Christina Quarles, as related to Radical Figures, Whitechapel, a comment.

rev., Feb 14, 2020.

Note: with mention of dana Schutz, Alejandra Venegas, Ryan Mosley; doctor Sleep (2019), The Exorcist (1973), etc. This is a Fusion POV thought piece, not a review based on having seen in person the works mentioned. Fusion cross-talking intertextually between art and, in my case, movies, is the premise.

I made a note on my FB page about Radical Figures at Whitechapel. In general I reject the seesaw rationale for the show, and the figure versus abstraction back and forth, and I thought the show clumsily curated, but I did discover Christina Quarles. And this gives me an opportunity to further parse why I am beginning to favor one kind of figurative work over another, in the current boom of art of this kind. Here are my posts

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and

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in other words, the art world today, or online, seems content to float along on meaningless buzzwords, without any discrimination of criticism in terms of the forms and figures rendered in works of art. Since I spend most of my time with movies these days, and have found many tropes and devices which granulate form or figure, I would now, in a spirit of “fusion,” have to carry this back over to art, and argue that the buzzword approach is no longer valid.

So, according to my system, I like dana Schutz because she partakes of the vigilogogic, the mind slightly compromised in its consciousness by stress or fatigue, when unseen or unimaginable things start into the mind, which you immediately repress, and, most of the time, that is vigilogogic-level panic generating momentary fantasies of horror and doom. I see things like this all the time, with many horrible imaginings based on the current status of my marginalized life. Generally, her gothic imagination chose not to immediately repress and erase those visions, but hung onto them, to give image to them, to represent them–that is where she spends most of her time, at various levels of intensity. I once theorized that her imagination developed in this way because, though from Michigan, she spent some studio time along the Gowanus canal in Brooklyn, where I once lived, the valley filled with fantasies of ruin, thus, she had, I wrote in 2012, a “gowanic imagination”. She has a unique genius for this.

0 2so, her wheelhouse is somewhere here (without going into it in detail) (upper box is vigilogogic; lower box is hypnagogic, arrows meet in the space between waking and sleeping)

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it is vigilogogic, but takes a gothic exaggerated form because seen from the waking mind, maybe in instant retrospect, at an angle (consciousness of everyday marked as C, in a box above). That is, in an art gallery we gaze askant at a haunted state of mind.

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I also recently reacted to a Mexican artist, Alejandra Venegas, who also works in, I think, the vigilogogic, but in a plein air way

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as such

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and

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and

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and I would map this out thus (C=consciousness; v=vigilogogy; h=hypnagogy).

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I also felt that Ryan Mosley, in the Radical Figures, is working in vigilogogy, though here intersecting with a preoccupation with Legion-like demons I have found all the past year.

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the image

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Then, too, Gladys Nillson is getting a revival, in my view, because her work is entirely vigilogogic, made in the entoptic imagery of the closed eyes, even almost as “pronks”, that is, figures one visualizes with eyes closed, but then which, as they immediately burnt away, get weird, and she chose to wait for a bit of the burn for them to get weird, and then render them, more FB

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several images under this rubric

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Finally, though, I find many more hypnagogic devices in movies, than vigilogogic.  This means that I will favor artists of a figural sort who venture to map out the complexities of the hypnagogic, after, in fact, sleep overtakes, and you cross the in-between, and are, in fact, in the light sleep stages leading to REM dream, these seem to be more in evidence in art of late too. One point, though. I have found that while movies are clearly to be seen when one is awake (!), Belting has remarked that movies affect us as if dreams. It can be said that the effect of a movie is to cast you into a certain pacified state of vigilogogy, but, then, the visual devices most often made use of in movies are mostly hypnagogic, meaning that the movies have tricked us by shifting hypnagogy up over vigilogogy, to make things even more appealing to our need to belong to it (a shift I call, now, the Big Creep). In using hypnagogic devices, art means to expand consciousness beyond the rational, to capture the full feeling of the life force. This is where Christina Quarles is, my first response.

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these, I think, in Radical Figures

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but, now, my more detailed proof of this, that these are as if dream-guiding me through the mind, is that there is space, and layers in them.

Consider this one, Always Brightest Before th dusk….baby, I want You To Know all Tha….(2019). The first thing I am interested in is that the scene is not realistic, but it takes place in a hypnagogic space. What this means is that these are creatures in a depleted zone, perhaps even in the prototype space where they are kept as “entomes”(creatures torn to pieces) as in the basement in the tanz schule in Suspiria (2018), this would relate them to devolutionary figurative trend in Euro art (see previous post).

0 17so this is like Patricia in the basement as found by Sara in Suspiria (2018)

0 18and, then, in this space, a figure is pushed and caught in the wall. This relates to the delirious phantasms of Jose Molica Marins, 1970s Brazilian horror director, who featured this dis-integration of the body in this way, body parts stuck in a wall, especially in Hallucinations of a deranged Mind (1974) (also see previous post)

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but then the uncanny coincidental thing about this is that I also recently screened doctor Sleep (2019) and in it dan locks the ghost of Mrs. Massey, she of disgusting body in the bathroom of room 237 of the Overlook (who shows up a lot in the sequel)

0 20in a “lock box” in his brain, which is set, no less, in the Overlook labyrinth, representing his brain, in this version; and here, during the viewing time, a painting made contemporaneous to that idea in which a figure is being locked away in the actual hedge itself, to be paralyzed there, here in doctor Sleep (2019)

0 20and in Quarles

0 21this strongly suggests to me that we are in a lock box situation, and as I have worked it out previously this can only be in brain sites ambient to hypnagogy, a White Out or a Black Out, when, having experienced a measure of nightmare, one ends up bouncing out into those limbos in lateral ambient state, to suffer spins or shrill hauntings.

