Jasper Johns’ Regrets and the hypnagogic logic of his art.

Rev., Feb 20, 2019

This is a fusion thought piece combining sources from popular/fine art, not a review.

A fortunate aspect of the retrospective of Jasper Johns at Matthew Marks this month is that it affords me, for the first time, a chance to put his work, as it relates to my thinking, in a completely different perspective. His work always has been and still is sold as an example of formalism, not unlike Ryman, but with certain motifs and patterns, which he then works, or plays with, to create variations in color, shape, form. On his very poor wiki page, this is typical

Johns’ breakthrough move, which was to inform much later work by others, was to appropriate popular iconography for painting, thus allowing a set of familiar associations to answer the need for subject. Though the abstract expressionists disdained subject matter, it could be argued that in the end, they had simply changed subjects. Johns neutralized the subject, so that something like a pure painted surface could declare itself. For twenty years after Johns painted Flag, the surface could suffice – for example, in Andy Warhol‘s silkscreens, or in Robert Irwin‘s illuminated ambient works.

I recollect brain-crunching at explanations of how by decoupling the paint stroke from expression, he had purified it; then, by using “images that the mind already knows” he had further purified the paint stroke so that the paint itself on its own, other elements of the art “neutralized,” as it says above, he could proceed to play in the slipstream wiggle room of paint per se. But, over time, as a result of this, I began to see the play as just a game of formalist checkers, to get to another painterly or conceptual painterly effect, the work seemed, to me at least, to go stale. But, now, I see something else. Johns is now making use of his finesse painterly skills to explore hypnagogic places.

In the MM show, they showed this piece from Regrets (2012).

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It is, I think, the anchor piece of the series. Why? in a review of the body of work from 2012 at the Courtald they explain that Johns had become obsessed or fixated upon a photo of Lucien Freud sitting forlornly on a bed. The photo already had art history dna because it was used as the basis of a self-portrait by Bacon, and I think they said that Johns looked at the copy that Bacon had, which was badly smudged, wrinkled and torn.

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What this means is that in this case, for this body of work, Johns created an agency relation where the picture was the prototype from which all else came, but it had been mediated, and thus it had ghosts in, over and around it. So, in first encounter, facing, through the screen of his usual armamentarium, folding, flipping, coloring, abstracting, etc., he sees the cult photo.

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but then something interfered with the contact with the cult image, somebody else had already got there, Bacon, and he from it made a portrait of himself, but in the process,

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abused the photo bad with smudges of paint, tears and wrinkles, and the like. So Johns has to see the picture through the mediation created previously around it by Bacon. This in turn creates a contact between that part of his POV that relates to the POV Bacon conducted on it, thus he sees that his armentarium has echoes, if in a negative form, in the effects use by Bacon put on the photo. Bacon made those marks, in the use of the photo in the making of a painting; Johns has similar marks not as sideeffects of usage, but as instruments of interrogation of a form, to see, by variation, thereof, if there is some aspect of it, in terms of its visuality or presence, to bring out. But the connection is made.

But then the question is, why does Johns manipulate images in this way? The formalist approach argues that he does so to get down to the basic element of any image, or whatever (ie he wants only images he already knows). He turns it over in his mind to get out the fullness of it, and show us it all, so that, I guess, we appreciate an image in its fullness.

But, now, the tone of this is different. That is, when I first saw this painting I saw only the form below. It looked to me like the simple nightgown of a woman, but headless sitting up in bed. It made me think of a “hag attack” at the end of the bed.

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that is, I only saw this form in a positive way as a dark presence

aj 6If I saw it as an entity, in an element of bedsheet or whatever, then it is a Land of Nod sighting not unlike the Hanged Woman; indeed, this could be viewed as a variation of a Hanged Woman. Again, my model here is: close your eyes, now let the entoptic elements of the blind visual field inside (ent-) the eye (optic) flow, let the blue dots, or red areas of moving patches, or still spots, do what they will, and then you “see” something. So, if I close my eyes right now. I “see” this

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that is, at immediate closing, with my eyes-opened visual field currently consisting of a lamp off peripheral left, the computer screen center and a window lit by sun through a venetian blind up off at an angle right, somehow, the imprint of the screen or window hovered, but, then, immediately began to contract; after several seconds, then, the afterimage of all the light sources in my visual field coalesced into a kind of crucifix figure, with the arms of it quite bright, the rest fading, and then the space around and above the “head” got quite compressed. It would then follow that if I fell asleep soon after this vigilogogic entoptic effect would drop down into hypnagogy and reverse positives to negatives and vice versa to show me into a place, the Land of Nod. It is from a careful observance of the strange things inside my closed eyes that I have tracked the visual origins of silent movies, television watched from across a room in a movie, old movies in new movies, portraits, but also visual effects like the High Light, the Hanged Woman, the Black Bog, the Village of dreams, etc. But this is more connected to a prescribed interest in the hag attack that people see in their bedroom when they pop up into vigilogogy, but, for some malfunction, are still asleep (which happens in the second dream of a nightmare figure eight as well). It often happens that when I get into bed and pull the covers over me some sensing of them by my body makes me see them as phosphorescent green, and as if covering me mountainously. Where A is the actual blanket on my body, then, I see, this time with my eyes completely closed, some sort of afterimpression of the feel of them, and this can result in seeing a green door, or any other structure in my room; and even seeing a hag attack figure, or a figure standing next to my bed.

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indeed, it does not take much for the “impression” of a door in the green space to decay at the edges to become a figure, and, of course, this Figure Standing at the Edge of the Bed, often called a Gray, is one of the most common tropes in bedroom-based horror.

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thus, this Johns form, for me, is legible as an imprint of a thing seen entoptically, with, then, a background literally being painted as if Johns is seeing the scene through the darkness of looking at it with his eyes closed. This indicates, first off, that Johns’ mind is troubled in sleeping, and has been marked by a pattern of forms which trigger responses to others, all of this either waking him up or creating comfort.

aj 11There are two additional points to make so that one sees this form for what it fully is. That is, it is not just an “interesting form” that has emerged deeply ensconced in Jasper Johns painting. It is primarily an emergent form. I have thought it represents a nightgown, but in a movie I saw the form in a more abstract form too, when the water spirit begins to rise on Susan to announce the presence of a spirit, in The Nun (2005, Spain), there is the form as an embryonic presence, promising more. This kind of image, an emergent image, comes as a shock because one was not sure if it was something, then, all of a sudden, it passes the threshold, and one is sure, it is something, this is a shock, especially in the Land of Nod

aj 12But, then, in this context, there is a second dimension which must be addressed. It is also a Shudder image. That is, Susan is in a state of panic, which might even serve to conjure up the images, because, with the others, she has been shown a series of baroque paintings of saints’ martyrings in the corridor, and each picture tells us how the person with the name of their patron saint already died, and also how they will die. Susan’s is St. Suzanna, martyr by decapitation,

aj 13The image causes her to shudder, in a physical panic. Here is how it works. You think of it, you see the image in your mind, then you feel it hit somewhere back in your head, you shudder in your shoulders and arms and get completely upset. I know whereof in terms of this kind of image because I have a Shudder image in my mind that I cannot release, from my fall on the ice three years ago. All I have to do is think of how hard the back of my head bounced like a bowling ball on the cement before I could even tell where I was, looking up seeing blue sky and people’s faces around me, this is the image, I still cannot think of it without shuddering. There is a really good example of a shudder image in the sense that it must entail a physical shudder, in this case waking her up, in The Legend of Lucy Keyes (2017). Julie delpy is recovering from having lost a child to a hit-and-run, and each night as she tries to sleep the image comes back in. And when she sees the image, then takes it to the next step, which is her daughter stepping out in front of traffic and getting hit

aj 14That is a shudder image par excellence, she physically shudders awake

aj 15This abides by theory as in order to classify something as a true “trauma,” however popularly we use the word to stand for anything upsetting, there has to be a physical element that leaves its mark on the nervous system, that is, that entails a shudder image, and a shuddering (and imagine a trauma consisting of a string of those images over a few minute reexperiencing period, a core issue in post traumatic stress). Thus, the shudder image has a physical component that is not reducible to a pure image of it.

I think Johns’ image, and the skull to follow, are, in reality, if read hypnagogically, not formally, shudder images which cast the viewer into a different state of mind, then he goal perhaps is to sift through variations to find a way to domesticate that shudder image and stitch it into the mind as a memory that no longer injures. Thus, as both an Emergent Image and as a Shudder Image this “eidol” has a shock power to drive deeper into cult.

But then there is also the issue of where this form came from. It came from the photo, or, not the photo, but from the voided or negatives space or apophatic aspects of the photo as it was damaged when being put to use by Bacon, so it represents Bacon’s negative space artistic addition to the picture. The form, however, is this tearing in the lower left corner, next to Freud, below him, as if, if read literally reframed in a whole of it taking that into the picture, a ghost or void in that bed with him, that is, the same thing in his mind that Johns then made from it in his art.

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Just like this it can be read as an intrusive presence, negatively presenting itself to Freud’s distressed mind, it has a “head”, it has a certain “face” in the uneven tearings on the side, it has a “back of head” it stares balefully into his lap, it tries to bite his hand, it profiles his knee and leg, it profiles his shoes, he is construed by the strange relation between the negative space and the positive space, as a haunting presence “representing” the unrepresentable nature of Freud’s distress.

aj 17and, running the gamut of hauntings, it could be an Assyrian demon, like, in fact, haunter of Bes, lamasthtu

aj 18Or, on the other end of the spectrum, Landseer

aj 19And, somewhere in the middle, Frankenstein at the bedside too

aj 20in such a procedure, which is standard postmodern picture theory deconstruction, each time an association is made, some hint of it, however small, clings to the form; and it may be that the form can also then turn out to take in other elements adjunct to the image exactly in the associative pictures to expand the whole associative field of its deconstructive imagery. So, just looking at the above photo of Freud, and the Frankenstein picture, though the primary association is with the form of the head of Frankenstein in the window, the broken window, the broken chair, the knocked over vase, the prostrate woman, the Mary Shelley picture (portrait signifying woman of the house in trouble), all can bleed back into the negative space of the form to add interpretative poetic depth to it. But, then, Johns was more a modernist in his “deconstruction” than someone of my generation. So he stuck with abstract forms, to work with them, and eschew from his at least conscious mind the “content” of the image. So what he did is to play with the form of the negative space, he turned it over a few times, and, then, at one point, he folded over the negative space onto its opposite facing the other way, and by bookending it he came up with the central form of the series. This is standard bookending, and, as such, it is a turning-over-in-one’s-mind function that is more characteristic of, in fact, the Glass Onion (symbolic) level of hypnagogy (and a “sleep on it” fantasmata dream). In this state, one works with symbols and sigils, and then tries to turn them over in your mind until by formal means, mainly, you come to a Presque vu sense of importance as to what they mean. In the formation I call a Toad Road form, which occurs in symbolic hypnagogy, you often encounter a simple shuttle from one version of an image back to another version, and you are left to go back and forth trying to figure out how they are related.

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but it is clear that Johns fixated on this form, and worked with it, working it differently, in various pieces

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again

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again

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we are now, quite literally, in a bookend formation, of which I have also written about extensively. That is, when you look at the above, you are looking at two halves of an image split from the center of the “gown” form, and that is where you are.

aj 25So, as I see it thus far, Johns has taken us from vigilogogy, in our waking visual world and by turning off the lights, as it were, to create microspaces of tonal variation per image, he has cast us into hypnagogy, and the general look of each work, the treatment of the halved spaces back of the central image, the variations from piece to piece, in the grey variations, as if intra-color, all speak to the entoptic zone. But, then, the form of it all, his play with form, this is characteristic of adjunct Glass Onion space where things are turned over but in an obsessive bookended, that is, flip-flop simplified way. Then it is by reagency that he keeps turning the image over on itself, in various ways, to draw out another possible micro mood.

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I especially see this in the astonishingly similar-but-different moods of the gray pieces in the series, comparing this

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to this

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He is literally doing in formulating variations of the works, the use of grays, which spaces to make solids, which to leave open, what goes light or dark, these are micro-variations on a common picture, but this is exactly what human beings are left to do when peering into the darkness to discern if there is something there, if they can believe what they think they are seeing. It is also, by the way, what I often find myself doing with the use of the close-up function on programs to try to read an image on a painting in a background of a movie I watch on a computer, it is the same process.

Also, I have developed a variant use of the word “inosculation”. And this is when, having settled in for the night, you find a comfortable and cozy place in the blankets. You settle in, but, then, for some reason, your foot, your leg, your crotch, your back, something “picks” at you and communicates that it is not, in fact, that comfortable. So, what do you do? you simply “shift” and, amazingly, it is often possible to find a more comfortable and cozy enclosure after shifting, and it is the movement from one incalculable comfort state to another that I also call inosculation. So it is that on the form level Johns oscillates from canvas to canvas, but on the painterly or light-space level he inosculates. And it is the subtle variations representing him turning it all over in his mind that makes his work so entirely searching. It does feel like to me, regardless of his fame, nice studio, or whatever, that Johns like me or anyone else lives in the intimacy-beyond-intimacy of being oneself and only oneself, and this is the micro space he explores.

But it is also true that in this bookended form, I see the nightgown of a woman standing up on the bed by itself. It might even be cut from a movie still, of just that, of which there are literally thousands of examples to choose from, should you wish to go that direction, in terms of picture theory deconstruction. That means that, for me, it is not just an abstract form, but a “figure.” It stands in entopty, but at the threshold of the Glass Onion (symbolic phase hypnagogy); it is a psychopomp, leading one in. So, I have to identify it that way. And since to me this is a somewhat frightening image, it has an element of a hag attack, but, then, brought in closer, it has a haunting presence at the next deepest level. This locates John’s mind while painting as perhaps parallel to where he gets to these days in sleeping, he comes to a stage at a depth and breadth which signifies a concern over whether or not the voodoo of his form-manipulations are “working” in terms of overcoming thinking negative thoughts, or whatever. At present, I classify this as a Conjure Figure, brought up from the dropping into the Land of Nod in the entoptic level, but then a formal variation of a form devised in surprise to represent some “state of mind” in the next level, the glass onion. Thus I compare this to, once again, the Conjure Figures I have worked out in The Red Shoes, or in Whistle and I’ll come to you, see my post on the former. This treatment then lets us not only appreciate the formal exercises of Johns, or his painterliness or technique, but it lets us know where it is he is lost in reverie, where his mind dwells, why we are so drawn in, even haunted by its realistic presentation of a deep hypnagogic state of mind with genuine “visual wisdom.” So, first of all, he has created a Conjure Figure as his dream guide, and in its uncertainty as to what it is, it intrigues, and pulls at us.

But, then, as explained in a release for a show of these works, the Regrets series, at the Courtauld in 2012, Johns, in playing with the negative spaces as images, or the distress of wrinkles and tears in the cult image, expressive in a simple way, that is, transferring content to surface, in typical expressionistic style, he also turned over the wrinkled space in the bow of the negative tear form

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And, then, while the release bends over backwards to assure us that Johns, with his mind, modelled by rationalism, would not surrender to such visual superstition, and that this appearance was completely out of his control, therefore, unintended, when he turned that over he saw to his surprise a skull in the gap space made by the bookending of the form.

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A few points. First, such a coincidental, chance image, would not be something that Johns as Johns would’ve valued in his youth, but maybe he changed his ideas later. Certainly, for me, this is an image called an acheiropoetoi, that is, not made by human hands, it is a sudden, unexpected, visual phantom form, or phasma, created as a pareidol, a thing seen, a secondary image, a mirage, an hallucination. Most of the time, in his generation, these kinds of images were verboten, not to be talked about, they were inadmissible as art, though over time we have become more comfortable in talking about such forms in the work of Pollock and de Kooning (I even wrote a review in the late 80s that argued that de Kooning’s late work was interesting because he had moved from secondary to tertiary images). But this is a clear cut pareidol, it is a skull, and the release says that Johns was surprised and thrilled by it; then, he worked with it.

Second, this is a different kind of image, it is not entoptic, or glass onion, but a border guardian piece, and in its heavy purpose it exists both, if you see if alone, as a floating skull, a common trope, or, if you attach it to the “body” below it, it becomes a herm, a head of something put on a preexisting body, to stand as a guardian or apotropaic image, in a class of images going way back, at the deeper dream level of the lattice.

