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.
she runs for cover
she is, as Josef writes, delusional, spinning out fantasies
in 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.
at 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
she even describes an extreme state of destruction by the cult, implying cannibalism, of her core feminine power. Then she disappears.
Each 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.
Here is my post about it
and my map, just like in Patricia’s notebook, sort of
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
We 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)
with 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)
and then Blanc
and now we have one Suzie on the left split by Blanc and two Blancs on the right, framed by three Suzies
And then suddenly, it is six Blancs surrounding a Suzie and a half
they pass another pilaster
each split, each at cross purposes with each other,
and 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
And she soars
but it is witchcraft
No 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
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).
In 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)
He 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)
He struggles through it, and we realize it is the interior of the body of his sleeping wife
So 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)
The 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
through 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.
again, 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.
she knocks on the glass like Olga did to find the door, and does
When 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)
as 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.
there are porcelain busts of women
there is a ballerina music box, and what looks like a turtle on the right
there is an odd neurological type head
there is a Crouching Venus, symbolic of dark female power
though 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
there is a glassbox of flowers, then a strange figure, nude below, some sort of covering above
then there is the signature piece which is the Bourgeois type polymastic monstrosity with a gash for a vulva on top,
this in close up, but seen just in passing, all but a view of the intimate female anatomy from behind
as 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
but, since this image seems to try to figure out into intestines, or a sex act, below
I think it also might have incorporated a figural oomph from Nature Study
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
the above looks like, with a tinge of color on the toes, a Magritte, the feet, even toes, being more important than what covers them
then a few more heads, clearly more like portraits
even some sculpturings or imprints of knees
there are also death masks, as she reaches in for one of the gatling hooks
and 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
When she is discovered masturbating by her mother
And gets the iron to the hand for it, needless to say a body traumatizing event.
If, 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.
The portrait, it should be noted, is a double portrait, Blanc with Markos
But, importantly, it is framed elaborately with voodoo intentions.
I suspect that the hair of coven members are in the frame, making a physical connection to the picture.
In 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
if 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.
These 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,
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)
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
It is both Bourgeois
And Olga (this link also making a connection to the mirror room)
At 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.
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)
So, they did work out the “under the bed” (coming up to the lattice) zone pretty thoroughly.
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
almost orgasmic, out of her control
that, 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.
This 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.
there 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.
but, 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.
Somehow, 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.