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since Quarles’ art is so body conscious I am going to say that after some unspecified “nightmare” or splat prior to the painting, she ends up bouncing into a White Out, with a hedge around it, at the level of the lattice, the hedge being the lattice form (This hedge being a lot like the house in Vanishing Waves (2018, Estonia), a decedent of entoptic spin imagery, but at the level of lattice (third level)

0 23it is odd, though, this doctor Sleep (2019) coincidence, because I have been looking into the various forms of the “shining” that King devised in the original book, then how they translated them into the movie, and certainly the most accurate one in the movie, and most intriguing, is the case of Abra “Far-seeing” (even called this in the book by King). In Far-Seeing, Abra’s eyes go white, then she sees the caravan, aerially, far away. In my view, her Far Seeing per se is simply wakeful dreaming, her conscious waking mind able to block out vigilogogy to drop into hypnagogy, the blink out occurring at the crossover nexus, over the in-between space, which I call the Luor

0 24and then she sees the caravan, which itself is a classic glass onion (second level) graphic formation.

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but, then, there is a weird spin. Two theories for this. In the book, King says that Abra has control over her visions of Far-seeing almost as if it was a vinyl record or a tape, she can rewind or fast forward at will, and maybe even like a dj cause the record of it to skip or get weird, this is apparent in its quick, twisting movement

0 26the second possibility is that this is compressed to accommodate it taking place in her head. And while the usual method of showing the lattice view from the inside of the head of a person in a movie is the view of the back of the head, which says everything you see here is inside the head, this does show up when she goes further into what King calls Far-Being, but, here too, the scene wriggles by montage across her face

0 28everything is in her head, so it is a vigilogogic level twist up to “fit” a hypnagogic seeing into her round head, in a graphic way

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This would really have to posit that this happens because her Far Seeing is at the level of the lattice, so if seen from outside in, it reflects the contours of her body. So, that is the second possibility.

But, then, there is a third possibility. Notice that Quarles’ figures in this body of work are not only entomic, but spindly. I have dealt with the spindly before, but my most recent notion is that when, sometimes, you have a particular type of light fugue dream, the dream can be of such a nature that when you at last begin to come out of it the rest of it takes on the character opposite the body of it, as if by an enantiodrominon on a staircase (as in Joker (2019)), and my example is the Night Line dream formation, which happens on the lateral whoosh stage, where you dream that you are stuck in a low narrow tunnel and wriggling through, back to the center, and, then, once you surface, you do so in an accelerated and spindly form as if bursting out of it with a compensatory speed-up. So, this outline

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his then suggests that Abra, for example, even to have a vision of Far Seeing in that particular form, for it to then spindle on her, had to have been predisposed by a nightmare experience, which would be the whole drama of the book, and the fears (she saw, by way of shining, the boy being killed)

0 30so something like this.

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The most famous spindly event in movies is, of course, in The Exorcist (1973), when, after Chris just about implodes emotionally from hearing that Burke denning has been thrown down the stairs adjacent to the house, she is tormented, but then to spike it, Friedkin unleashes the famous split-second spiderwalk on the stairs in the house, opposite the stairs outside.

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the above painting is further complicated by the presence of a Blind Spot, as theorized by me to be the result of having had a traumatic nightmare, of which you remember nothing, but you are left with the irritating, ambient panic of worry spreading through all things, so there is a blank orb, then a lot of wrigging around it, I think is in the work of Wangechi Mutu at the Met

0 32In Quarles the blind spot might be that circle on the woman’s backside

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in this albeit inaccurate and lazy graph of it, just to make the point that there is, at the center of such a picture, a Blind Spot, then the rest of the figuration takes the depleted radiating form of worry wriggling out, as if nervous energy burnt off, flowing away from the center, which in some ways this body does, as if it is of centered on an upsetness that all anybody sees of this body is the booty and everything else just becomes vectors of worried self-appraisal spun out from this (see my full treatment of the blind spot in previous post on Blow Job (1980))

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At present, then, I argue that what makes this painting have a fundamentally different figurative character even from dana Schutz, is that while Schutz’s work gives visual form to the panic gothic thoughts that race through the conscious or vigilogogic ie groggy or haunted mind, Quarles has somehow mined the next level down, the hypnagogic, for her imagery to partake of the dynamics and dimensions of the agency of dreams at that level. In this painting she seems to be saying that her body is a trap and sometimes she wants to crawl away from the Blind Spot by which people judge it, at others times to just lock it away in a box in her mind and not think so much about it, even if her art is all about bodies.

Then she also has a work called double down (2019). This one is a bit more fully figurative, and has a bit of narrative too as it seems to be a lamentation on a relationship that has begun to split apart in some way.

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The thing that astonishes me here is that the picture has three layers, each corresponding to a depth level in hypnagogy. The top figure is the primary figure of the picture, the picture is grounded in her, she is at the lattice level, and, in many ways, it can also be said, as it is in certain sexual positions, woman on top, where her body forms as if a cathedral of body over the person under, she is the body that is dreaming this interiorizing dream drama of her feelings in that body as she sleeps (so, the picture is three layers: the glass onion, the lattice and the whoosh, REM is below).

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but then while she bends down, to look at a lost lover, or someone, a hole opens up in the ice, or floor, she is able to look through the bottom of the lattice level, down the whoosh, into the darkness at the bottom of the whoosh (as a dream guide, she would be the Caretaker)

0 37and I am going to say that the person at the bottom is splat in the splat spot at the bottom of a whoosh nightmare, being lost, sinking away, and it is not clear if she is wishing her away, just letting her go, or pulling her up

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so this

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it is also possible that the hole in the layer makes of the nexus between them a kind of looking glass, which would lend a Narcissus reading to the work, but I won’t go this direction here (Caravaggio)

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but then, it is to be noticed that below, her feet are solidly grounded

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this is the sign of having, after a first nightmare, got up to look around, a walk which often entails walking gingerly around the “under the bed” space; then, up in the lattice, her buttocks and spine are being pressured, they kind of “split” as they do when in a less than fleshly body (like Joker (2019), for example, who at times looks like he is about to sprout wings)

0 0 0 0 0the body shows stress on it by the protusion of the bone structure.