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and I have no doubt that Johns’ treatment of the variations of the sighting of the grays was often guided by how he wanted to present the skull, either as a thing floating over, a head attached, a head just hanging there, or a head of something coming in on you. In this too, like a hand as used in close-up in a horror movie, the skull gave him the ability to move down the spiral of dream space too, to bring that head more or less closer to you

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and it is certainly true that in the “skull” Johns found a found image in the tradition of his working with images that the brain already knows, to serve as a direct image counterpart of the image of Freud in distress scratching his head and hurting. By the way, I also call THIS state, when the mind is weighed down by the worries of the world, the dornkron, or the crown of thorns, because, in addition to it possibly being accompanied by migraine forms like crennellations or auras, it also pricks at the head and hurts, and that’s why we scratch our heads when it is really our mind we are scratching at. The dornkron, for me, is a depressive form, the lattice falling down the whoosh, en route to a splat in nightmare, so in this discovery by chance these images by Johns were given access to the deeper sleep nightmare realms en route to dream.

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Johns being Johns, he will remain very understated and cool with all this, he will never want to “figure it out” or make it too explicit, or readable, to give the rational mind an easy meaning, when what he is after is making us look at and experience a state of mind as represented by states of hypnagogy. But, then, there also was that one image of this series that he seemed to release himself to make the most of it as a self-contained skull, to play it up as a skull, and as a floating skull, this one, from 2012

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this is, for me, easily, the most evocative piece of the series, he surrenders the space of the “gown” to the background, he encircles the entire thing in a black out, he centers the whole composition on the skull, floating there, like in a Giger, or in a horror movie, over its negative space, the space around it coalesces as an attachment not unlike a fur or wings, it is part of the entity of the skull, no longer in the background. This is the kind of image that coalesces in this way spontaneously, it makes me think, as I commented in a post, that it was the Anchor image of this series. It was a one-off, a best-work which really played up the potential of this idea, and then it anchors everything else after. In its mystery maybe it was too explicit, but it strikes me as a breakthrough, then an anchor work, that set the focus of the series on the skull. Again, as a skull, it could be construed, for its surface and its connection by that surface, as a Giger in a network of forms linked to it

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And, of course, the skull is a formal scaffold image that serves as a trope for any number of creations of it by means of the arrangement of other elements, so, in this case, Johns is able to lift the whole space of the picture and its background forward, for it to float.

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It, that is, suggests that the background, brought forward, and joined, by illusion, to the skull form, serves as a sort of networking that signals the workings of the brain in the adjunct space. But it can also just be a skull, floating, like in the movie The Skull (1966),

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But with a life of its own, floating about, like in the poster

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There is even a crystalline quality to the form and its elements that suggest a self-reflective nature, as if this particular piece was imagined as a mirror

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But, finally, there was also a “cracking” quality in this particular image, that made me think of another effect, that is, imagine the facture of this image as some sort of space around, folding it back out to that, but, then, that space cracking, and it being the space we are in, looking in, but it is cracking, or icing, or freezing up, and, then, ominously, the skull looks THROUGH that to us, coming ever more insistently toward us, to haunt

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this I compare in a post

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I compare it to a scene in a movie, to the shot where Sara, in Toad Road (2012), is separating off from her boyfriend, leaving him behind, to go on into the sixth or seventh gate of hell, and she says that it is freezing, and in the effect it does look as if the whole fog effect turns to ice and then she peers through that field from behind it, from one state to another.

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and this effect I have located approximately at the point where one departs hypnagogy for ambient (circling) or sentient (spinning) frontiers past that, and thus heads off to a gate of hell, but then she glares back at those left behind to then by that power menace them.

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I have the specific map in my post on Toad Road, this is close enough for her.

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finally, then, there is also a whole other direction in Johns play with this image–this pareidol on a pareidol, this herm topping a Conjure Figure–and that is that he does sometimes bring it back up to consciousness, to color it in a more linear way, as per Johns

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and these also have a hypnagogic-vigilogogic purpose of palate cleansing, and to, if you do not want to go low, you can nod in and nod out, as in the Village of dreams, this then like what I call the Hand of God effect represented by the lightning strobe effect of movement through and over the Luor (gap between vigilogogy/hypnagogy)

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I have in this note worked out in the most preliminary way, without any consultation with the literature, what I think is the map of Johns’ travels through the state of hypnagogy in this body of work. And while in relation to the original photo it is cult art, obsessing on that image as a lattice image, in its working out it consists of a psychic dive from vigilogogy through the strobe effect to the Village of dreams wherein a Hag Attack encounter with a Hanged Woman variant causes him to treat of that in a form-playing way to see what it is; and then by surprise another form emerged from playing with the negative space that created a herm at the hypnagogic lattice level and in such a form as to come closer in the manner of a whoosh, which, then, in its most signature rendering, even wandered out into outlying ambient zones where the herm could serve as, for example, a marker of turf, for example, that tree before entering the wilderness where Nebuchadnezzar had to leave his clothes to go into the wilderness to eat like an animal for seven years. Thus it is a journey in the mind of Johns, and it gets such a response because it is a journey in a mind that everyone knows well, it maps out as a journey in a somewhat depressive, but also searching brain, exploring, prodding dark issues, maybe even death itself, if one wants to read the skull image literally, but, then, for these more anecdotal readings one has to break out of specifically this small group of images and follow Johns in exploring motifs of his other art acting as signposts along the way into deep dreaming in the mind.

Rochelle Goldberg’s “Casa del Sol” and the passage through dream to meaning.

Rev., dec 19-20, 2018.

Note: As I did not see this exhibition in person, this, once again, is not a review but a  POV thought piece considering the art of a contemporary artist as it relates to my thinking. Photos from coverage of the exhibition on Contemporary Art daily.

So, looking at the Casa del Sol exhibition of Rochelle Goldberg at Casa Massaccio, Italy, one has to work it out piece by piece, to get some bearing on what it all means. At present, I am working in a “fusion” mode, and that is that I assume that there is now some connection in terms of awareness in object use in tropes in movies, and object use in tropes in art culture. However, I do not claim for the artist a full interest in the trope as used in the movies, especially in the genre of horror movie, my specialty. Second, having looked over the writing connected with her art, I have decided for now that Goldberg is interested in interiority, and that her spaces are mental interiors, and the language that I know best in describing mental interiors, which far exceeds art’s power in this, due to the minimalist-rationalist tradition, is dream theory as applied to movies, so I feel free to apply my hypnagogy model to her art to figure out where it is going, and to demonstrate that it is, indeed, dynamic agency art, and is, psychically, going somewhere in the space. This is not, then, an installation, but what I have come to call an incubation, a subjective, psychological waking dream experience in a cave which happens to be a gallery.

So, early in the proceedings there is an empty, bricked in hearth, with the suggestion that fire once burned in it, because of the soot marks. Goldberg places in front of it, a large old doll, standing in a mirror like a pool

ro 1the devastated hearth is a classic trope, and corresponds with statements made in the press release that the goal of the exhibition is to inhabit the old space to bring it back to life. She makes use of an alchemical metaphor involving the cultivating of gold, which I won’t get into, to map out this process. But it is a process and it does involve moving through the space. Then the idea of this shot is that somehow the doll came out of the devastation of the hearth, meaning that, the doll as an effigy of the ghost that represents the oldness of the house and the coldness of the house.

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in horror movies, as I have, in fact, written about this trope quite a bit this year, an old doll haunts to represent the dead eyes of the world, the eyes of the world that do not care about your little fate. Haunted dolls are also linked to childhood traumas, and as I worked out quite recently, with regard to the movie, Savage Vengeance (1984), I think, the doll can also become the associating effigy of a crime and the totem of a killer come for revenge. That she is large and broken is meant to make her creepy, then that she stands in a pool of glass means that she might be one of Goldberg’s “intralocutors” who, in the context of her 2017 show at Migel Abreu, she claims had mirroring qualities, moving back and forth in and out of a door. Thus, at the beginning of the effort, she represents all the old expectations one brings to the effort, and that they should be deposited with her.

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because she does not really appear again, I cannot call her one of the intralocutors for sure. She seems like a prologue figure, as seem to be proliferating around the edges of Euro sculpture of late (Raphaela Vogel similarly included this sort of thing in a recent show), signifying a growing awareness that dream guides can be made use of to guide people through shows in a directed way. The question of what level of hypnagogy she persists on is a bit more complicated. The mirrors indicate we are out in adjunct space, and not in the central whirl of life, we are a bit off to the side; the fact of her size and her introductory role leaves her as a concierge figure, hitting a few notes of themes, but then letting you move on. At present, I will argue that her presence casts the mind into a glass onion-level state of reverie, to operate solely by a language of sigils and symbols, to work from there.

Next we come to an installation vignette with the aspect of a plateau, which seems to have an alchemical purpose. The placement of water or whatever in shallow bowls, all of it covered in plastic wrap, suggests some sort of alchemical process. This might be the start up event, in the process. Visually, it is clearly a glass onion formation, that is, a symbolic, not a real, formation, it symbolizes entry into a certain state of mind

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but it exists in a kind of scatter art plateau of enclosures, not unlike an encampment, where the effect is off to the side, there are other spaces, and objects in them, and then there is a guardian or intralocutor figure too

ro 5the other portfolios of the site are covered in strange objects too

ro 6in a work at a small LA show last year, Goldberg exhibited some small cast aluminum objects, which consisted of ginger, sunchoke, turmeric, with pennies.

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she also created Cosmic Footing out of similar objects

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and they were scattered or arranged all over the floor

ro 11in an element of her art that parallels some of the materials that Lucy dodd has put into her work, and Anicka Yi, Goldberg subscribes to a belief in the organic quality of her installations, that is, that they, metaphorically, grow from whatever the small units of growth element represent (dillenmuth also represents in a schematic way certain symbolic powers in this way. The representation of the system of your art in abstract form like this is not new. In fact, it is a regular part of the art of any artist who begins to build worlds out of their art (going back at least as far as di Chirico, but materialized for conceptualism by Beuys). They symbolize, simply, in the abstract, movement, energy, pushing forward toward another element, building up something. As such, then, I link them to witchcraft both real and as symbolized in movies, and argue that as motif-level objects that float or are seen abstractly in the glass onion-symbolic second level of dream state, this places Goldberg’s imagination, hypnagogically, on the glass onion level, she has some entoptic elements, but as a mind she seems to want to settle on something slighter heavier and deeper, in symbolic forms. These then form a trail, as it were, over the terrain of this particular plateau, located on the glass onion level, but more toward the perimeter, and out into looser ambient spaces, in a broad dreaminess.

ro 12I locate it here

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then it leads out, in the corner, to a figure, whether this is an intralocutor I don’t know, however, it seems quite ghostly, only a head and a stand, and a veil. It feels like a nymph, which is located at this spot, then its goal is to turn the mind back, to “clear” the space, that is, to clear it out of any rationalized overcast, and let it open up to become a locus amoenus where things in a mythic way can happen, where the laws of “nature” are able to be violated and secret meanings arise. I am going to claim for now that due to her position and posture, and the level of materiality, in so far as she is almost not materialized, she is a border figure, at the edge of the hypnagogic, leading one back in from going too far out.

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she it is who like a ghost in dickens, tells you to look more closely,

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to examine, and by examining, see it for what it is, not an object but a subject, a something leading to something else.

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The fact that this is the only element in this room, means that it is the set up, the overture, if you will, of things to come. An interesting point is that as she is mostly veil, this shot shows all but her POV to let suggestion of her form, and this does get somewhat entoptic, rush over to the window

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And then the curtains are part of it too, a reflective form, across from the avatar ghost

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So I place it here

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what this means is, as a plateau adjunct to the spin of lifeforce, edging over from inside-the-head hypnagogy into ambient deserts beyond (where so much of Twin Peaks: The Return takes place), this liminal figure stands guard, but also serves to process you into a more ghostly form, especially as she is then profiled and countered to a window with a blowing curtain. This effect is supposed to haunt this space, but in a way that brings up the issues in an oblique way, almost in the manner of play, as in the “wild space” of psychogeography. It is hard to make the point in the abstract language of art. But in incubation rituals in the ancient Greek world, one had to do a number of pre-ritual duties, to be eligible to go in. These included both things in your life like sexual abstinence and fasting, but, then, once you arrive, offering sacrifice before entering, and then reading other iamata votives detailing successful outcomes, all to autosuggest to you that this incubation will work. Your task is then to have a dream that you will remember, and bring it out to the priest, for him or her to interpret it for you (von Ehrenheim).

But in more modern language it could be argued that a haunting is a repressed displacement of a seduction. I have had a small blip of renewed interest in le Fanu’s story Carmilla, mainly because I think that the focus on the lesbianism, while titillating, is not necessarily borne out by the story as written. It seems that the more horrible thing in the story is not the sexual aspect of Carmilla’s affection, but the fact that Carmilla seems to fuse into and cross the boundary over into Lara, meaning that she violates her identity boundary, and that is the terror. But, of course, in the movies, it is about the lesbianism, because sexuality has been put forward as the raison d’etre of life throughout the era of the sexual revolution. But what if you have to tell the story in a way that must repress things? In a 1988 tv version it was, of course, necessary to repress all lesbian implication, but this lead to a compensating sublimated use of the trope of their hoop skirts as signs of expanding Sapphic power, which is out of their control, never spoken of, but there.

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but this repression in the house, carried through by rescripting the story over that of Dracula, necessitates a sequence where Carmilla and Lara get off by themselves, but do so in play, but, also weirdly, in full dress, at night, for unclear reasons. The agency graph would be, the story is what it is, a story of Carmilla encroaching on Lara to seduce her, and vampirize her. In modern criticism, the cult aspect of the story which has carried it to remakes and life in the genre is the reading that it is about lesbianism. But, now, a TV director is faced with the story and with production motives, expressed in the graph as an exploitation of the story. By exploitive reagency the story is replaced by the Dracula story, this then by reagency washes out the sexual element and makes it all simply about a vampire, to accord with the gutting of the story; but, then, the director, faced with “what do I do with this?” turned from it to create a scene of a counterreality where, rejecting the edits, he put it all back in, but in a symbolic form, in the form of the gowns and their overthetop size and extent, and even more so played with in the woods at night in this way.

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And the result is a terrifically strange sequence where two women in lavish ghostly hoop skirts run through the woods

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and they chase each other

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it is a game

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but, then, they come to the edge of a cliff, just like in dark shadows, to meet as lovers, in form, but not in Lara’s awareness

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but the excessive wafting of the hoops skirts, the narrowing of the space from 3d to 2d, to be thought of as ghostly, as consisting of diaphanous gowning, this beglaubigungsapparat then allows Carmilla to contradict the laws of nature, without shocking Lara, by disappearing and reappearing just down the cliff. She thinks nothing of it, having been seduced in her sense of space, to it being mainly of gown

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and indeed it is as if this confidence revealed to Lara of who or what she is, but Lara is still ok with it, it the only time she strikes a truly seductive pose with her, revealing other themes repressed in this version.

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And if that were not enough, they had to think of a way to suggest the lesbianism without doing so and then show that Carmilla used the occasion to feed on Lara. Thus, the 2d fantasy nature of the space, the reduction of the space to a reverie, a fishbowl, and also a bookend space, in adjunct space, allowed them to come up with this bizarre but delightful idea of showing Carmilla as a bat in that gown with that gown as if the wings let down from a tree to encompass her, delirious.

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all I am saying is that as one moves into hypnagogic states, the 3d quality of the world, the rationalized distinctions of the waking world, blur, close in, dematerialize, the space in them narrow, symbolism becomes as it were a physical force, bearing in it repression, to let the meaning out in another way in any case. And that is what happens in this installation, which I guess I am saying, using van gennep’s model, this setup kind of serves as a preparation chamber, or an initiand proto-chamber (and von Ehrenheim has a word). By this means, then, this is more a subjective state, in the headspace of the artist, than a neoconceptual response to the site specific site, a change in ethos then in this century. And this then lets us step off, having been initiated, and put on the same page, into the main event.

Goldberg’s general scattered assemblages at present look like islands or plateaus of meaning set out in a way that is NOT related to space as an installation would be in the neoconceptual or deconstructive sense, but as if to evoke a dream state, and work it out in dream.

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at present, the look of this argues in favor of a counterreality, but, then, with a twist.

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that is, she says in the release that the house made her think of the house she grew up in, meaning that as an artist A she confronted the house A, and while a neoconceptual artist would simply wait to pick up a vibe from that space, in agentic formation, she turned away from it, to think back on her own house, where she grew up, and to muse on that. In the context of this creation of a counterreality, she then rendered the dotted, depleted forms of that memory as opposed to experienced place; then, developed forms in the abstract which reminded her of the counterreality and from that had a vocabulary for the show. She did not, then, however, fully materialize that culture in a reverse culture by ostension in the house, but simply by reagency from the countering. She rather transplanted the abstract forms into abstract plateaus of inference, relating the two spaces by way of their intervention. I see these then almost as floes of detritus out in the ambient desert or sea of her memory space, in imitation of memories wafting in the mind, and figured out by pared down abstract forms which only suggest presence, as they might in entoptic or symbolic stages of reverie.

