?”, at The New Inquiry, 6 Jul 012; Evan Calder Williams, “& (A film in 13 scenes, scene 3)”, at The New Inquiry, 6 Jul 012; JBR; Tracy K. Smith, “MY GOD, IT’S FULL OF STARS”, at Bibliomancy Oracle]