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This means, scenically, in terms of the pressure on the body, that she is being pulled down, that is, the figure below is putting such pressure into that pull that he or she is winning, and pulling her, or trying to pull her down into that hole (this is a common trope in movies, the kiss that becomes too much, the giving in that becomes the pulling back, Albert Finney experienced this when he dreamt a deathbed encounter with his dead father in The Green Man (1990), at first wonderful, then it got scary).

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But, then, the force that is doing this is not necessarily part of that second body, it is unclear exactly where the other arms come from, they might be phantom limb memories of when something like this happened before, they might be manifestations of the blackness of the splat zone at the bottom of the spiral whoosh to nightmare, below, in which case they give physical form to the upward grabbing power of spiraling whoosh to nightmare, they are quite the most mysterious element of the painting.

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they are possibly part of an extra spin that the figure mired in the black bog can summon because she is something of a witch, or has extra, transfigural power, this would partake of spins which extend the province of the black pool out into ambient space lateral to hypnagogy, for her to spin back in with more punch, to pull the other figure down

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this too, bizarrely, is also in doctor Sleep (2019), when Rose the Hat intrudes upon Abra’s Far-Being (King’s term for a further state of teleportation) and reaches invisibly out of the invisible link between them to (like the hand in the shower in The Grudge (2004), the signature event of the series, as noted in the poster for the 2020 remake)

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touch her at the back of her head, an example of Far-being

0 51Then too this part of the figuration is also the most spindly, suggesting that the ambient spins shown above also partook of the wriggling energy of a Night Line dream or nightmare in which one is wriggling through a tight tunnel spot, and then comes out as a spindly thing into the light; that is, this is wriggling figuration, but in painting (again, wriggling figuration occurred to me as a style impetus in May, 2018, I began to see that after having had the whole PTESd nervous breakdown post-November, 2016, artists had begun to surrender to the chaos, and realized they had to start from scratch in that chaos to then wriggle back into the light and meaning). This is that.

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thus, though the title acknowledges the favored rhetorical tactic of Trump (he is criticized for saying something ridiculous, he responds, not by apologizing, or, as we like to say, “walking it back,” but by saying something even more ridiculous, he doubles down), which seems to have done so much damage to the minds of twitterers, it really strikes me that the upper figure started this painting by trying to calm a memory of a loved one who popped up in her mind, breaking through the level; but, then, try as she might, she seems to be pulled back down in, to suffer–it is not, in my view, a happy painting, but a psychomachia.

Then Quarles uses the same spatial elements in another one, It’s Gunna Be Alright (2019) (I think this is the title), this time the upper level manifests as a blanket being laid out and on at the beach, I suppose. This looks like the split musings of one body, very much at the lattice stage, the body above is the sunbathing body that has nodded off, almost for one to leave one’s body, then, then, inside, one is descending into dream space, below the lattice, where she as if in a lucid dream tries to see what she looks like to others, lying there all but nude; but then, also, on another level, she is dreaming some strangely compressed sexual nap dreams, as will come up when in that art of body culture called sunbathing you are forced to confront your body on a very intimate level in ways not normally sanctioned in public, such as putting on lotion, taking care not to burn intimate parts, getting sand in your crevices and pits, and all that, though in this one I think it actually depicts a nod off during an absenting of the body, the body wriggling and spindling happening in the whoosh, spiraling into a fear of nightmare.

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Finally, I also like Only Right Twice a day, mainly because it has gone a bit further, by actually stepping out of the body consideration of the central core, to step on over into a lateral space, in, I think, a fairly shallow nod off zone. This could even be taking place in the Land of Nod, first stage hypnagogy, even, in fact, in what I call Kienholz Cabin, a waystation, where there is shrubbery representing the Forest of the Lost ahead, then the figure might well be the Hanged Woman, just a dreamy nodding passing form of one’s sense of body as one amphibiously crosses over from waking to dreaming, but here the blue dots of entoptic vigilogogy only translating into a hung-up all folded up like a sleeper couch body, before some presence of a body, in some chamber of the Village of dreams.

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Quarles, in the cookiecut appraisal of art history-guided critics, a form of criticism which is nothing but double talk, is said to go in the direction of Francis Bacon, I think this is a misreading because the spaces are not the same (I still have not figured out what space Bacon inhabits most comfortably, or uncomfortably, but it is not this one)

0 56or, other critics say, it might go all surrealism, Gorky, Matta, etc this in fact a more vigilogic ‘figuring out” or putting a skin on the stretcher to make of painting an inner meditation on the body, thus, lattice level again, body-centered

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but at present, I think Quarles is doing excellent work which appeals to me specifically because in the nature of her forms and more importantly in the spindly and reaching nature of her bodies she is exploring hypnagogic space and its way of representing bodies to ourselves in our bodies, flipped up over consciousness, and this is a different formal regimen than the forms of vigilogogy also in the Radical Figures show. But, for me, though both are figurative, it is a case of apples and oranges. I at present, searching for dream guides, to unlock the secret language of film, and, now, by fusion, art, in its representations of special or altered states, I prefer hypnagogic art, as promising a new view of the human mind, in brain-based, full brain art which transcends the binary limits of rational or prefrontal-based art in modern times. Thus, while the curator of the show seems to want to try to go topsy-turvy to say that figuration is the most radical thing today (and it is true the motivations of social justice art, the primary wing of which is the large tranche of African, African-British and African-American artists who are simply, untheoretically, concerned with representing people of color in art in non-otherized ways, in so far as this corresponds to a movement of political protest linked to Wiley’s Obama Portrait and his Rumors of War–Wiley really having quite the moment in art!–it is “social justice” art, meaning figure is related to broader-than-art-world social means), in my view any discussion of breaking the binary based on the terms of the binary is doomed to failure, and any desire to change culture based on the terms of the culture is likewise to fail. It is only by–as seems to be happening much more in European art–doing a whole rethink of what the human brain at full throttle is capable of, how it lives in the world, how it manages and sees bodies, and then expanding upon visualizing that, that progress is made; for that, I happen to at present, February, 2020, in the eye of the storm, as it were, of this figural moment, think hypnagogic art is where it’s at, as it alone is exploratory and quite surgical enough to have a real potential to unlock real occult powers of the mind hitherto ignored by modern mankind.