The metaphor I feel that makes this kind of thing make sense is, in fact, oases in a desert, or elements of a thiasos at sea, but conceived of as an ambient spirit world. Indeed in her 2017 show there was a reference to the desert of ambience, by way of St Mary

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And she did preside over, in an epistatic way, a formation of forms that has the look of scattered plateaus of half formed suggestions, such as here

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And here

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And here

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And then, this she now carried over, as the signature formation at present of her reagent counterreal memory space, into this installation

ro 37and then what happens is that this plateau, this encampment, in ambient space, entirely counterforms in reagent manifestations. This allows for more detailed looking and understanding, only if to understand that things are moving; this then gives her wiggle room to map out various emotional states, in detail, using a symbolic language of forms,

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I recently wrote in a post, of my continued interest in the “geometry of fear” artists of the 50s in Britain, mainly because I think for a time they got to working at a level where I think they thought they were creating physical models of states of mind, or maps of the brain and its places

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and imagine my surprise, singling out in particular, this sort of Geoffrey Clarke, the Complexities of Man (1951)

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I made this comment, suggesting that this kind of graphic-discursive sculpture, materially brought forward into material space in accord with what level of hynagogy it rests in, might in their inner form be actual maps of places in the brain, or, at the very least, parallel to my agency maps, try to simply capture in the abstract the nature of the mind today.

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And then, thus to my surprise, I find it carefully echoed in the working out of some mapping pieces by Goldberg

ro 42and just to clarify, when I say it moves from big picture to small picture, from general milieu to the formation of ideas inside the plateaus, I mean it breaks from my hypnagogic locator format of graph, back to my agency graphics in all their particulars

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in addition to the general model, I tend then to see these sorts of things, of which no sense can be made by formalist approach, as agency-oriented events, mapping out some posture, attitude, whatever it might be, so, this called Soiled, appears to be three boards stacked on others, then there is a spill off them, as if something happened, and then it seeped out, this would be a cult work, about a cult worship event, and it could be mapped out

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then this one which is called Leaked into the Future, it reminds me specifically of a graph I made for what might’ve been Lynch’s views of the potential of agency being restored in a world of manipulation and exploitation, in the beginning of Twin Peaks The Return, and also relating to the linearity of Clarke’s piece, to represent a grid of overcovering rationalization, which seems to block growth, and then the idea here is, that grid, formed at the lattice level, but in adjunct space, in that space, flipped by exploitation into the negative, that then let out a manifestation of feet, but now has stopped and so there is a pressure building up and a leakage,

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It is almost like the trope of the machine being blocked up, overheating, and leaking out its excess energy.

ro 46and then in this one, against the contour of a forgotten idea, we found love in a hopeless place. I tend to visually relate this one to the figure visible in the shot, but maybe not; but in that association it has the look of a broken sarcophagus, with bits of body parts coming out of it, but, then, something I suppose found, though nothing looks that romantic, and something made of it.

ro 47and this, I suppose I could read as, this, if this is only a for instance, it is assumed that preceding the current state of this piece it was whole, like the intralocutor next to it, but, then, by some force, it was attacked, it was shushed out further into adjunct space, then even into the desert of ambient space beyond that, where it broke up, and now is in ruins; the original, then, back in the hypnagogic, is forgot, that’s the forgotten idea, the piece in the negative space of a nonentity, and then still in the wreck of the object, which I tend to metaphorize as a sarcophagus, there are little glazes of detritus, again, part of Goldberg’s vocabulary of generative basic units, and that represents the “love” that was found in that ruin, in a negated state. This is not what the piece means, this is only what I came up with, toying with it with my graphs, it is piece of depleted agency, but in representing depleted agency overcome, if only partially, it has agency as a votive of hope, for personal power regained….or something like that.

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Back in the Casa del Sol, it does seem as if a few schema emerge, of trope-oriented symbolic value in that second level, which I am assigning to the glass onion stage of reverie. It certainly seems like these glaze ceramic figures are in fact, just like in 2017, “intralocutors”, moving you in and out of space

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this means that she is signaling this is a ghost appearance, and these forms will lead you around

ro 51the use of screens, like in crowded rooms, and tinsel, with a xmas touch, also indicate a memory of a simple, not lavish home, a nest as it were, put together of what was there, not designed. There is a theme of gold that runs through the show that I do not quite get, or relate to, but if the earlier array was about panning for bits of it in a river, then by this point something of it has been found and is being used in a makeshift way to fashion a home if only in tribute to the god of gold that let them find some. They both also conduct the sunlight which is the overriding metaphor of the movement through, almost in the manner of reflected sunlight in an Egyptian tomb. There is also the motif of things found in boxes, and the idea of what are they

ro 52the intralocutors are sometimes given a framework that suggests their nomad form, here of a raft

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and then there are more readable domestic forms, an abstracted, reduced form of a picture on a wall, or ‘the art,’ a comment on walls almost in the nature of quote marks; then strange floor formations where I guess an inference of wiring in the house forms into something monstrous, finally, there is the framed lampshade

ro 54The incidental pictures represents a depleted household, or obscure motives in the character. They simply frame the person as the object of attention, but in a kind of negative halo way. I am an especial connoisseur of the incidental picture, which still might be a “marked incidental”, that is, for all its meaningless, it still means something, and might mean more, I see these a lot. In recent movie viewings, these, for example. Here, in Epitaph (1988)

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and in deranged (1987)

ro 56It may be that these pictures are instrumentalized, I have not analyzed either, but it is also true that many pictures just show up on walls as “things people hang on their walls”, and sometimes they have their proverbial meaning, sometimes they don’t even have that but just are there to as it were frame the person talking, and subliminally remind us that we are in fact still only looking at a picture, if moving, which merits some reading of it. In fact, with this particular motif, up to this point in her career, mainly doing sculpture, Goldberg goes quite minimal, almost like some artists in the 80s, like Allan McCollum, painting or picture is just an empty index, which says simply, this place is occupied, is cultural, something is happening here…..but not that much. Her pictures are just round pieces of cardboard treated with material to make them more substantial, and that’s that. They do not at present seem like independent pieces, but they do accord with my interest in stripping back the aesthetic neutralization of art back to a zone where its basic agencies are retriggered to life, and then in that context, even a blank becomes meaningful in an almost voodoo way.

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She also works with the trope of the out of control floor wiring which indicates also a makeshift set up, without formality. A framed lampshade is of interest because as a trope this specifically represents the end of the world, total chaos, and it usually is put a kilter because of a fight, or a poltergeisting. There are so many examples of it I could do a Taschen book on them, but this does bring into it the idea that the sunlight might’ve been of a poltergeist effect on the house. I don’t know enough about the facts, but, what this section of the show has, that the earlier does not, is its random openness, its abstraction, its reagency of a countering, its not thereness, all of which opens things up

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Goldberg has done lampshades or chandeliers before, in Zur Rebschenke, with Veit Laurent Kurz, a gallery was turned into the counterspace of an old out of touch pub, and in this world the light provided was from a kind of hippieish lampshade

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the lampshade also signifies intimacy: if you are inside the lampshade, you are in intimate space, communicating; if you are outside the lampshade, then you are alienated; if the movie passes you through the lampshades, as in Cthulhu Mansion, that means you are passing out into a zone of intenser alienation, and if the lampshade is used as a screenwipe, to block everything if only for a moment, it means you are moving from sanity to insanity, as here, again, in deranged (1987)

ro 60thus, the lampshade in this sort of installation can serve as a boundary marker too, as I think it does.

Things having focused on the lampshade it then turns out that it is the trigger point that leads on to the last level, and this is when things get a bit darker and the lamp motif is replaced by a heavier chandelier one and they are on, lit, and fallen on the floor, and as such this is a lattice formation, meaning that we have arrived at the point of no return, the obsession, some dark truth

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and this part of the show is much more spread out, and darker

ro 62it is hard to say, but I am at present tempted to simply impose upon this different tone the idea that we have moved out to something whirring about the edges of things in the zone I call the sentient, and this on the level of the lattice, heavy issues, in pure symbolism, but it does oddly include what looks like a job punch-in device or a counting board. What I suspect is going on here is that Goldberg is getting down to the deeper truth, she winds up to deliver a pitch of sentient light at things and this is made more powerful by being cast through a heavy hanging lattice form and it is this form twisted every which way which provides an element of vertigo down which we go to figure things out for better or for worse. Since she comes to this from light, she swings in as a thing coming close to rouse fears to then spin down from the lattice through the whoosh, then to bounce out into the zone of light adjunct to full REM ream, which entering would be surrealism, which is not what she wants, for her to go to an ambient zone I title Ophthonos.

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In my way of thinking, Ophthonos is the bright white-out place you get to if after having experienced what appeared to be the onset of ophthchthony, seeing into the truth of a dream, you fail again, and bounce out to the right, you are in the opposite of a black out, a white out, in ambient space. The space between the glare of the three chandeliers on the floor could be construed, for now, as that space. Their brightness signifies an opposite way to block truth, by blinding one. Moreover, they are chandeliers, they are to be hung from the ceiling, and from there become perches which observe the doings of the house. There has been an enormous amount of chandelier play in movies, I will only mention in this context, however, the fact that one of the oldest examples of the trope of the chandelier falling, to represent the descent into horror, is Phantom of the Opera itself, and here is the motif itself, again.

ro 64With the open window in the above, and another intralocutor showing up to serve as a guide, and then the wire figures on the floor becoming more legible, and animal-like, this indeed could be the occult zone where Goldberg gets down to, if only told obliquely, some truths about the household. This view with a picture, a figure, but, then a chandelier on the floor, with the sculpture in front of it, vaguely suggests a genre vignette of some sort of crime, a body on the floor

ro 65this shot posits the chandelier as another example of the graph mechanizations of mind that Goldberg makes

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(off the top of my head the form suggests a mind stuck in the lattice, but in a toad road formation, repeatedly dwelling on a point, then going over it, over and over again, this might be a sculpture of broken record communication in the house, then. Then, this wall piece is quite curious

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for me, it represents some sort of punch clock, at work. It speaks to regimentation, the additions on the right do not clarify things, maybe only abstract them further. At present I will argue that this is a totem which abstractly represents the regimentative aspects of life in the house.

Again, some of these are clearly arrayed to mean something in themselves, pockets of dynamic agency, burrowing into the meaning of life in the house at the obsessive truth-telling level

ro 67that the wire array on the floor is clearly a fish form might also speak to some theme in this zone

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and then perhaps the intralocutors at this point are parental, or parents replaced by intralocutors, the intralocutors being memories of the parents spoken back to in self talk to say to them what you wanted to say to them but never did

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In my reading of this sort of headspace incubation as oppose to installation at present, I still cling to a certain desire for an end, that is, we are moving from out to in, from the cella to the opisthodomic space, from the outer foyers to the holy of holies, from the general appearance put forward to some hidden secret (von Erbenheim rejects a van Gennep reading of nymph caves, as they were simply part of life, not in a liminal zone at all; but, somehow, I am not ready to surrender this). I might be wrong in this, but it is how I read things, a movement, most of the time, in art installations of any sort, is of a cult nature, leading in to deeper truth. In this case, I have argued that Goldberg makes use of hypnagogic imagery and levels to portray a movement from consciousness into a world of dreams, and things getting deeper as you go through. I have traced a movement from entoptic, that is, wispy abstract images, to glass onion, the symbolic zone; then, onto the lattice, where a single image fixes, in this case the lights, the chandeliers. And by dwelling on that form, as the exhibition seems to do, with three solid examples occupying the final space, things move into deep dream, or do not (and I happen to think this one bounces out to Ophthonos lit space, close, but still reverie). In this scenario, then, the final clue, the final place, the altar, the holy of holies, is this odd washing machine form at the very innermost point of things, as I walk it out

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and this entirely exists as all but a gazebo for intimate thinking or sitting in, but to contain a single photo, some sort of magic talisman, that would be the secret (this the truth shot, then, at the bottom of a horror movie, too)

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We have seen this before. Earlier, before we even get to the second space, there was what looks like a refrigerator unit, with a light bulb in it. This is a device we have seen a lot of in art, and, by the way, in movies, as in haunted houses where kids are staying over they are always checking out the frig for more beer, but, here, the trope of the pictures on the front of the refrigerator idea is played with. This abstract form of the same, before we walk further into the family drama, has pictures on the inside door, and on the side

ro 72with two on the outside and two on the top, on a tray, almost as if being served

ro 73and there is on the back of it, framed, in Goldberg’s language as a picture of some more significance, another one on the back

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they are all pictures of previous or other installations by Goldberg, with a slight emphasis on the intralocutors, maybe of her show in 2017.

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here too

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What is this? On one level, it simply refers to process, she wants us to know that this installation is just a continuation in a serial with a previous one, and the themes just continue to move on and move out into other territories and loop around to address this or that issue but it is all in her own little counter universe of art where her headspace is envisioned as wrestling with these issues, her grounded in referentiality to home. But, then, what IS this object doing at this point, between the first segment, and the second, between the entoptic overture, as it were, and then the step into the more thematically purposeful installation of symbolic interaction (the glass onion). I think the pictures bring up the simple form of art as a reflection on experience or art, in a reflective loop. That is, something is done, and art reflects on it; and that something done can even be art, and then in the reflecting on it some meaning is taken away. But, more cogently, the placement of these pictures on a frig unit signify them, tropewise, as an important part of the myth of the house. The frig is where you put the personal pictures, but also the incidental pictures, the pictures of the passing moment, the schedules, the announcement of events to come, this or that, tokens, good luck charms, even notepads and jottings, the front of the refrigerator negotiates daily life, and so it is a container which signifies a movement into daily life.

But, situated here, as an object in an installation, this is clearly a contemporary art version of a genre votive as relates to old incubation rites in, for example, Italy. This summer I wondered why, why did votive models of the caves recreate the caves in miniature, to both document what was seen, or done. I argued that the dollhouse detail of the models, created a delight in the model not the experience, to ward it off the parts of the experience one did not want to remember. I have written about the Caruso cave models all but obsessively all this year, but votives are the kind of art I am most interested in in 2018, and this is exactly what Goldberg appears to be about, at this point. The refrigerator is a space where what is experienced here on out will be kept, the model behavior is the pictures pinned as if important for memory to where they would be in a normal refrigerator unit, the family hearth; but, then, at the same time, they are a distancing device, saying, this happened then, that was fine, no need to rehash that again, this is now this time, a new event. Overall, as a nexus structure, between light dream and heavier dream, descending perhaps to actual dream, this says that the exchange is happening by way of comparing how things are arrayed here as opposed to how they were arrayed there, and any change, then, is symbolic; and they argue that all of this and the meaning in the whole of it is determined not by the response of the art to the specific site specific space but in the relation of this installation to a previous installation, and, for that, it all takes place in memory and dream, subjectively, relationally, and not in neoconceptual space. But, then, finally, there is an all but voodoo capture of the one last photo, as if it is a holy photo. Again, this too is a theme I address a lot, the only known photo of something, when it becomes known as the only known photo, becomes a kind of sacred thing. Some people for whom there is only one known photo include Van Gogh, Crazy Horse, and Paganini, in all cases, there is an urge to get more photos, to overcome the uncertainty that one photo leaves. But, then, too, this could be picture voodoo, to keep the energy of another installation, for this is, again, a continuation picture, maybe even the “to be continued” trope, by way of keeping it in photos.

Again, I do not hold artists to a model of my devising, they are working with their own models. Maybe Goldberg sees the space of light as the space just before you slip down into dream, what I call Ophthonos, not out in the ambient, but straight down. It’s possible that she thinks she is, by seeing this photo, finding the smoking gun, or the rosebud, and in fact seeing through the darkness, seeing the “truth shot” at the bottom of the mystery, by the work on it of this installation as a whole, and there is, here, tentatively, a case of ophthchthony, seeing through the darkness to the truth of dream. I do not want to impose too much. However, for such an installation experience, or what I prefer to call it, an incubation, this, of course, would be the goal: the person came to the site to get a cure, or an answer, or something of note, it was that need that made for high intensity in the experience (as per Van Ploet and Van Baal’s model of intensity level), and so if only as empty cyphers, or, like her paintings, indexes of art hovering around her actual art, if these simply reassert, at various stops along the way, this is a search for meaning, that is enough.