What is “blue velvet” in david Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986)?

Rev., Jun 28, 2019.

I have hesitated to write on david Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) because it does not seem to match up with the more advanced and all-permeating dream theory he made use of in movies on the other side of Mulholland dr (2001). But, for that, it is also true that this makes Blue Velvet Lynch dream theory 101, and, moreover, a simpler version of dream theory which accords more often with how we think of things in the positivist, material-rational world, where everything else is crowded out to the margins, at the edges of a protected world. For that, then, Blue Velvet corresponds to, in fact, how I think consciousness exists in the city I happen to live in now, Lincoln, NE, a big small city very much like Lumberton, where everyone seems to live in a nice center, but, then, there are evils, but they are all around the edges. Indeed, this week I am following the Sydney Loofe murder case, and the way in which her murderers seemed to stalk her at work and then hang around on 27th street til it was time to pick her up, and even shopped for tools to use to chop her up, that all sounds very Blue Velvet to me. So, the question is, where, hypnagogically, does Blue Velvet (1994) take place?

The movie starts off with some postcard views of a lovely little town, classic white picket fence America

1normal life, crossing kids

2then a few highly artificial shots, in the nature of 80s MTV video artifice, of supernormality.

3the white picket fence, as a trope, is one of the very oldest tropes of the in-group circling of the wagons routine against any intrusive outsiders. Inside the fence, you are in, outside of it, you are out, it is the protective boundary of our community of America. And in the period between 1945 and 1985, let’s say, in movies too, this was decidedly a suburban vision of life, which was supported by redlining etc., to include mostly professional families, who were white but of many ethnicities of white (it was all Anglo prior to 1945).

4this is a conscious world, in the world, but the use of the fence to set up a barrier of assumptions about what you require for membership in that world acts in an almost entirely unconscious way, people are not aware of it, they just act as they do by way of triggers of inside safe or outside danger based on how one stands vis a vis the white picket fence. Since Lynch is making so much of this, so early, it is clear he imagined this world as not only central, but all encompassing of normalcy, leaving everything else outside of it at the margins.

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then, anything not in the circle, is outside it, the fence now instrumentalized as an apotropaic device to mark the boundary, and keep outsiders out, marginalizing them, and, by that, denigrating and even “neutralizing” them.

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this, of course, leaves Lynch very little wiggle room outside of normal space to work, and in keeping with this simplistic theory, he then proposes that, somehow, now and then, some aspect of the margin breaks in upon the normalcy of everyday life, to attack, in an accidental manner, but somehow fueled by fritzes of energy inside the fence. So, KM’s dad is watering the grass, or his neighbor.

7but then the wife, I think, is just sitting inside, having a cup of coffee, watching TV

8it is to be noted that her intimacy, that is, her under the lamp space, is marked by a red lamp, symbolic of death, or, at least, awareness that past the membrane of safety death exists, then, it is an Orientalizing conquested image of an Aztec princess, perhaps, symbolizing her uncritical sense of normalcy power, then one of those tourist dolls you pick up in a foreign country which you take home to remember with superiority your better position in the world than those you visited (we had a few of these too, which I have written about in connection with disconnected (1984).

9but she is not watching, as my mom would’ve, a soap opera, but an old film noir, with the close-up of a gun on the screen. I will comment on why this old movie trope is on the tv in a bit, but it is, in movie time, 1990, but mom is watching a 1950s movie in the middle of the afternoon.

10but then it is suggested that this sends a shiver of negativity crackling invisibly through the normalcy space, inside the white picket, to then cause a knot or problem in the somewhat more ambient space, in the form of the hose, an ambient object more toward the perimeter of the fencing.

11this then leads to some sort of problem with the waterer, he has an attack, and dies.

12then Lynch plays the dead eyes of the world trope in a more physical form of a toddler coming to see what is the problem, not knowing what, so a quote of Godfather, then a dog just taking advantage of the new disposition of the hose in a reachable position, to drink from it

13as such

14much in the manner of the way I worked how Lizzie Borden ritualized her trapped life in the 1972 version of the story, finding now crawlspaces adjunct or adjacent to the spaces, so she simply carved by behavior or nudity a wiggle room inside the locked box and opaque world of the in-space, so, here, an ambient fritz goes negative, sends a bad vibe by way of the wife onto the husband for something in his routine to go bad and knock him splat out and down, to, I think, kill him, and that is how evil comes into this world, by a lightning strike of negative ambient power.

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This is, by the way, why the early part of the movie looks like it does, so ritualized, so much about “our” mediation of reality in suburban America, this sort of wiggle room inside the body of a coherent, fixed, solid state of assumed reality, can only be got to or at least memorized enough to make headway with by way of ritualization.

But, now, Lynch goes further, in a way that innocent souls might still wish to call “surreal.” After he follows the fallen hero of the lawn-watering, he gets into the grass underneath

16then like in some sort of insect invasion movie, he moves the camera through that small subspace of space

17and when he gets down into that space, in shots reminiscent of the chase scene in Most dangerous Game (1931), he goes, I think, underground

17where monsters, ie beetles, battle

17and this is where Lynch places “evil” in this conceptualization of the world of the white picket fence, a locked out, locked in, cartel-box of a solid state reality, with margins, then troubles peppering the margin, but darkest below. Where is this?