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All in all, then, this strikes me as a very contemporary, up to the moment installation, and, by the way, touching on many themes which at present concern me.

Suspiria (2018) and the “night mirror” dream formation of the chamber of mirrors. Part 2.

 

Rev., Feb 6-10, 2019.

At the end of part one, we were talking about the dream which Blanc sent Suzie,

So, lightning strikes of jumps must take place in a chamber where she has somehow broadened out her vertical variables, able to go deeper in the floorwork, and higher in the air work, making of it a bigger space, that is, an infinite space, a chamber of mirrors, and all of this taught in a chamber of mirrors. So the question, again is, where are we? hypnagogically?

In answering this question, there are two possibilities. In my treatment of the Land of Nod, in the lightest entoptic stage of light sleep, there is a place I call the Village of dreams, where in one condition, and this might be the one I name Amityville, there is a kind of strobe effect, in which the space is forever, quickly, switching from waking to dreaming, from this-world to a ghost-world, this happens most in the Anna Lui movie, The Spooky Bunch (1988, Hong Kong), but I have seen it elsewhere, that repeatedly penetrated dream state happens there, and that is that. Is this that? No, I don’t think it is.

So, there is a second possibility, one, which, oddly, I have only formalized recently, and that is a dynamic agency dream formation I call the night mirror. By this theory, 1) if you have insomnia, you try to get to sleep, but can’t; then, 2) each time you lay siege to sleep, like an ancient army besieging a city, there is a reaction of your push in the dream space, a faultline or hair fracture as it were is created, to absorb the blow. If you have serious insomnia, and for me that will be five at least failed attempts to get to sleep lasting from ten pm to maybe past two thirty in the morning (agony!), then you will have so shattered sleep space, for that night, that it is a tissue of fractures. But, then, 3) the way to get to sleep is to forget it, accept what rest you may get just lying there, stop worrying about getting to sleep, and, then, surprise, you slip in. But after insomnia you slip into a very different sleep space, it is 4) a hall of mirrors, everywhere, in the core, in the adjuncts, the siege of insomnia against it has reduced it to a crystal, all mirrors, and this allows for a full line-less, unlinear wide spinning quality that brings the ambient right in, and in which one floats, and echoes, and, in fact, the brain becomes this big echo chamber (this is a good time to pick up a pen and write poetry, which will sing). This continues for a time, then 5) you begin to come in under the lattice, where the sleeper is, this is where the humming or singing commences, as well as a movement upward; this is followed by 6) moving up “under the bed,’ which includes looking up 7) to see through the mirror on the bottom of the bed. This, then, allows you to 8) wake up not in a leap but in an easy glide, going through the body, in which you find yourself actually humming the song in your awake state. I recorded this model the morning after having experienced all this (I recorded it at last after having experienced it a half a dozen times in previous years). The Night mirror dynamic agency dream formation, then, as I map it out, is an eight step process. Is this structure in Suspiria (2018)? I think it is.

First, it will sound like a rationalization that I make the claim that, moviewise, a lot of the distraction of events that most critics found distracting, represents the “insomnia” in the movie. More precisely, insomnia space is skittish, worried, paranoid, the mind gets too involved in the comparisons and worries of the world. It is beta wave, not alpha wave. All of it keeps you from sleep. This, I suppose, is what the prologue with Patricia was for. She is skirting through chaotic events. The scene encapsulates stages one through three in the model above.

ass 115she runs for cover

ass 116she is, as Josef writes, delusional, spinning out fantasies

ass 117in her paranoia she sees symbols of the control of the cult everywhere. This is a closeup of an image of masonic sort on the binding on a book, she only sees the eye as the eye of the cult, chasing her, through the levels.

ass 118at one point, she looks at an old picture, maybe thinking it relates to the cult, but Josef takes if from her, it is Anke, not relate to Patricia, he will not let her bring it in

ass 119she even describes an extreme state of destruction by the cult, implying cannibalism, of her core feminine power. Then she disappears.

ass 120Each one of these sharp slaps of beta wave worry, that keep one up, creates a fissure in the dream space, so that when, at last, we get into the movie, which is the dream, things are symbolized by mirrors. One is moving into the Night Mirror whirl, this leads you out and around, but, eventually, you go down, but, then, up. You come up I think to the bottom of the sleeping figure on the lattice level. from “ under the bed” space, a well-known trope. And, on the underside of the bed, there is a mirror, and it is, specifically, this mirror, come to precisely at this place, in the context of this spin, in this condition of strange dreaming after insomnia, that you experience the all expansive, gravity defying, floating glory of the Night Mirror.

ass 58

Here is my post about it

ass 59

and my map, just like in Patricia’s notebook, sort of

ass 60

you do not believe that this can be true. But, I think it is here, in this movie. I do not know how they get there, or who thought this up, but that is what is going on here.

Even more conclusive visual evidence that the hall of mirrors is, in fact, the night mirror, a post-insomnia, arrived-at mirror space in hypnagogy, is that when later, only Blanc and Suzie are talking, the movie introduces them in the mirror room but in a long, drawn out, panorama process that is all but a screenwipe or rinse to as it were say, let’s begin again. This chamber has already been instrumental, now it is going to be so in another way. This is stage four of the model. This time, in that room, there is a wide ambient spin, then Suzie, through witchcraft, learns how to get off the ground. We come in on it as Sara, now alert to coven danger, is listening for voices

ass 64We now hear the voice of Blanc talking, after hours, to Suzie, teacher’s pet, and we break to the mirror room, again, one (panning to the right)

ass 65two

ass 66three

ass 67four

ass 68five

ass 69six

ass 70seven

ass 71with only at the eighth phasing, as it were, of the panorama, we see a blur of Suzie getting out of the elevator (all of this polymorphic as well, though I am not taking that approach here)

ass 72and then Blanc

ass 73and now we have one Suzie on the left split by Blanc and two Blancs on the right, framed by three Suzies

ass 74And then suddenly, it is six Blancs surrounding a Suzie and a half

ass 75they pass another pilaster

ass 76each split, each at cross purposes with each other,

ass 77and then we begin the magic scene where she finds out how to jump, she thinks by her own power, she expanding in herself, in the mis en abyme

ass 78And she soars

ass 79but it is witchcraft

ass 80No one puts a long pan scene in a movie like this without it having a higher purpose, it is not just “there” to be cinematic, it has a function, magically. I think its intent is to elevate the mirror space into a symbol of the hypnagogic space the movie is happening in, and it is, in fact, a visual representation of the mirror space that leads to the Night Mirror. This device has appeared in many movies. Suzy is entirely circumscribed, floating in the ambient-permeated mirror space of the post-insomnia hypnagogy, leading to the Night Mirror

ass 81

Then, the next part of the model, is, steps five through eight, coming up and out. This is a bit more difficult to place. The only movie I know of thus far where this coming up is figuratively worked out is The Sandman (2006), an indie, the hero has gone down into the dream zone which the Sandman controls souls, he is guided by others who show him the way out (stage five).

ass 109In that world, he finds a dream copy of a trailer of a neighbor, he goes in, its pin-up photos on the walls seem arrayed as a body, he sees a light in the far door (stage six)

ass 110He opens it and it is some gelatinous, intestinal, ribbing like structure, for him, in this movie, this is the form the night mirror takes here (stage seven)

ass 111He struggles through it, and we realize it is the interior of the body of his sleeping wife

ass 113So he is able to come up through it, as if reborn, to directly attack the sandman in real space, and get him off of haunting his wife. This is quite good, and extraordinarily insightful for a tiny indie movie, coming this way at the sandman allows him to defeat him (stage eight)

ass 114The mirror room also plays a part in stage five, the ascent; but, curiously, got to in an entirely different way, by some other fantastical stair, that we come to another important place

ass 82through a dark hallway, never seen before, Sara comes out into the mirror room, a circumstance which more or less confirms this space as the central nexus of the movie, all things happening in a space defined by its 360 mis en abyme of reflections.

ass 83again, a quite crucial scene, and, in fact, parallel to the original in the most authentic way, as Sara now counts the steps, and has been told there are special hidden places in the house, she comes to it through the mirror room.

ass 84she knocks on the glass like Olga did to find the door, and does

ass 86When she gets in there she finds a whole hidden chamber of rare porcelains and art, a kunstkammer of precious objects and secret magic objects existing below in the Night Mirror. I think this is where we are, stage six. In another movie, with John Phillip Law as an artist, when a woman in bed was caught in a state of being raped while asleep, she is shown as still having a measure of consciousness, in which she visualizes what is going on, and that it seemed to be exerted by a peeling off of some micro crawlspace below the cover of her horror, the body of the raping man. This is similar to the space in the Night Mirror, in close-up, I believe it IS a body reflection of the body on the floor in the mirror space above. (In the Holly Kane Experiment (2017), she is in a sensory deprivation chamber, and when she gets to a certain janus-figure type reflective face structure in which one half of her face facing upward is reflected in the water facing downward, and I think this is the structure of the relationship between the top of the lattice bed in the lattice stage in hypnagogy and the extra dimension that folds out under it when it is suspended in the mirroring of the whole of the hypnagogic space in the Night Mirror formation)

ass 87as you subdivide the Night Mirror model, the mirror room plays the part of the ambient spinning from the entoptic to the whoosh, then as you come up to it the mirror room in a more secret way leads you in. Then, the kunstkammer chamber is the layer in between, in the shadow of the Night Mirror, and, since it is located, in the topography of the movie, if not precisely in space below the mirror room, it can be construed as, not unlike those in Markos’s chamber in the ‘77 version, the nervous center of the magic play by which people are controlled, the armory, as it were, of the place.

ass 88there are porcelain busts of women

ass 89there is a ballerina music box, and what looks like a turtle on the right

ass 90there is an odd neurological type head

ass 91there is a Crouching Venus, symbolic of dark female power

ass 92though this one is on her back, raising her buttocks in the air, perhaps this is the object through the image of a woman masturbating with the gatling hook in Suzie’s sent ream was transmitted

ass 93there is a glassbox of flowers, then a strange figure, nude below, some sort of covering above

ass 94then there is the signature piece which is the Bourgeois type polymastic monstrosity with a gash for a vulva on top,

ass 95this in close up, but seen just in passing, all but a view of the intimate female anatomy from behind

ass 96as is common (it is common for the dream truth shot of a movie, seen by ophthchthony, to drop in the truth like this in a movie, so here admitting that it really is all about vagina, and all that; it may be that the encounters with the mirror room were arrayed in triplicate like the shocks in a figure-eight nightmare sequence, the audition that is won, the torture that is committed, the transcendence the is gained, the visual quality of which is also, possibly, ophthchthony, then, this below, to be the dream space below, the surrogate REM space, where the movie sees through into its truth, but….I don’t know).

And the Bourgeois it is taken from

ass 97

but, since this image seems to try to figure out into intestines, or a sex act, below

ass 98I think it also might have incorporated a figural oomph from Nature Study

ass 98

There are also other body parts, feet, perhaps a dancing trophy of some kind, or a votive, focusing on the red toes, the flowers also relate to performance offerings, thus, all of these, in fact, trophies

ass 99the above looks like, with a tinge of color on the toes, a Magritte, the feet, even toes, being more important than what covers them

ass 120

then a few more heads, clearly more like portraits

ass 100even some sculpturings or imprints of knees

ass 101there are also death masks, as she reaches in for one of the gatling hooks

ass 102and so while Sara is viewing “art,” she is a bit unaware of the fact that she is really reviewing magic objects with a measure of agency to perform functions in the service of the coven (at the end, Markos has to rather unnecessarily says that this is “really happening” and it is important, it is not just “art,” well, that’s a statement of agency, and also echoes on Rosemary’s plaintive cry, “this is really happening”, but here Sara does view it as art, and does not see the spell in them). There are trophies, the portrait busts, maybe the flowers; there are votives, maybe the knees, if a surgery corrected a problem; there are talismans to control, the Bourgeois piece obviously related to what the witches did to Olga, and then to the partly dismembered figure in the Woodman quote in the dream sent to Suzie; they might even be special binding objects to keep figures like Olga down for good, through the agency of this figure; and there are also apotropaia, weapons, the hooks, even, magic objects to empower.

It could, therefore, be stated in a general way, because they did go through it with some speed, but, still, searchingly, that this is the object-oriented engine-room of the whole effort, the kunstkammer-as-talisman-treasure room, as at the core of a Greek house, the place where the power of the house is magically, in the form of objects, kept.

But, then, it is to be remembered, we are in a horror movie, here, and dealing with witches, so it is not as “positive” a space as it might be otherwise. That is, insomnia does not by any means always lead to the night mirror. In fact, insomnia can eventually give way, but all you get this time out is the ruination of the dream space. It is as if all the mirrors are cracked. There was, in fact, a cracking mirror in this movie. It happens in Suzie’s first dream

ass 121When she is discovered masturbating by her mother

ass 122And gets the iron to the hand for it, needless to say a body traumatizing event.

ass 0002If, then, it is only the negative fall-out from insomnia that seeps down in, then you get the form, but not the movement. I also have had bad nights of insomnia that did not lead to the Night Mirror, but simply left the echoing effect as a quivering of a body. I was thinking of a young woman, the impulse of the setup was that somehow it would end up with sex. But all the echoing could get me is lying next to her, quivering. It was informed by night mirror impulse, but none of it activated, like a dud firework. So this also leads to the space where Sara at the start of the dance discover the depleted bodies.

Later they bring Josef in by the kunstkammer door, this implies that there was a back entrance, or a separate entrance to the house which was for witches only. It also brings Josef in under the portrait. He is to serve as witness, he is a depleted form.

ass 124The portrait, it should be noted, is a double portrait, Blanc with Markos

ass 125But, importantly, it is framed elaborately with voodoo intentions.

ass 126I suspect that the hair of coven members are in the frame, making a physical connection to the picture.

ass 0003In cult studies, this is a kind of ‘inosculation’. That is, devotional inosculation involves all the ways in which devotees touch images to get some of their magic power to rub off on them. When it does, that creates an inosculate relationship between them, for better or worse. We have seen before that the coven members are conjoined as if by a series of deputizations from the head down to the lowest member (the snake metaphor mentioned by Kier in the original, here worked out as a structural principle). It is hard to work out the gradations of rank in the coven, but we have seen familiars, voodoo doll persons, and sent-dream persons. Josef is a witness, further on down the chain, but he is brought in by this door because he has a coven purpose. I would place an inosculate somewhat down the chain of command too. Caroline gave part of herself to improve Suzie, and I think that physical sacrifice of self for the group leads to her, after the sacrifice, being from then on out an “inosculate”. When two trees grow too close to each other they inosculate, the conjoined trees are then called “gemels,” a take off on gemini, but a term that I think overemphasizes the twinness of the final result, when it is the process that counts for me. Thus, a ranking emerges, head, matron, repetiteurs, inosculate/gemel, witness. Members exist in fact as a snake of chain-reaction, physically at the ready to conduct any magic done by the cult from them out into the world. But it goes without saying that, just as twinfire is a terror to singleton audiences, any such sacrifice for the group, in this day of age, would be reprehensible to singleton supremacy, which might be why, for example, dargis just thought it all sadistic.

But Sara now has knowledge of the secret spaces, and when she is upset about something at the start of the dance she goes off again and finds yet another webbed hall in the hidden part of the building. This is when we find out what happens at the lowest state. She finds, this time, horrifically, Patricia, or what’s left of her, or beings like her, and it is certainly one of the oddest aspects of the spells of these witches that they can cast a spell on a person to all but kill them but then keep them in control as still but barely living, in a prison, and this is what she encounters, this is particularly terrifying, and somehow was meant to lead to more

ass 104if these are objects they are kept down and bound in the state-in-between that they are in, by the kunstkammer objects, which are in the same nature. That is, when this spell is done to them, they become fragile bodies, useless bodies, this is not just a literal degradation of the human body, it changes the human body into the art or sculpted body, where its life is in its representation and is sustained by the rest of the persons in the coven. That is why they can live, even if without any support of bodily needs, they do not depend for their life on their physical functioning, they are locked images, grotesques, with no more reality than this sculpture, which nonetheless has the job of binding them.

ass 105These bodies are neither nature nor culture; they are both, entirely unreal, in between. And then, at the lowest level, they are punished or physically destroyed members who nonetheless continue to live because they are part of the inosculated whole (not only because they are works of art). If the overriding purpose of every object in the kunstkammer, whether or not they are apparently cult, intercessional, votive or apotropaic, is to inosculate, then that creates a push-pull in the objects that make of them magic tokens controlling the life of the related person in the cult. In a recent post I mentioned the press release for an exhibition of work by two Czech sculptors and they dug up the original meaning of the word “entomes” to describe their sculptures,

ass 106

this being entomic sculpture (which would, in sequencing style shifts in the recent market, replace wriggling sculpture, with a new more extreme, or perhaps recombinant form, entomes)

ass 107

I will call these beings they have here, with some life, then, but for all other purposes, dead, that are pulled into pieces by psalliction, the universe pulling things apart, entomes. The push-pull in the art is apparent. For example, in this work, it can, ostensibly, be seen as a Louise Bourgeois type celebration of feminine power

ass 105It is both Bourgeois

ass 98

And Olga (this link also making a connection to the mirror room)

ass 127At the same time, that inserted vulva implies that someone is trapped in there. It can, that is, just as easily be a physical talisman which supports what was done to Olga, and an icon of where Olga is. Since Olga was beat entirely down, I will still call her the lowest level, found by Sara in the other room, an entome.

This also means that the above kunstkammer work is a two-way work of art, referring both to the coven as a whole, everyone inosculately conjoined, and to what happens to you literally if you rescind on the pact, you end up like Olga. For that, it might be that all works in the kunstkammer are two-way, and that this particular kunstkammer is a variant of what I call the Strange Picture Room, where the forces of the movie form a nexus to do battle and make exchange. Formally, the Strange Picture Room is situated in the luor, in the in-between nexus space between waking and sleeping; this might be an evil form, exploited for the purpose of controlling all the members of the cult. At present, then, a sub-strange picture room formation.

ass 0004

 

All I can say as to where this other hall is located is that somehow this is a little corner of entirely bewitched spell space in which they are locked entirely in spells bound forever to keep them. They are a part or element of what in another note on Hereditary I call pseudo-ophthon-chthonos state, the inverse kunstkammer (acknowledging, though I have not worked it out yet, to be controlled by a witch is different than being controlled by a demon)

ass 0004 1

So, they did work out the “under the bed” (coming up to the lattice) zone pretty thoroughly.

ass 128

Finally, we come to stage eight, moving up through the body. This is presented in a somewhat mixed way here. In one scene, Suzie comments to Sara, asking about a strange sensation, Sara warns her, unsure of how it was even possible Suzie can suddenly jump, they haven’t asked for the bill yet, but Suzie complains that when she was dancing, in by far her sexiest floor work, butt in the air, entirely exposed

ass 61almost orgasmic, out of her control

ass 62that, for the first time, she felt some occult pull on her, a spell, a touch, a desire, and it was Markos, in this movie’s only involving presence in the life of the coven. Unlike in the original, she was hid in a closet and let listen to the dance and she rose her hand up to touch under the floor to touch Suzie and feel her heat and sexuality. That is what Suzie felt, and this is a pretty darn good example of the space coming up through the Night Mirror, indeed! The thing under the bed, but in this case an under the bed thing in a chamber of mirrors seeking to come up and have her.

ass 63This sequence is more or less reprised when Suzie comes back from an outing, and, one by one, drops a trail of her clothing through the corridor. In her room, we finally get a glimpse of the “bride stripped bare,” that is, Suzie, aware now that she is someone else or more.

ass 130there is an attempt to symbolize this rising up, this coming through the body through ectoplasmic lights, like dreams, that lead her, psychologue-like, in and down.

ass 131but, here again, this movie goes down (though perhaps up to consciousness). After this point, in my view, the model breaks, as the “song” of the night mirror brought up does not in any way correspond to the spins that preceded it.

ass 132Somehow, some grand finale was originally planned, to end with the dance, and it not going right, and then something else happening, and the whole thing coming out into consciousness. But, somehow, in the filming of it, they could not get out of it, or make it work. I still think that the movie needed to be, having set it up, resolved in the space it had already created, and in the instrumental tranche or mis en tropae of dancing-based evil witch voodoo. Something had to transform the kunstkammer, something had to then change the mirror space, or expand it somehow; the magic of destruction had to be something like the attack on Olga, but in a completely more magical context. In the model I have laid out here something had to climax by rising up out of the Night Mirror, coming up through the body, as the final crescendo, when, for this is the last stage of the formation, whatever was being sung or stated you pull it up out of the dream and wake up with the song in your head.

But, here, they suddenly jerk the movie back down into big shrine space, unrelated to any previous space, with too much nude dancing and too much blood; and then there is a demon of no clear derivation wandering around killing those who voted against Blanc; and Josef stripped to witness, not even shown being stripped, this entirely breaks the movie off, I think, out of actual hypnagogy into a production exploitation space, where actions are straightforward and on the surface and not at all of the hidden language or code of the coven at all, in my view a daimos ex machina which was concocted at the last moment because they simply could not figure out how to end the movie they had so beautifully worked out in spell space in the dance academy. Thus, then, I think that Suspiria (2018) was overall, in its dream formation, a Night Mirror movie, amazingly so, an entirely different hypnagogic space from the glass onion hypnotism of the original (or maybe the same, but somehow entirely reworked) which only at the very end lost its way.

Suspiria (2018) and the “night mirror” dream formation of the chamber of mirrors. Part 1.

Rev., Feb 6, 2019.

In delving into the tangled web that is Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria (2018), one has to start simply, with the simple metaphors and obvious tropes. There is, however, for that, a good lesson in such simple treatment. Most of the time, we are educated to watch movies for the story, and character; we also read them on the surface, we also partition our sense of this being that, and that being that, and we move right along, not really putting things together. What we never quite get is the ultimate relational-agentic principle that once a metaphor is found, then everything is a metaphor of that, ad infinitum; and the same with symbols. Though mirrors are one of the oldest and well-worked tropes of all horror, they play a remarkably big role here. They also play a central part, as the mirror chamber becomes one of the primary vignette spaces of the movie. This also means that all other scenes are reflections of others, and that the subplots and apparent nonsequiturs or unrelated of the movie are, in fact, mirroring devices to fold into the story the convergence of the Three Mothers, in three sectors of attribution, the path of sighs from Anna Henke though her memorialist Josef, then representing Patricia, and, finally, being enlisted by the coven, because they know about him going to the cops, as the “witness” of the ceremony (I will say what I think that witness is, in a bit). Then, Suzie represents a full movement of sighs in the world from when she was haunted by Germany in her youth, that is, had a restless spirit, and then as she is brought her through the dying sighs of her mother to assume the role here of Mother of Sighs; and, finally, Blanc, representing the troubles of the school, wanting succession, but to be overpowered in the end. Each of these draft zones, if you will, placing sighs at points around the globe, come up into the working out of the present. In that way, everything reflects everything else, it is a hall of mirrors.

Indeed, there is a shot early in which Suzie in the hall, just arriving, sees and looks at a mirror, making an mis en abyme image with another mirror

ass 1then she is introduced to the mirror chamber, told she shouldn’t be here, then deprived of her music, and then has to have the audition that way.

ass 2Blanc is off teaching the other girls, but, oddly, Blanc hears the panting of Suzie through the walls, so, right from the start, sighs, and a strange sense that the right girl has arrived, to save the coven.

ass 3then, Suzie goes into her spin, and, again, most movie watchers, just watch the movie, so see the spin, take it in, but do not see it is a kinetic symbol, spinning at the center of the movie, an announcement that meaning here is being developed in 360 degrees, as Suzie’s gaze goes left,

ass 4straight on

ass 5askant

ass 6aloof, forlorn

ass 7then there are pure spins, the space around, a blur (this is a common device, but as a trope going way back, see The Phantom of Crestwood, is signifiers moving through time or space in a meaningful way, in a way that changes the nature of the time or space, and alerts you to pay attention on a new level, which, of course, most movie reviewers did not

ass 8And then, she is spinning, but now seems to see out of it, out the other side of it, there is a new presence in the room

ass 10and it is Blanc

ass 11then she is done

ass 0Blanc admires, and she is in

ass 12so, right away, the mirror chamber, she excels in it, has the spin required, and it is implied some sort of power that the coven could use, so she is in. This happens in the mirror chamber.

Later, on, there is another dance session, in the main hall, where she is introduced, there are mirrors there, but not in the same way, this are just mirrors, not a mirror chamber, or hall of mirrors, meant to create a mis en abyme

ass 13at this point, she witnesses in-group political trouble, an unhappy dancer, Olga, the second we have heard of, early, and she has a fight, then quits the company.

ass 14as she runs off she calls them all witches

ass 15earlier, we had seen that the movie took full advantage of the scale of the mountaintop hotel in Italy that they filmed the interiors at. This is the classic spiral staircase trope, and it means the same thing here, as it does in a thousand other movies, we are going down the spiral, whooshing into a dream world where one will not know what is what. It is not entirely clear to me at this particular point what level of dream imagining we are at, but I have in general located a chamber of mirrors as the embodiment of the glass onion, but I also have other ideas, which will be raised, but this signifies that all the space in the building is in many ways a reflection of the mirror chamber

ass 16what this means is that the witchcraft that the witches have, because, of course, Olga is correct, can be conducted, by them, throughout the whole building, the building as a whole, even as we begin, is already in their control, it is an exploitation space, a pool of spell, inside the adjunct spaces, already controlled by them (whereas in Hereditary we had to go through the whole process of the home being converted over into a spell space). So, now, Olga is storming out, she is on the stairs, that’s it, she’s leaving

ass 17but, then, back in the dance hall, things “getting back to normal,” in the post-Olga world, something miraculous in its own right happens, Suzie says that she knows the dance, she can dance the lead, Blanc is highly doubtful, “we had to rehearse this for ten months before we danced it”, she says, but Suzie insists, so, she is to dance it. But now the interesting thing is, Blanc is not only thinking about Suzie, she is also thinking about Olga. While she is surprised and glad that Suzie has this skill, to provide an immediate solution to the problem that Olga dropped in her lap, she is still angry at Olga, and, on behalf of the coven, fearing that Olga will divulge their secrets, she needs to get back at her, and make sure she does not tell. For that reason, at this point in the scene, the whole scene turns into a casting a spell. It starts when Blanc grabs Suzie’s hands in a very peculiar way, sticking her thumb hard into the center of it.

ass 18when she takes her thumbs away, there is a certain something, perhaps just a sweat mark, but it is almost as if Blanc has anointed

ass 19it is hard to say what this is, but it is most definitely something.

ass 20then, even stranger, she crouches down and does the same to the insteps of her bare feet, also in some ways plausible due to the fact that Blanc’s occult manner does serve as a walking beglaubiggungsapparat, so Suzie pays it no heed, it is just her dance ritual hocus pocus

ass 21and, then, even stranger, Blanc bows down to her, with her arms out, her hands lax, as if to accede power to her, to give her the floor, like a backwards bird, this too, Suzie is free to interpret as some sort of elaborate dance floor ritual that she just doesn’t know about yet.

ass 22but it is certainly quite strange that she backs off from Suzie without turning around, as if to not look back at her, and as if to get away from her as soon as possible, like a bird too, taking flight, but backwards

ass 23then she and Tanner stand either side of her, to clear her out, to give her the floor, as if to declare the edge of the spell space, and so, they close the circle on the spell. A word. I did not pay it any attention, as it must be a defensive aspect of magic that we are just not meant to see or know of, but I did pick up in The devonsville Terror (1984), that real witch magic is carried out inside a sacred circle whose janus purpose is to protect all others from the spell, or to conduct it in a certain way. I am sure, this is what is going on here, this squaring off, makes the space a spell space, and everything she does in it spell-cast

ass 24I also noticed that the anointing of the hands and feet is accompanied by this shot of what I guess is a human familiar, but the purpose here is not unlike that of the witness that we will hear about later. Her presence records the magic, as if a secretary, but, in doing that, she externalizes it, and, thus, by her reflection on it, in physical space, her presence brings the magic out of itself by ostension into physical space, for its voodoo to take effect (she is a curious figure (almost an ill-formed Blanc).

ass 25as these preliminaries are going on, Olga must be got in place. She is on the stairs, several shots in the movie made it clear to me that this is meant to be an elaborate carrier of glass onion sigils and symbols, to work magic by, that is, the space is very conductive to spells.

ass 26and, suddenly, as if ambient noise from the whole building, fed down this spiral, but, really, magic incantation, from elsewhere, flows in, a group of women come in, then one of the other witches of the coven, whom one would not think was involved in this, but they all work together, she stops Olga and stares at her, asking her if she is ok. But she does his with a close-up of her eyes.

ass 0 1Olga immediately has trouble seeing, this is an eye spell, to blind her, so that she cannot find her way out

ass 28and it is implied by this shot, that this “familiar” girl is the medium, that is, the human voodoo doll, whose four eyes problem is transferred by a spell, cast over the whole building, on Olga

ass 29for this reason, Olga is easily detoured into the….mirror chamber (where it is, vis a vis the main hall, is not entirely clear, she goes down, then around, then down a hall, in). Earlier, Blanc was looking up at a sound from it, but that might’ve just been the panting became ambient in the larger building. It looks to me that it is below, in the belly of the beast, as it were, at the end of this utility hall, an out of the way, but central, secret place.

ass 30once she is in it, and realizes where she is, though she is blind, she is in despair, she knows that, somehow, she is in the belly of the beast

ass 31and then Suzie begins her dance, and, then, unbeknownst to her, her movements cause Olga to have violent bodily jerks, to maim her.

ass 0 2and, as pretty much every review of the movie noted, Olga is destroyed by Suzie’s dance. But, how? is the question, and a lot of reviews simply did not understand by what process this was done. But it is easy, this is body voodoo, every act that Suzie makes, every move she does to herself, causes a like movement in Olga, but while she does it to herself in a routine with full purpose and intent, and full control of her body, on Olga they hit like strikes out of nowhere, here body unprepared to handle it, and they tear her up. This is body voodoo, Suzie has been turned, by the anointing and the squaring off of the witches, into a voodoo doll, injury to which is translated like-to-like to the person for whom the voodoo is directed.

ass 32The scene goes on for quite some time, it is brutal, she loses control of her body, she is reduced to a pulp, puking and peeing, because the dance Suzie has to do is so brutal. But I note here the hall of mirrors effect, to emphasize to us what is happening, that a spell is being cast through the mirroring, onto her, as if in a mirror to Suzie. This shot also reduces the materiality of the space, indicating that Olga is now in another place

ass 33Then she leaves a mark on the wall, indicating her reduction from a person, to a thing, a mark, an index, nothing left

ass 34and then the shot pulls away from her, focusing on the floor, reminding us what did this to her

ass 35and we return to Suzie, sweating up a good sweat, almost triumphant, in any case, proving that she can do it

ass 36but she even reports that she felt dizzy and like she wanted to throw up, so if she in her mind does not know what she has just done, killed someone, or rather, they have killed someone, through her, using her as a voodoo doll, every gesture slash of her a stab or punch administered to the victim, her body does know, she is sick, she was successful enough to get the part, but also had to register that her body senses that something fishy was going on.

ass 37where are we, hypnagogically? Well, it is not easy to say. In fact, most viewers of the movie will think we are only in regular old conscious life, waking state. But no horror movie is, in fact, filmed in that space, and we have had enough of spiral stairs, and mirrors, and magic encounters, and surprise events, to strongly sense that we are in spell space, which is, at the very least, a vigilogogic space, and, more often, a hypnogogic state. Later, when they are much more attuned to each other, and, in fact, Suzie is being groomed for some nefarious purpose, they find themselves once again, in the hall of mirrors, alone. Blanc is still concerned that Suzie is not getting off the ground, she says that each jump must be seen as a coup de foudre, or, Suzie asks her to translate, a strike of lightning, that’s beautiful, Suzie says.

ass 38Blanc once again touches her, and says something inspirational, then there is a curious shot of her hair, as if, this time, alone, she is using her body and its qualities, her long hair, to lengthen the space for Suzy to jump in, to make her more buoyant, so that she can jump higher, and, then, to Suzie’s surprise, she does

ass 39I could not help notice, as she jumped, the shots were of the Hanged Woman type, they also were backdropped by the fullest misen abyme scenario ever, going back infinitely, indicating conquest of space (Sara later voices suspicion)

ass 40this also suggests that by a spell, in spell space, for the second time, a spell was used here, this time favorably by Suzie, to get her to jump. The outsiders think that Suzie is picking up the spells because she senses a lot, as they talk to each other in “shining” manner in the restaurant, casually, they mention that they all see it in her, her shining eyes, so, that is part of it, she is receptive, but the spells are still being cast by others

ass 41but, still, work has to be done, earlier, when she is doing “floorwork,” and expounds her belief in floorwork, and that she feels best when doing floor work

ass 42Blanc get all but Apollonian, talking of Apollo who Shoots from afar, arguing for the need to get her into the air

ass 44they have a bit of an argument, but Blanc will win, she asks the other girl, a very masculine girl, Caroline, to come show Suzie what she means, a good jumper; but, here, in this circle, it is almost as if there is reverse magic at work, she gives herself to improve Suzie, in the circle, then, immediately having done so, given part of her skill, she has an epileptic seizure (just as Josef will have a seizure at the end).

ass 45later, the other familiar, who helped with Suzie in the dance voodoo or blinding curse, either regrets how she was used, or is magically spent, by reverse voodoo onto her, so she stabs herself, that is two students who assisted Suzie in the magical circle, both gone, sacrificed.

ass 46soon after the first talk about needing to get her into the air, Blanc “sends” her a dream, to influence her, to fill her mind

ass 47the imagery is about releasing herself from her earthbound self

ass 48burning her body away to a state below the floor, even, beyond her love of floorwork (with an echo of Olga’s amputated form here too; these images lifted from a Francesca Woodman photo)

ass 49to go beyond lungs

ass 50and sexual desire

ass 51to climb the walls

ass 52to suspend one in the air (though this looks like an upside down hanging, not sure the reference)

ass 53to stretch out one’s limbs, I think that this is what this is, the fingers over are elongated

ass 54to scratch away materiality

ass 55there are other magic gestures to make it work

ass 56and I do think the girl pictured here is Caroline, the one who sacrificed herself in the jump demo, so now the dream is completing the draining out of her and passing all that over to Suzie, so this “sent dream,” which is a very strange category of dream, is also yet another work of voodoo, this time Blanc to Suzie.

ass 57So, lightning strikes of jumps must take place in a chamber where she has somehow broadened out her vertical variables, able to go deeper in the floorwork, and higher in the air work, making of it a bigger space, that is, an infinite space, a chamber of mirrors, and all of this taught in a chamber of mirrors. So the question, again is, where are we? hypnagogically? See, Part 2.