In my treatment of Blood delirium (1987) it is posited that the shot of the reptiles above were the faint attempt by an unconscious mind to conceptualize the horror that is occurring “above her” to her body, while she is being raped, above.

22I conceptualized this space as being not unlike the Under The Bed place in the Night Mirror formulation of dreaming type, see my treatment of Suspiria (2018), but lower, in a separation of fabric or membrane just under the splat to nightmare, and the slide into REM, there is this small slipstream space, literally, as stated, a kind of plenum, but not, and I call it the Redoubt, I think, here too, we are in the Redoubt, of a sort (this past week I experienced a conscious example of a redoubt getting a tooth pulled, resting below everything happening above me, out there in the world).

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then Lynch tunnels out under the splat space at the bottom of hypnagogy, as one slips into REM dream, and in doing so I think moves toward the Black Out, or Chthon, the ambient-sentient space lying outside normalcy, beyond the margin.

This is then picked geographically in the town by having KM walk to work or into town by way of an empty lot at the perimeter of his world, an in-between ambient space.

24Typical of small city life (here I make the distinction in Lincoln between mainstream front door Lincoln life, then the life of the alleys and backyards, dream spaces in Lincoln’s Beard, he is even beyond Lincoln’s Beard). If this is a place of normalcy but on the margins where he finds out a bit more about life then it serves as what psychogeographers call his wild space, an imaginative membrane at the edge of the world, where he can play at being connected to the real world.

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but, there, he finds an ear, which starts the ball rolling, it is a human ear, real, something to do with some sort of crime (the cutting off of the ear)

26then, a bit later, with ambient noise, and another dive pictorially into some deep, dark reality, Lynch goes close-up and ambient again, this time with a more acoustic element, delving into the ear, and the function of the ear, and the nature of what the ear takes in, ambient noise, for that whole world to now come into consciousness.

27he goes down the spiral in (ie the whoosh)

28then deep in, to where all is blackness, and evil, bouncing out into the black out zone, Chthon.

29This spiral is, even if not technically aligned with it, clearly meant to be seen as relative to the previous spin in the grass, to this time go even deeper into internal organ world, and so I place this beyond the wild space, Lynch’s hesistant foray into Sentient space, which he will vastly expand upon in his later work, here imagined as simply what psychogeographers know as the unsafe place beyond one’s safe place.

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that, then, into the night

31this, then, sets up the highly polarized spatial dichotomy of the movie, the nice, normal, everyday life of every day, in which they both live, and, then, the world beyond, which is all around them, at the margins, and it is in the discovery of the margins, and delving into the margins, that they live most of the movie in the wild space, or in the black out; but it is also where they fall in love, and everything else. But they absorb the reality of the fact that there is another space beyond their space, an evil world past the white picket fence with typical suburban-kid culture shock, what I used to call ghetto fever, the knowledge of poverty outside the limits of the community, and it is when knowledge of that casts its pall over the normalcy world that they exclaim on the “strange world’ they live in, and the strange world is simply their normal world, become vaguely aware of evils without it.

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thus, KM begins his investigation in what’s what in that strange world, the strangest thing about it is, just as here in my situation in Lincoln, that strange stuff can be taking place in a building right close, right around the corner.

33he gets to the place by way of ambient crawls up the side etc, but I will not make anything of it, except to say, here too, this sort of peripheral approach is typical of having splat to nightmare, then, getting one’s bearing, following the Narrow Path, to the door of truth, and the Cursed door, and the door of the Seven deadly sins, and that is here too.

34there is an excellent management of his encounter with Dorothy, the singer, dreamlike, it is like the encounter with his father’s ghost in Zefferelli’s Hamlet (1991), of that time. All this, then, to accentuate to us, on film, in watching, that this is not just a scene, this is him intruding into her life with an ulterior purpose, and he is very excited to be doing it, notice how she just stands aside waiting, sitting on the tv, old style.

36the TV, as it was earlier, is a mediated clue of where we are headed. This is not just what it is, but part of his plot. But, moreso, this is a place, her life is a place of danger, there is trouble, she is trouble, he is flirting with danger. This becomes all too apparent when he decides, crazily, to go back, now actively intruding into her life. It is fitting that he does not hear dern’s signal of a car honk telling him that she is coming up, because he is rather cockily going to the bathroom in her apartment, here, then, in the dark, in a backroom, between a houseplant, and a bathroom mirror, that is, trouble, and a monster coming up behind him.

35so he has to hide, in the closet, in front, and, just from the point of view of a peeper, he gets lucky, she is one of those movie women who do, indeed, strip the minute they get in the door, to make themselves more comfortable, and she is right away, dress off, down to the panties

37but, then, there is a phone call, and he witnesses some plot, some drama, which is not just she, she is a person in trouble, in the middle of something, beleaguered, upset

38the lamp in this case is one of those hollow scenic lamps that they made in the 50s in the drag behind a taste in former generations for Tiffany lamps. I connect to them because I had one next to my bed in my childhood bedroom, sort of a Chinese landscape with drifting islands on what looked like banana peels. This is typical, but a bit more original. The only other one I know of in movies is in Price’s The Tingler, where he lies on the couch, then to get attacked by an occult force

39and it means pretty much the same thing here, intimacy, inside the lamp, under the lamp, the very private things of very private life, but, all of it under siege, in danger, it is a compound trope, then, painting and lamp.

40then, even more remarkably, for a peeper, he gets an insight into her very privatest terrors, she strangely, after the call, is so forlorn that she gets down on her knees, in her underwear, to kneel on the floor and pull a picture from under the couch, where she has it hidden, so, it is assumed, someone else who enters into her private life cannot see it, this is ritualized behavior, that is, she feels most strongly about the picture when she has to get it from under the couch, and look at it that way.

41then, a third degree of intimacy, of privacy violated, beyond seeing her in her panties and bra, beyond eavesdropping on a very personal call and her pain, beyond witnessing a private ritual of pain, she now has a breakdown of sorts, on the carpet, place of utter abjection, so he witnesses her, very quickly, entirely bottom out. This is a lot of “intense” (and in the sense that objectification is meant to go the other way, to take the body out of the woman, to make her just an abstract thing, which one can then control, this makes her a very heavy, problem-beset person, rather more than most men would want to willingly get involved in, if not for love).

42then, Lynch begins his spin, the spins that made this movie so provocative when it first came out, and so nonplussed me when I first saw it, back then, likely at the Angelika in NYC, Soho. He casts far into the background, at the end of the hall, the “money shot” of such peeping. If as a peeper you see a woman in her bra and panties what you next want of the peeping is for her to remove her bra and panties and you see her in the nude. This is what Lynch gives us, of Rossellini’s nudity, back of the back, backside, panties down the legs, all standard shots, but cast into the background, in the far place at the end of the hall.

43this is a shot you would see much more foregrounded in genre movies.

44but, here, she is smaller on screen, in her nudity, than the lamp, spelling trouble in her intimacy. But, then, she does not take a shower, she just puts on her robe, to walk about her apartment, and, then, the scene ratchets up into scenario two, he is discovered, she is mad, or at least, extremely emotionally distraught, she cannot deal with him, so deals with him by being aggressively fed up with all men through him and taking it out on him, so she has HIM strip nude, it is implied here, in a scenario that might skirt too close to a pornographic its-not-my-fault scenario, she performs some sort of hand job on him, pleasing him, if in a tortuous situation.

45then she wants more of him, or of it, as pure physical-carnal escapism from her problems, so takes him to the couch, things (for him, in the average male mind fantasizing on it) getting pretty good, she wants to have sex with him, why not?

46but, then, the scene gets crazier, there is a knock on the door, she has to hide him, it is Frank Booth, the mobster who is holding her husband and child, dennis hopper in what at the time seemed one of his most demented roles, but by today’s standards is fairly standard fare, in the sense that he is a sadist with some very particular sexual fetishes that must be worked out in a particular way. He is upset that, she supposed by expecting him, and preparing for him, she has left the lamp on, and not lit the candle, because everything in the scenario must be just so for it to work.

47then this scenario goes bonkers when Booth needs to inhale a gas to get high enough to feel what he needs to feel in order for her simple display of her body to him, like she is servicing him like a prostitute, to get him off.

48his thing is he, sniffing that gas, must then look intently at her sex, she opens her robe and spreads her legs, when he hits her to the floor, we see some bush, and that will get him off, no removal of clothing, no sex, per se, but a sadomasochistic form of it, 1980s style.

50then he is done with her so he leaves, then KM comes back in to comfort her, all thought of sex is over, she has been traumatized by a bizarre sexual routine as part of some blackmail plot by which her husband and son are being held captive.

51then she goes back, he notices that there is a swatch of fabric cut out of the bottom of her robe, this is the swatch that Frank has to put into the mouth of his victim’s to keep the displaced fantasy of bottoming from the top (as described of Ralph in The Sopranos) to get him to come, per se, why?

52he then figures a few things out, then leaves, then has a dream of an abstract sort, dwelling on it

53which ends in fire, searing, with sound effect, as if a carrier of the ambient acoustic of it

54Then he wakes, reaches up, to a dreamcratcher type thing

55It is a monster of some sort, this is a common thing in terms of placement and content, a dream limiter in terms of nightmare content.

56it is a mouth

57then things proceed, with one other trope coming up, related to her place, always an open window, and a blowing curtain.

58So, hypnagogically, where are we? First, we are in hypnagogy at this point, mainly because of the nature of the apartment, dowdy, ugly, then that lamp, then by the fact that after gaining entry into it he witnessed and partly experienced an evening that went way, way past his comfort zone, for him to see a perfect peeping scenario, then that interrupted by witnessing her private hell, then that interrupted by her discovering him then wanting to take out of her emotional pain on him, sexually; then that interrupted by Frank showing up and engaging in his perverted sexual ritual with her; then that leaving her drained and emptied out, beyond his hope at the moment. Where are we? is, again, the question. It is important that at the beginning of the movie we get a waft of blue curtain, it looks like, but, now, if you have been paying attention, you know it is her robe.

59and we only see that robe when it covers her nudity, then when it serves as her costume when she attacks him, and she is in turn attacked by Booth, then, that it has become a fetish object because he has cut a swatch from its hem to make of it a mouth-stuffing her his victims, in his scenarios of ritualized gas-inhalation sex. This happens to KM in the cement factory scene later. So, it is blue velvet, but it symbolizes here her intolerable intimacy, her threatened, abused intimacy, it is a vaginal imagery, but in the negative, an image of fear and pain.

Indeed, though, the movie struggles a bit with representing that pain. Later, as the highlight of their relationship, they have sex

61the flame is lit, but it is only lit, she is not feeling it

62because she has become so corrupted by her serving her tormentors (or, it is just her thing) that she too now needs pain in order to feel sexual pleasure, she has become a sadomasochist too, he rejects that, he won’t

64but she provokes him, so he then in fact hits her, sending her flying back, in the nude, but, in the logic of it, kind of naked to him, a victim of his service to her need

65but that gives her pleasure, we get the open mouth shot

66the flame turns into a raging oil fire, searing her, but with pleasure (this is, then, how Lynch symbolizes visually pain that causes pleasure, that is, intimate reality, it is visually related to the ripple of the blue robe.

67now they can proceed to have sex, because she has been hit, it’s her fetish

68their relationship culminates, and ends, when, later, in front of Sandy, Rosellini shows up in a nervous breakdown state, nude, on her front lawn. It is not exactly clear how this would’ve happened, how she would’ve known how to get there, what she is looking for, why she is nude, and sweaty and dirty, it is not at all clear, so, she is a more a symbol of entire abjectness, here, the ultimate symbol of her breakdown from trauma.