Hereditary (2018) and the dream structure of a failed attempt to defeat evil, Part two.

rev., Jan 12, 2019.

I have previously argued that the nexus between waking and dreaming, vigilogogy, which is the waking state one is always more or less in in horror, and hypnagogy, light sleep, in the movie Hereditary (2018) is manifest in an adjunct space, and not in the core. This is because the movement is spatial, even though the fact that it is primarily Annie-driven kept it close to the core. But, still, it is in the space, not inside her head. Now, the last shock of the movie, which is so surprising, is how quickly she flips, that is, she has had the great eureka, that usually clears everything up, there is no more haunting, she, the hero, runs to the coven or whatever and she wins. But not in this movie. She now moves back UP through the lattice space, to discover more horrors, all of this now much more clearly in the controlled exploited space of the witch coven, which she is now controlled by (as is Peter).

her 67and in this lateral but vertical movement, the movie again shows it large scope conceptually as she is now going to move up into a new space, where she will play an entirely new role, though not a good one, but for real, and for the rest of her life (ending that night).

It is amusing to me that they situated her entry into the lateral vertical space, for everything now to flip upside down, hypnagogy to vigilogogy, with one of those pull-down stairs to the attics that they used to have in old houses. We had one in 2212 Kensington, it always creeped me out, even more so that its entrance was situated right next to the door to our room, as if, by being placed on that side of it, we were more expendable, if some trouble should come from up there. But, here, where is she? dreamwise, she has splatted, that is, been shocked out of herself, by what is going on, we THINK she is just now continuing on her journey to discover and defeat the evil, but, no, she has splatted off to the side, that’s what happens when a search for Ophthchtony (seeing through the darkness), dream truth, fails, and she splats off to be situated in an adjunct space which in this movie they keep within the confines of the hypnagogic. In my system thus far if you splat right into a black out you are in Chthonos (darkness), if left into a white-out you are in Ophthonos (seeing), but since she splats to the world of both, a conjuring world where SHE is now as if going through the motions of moving the conjuring forward, without knowing it, I place her as going into a kind of trap, which I will just call, combining binary prefixes, Chthon=ophthonos (darkness with apparent seeing), a splat lateral space, WITHIN the confines of the hypnagogic, but, locked in deception, controlled by a demon. She thinks she is moving forward and out to the saving, but a lot like Captain Howey in a movie I have compared this movie to, the Wicker Man (1973), she is unwittingly moving up and into the cult

her 68

Chthon-ophthonos is a silo of deception, moving upward back through the adjunct spaces, eventually through the nexus space, to find, at the verge of reentry into a new life in vigilogogy, the final secret. Since it is bracketed, and not in parenthesis, it seems best that I call this particular version of it, Pseudo-chthon-phthonos, that is, a false place, controlled and exploited by ambient or sentient demons. It is, in this, also characterized by the extra stress of, say, gravity, in that, oddly, the movie starts having her and everyone else move upward. This zone then is more packed in, blinded, less wiggly-roomish. In fact, it is pulled upon by an Ambient and perhaps even Sentient force, which flattens out its levels so that plus-minus, good-bad fade into one. The Ambient pressure is now exerted because the observation of the ritual has begun, the cult has invaded and taken over the house, everyone in the house from this point on is a pawn, being “turned’, as it were, as a spy is, in the house. This is represented by the emergence of the old nude people, closing in on the space, and, in a shot later, see below, even surrounding the house and the walkway up to it, signifying that it is in their control. Furthermore, there was the voice used at school, the cult members crying from across the street, “I expel thee,” and the odd fact that Charlie and then Peter both hear this tongue-clicking noise behind their ears (Charlie makes the noise, Peters hears it from Charlie’s spirit, I think). This places Paimon somewhere out in the outer darkness, beyond the movie (since most of the movie is situated inside the hypnagogic zone). It is the “pull” on the whole intermediate, adjunct, upward trajectory space of Pseudochthonophthono (fake darkness, trying to see in) that makes it, at least in my thinking, a new space, and a space that very, very few horror movies have ever gone (again, I think of The Wicker Man). It is this pull that results in the delirious almost unpredictable zero to sixty spins in Annie’s character, as, shockingly, after she played the part of the mother putting up the good fight to ward off evil, she is taken in too, and completely reverses herself by actually being the agent of the cult in destroying what is left of her family and delivering Peter to the cult (she ends up as well with her head cut off, to signify that she had lost her selfhood).

Another thing, this creates a special, queasy, disorienting air to this particular adjunct space climb. Most of the adjunct spaces I have mapped out have been from above to below, though the central core has seen upward movement. This atmosphere then is, if exploited, that is, not agentic, not, in fact, hypnagogic-adjunct, but an exploited form of that, the exploitation coming in from Ambient and Sentient zones, therefore, daimonionic. Daimonion is the voice that Socrates said guided him in his life, it told him not to do things, it was, then, one scholar writes, apotreptic, that is, preventative; there was no comparable voice telling him to do evil things. Much has been made of this discovery of what is essentially conscience, it is the beginning of self-determined man, said Hegel, freeing man from Sittlichkeit (customariness), but Socrates kept it at a pretty simple level as just a voice. As a voice, then, it is Ambient but also Sentient; since it comes in on him through the ear or from a place inside his head where ambient spins occur, this is a haunting voice. It scares him into a thought of consequences. I will argue at present that the pseudo-chthon-ophthonos zone, and that any carving out or hollowing out of hypnagogic or vigilogogic state is daimonionic in nature, and that a daimonion, an agent of external force, closing in on him, in Sentient space, is in control, a daimonion, which I define as a foreign agent who achieves its ends with no agency, from a Sentient source.

As to this issue of no agency, Burkert writes (Greek Culture), “daimon is occult power, force that drives man forward, where NO AGENT can be named. The individual feels that the tide is with him, he acts WITH the daimon, syn daimoni, or else when everything turns against him, he stands against the daimon, pros daimoni.” As a result of being the veiled countenance of divine activity, the daimon has no image, and there is no daimon cult (two facts that modern horror rejects). The daimon is that part of god that eludes characterization and naming. The daimonm therefore, has uncanny power. One other thing I like is that it is by naming, giving names that are impenetrable and have no derivation, that the Greeks gave special power to their gods, by word alone. The striking name enhances individuality by its inexplicability, which is equated with its character, and uniqueness. This posits an entirely nominal presence for a daimonion in the working out of agency, its presence, here, however, makes whether or not one is working for or against oneself or the daimonion, irrelevant, one is caught in its space, which is exploited space. Arguing from this, a daimon takes over where there is no agency, and makes the person a pawn of an occult agency, to act against even its own interests in the interests of some cult or whatever, usually driven, as here (SATONY, ZAKAS, LIFCOAH, etc) by inexplicable names (and my space names are concocted based on a simple “opthon”(seeing) and “chthon” (darkness, earthiness) binary wordplay).

This is, in my working out of things, a “new” space, meaning that I have not yet mapped it out. It is also, for a horror movie, a very rare space, as usually the movie resolves itself after the third nightmare ephialtes with ophthchthony (seeing through the darkness) drive. But, here, we seem to get to something like that point, then, the movie keeps going, on into another, upward moving, revolving, indecipherable, daimonionic space, where Annie loses herself, and her family, and Peter is crowned host of the daimon the cult worships, Paimon.

So, in going up this time, into the attic, she finds her decapitated mother, removed from the cemetery, which Steve did not tell her about

her 69and there is a symbol of Paimon, paralleling the three heads he like a good celtic god carried on his belt, and these are the heads of the mother, Steve’s, and Charlie’s for all of them to have to be killed to bring on Paimon in Peter.

her 70the really amazing thing to me here, writing this, is that the sigil of Paimon, put on its left side to maybe occultly give it more power, not only includes in it the three heads of the family members thus far, but it is also maps out–and I am not forcing this, I did not see it until just now–the three loops of nightmare, which ought to have lead her to ophthchthony, but she splatted out to an adjunct embrasure, and she is now to climb that. So while the movie in general knocks the bottom out of one, for me, here, it kind of gobsmacks me for it seeming to entirely work out the truth of the triple-loop figure eight structure of dreams in movies! (which I will study in more detailed treatment of the dreams, in another piece)

her 0002And then the extensions on the right, reaching out past the first line, into Ambient and even Sentient space, are marked as well, with a few flourishes.

her 72those representing the pull

her 73

 

I could make a stylized version of the triple loop dynamic, first, the original nightmare; then, the sleep paralysis one; then, ophthchthony, in THIS case, by this demon, failing splatting out to an adjunct structure, as in the sigil

her 74

and, then, not really knowing any more what side she is on, she has to have her husband see everything. She takes him up to see the body, to shake him up. He is shocked, it is real, he remembers the call he forgot, then he thinks she stole the body, then she impulsively, in her crazy mode, takes him downstairs to the fire place to burn the notebook, but she apparently forgets that the house is, as it was when she tried this, now a taken-over reverse space of backwards, recursive magic, controlled by the cult which she is climbing up into, so she doesn’t realize that she is simply carrying out the task, not believing herself that she is doing this, of getting rid of his opposition, done in front of a landscape painting which I sure wish had been one of those pictured in her faux ophthchthony

her 75she is, however, in this, implicated, one gets a sense that she is now “playing” the crazy part, in an all but frantic automatic manner, and, sure enough, when he sensibly balks, she takes the notebook and it is she who throws it in, she is also the one who put the lighter fluid on it, to make it work, and when in horror she watches

her 76there is another one of those rinses of spiritual possession light, it passes through her,

her 77and she instantly changes over to uncaring evil, go to hell blank face, the dead eyes of the world

her 78I mentioned in a post this morning on FB that it was a sign of witches having taken over nature that the day night shots were so turn-off-turn-on-the-light artificial, that is, natural made artificial by witches control, and then someone pointed out to me that in this dark shot you are supposed to see, I did not, the nude witches taking up place around the house, not a new trope, like in Void, etc, but wow

her 79the fact that they are nude leading up the walkway means they are creating a pathway to the meeting of the coven, and guiding by restraint all of them inside in the right direction. The path also leads up, and in this shot they are all Conjure Figures, that is, phantoms of a light stage of hypnagogy, things seen out of one’s peripheral vision, uncertain what they are, it even MEANS something that I did not see them, they signify now, here, to me, that we are going up into the flip space, to flip dream over onto life ever after for the family. As a group, they represent as well the pull or push of Ambient power from without, circling around and closing in on, like the shot of heads circling above, the family and the house, foreclosing upon it

her 79this is entirely properly staged to my model

her 81

We then have to swing around a bit in an annex spatial extension to have, now Peter, see it all, and experience it all. At first, he misses one, he does not see that the light in the tree house is not the heat lamps but another light, he just misses that one

her 82note that when he comes down to see his torched father, his hand up like Peter’s hand was bent up in prophecy of this moment in school, the model house in the hall on the hall table plays the part of the approaching Nexus Room, in which the great turnover will take place.

her 83he does not sense Annie up in the rafters, watching him, clearly, in order to do that, by this point demonic

her 84then when Annie chases him back up to the attic,

her 85he sees the same space in which the mother was laid, but now he in picture voodoo form is laid, in a silhouette made all but Ana Mendieta as a removal of dust and ash to make a negative space effigy of him, with his picture to enchant it, also notice the candle to give him a large phallus

her 86his eyes are removed to make him someone else, to ease the transition in his body (we saw his eyes X’d out in Charlie’s haunting notebook)

her 87this is an effigy, a victim or sacrifice representation of self found in the Village of dreams part of the entoptic zone; but, here, occultly experienced coming up, it means that at this point he has in fact of the magic been dissolved to that level of materiality, his soul has been removed from his body, so that he can serve as a vessel for the change, he is half dream, half reality, a two d representation of himself.

her 88

the previous graph having anticipated, in maybe the most horrifying scene in the movie, Annie ends up presiding over this vision, this rehearsal space, informing him that he is about to be changed, by acting as the Hanged Woman, and she is held aloft by magic,

her 89as in Goya

her 89

And in the Witch (2017), taken from Goya

her 00001She seems to be stabbing herself to death, but she is PULLING back and forth on razor wire, she is decapitating herself! (even after you have seen this shot, in a previous viewing, it still makes you flinch, seeing it again, it has a triggering power, like a visual trauma)

her 91As we later see she has no head, she is the final sacrifice of the family (so her, not the mother), the third head which had to come off, so she is in her presiding making the magic happen, moving it forward, her decapitation the last thing that had to happen in that house, which the grandmother controlled, the final uncorking of the cap of a bottle of wine to get things to the final stage, and move us into the gap

her 92And then Peter gets a look at some old tits and an old cunt and an old dick, and, as we know going way back to Rosemary’s Baby (1968), nothing is more frightening to the young than the old sexual organs of old adults

her 93yep, full frontal nudity, it sends him right out the window

her 0003then, though it seems he would have died, a spirit comes through and revives him

her 95that finishes, then with the house in a state of pseudochthonophthonous (exploitational darking trying to see in) reverse magic to by manipulative conjuring wrangle Annie in to then for her to wrangle Peter in to make it all happen and then we enter the gap

her 96

Once again, I have to ask, HOW do they know this? I have mapped out over the past year that in the entoptic zone of hypnagogy the forms that recur are (imagined as pareidola of blue dots) the Hanged Woman, the Effigy in the Village of dreams (I think I have another name for it), and Conjure figures, and in moving the movie through its last engagement with the house, through the entoptic zone, out into the in-between gap zone of the Nexus house, this movie has the “visual wisdom” to include ALL THREE elements, in phased disfiguration, working through the scene as it occurs!

Anyways, now we come outside the house, and we are now in the gap space, the Nexus BETWEEN hypnagogy and vigilogogy, that zone where things in a dream are carried up physically into reality. This place I know well, and named it some years ago, this is the LUOR, a low place, at the side, or above, or below, but, the gap space between waking and sleeping where you just don’t know. It might also be that, the Greeks called the hour before and after dawn, amphilucid, the occult power they ascribed to this hour was attributable to their thinking it between waking and dreaming (Garcia).

her 97

we see Annie, now as less even than she was, the Hanged Women in the Land of Nod, this version, now just a headless body, a Gap Creature, in the Luor

her 98she floats on up in, meaning something is going on there, he is curious, of course

her 99the cult nature of this approach, the idea that he has entered a cult is rendered stirring, and evil, by the fact that the score (Colin Stetson’s Reborn) sounds like elements of Wagner’s prelude to the Rheingold–which would relate to the picture in the book she found on Invocations–is fed in, the crashing crisis crescendos in the score, this is quite disarming, but prepares us for a shock, further pulling the rug out from under us.

her 100then, to top it all off, we have Paimon, the demon they worship, a king of hell, a major associate of satan, a very queer statue, the cult figure of the cult, in this nexus room, that is, as the injured young man in Cthulhu Mansion (1992, see previous post), the clearinghouse figure that the movie has been all about from the very beginning.

her 101he looks to me like a concoction of skull and hair, a creepy Jesus, a Jeez Louize

her 102(echoes a bit off the effigy in a very early black and white Jean Rollin movie, The Rape of the Vampire (1968)).

her oooo2and the late queen, whose body is here, headless, presides as the epistatic presence, the aegis, to ensure her power

her 103and he is crowned, and then the movie blacks out, but, really, light-inside-black blacks out, which at present I will take as a typical shot of a place in the Luor, but only coming up out of Pseudochthonophthonos (exploited darkness, trying to see), after Ophthchthony (seeing through the darkness) has failed, and one has splatted out from it, only, in this case, to be picked up in a vertical up-pull by a foreign power and force (this also feels very much like the hidden room in The Ring)

her 104I also want to mention finally that the strange out of the way geography of the movie contributed to its overall sense of falling into the luor. In a broader way, I place the luor as outside of town, a town like the Village of dreams.

And that’s that. This whole last part of the movie, after the usual ending of a nightmare structure, the climb back up to a new reality, the nightmare being turned into a new evil reality, made it a four star movie as, like in the Wicker Man, it completely unsettled one, as I said in a post

her 105

With pictures of related moments, The Wicker Man (1973)

her 106

Twin Peaks: The Return, eps. 11 (2017)

her 108

Olivier’s Hamlet (1948), all btw, four star movies

her 109

I now, by this analysis, argue that he movie was confusing because the drive to gain truth and thus win out over evil was derailed, Annie was taken over in any case, for all her playing the part of the finder-out of the secrets, she got caught up, then Peter got caught up, and the whole last part of the movie is simply, everything they do on screen is in its truth the opposite, like Sgt Howey in The Wicker Man, they were all just acting out their prescribed part guided in exploitation and evil up into the magic nexus zone between sleeping and waking, for the new cult to work its way, evilly, in the world. This, then, is my analysis of a commanding American horror movie, Hereditary (2018), and my surprise that in this case my recent work this year on dream and nightmare structures in movies seems to apply very nicely to this outing.

Hereditary (2018) and the dream structure of a failed attempt to defeat evil, Part One.

Rev., Jan 12, 2018.

In writing of Hereditary (2018), there are various themes to be worked through. Yes, it is about witchcraft; yes, it tracks pretty closely over the plot of the Paranormal Activity movies, with WASPy grandma being the head of a coven who wants a woman’s child; yes, all that is true, and more, but I will start with an aspect of a movie that might well be its secret formula of success. Last summer, reading Jennifer Larson’s Greek Nymphs (2001), I asked, seeing pictures of the genre votives consisting of Caruso cave models (400 BC), why? why would people having made a night’s incubation in the cave not just leave a regular votive, but go to the trouble to have the artist at hand do a small scale dollhouse model of the cave? I was, for a time, nonplussed. The economy of exchange of a regular votive is well known: you have a disease, you go to a site of incubation either to have a dream or an epiphany contact with the god, then, you are cured, and if you are cured, you have the artist make a simple votive depicting the relevant body part and place it there, with testimony, to let others know this whole system works. It is a simple tit for tat

her 1that is, subject with diseased body part encounters the agentic array, with the focus on converting the diseased part into a wish, which is made to the cult god, for him to cure it; and if he does, you then have to have made a votive to make this result concrete, to thank him, and also to tell others, it works, it worked for me, it will work for you. This is the votive path to the god, an indirect epiphany.

But, at Caruso, and at present I assume there was incubation there, same thing, but a different structure.

her 2that is, incubation in a nymph cave is an “experience,” framed in whole by the cave itself as the embrasure of an entire agentic array. You have to, therefore, concern yourself with initiatory events or demands, then you can go in and make your wish, but then the encounter with the nymph or the god they serve might have a strong element of fear, meaning that some apotropaic impulses block things in your mind. At this point, contact is made with the god, an epiphany happens, as Platt defines it, and it is THIS, not an even tit-for-tat trade, but a whole experience is measured as to whether or not it was of any good to the self, and then you leave. It is at this point that you have a votive made to thank the nymphs, but it is a “genre votive”, a miniature cave model, which speaks to the whole experience, and since some aspects of the experience were scary, its miniature status, outside looking back in, as I have worked it out, serves as a precipitate of a push-pull dynamic, you thank them, but you also say no thanks to any more of that, that was enough; you are grateful, but you also say that some of it was a bit much, no more of that, so it forms a nexus.

her 3The complicating factor is the involvement of sleep and dream, things that the nymphs did to you in your sleep, whether or not you saw the god in your dreams, if you remember any of it, and, then, coming out. The uncertainty is involved in the passage of the experience of the array of agency from the vigilogogic, an altered state but still conscious, to sleep and dream, or unconscious. This means that the whole experience is bifurcated along the passage from waking to sleeping, so the array reforms itself in mirror form on the other side of the gap, and a model fashioned there will help you cope or deal with what happened that you can’t quite remember. Thus, a genre votive actually is rendered as the miniature cave in full so that it can as a model include the events but also acknowledge all that was forgot, say thank you for the good things recollected, but say no thank you to the possibly terrifying things you would rather do without. And that is why it is, in keeping with a mental characterization of the nexus space between vigil- and hypnagogy, the wobbly line between awakeness and sleep, this is a model of the gap

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what this nexus insertion into the model made me realize is that there is a twisting dynamic in the experience of dreaming, and as it relates to life, and this thus involves turning of the nexus, or flipping, to make things happen. And I also now also argue that it is  this little circulation, that, like a buffering-loading symbol on the computer, BUFFERS the experience and in that space creates a little wiggle room for reflection–which is the essence of a more mature, deep seated and thoughtful art. Indeed, I have argued that a kind of doubletalk is part of art, you are making your art, but always, at the same time, though never consciously or self-consciously, commenting on the making of your art, and the commentary often runs counter to the making, and it is the push-pull in that nexus that gives to the work a certain irreducible human quality that makes it art of the highest kind. Thus, reagency (or exoreagency, if advanced) is the element that suspends the art and makes it feel like an experience, and it is this quality that elevates art to a higher level. I have been looking for ways to articulate the little something in a space that makes something alive and agentic, as opposed to dead and rationalistic,  reflection might be the most basic one, below even the uncanny, or the frisson, or any of the other words I have used to characterize the special buzz of life of agency.

In addition to this, and following from this, I began to ferret out the turned-around telescope formation, and the triple loop spin of dysmetropsia by which nightmares can lead, in sleep, to seeing the truth, with what I call “ophthchthony”, but I also saw that this very structure is physicalized in good horror movies by a certain Nexus room, or Strange Picture Room, and that this room in effect becomes the clearing house of the haunting, as in Cthulhu Mansion (1992), and I also saw this form in Aline Bouvy’s installation (see previous posts).

So, it is almost fortunate that I was not able to see Hereditary last summer, because, seeing it at the same time I was trying to figure out why genre votives manifest as miniature models of caves at Caruso might’ve caused me to lose it. But, now, my memory is such that I didn’t even put two and two together until later in the movie. But, here, this is what I want to cover. I believe that the movie stepped up to the higher level of contemplation by creating a nexus structure in which to reflect upon its movement from dream into a nightmare new reality.

It starts early, as we find out that Annie makes her living as an artist in miniatures, or in making models for architectural firms. Her house is filled with her vision.

her 5but right away, the movie zeroes in on the model, to full screen, to create a visual equivalence between the house and the model.

her 6only, then, also from the get go, this is not the model, but Peter’s real room, Byrne walks through the door

her 7and the fact that at the funeral she has nothing nice to say about her mother, and is even confused as to who all the people at her funeral are, indicates right away, but I did not make the connection, that even if her art is autobiographical, it is also an escape hatch zone, where she buries her feelings about her real home life, because at life size, things are not going so well.

her 8And it is also to be pointed out, that, as in keeping with a visual trope going way back, now, more than 60 years, the dead space between her at the podium and the picture of her mother is marked as depleted and ersatz by a French impressionist painting of Paris

her 9and signifying that the daughter, Charlie, is even more out of it, more depleted, she stands at back, with an Utrillo, and, maybe, a witch

her 10and it is Charlie alone who sees the amulet on her grandmoher’s chest.

her 11and Charlie alone who sees strange gestures being made to her grandmother’s mouth (some argue that Charlie is possessed by Paimon at this point, I am not so sure).

her 12It is also by way of Charlie’s alienation from the family that we are first introduced to the odd treehouse right out front of the house

her 13And Charlie is sleeping in it, even in the ice cold, without heaters.

her 14back home, the home life-size begins to come apart, as Annie sees a strange graffito on the wallpaper in the corner of her daughter’s room, this is a clue that I suspected, seeing it, It turns out that, according to the internet, ‘Satony’ is a word used in a Ritual of Necromancy (communicating with the dead), ‘Zasas’ is a word used by famed British occultist Aleister Crowley when summoning a demon called Choronzon and ‘Liftoach Pandemonium’ is a combination of a Hebrew word meaning ‘open up’ and the familiar word pandemium, which in the context of Milton’s Paradise Lost referred to a place where Lucifer and the fallen exist.

her 15then she gets the usual Posthumous Surprise trope, that everything in her life was more than meets the eye (by Satony it seems that grandma even inducted her granddaughter into the cult without Annie knowing about it).

her 16then in her workroom, she sees her mother, but only in the dark (I forget what other movie made it so that you only saw the ghost in the dark)

her 17at that, in a move I simply associated on first viewing as an incidental “arty” element of the mis en scene, without even really thinking of the dollhouse trope, which is quite common, going way back, as a place to nexus the reality of things, we see the grandmother in a slightly less haunting, but still haunting form, but coming the other way at us, in a model so real is makes one think she might come back to life, in an autobiographical model that Annie made in love, but really to work out her negative feelings and push it all back into the past, the nexus emerges

her 18(in the more specific scene, after she sees the ghost, she sees the model

her 19the two portals suggest seeing through the darkness, that is, continuing nightmare

her 20the vignette seems to be set at a time when she was a girl, and lived there, the mother saying goodnight to her

her 21but she turns it to the wall, and leaves. And then the next time there is a nexus shift is when Peter and Charlie are at the party, and it is profiled and reflected upon by this shot of the grandmother in model form, in the door of a room in the model, but with light coming through her legs, even to her crotch, to as if make her haunt as on a gown prowl in the years of her youth

her 23at this point, Annie is well aware of the fact that there is something strange going on with all this

her 24The fact that Charlie can’t breathe, at the party, it is implied, by synchrony, that this is a spell

her 25this then leads to the accident which finally destroys their family life, and it is soon after, after the brutal way in which Peter let his mother discover the truth of the situation, by not dealing with it, just like she did not deal with it, we also see that Annie is much more likely than anyone else to use the in-between zone created between the house and Annie’s models, no doubt modelled by her model, she has rather selfishly created a grown up heated treehouse for herself for her to sleep in if she needs to get away from everyone in the family, now, she needs to get away, THIS is in fact the nexus room, comparable to the nexus room in Cthulhu Mansion (1992)

her 26she sleeps in grief, in the red light

her 27but, even before the accident, and the shock of it, extraordinarily, we find that the accident too was somehow planned by a controlling force, as the sigil of the cult is inscribed on the phone pole, in the middle, so this is also part of it

her 28later, after one of her first sleepwalk nightmares, in fact, sleep paralysis, we see in passing that there is also a “work of art” based on Annie’s profession, at the bottom of the stairs

her 29and there is a house on top of that, this is seen a few times, always to signify distance between family members (profiling the bannister slats house as prison trope)

her 30then see how much more crazy Annie is getting with the model making

her 31as she has made a model of the accident, including the head

her 32Steve says, Jesus, Annie, and walks out.

her 34and the magic words are even penciled in small on her exact replica models

her 35so, up until this point, we have had a constant oscillation between what Annie is experiencing and what she is thinking about it, reflecting on it. She is a woman who tends to express herself obtusely and silently in meticulous work, and not in the open, with people, so there is her problem, the building pressure. But what has been slowly happening is that the movie is sinking down into hypnagogy, the borders between wakefulness and dream are becoming, in their grief or their haunting, which is it? blurred. The emphasis on the wallpaper in the models tends to increasingly blur them with the dreams, entering in by way of the entoptic zone, so you don’t know first off which is which, the nexus is breaking, settling down into to become the lattice form in hypnagogy.

her 36the movie strangely makes use of the age old trope of the séance, though in a self-service form, to I suppose communicate in a traditional way that the cult is of old people. But the structural thing about her attempts to stage it at their house is that by this point she is thought to be mad by the family, Peter takes it as torture, and, even more disconcerting for that line between dream and reality, everything that happens in the sleep paralysis sleep walk she just had is recreated in the séance. Byrne protests because she is given a script that is in no known language, which gives another element of disorienting glossolalia to the proceedings, further spinning things into the daemonic. In this shot, in the nightmare, she is making Peter cry, a fire is coming up at her, and she is wet, that cannot only be sweat.

her 37In the séance, the flame shoots up, so there is the fire

her 38and Steve or Peter throws water on her, she is confused, but it breaks the spell, so there is a recursive, back and forth dynamic taking over the house, she is the medium for this.

her 39and then, with a phone call from her gallerist, whoosh, she breaks, it all crashes down

her 40as we see that her modelling has been increasingly contaminated by her dreams,

her 41that is, she is now documenting the dreams, which is mad.

her 42Charlie, as a spirit, then, returns to the house, to serve as the trouble-maker that will further close the gap. She comes in in one of the oldest tropes in horror, the Bounced In Ball, she is now here, causing trouble.

her 43this then causes a full on hag attack on Peter, trying to choke him, it might be Charlie, but he thinks it is Annie, his mother, so there is more of her being spun around in her crazy mood, we no longer know what’s what

her 44and this means that now things in the house are as in the models haunted through and through, and she finds out that she is now living in magic space, but in a magic space turned against her, where everything she does to try to fight the magic comes back at her, against herself, so the scene in the fireplace, when in fact she burns herself, not the book, this is a quite rare rendering of this state, the whoosh circulation, in fact, of the first dream state.

her 45but now she is aware that things are turned upside down, and so begins her second nightmare, she goes tries to find the woman who put her into a séance situation, realizing now that she had been duped, she is pictured, as, perfectly timed, all upside down

her 46at the bottom of this nightmare is the realization that all of this is black magic to, for some reason, try to get Peter. There is, in the woman’s rooms, a whole ritual set up, and picture voodoo, a spell attacking him

her 47now the witch calls to Peter at school, really a shocking coming out of the situation, trying to explicitly drive him crazy

her 48this second nightmare scenario starts with the full on assault of Peter (it did for half a second occur to me that the strange contortions of his body in the attack in class was also recursive, a revisiting upon him of the elements of the crash that killed Charlie)

her 49This nightmare section ends with a nicely staged, and perfectly placed, Research Section, also as a crisis eureka, telling her the truth, and this is what opens up her eyes to the nature of the threat, and to the fact that her mother was a witch, she reads this

her 50it lays out the whole thing, it opens her eyes, they are after Peter, to make him the host for Paimon

her 51she sees, in a very strange shot, the riches that will come to whomever enacts the conjuring required (this prefigures her in the attic in the last scene she is alive in)

her 52then, she sees down through, to the truth, is this ophthchthony? well, I am not 100 per cent certain. She is clearly awake, though maybe in a highly haunted and suggestive state, she might be hypnotized and made less clear in her rational judgements by all this, but she looks, with a close-up

her 53if the photo album shows her that this nice woman who was befriending her was part of it, a good friend of her mother, if this is the gaze of truth, it amuses me that it is paved in its descent in really terrible landscape pictures, symbolic of depleted spirituality

her 54another one

her 55another one, framing her taking a more leadership role, she wasn’t just a follower, but part of the leadership

her 56and then the splat of shock at the end of this is seeing by a picture that her mother was the queen of the coven, and she was lavished with riches, which probably accounts for their nice big house, and all of Annie’s life, which is why she felt so alienated from it all, this MIGHT by the truth shot

her 57but, more likely, this is it, that her mother, in order to accept all this power, had to sacrifice her family to the cult, and also, however, set aside one of them to become the next queen or king, so they focus on them at some meeting, this is all coming clean with the bargaining. I feel fairly certain THIS is the truth shot

her 58occulty placed, hidden in incidentality in the bottom of a box in the bottom of the movie, like this

her 59and, in close-up, I cannot help but see this as a descent through a funnel lined with landscape paintings bespeaking spiritual depletion, one

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two

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three

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and ending with the mother showing the nonsplat successful passage into dream, and then the “truth shot” at the bottom of this, the family shot, on the wall of a gathering, projected as a slide (this is very well done, even if unconsciously done).