69but, where, then, did the movie take us, and what is blue velvet? I think I know. The answer is also hypnagogic, though not quite, maybe vigilogogic. But, there is a place in the brain as imagined from the internal eye or the entoptic eye, where one is thrown when in pain, real plus-seven level pain. In such states–and I went through an entire toothache-extraction cycle between when I saw this and thought of this–where one feels the pain, and if one feels it, and closes one eyes, to get away from it, you will see a formation of fissures in the entoptic zone, I place this in vigilogogy.

70

what you “see” are shooters, as it were, as if lightning strikes in the entoptic zone, all closing in on a central pressing-place where they hit, and that I call, now, The Blue Room (linked to the deep amygdala)

71

it is not far from the High Light, but it is an intense place, entirely taking into it, disturbed and made to ripple from it, in a wobble formation, all of it, whatever is visualized in it, receding, in a grainy silent movie way, and that is the Blue Room. In this movie,the blue room, room-wise, is her apartment,but the blue room formation, in terms of where it is visualized symbolically, hypnagogically in the movie, is her robe, and what is below the robe, and the folded and soft form below, the vulva, it is her, in her pain, and his having to deal with it, having stuck his nose into her business. I think there is that open window, with that blowing curtain, to symbolize the communication between her as the blue room, in her blue robe, and the room and the space of the world beyond

72surely, Frank can get the fetish ritual going even with others present in the front seat of a car with her with her blue velvet robe on showing her tits to him, it is on the road

73This is expressed in the scene when Rosellini shows up on the lawn nude by the reaction of the persons in other plots, interrupted by this event. The old boyfriend has just come to, teen movie style, fight with KM because he stole dern from him, but as soon as he sees Rosellini, and, instantly, realizes that she is in serious trouble, he backs off, and offers help, deep down, he is still a good kid; then, too, when dern realizes from overhearing Rosellini talk to KM and press her nudity up to him, and it is odd that no one offers to cover her nudity until she gets inside, dern makes that peanut upside down frown for which she was so famous then, but she, too, quickly realizes it was only a situation KM was trying to deal with, so it does not ruin their relationship.

Thus, ultimately, in my reading, blue velvet is the deep, personal pain beyond awareness of others, the intimacy beyond (or below) intimacy, that people carry with them, that KM discovers she lives with, that blights her life, that buries her in Frank’s sadistic scenarios, that uses and abuses her, where she is trapped, and makes everything so dangerous; and to set up the movie as a hypnagogic encounter with that place of pure pain outside the purview of normal life, when that is not to be discussed, Lynch set it up as Rosselini’s apartment, her blue velvet robe, and her body, her sex, and her sickness, symbol of the pain come in on him to burst open KM’s simple notion of what life is, now he knows some truth, aka “blue velvet”.

Joker (2019) as “Blue Boy” in the etiology of a demon, part 2.

rev., Jan 13, 2020.

In this regard, picking up on blue, I argue that the Blue Boy theme, petitioning for his own exoneration, comes through by a blue color-shift that runs through the whole movie, and repeatedly seems to relate to the issue of his guilt or innocence. The blue color-shift also seems to host his rehearsal of his crimes, and the string of terrible things that happened to him, in such a number, 14, that, really, it seems completely unbelievable, and implausible, that all that could happen to one person.

So, just to go through them, the blue-shift starts with the fact that for the whole first half of the movie he lives, really, in the blue of an old tv screen

0 0 1and may I say that it is almost as if his fantasy is fighting back, against him, because no sooner does he begin his story, than a passing car wipes it out.

0 0 2then we see him on the stair, it is always dusk, end of a long day, another one

0 0 3he climbs into his mother’s bed, in the blue zone, which is an old trope, to watch more tv, here too with the reinforcement of the virgin mother’s maphorion enwrapping him (the blue zone as a trope, from people in their houses watching tv in the dark, is an old trope, suggesting not paying attention to real problems, immediately picked up on as somewhat haunting when this viewing habit began to infest American homes in the 50s and 60s).

0 0 4on tv, it is his late night show, also a trope (see Five Easy Pieces), here Murrray comes out of a curtain that is as if a peacock coat of colors, but the center is the blue curtain, he is Arthur’s ideal projection of himself, his eidol, with a intercessional opening, a gateway out

0 0 5in the accidental gun firing incident in the living room, this is also played along with the tv

0 0 6then, he has his fantasy of the neighbor asking him a question, the hallway is also blue

0 0 7he gets the firing phone call at a booth again in the blue dust, this the third strike against him

0 0 8then he preps to go onstage, it is in the blue, his bombing is the fifth strike (the fourth being the losing of the funding for his social service)

0 0 9six, then he reads his mother’s delusional letter to Wayne, which is the sixth strike, it is in the tv blue

0 0 10the seventh thing that goes wrong with him is the visit to wayne manor; the eighth is when his mother gets sick, the hospital is all the same turquoise tone of blue

0 0 11while his mother is in a hospital bed he assumes a position watching the tv opposite here where he hears his hero make a laughingstock of him, this is the ninth strike

0 0 12though there are some positive affirmations from the mob violence, in a scenario a lot like travis bickle a generation ago, but it ends up with him in I think another fantasy of a tell off, when Wayne punches him, that’s ten strikes, in a row.

0 0 13then, in a very, very important shot, though it would seem to insist upon the reality of the first image, to make a dissolve to the second make sense, but he poses, bereft, angry, after the punch, and dismissal

0 0 15and this cuts to an exact overlay shot to his kitchen, where it is all blue light, as before

0 0 16then he does something very odd, opposite his mother’s apron, which formally looks like a guitar, he opens up the fridge, and I have written several times of the trope of Events Happening at the Open Fridge, it is a haunting place, in a haunted house, see Cthulhu Mansion, he looks in, as if looking for something to eat at a late hour. But, he is looking for more than food

0 0 17he begins to reach in, with exertion, and it would be fair enough to wonder, what takes all that effort, foodwise?