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I, therefore, tentatively believe that this triple loop nightmare structure, if rendered a bit more discursively in the mis en scene of the movie rather than as simply a series of three nightmares experienced by a dreamer, can serve to give logical form to the haunting

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And in an effect little noted, a camera pan effect when the school calls to tell of Peter’s latest incident–which echoed on an event in my parenting life, so it was uncomfortable–the camera pans across the house, behind the walls, this is a shot that I saw in Get Out but prototypically in Frankenstein (1931), and it signifies that there is no safety anymore in the house, the horror resounds now through the whole of the house

her 66Now, all this is swell, and you stop now, and you have a solid, if somewhat formally conventional horror movie.

But, then, the movie has more in store for us, and this is where the last reel comes into play as one of the most unnerving bottom-drop-out sequences in recent, or perhaps even all horror. But, what is the structure? End of part one.

Marguerite Humeau, prehistoric caves, brains, dreams and a blackout: Birth Canal exhibition at the New Museum, 2018.

Rev., Dec 7, 2018.

Note: this Fusion analysis based on five stage dream model, entpotic, symbolic (glass onion); lattice (fixing); whoosh (spiral), and REM deep dream state. Interior to this, a model of the functionality of nightmares is made use of.

This past summer, I picked up a figure-eight movement in the depiction of nightmares in movies. I ended up analyzing the form which they take in the mis en scene and decided that there were two bounce outs from nightmare, once falling down the whoosh, then you bounce out, but are still in hypnagogy, so that is night terror; the second, however, a worse looking down in, and you bounce out to being awake, except you might be in sleep paralysis, or sleep drunkenness, a kind of aftereffect state of dream.

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but, then, things do not end there. The dreamer, usually a woman, goes back for a third time to try to see things and figure things out, but it was only in this third attempt that she was able to see down through as if a turned around telescope to see into the truth of REM dream, and open up the blockage that twice rebuffed her. I have seen this in Bethany (2017), and in Still/Born (2018), and in other movies, recently, too. And I call that ability to see through the darkness, ophthchthony,

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but, then, in other moments, I saw that one still might bounce out from that, but not vertically again, but just hit splat, the gate closed again, and you are either bounced off left, or bounced off right; and if that is the case, to the left you are in the light, or white-in, I call Opthonos (half of ophthchthony); while on the right, you are in the dark, in a black out state, I call  Chthonos (the other half). Both of these outside hypnagogy, in much more open-ended ambient psychological space

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in my treatment of the work of Aline Bouvy, recently (see post), I believe that I detected a bounce strategy, struggling with making sense of the white cube, which ended up her making a White-in, Ophthonos, in the gallery space. I also suspected that the black wall counterpart that concluded the exhibition at least recognized the counterbalancing opposite, Chthonos. But left it at that.

And, now, I see another installation, but, again, not so much an installation, as an incubation, in so far as it exists in the gallery like a dream, like something inside the head of the artist, given physical form. It exists in a hypnagogic realm, not anywhere near minimalist literal space, or even postmodern neominimalist cultural spin space. It is a dream and a nightmare, and this is the stupendous installation by a new favorite, Marguerite Humeau at The New Museum in New York (I am fairly certain that New York having its ingrained formalist-minimalist prejudices most of this is going to pass right over their heads). First of all, the space is black, or dark, with tiers irregularly arranged, that is, it is prime candidate to be termed a visualization of Chthonos, the ambient black out space outlying the last bounce out of Ophthchthony

hum 4but, then, the question is, this sort of exhibition space is not entirely unusual in natural history museums, so it has to have some sort of justfication as a physical expression in the space around the focused objects, as somehow the “space” of that object, as projected from its program and form. That is, these spaces are not random, but mean something. This one

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and this one

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And this one

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and this one

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and this one

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and then, since this is the work that captured me, to want to write about the show, the Venus of Kostenski, this one

hum 10that is, in all cases, the object had to have a hypnagogic quality, and then the space around it be an adjunct hypnagogic space, to “clear” it (that is, quartering the space to block out rationalization)

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I think this IS what is going on, as in this piece that I liked so much, it is sort of put up in the corner, but, then, at the edge of a precarious, and none too polished, edge

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but, then, what are they? And why do they look the way they do? In her statement, Humeau makes this clear

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what this means is, there is a process by which people by way of a shaman got to psychotropic experience, through eating the brains of certain animals. That would be an engine of inducement for hypnagogic effects, or visions. This means that this installation is not an installation, in a gallery, with art, entirely taking place in consciousness, or in a hypnagogic look from it either, but a dynamic agentic movement into altered state hypnagogy in ambient realms. The first element that separates the art from the everyday is: 1) shamanic women; 2)then,  they ingest animal brains; 3) then, they are in a trance; 4) then, there is, from various brains, paths to different trance states, and 5) that information is inscribed in what appear to be brains, or women, but are both, maps disguised as sculptures, recipes to get to different places in dream vision. That is, we are not in the objective, materialist, minimalist, literal world; we are in a dream world. This complicated, five-step entry into the material brings the entire exhibition out of the gallery into the hypnagogic states that I study in movies

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This leaves the states of particular trance to be studied. I would classify those as, if they are bright and colored, a dysfunction of the deep dream entry, and a splat out to Opthonos (the white-in). But, then, even more remarkably, it seems that they ate the brains of several animals, and maybe even in certain combinations and sequences, or “recipes,” and, somehow, that information had to be kept somewhere. And Humeau argues that that is what the Venuses were, physical-visual recipes, guides, to tell shamans which way to go, to get to a certain type of dream.

Now, to conform this to my way of thinking. I mentioned in my treatment of Cthulu Mansion (1992), that given the turned-around-telescope nature of Lovecraft’s original description of the Cthulhu and other monsters, it is possible that for him a monster was nothing else but the physical representation of a certain psychodynamic twist in the mind whilst dreaming, or in a state of terror, something like this

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that is, a “monster” is just a physicalization of one of my charts, a figuralization, for mneumonic purposes, of the dynamic agency of things moving about in one of my graphs. This is precisely what Humeau seems to be saying: each form of a Venus, with its various permutations, of a somewhat labial quality, is a visual recipe, which tells the shaman yet another way to get to the vision dream state.

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I subscribe to the school of thought that sees Venuses as instructive objects held in the circle of posession of women, and not eidols or goddesses in shrine sites. I was particularly charmed by a theory that floated around about 20 years ago which described them as models to help young woman know what to expect in the stages of pregnancy, scholarly articles which included POV views of female bodies looking down from above onto their growing bellies. While this theory had a bit of a problem of literalism, theories like it abide, and I tend to see the Venuses as instructive, agentic objects, not “works of art.” For that reason, I am more likely to right from the start not view Humeaus’ statues as modernist-like Brancusi variations in vulval form on ancient Venuses, that is, little statues of females (which they are, nonetheless); but as, in fact, the physical representation of the recipe, telling the person who looks at the thing, a shaman, what a certain animal brain associated with this form will lead to, in altered states mapped out on the form, or the path marked out like on a map, in terms of taking a psychotronic trip. For that reason, I tend to see these objects as “things” in the manner of the thing in the house of the movie Paganini Horror (1988), where an hourglass serves as some sort of conductor of the haunting of the place, this usually placed in a nexus room, where everthing turns

hum 17I will, however, place each one of her visual-recipe objects in the nexus itself, they are the equivalent of the “turned around microscope” effect, or the sleep paralysis effect, that, in passing from vigilogogy to hypnagogy, raise the possibilty of various sorts of visionary insight. Though I do not think the gallery as a whole is meant to be visualized as a nexus space, it is possible that each clearing of object and the cantilevered space about it is meant to be read that way. So, for example, this

hum 18would graph out, for instance (I am just improvng here),

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that is, its narrow head indicates lack of immersal in deep hypnagogy, its emphasis on bifurcated buttocks indicates that the sightline goes down through her spine to her buttocks, but, then, on those large cheeks, splats off to left and right into Ambient hypnagogic zones, with some push from an oversight derived from a splat out from the prominent shoulder blades. And so, this “recipe” calls for some brains, of particular animals, that bring one by way of vigilogogic entopty into hypnagogic entopty, but then to gently bounce out in kaleidoforms either side, to experience a light dream Ambient encounter of some sort.

By contrast, this much more intense and even labial form, with echoes of Judy Chicago’s literalism, but on the other side of the universe, this is a Venus carved in such a way as to offer a recipe for a much more powerful, and deep, path to a far more intense vision, resulting from an intenser animal brain effect.

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this sinks in much deeper, into the hypnagogic

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it posits that at the top there is a twist, like in a twisted neck, where the vigilogogic elements of the nexus overturns into a negated form in the hypnagogic, with this movement causing ripples out into adjunct space, but not quite to the Ambient; then, it keeps moving down to take up a place on the lattice, as a cavity of central concern, to then open up in a whoosh below, to slip into deep REM space. This, the above form, in its greater complexity, maps out as in a recipe that the animal brain associated with this object, whether by stone or material or whatever they associated with it, is a much more powerful brain eating experience, and results in a full on drop to a lattice, a dive by a whoosh through the spiral, down into, even, represented by labial form, the REM deep dream, where the vision will take place.

And, then, one by one, that’s what they are, that’s why they vary, there is no need for me to speculate on what each means, because I am just matching graphs with forms here in a random way, but the principle holds, each form is not so much a “form” as a “–phorous”, that is, a carrier, a gateway, a path, mapped out on the Venus, still a Venus

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and one of these is so placed on its clearing space, its adjunct support in hypnagogic space, that it suggests a whoosh down to the gate of REM dream, but, then, a splat out to the side, if vision, Ophthonos, if black out, Chthonos. I think this might do

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this is how might it all work out, without getting too schematic here. I have recently been trying to map out in vigilogogic-hypnagogic space, assuming that an encounter or epiphany with the gods, as per Platt, is an experience of an altered state kind of consciousness nature. This happened in a state partitioned by the assemblages of attributes and powers that each of the Greek gods had, and how by that pattern of attribution, they had certain precincts, then rubbed up against others, then sometimes overlapped on others, but to catch something the other god missed, and that eventually, though I have only mapped out Zeus and Apollo thus far, come up with a map of attribute formations, framing dynamic agency functions, which cover the whole of it, like a pieces of a jigsaw puzzle

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I would suggest that this is the same thing

hum 25you are looking at a mapping out of all the paths, and the space around each one is like that piece in the jigsaw puzzle which supports the objects not as a pedestral supporting a work of sculpture, but like an altar supporting a sacred object with cult meaning

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It is true that Humeau goes on to argue that each Venus represents one of the women, too, for it is women shamans, in a trance state, part brain, part Venus, and that in their lament they prophecy the future extinction of mankind, all well and good. That is a “cover” story, however, to hide the code under a veneer of normalcy. But, in their structure, they “work,” that is, as works of art, because in addition to being figures of women shamans, they are brain homunculi, with very close assocation with “monsters” in the sense of mapping out the effect of the particular brain eaten to get to the trance state they are in (again, one thinks of the physical distortions of body in Altered States), and so I view the “trance” more as a vigilogogic or hypnagogic state, with insight in deep dream or Ambient Ophthonos or Chthonos space. As such, these are intercessional works of art, for the intiate. So that is my analysis.

But, then, if this is a hypnagogic space, where are we, exactly, in the gallery? Well, Humeau added in sound and smell, the smell was linked to birth, perhaps by a relation to placenta and its meaning, as a souce of an idea that the brain of a different animal might have the power to direct one on a particular trip. I think we are in a semblance of the caves where these objects functioned. The women are sitting around, having their trances, they forsee the end of mankind, it is a dark place. I mentioned, partly in humor, as my FB page is much more “for entertainment purposes only,” that it reminded me of the cave space of One Million BC, and that that space hosted indeed all sorts of social and sexual struggles as whole tribes, according to the movies, would sit about and stew.

hum 27even though a more accurate picture of what this shaman ceremony was like might be seen in Altered States (1980).

hum 28but more to the point

hum 29In any case, the problem is, time. And, experience. That is, this is a theory about objects, it confers upon them a neurological, psychotropic power, that each, as a work of art, not as a figurative sculpture describing a woman, but as objects that sit at the nexus and like an hourglass often appearing at that juncture function to by the reaction of the mind to the effect of its ingestion go on a trip of a particular form, and depth, and extent, whether in hypnagogic, deep REM sleep dream, Ambient or even Sentient space (and so-called psychotronic spaces related, but I would place these up in zones adjunct to vigilogogy), and that all these visions must be guessed to be taking place past Ophthchthony, because of the radical nature of the altered state, in the Ophthonos (white in) realm.

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that’s what a trip is, though in horror movies this final splat, after two previous nightmare splats, is often characterized as entirely psychotic, the depicted scenes share with vision trips the notion that over the eyes is cast a screened, superimposed, other visual plane, which one experiences as not a dream, but a vision of another waking life, but you are in the Ophthonos zone (but in that case moving back up in ambient-vigilogogic space).

But, the problem is, practically, Humeau could not depict those zones, at least not yet (maybe she will do Pippolitti Rist type videos to try to link a certain kind of visionary experience to the particulars of each stone, and form, and recipe, that is, dynamic agency path, and so that is in the future). But to introduce the idea, and perhaps to comment on the nature of art, she can only show a dark world opposite the realization of what these objects are, a place where we see these objects and do not know what they are, where they might lead. She can only in the art represent the fact that they consist of lost knowledge,, and for this reason she can only bring us into the cave, where the objects might’ve sat, unappreciated even by those not in on the secret shaman knowledge, and show us that dark world. In other words, while in theory the dynamic leads to Ophtonos, or to deep REM space; in practice in art, all she can show us is Chthonos, the dark black out space where we encounter these things, but know not what they are

hum 31

that is, I do think that Humeau has created in the gallery an Ambient adjunct space of hypnagogy, derived as a result of a triple loop of meaning having to do with Venuses, animal brains, shamans, and paths to enlightment by way of particular trips, of multiple forms, brought us to a third splat at the bottom of nightmare, or a looping like it; but given us a bounced out Ambient form, where the curtain is pulled across the vision, to say something about the unseen nature of that which art represents, that is, we are given a view of the cave, the state of Chthonos (black out), deep in the lightly dreaming brain, but as a screen of Opthonos, the white in, which is where the shamans go. For this reason, I think this exhibition serves as a counter to Aline Bouvy’s white-in space (see post), by showing us what things look like in a highly theoretical but remote world that we can only encounter by way of the autistic limitations of art seen in the glass darkly of the Chthonos world lying outside of failed dream resulting from a nightmare (Humeau did execute an Ophthonic space in London last year, however).

In sum, I argue that Humeau’s work is being thought through on the level of vigilogogy or hypnagogy; that dynamic agency forces are at work to arrange its ideas in various forms or assemblages; that there IS in her work a kind of ophthchthony, if not strictly speaking, formally, a full formation, then at least some degree of it, involving brains, trances, women shamans, prophecy; that this leads to an encounter with the difficulty of dreaming, resulting in bounces out from splat falls, into either adjunct Ambient space I have called, if white-in, Opthonos, or, if black out, Chthonos. I think that the inner dynamic agency is there, I believe this is ballpark correct. I believe, then, that Humeau, in this incubation, has created a vision of the black out we live in, Chthonos,a world of darkness where secret knowledge lies.

Footnote

On the micro level, it is also clear there is an underpinning of crystal magic in the work, and the idea, shared by many in the ancient world, that different stones lead to different responses by the universe, so this piece made out of, it is said, a piece of rare alabaster Humeau found in England, the Venus of Kostenski eating the brain of a marmoset, so a more descriptive-narrative piece than the the more abstract ones, in this one the alabaster also counts, as it did in the ancient world

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and, indeed, I did notice that in his selection for his Mummy kunstkammer show in Vienna, Wes Anderson showed an interest in the various stones by which Romans made household gods of an intimate sort, perhaps to aid in dreaming of a particular thing, in a form of portable incubation.

Footnote 2

Then, too, it is a possibility that the brain caused the person to lapse into sleep, and the visions were got during sleep, in which case, this might describe the inside of a space where incubation took place, and the nature of the stone would again, as the skin of an animal, have a role in which to direct the dream, by being related to a certain guide god, to by its functional assemblage piece of the jigsaw puzzle, lead to better results. I posted on this today.

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with

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then

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The end.