0 0 18but he is emptying out all the shelves, he is disabling the refrigerator, but the fact he can do it so quickly, without much food tossing, indicates how barren it is.

0 0 19then he crawls in, to comfort himself, or kill himself, it is hard to say (as a trope, sometimes vampires were hidden in large freezers; kids in movies have also been known to have got trapped in such refrigerators, and suffocate; but this is a still functioning refrigerator, meaning that it is cold, and he is going in without a shirt on, and one wonders (apart from this being another typical way in which younger people often self-dramatize their depression) what is he doing?

0 0 20even more so, in a shot that very much reminds me of the vacant through-shot at the beginning of Midsommar (2019), when dani is crying over her family’s annihilation, and the camera goes out the window into the dark winter night

0 0 21it lingers there, as if to see if he is coming out, he is not

0 0 22to explain this, we jump forward, past his getting the call about appearing on the Murray show, a good thing happening to him which in fact is going to backfire, because of his mixed feelings about Murray, we jump ahead to the hospital, where he steals his mother’s old files, and sees the truth of his life, she was delusional, an unfit mother, an abuser, who let him be abused by her boyfriends, the whole nightmare, always, of course, saying “he was always such a happy boy.” But in the bottom of the file, which he has to steal, then run down two incredibly long halls, then a stairwell, where he looks, another trope spot, the spiral staircase down, in the bottom of her file he sees clips, she made the paper, HE made the paper

0 0 23he lived in a “house of terror” (it is feasible, given the blue boy theme, that he, having watched a lot of movies, is manufacturing this memory, and in his mind has manufactured this “proof” that she was to blame for everything, it does seem pat, comic book—is this movie a comic book deconstruction after all?)

0 0 24then we see him, imagining himself into the past, over the shoulder of a lawyer who is talking to her about her crimes, she a young woman, so, moviewise, this is a fantasy, he has inserted himself into a scene in the past

0 0 25his eyes fix

0 0 26again opening up to the reading that all of this is just alibi form fantasy to exonerate him

0 0 27then we see him back in the stairwell in the present, crying, screaming, laughing, all all at once, we see the top of his inside mouth, it is the palate shot, a trope, signifying he will die (only a persona will)

0 0 28but then formally we go further down into the picture zone deeper in the file, and there we see, as if formally bouncing off the view of his teeth, screaming, the slats of a crib, then, even worse, and the very ur-device of his horror, the fact that he was tied by his mother to a working radiator, that no doubt burned him, as it was just an old fashioned metal one with its slatted exterior frontage

0 0 29it is the truth shot at the bottom of his personal horror story, the echo form of the blue ukulele, but, then, the opposite form

0 0 30of a method he had obviously devised in this battered childhood to counter the burning or heat of being tied up to the radiator, which would be to crawl into the refrigerator, for comfort of the cold, and to hide, and it is in this refrigerator that he was made over into the blue boy

0 0 31this shot, way in the files, is his blue boy picture

0 0 32it almost reminds me of pictures of the crying boy mythos in England, which I looked into during screening time with Velvet buzzsaw last year (possible real world ground for the Blue Boy mythos)

0 0 0

it is then, NOW, that in shock at his day, revealing the truth of his horrible life, that he then stumbles home then gets into his neighbor’s apartment, and we see the blue ukulele, which I think, for this reason, because of how it shows up, and where it shows up, to reveal that his relationship with her is a delusion, and that his life is a delusion, with a strong Pied Piper ethos in his fantasy to be a performer, as a way to escape it, we see the blue boy ukulele

0 0 33then the static tv screen but white out as if beyond him seeking refuge in the refrigerator, now he seeks the refuge here.

0 0 34back in his place, it all goes blue, he just laughs

0 0 3512 is when he murders his mother, with a blue light reflection glare painting his face

0 0 36this all happens in an entirely blue hospital, all in that same blue (weird too how this tonally corresponds to the use of HoJo blue in The Irishman), so he now stands, free, in the light, out of the blue, free of his mother and care for her

0 0 37but, again, a possibly sly montage by Phillips, notice the curtains, it remains a stage; this shot of him then trying to take power from the sun switches instantly to a blur on the tv screen, this time on tape rewind so distorted with an emphasis on the blue, he is watching how a typical star makes an entrance.

0 0 38I will also note in passing, a blue bag nearby

0 0 39abstract, it enters into him

0 0 40he is now dressed, as if by an epiphany instrumented by the household gods, into his model, which he now imitates strictly.

0 0 41this is where blue boy emerges, again, most lit, as if leaving his old self behind, as he walks off the impromptu blue boy stage.

0 0 42but note again, the sunlight, as at the hospital, has turned blue boy into a golden boy

0 0 43and as we see him for the last time in his household prison, with blue pillows, shortly after a scene in which a pillow played the part of a murder weapon, the pillows are blue

0 0 44even as he finishes his make-up, it is in his mother’s boudoir mirror, the bedspread is blue, under the lamp, the tv is turned off, he sits in the sun

0 0 45but, then, another truth shot, reflecting back, by way of the refrigerator-to-radiator reaction, this time seeing his mother as a young woman with her cheap red dyed hair,

0 0 46he looks at a picture of her as a young woman, always a provocative thing for a man to look at, a picture of one’s mom when she was young and sexy, it is possible, I claim it at present, pending, that he went green with the hair not only because his hair was green at the job he got fired from, as indicated by the effigy of the clown mask from work which he has hung on that mirror, but with blind spot eyes, he went green, to as if opposite, to BE his mother, erase his mother in his new being of himself without-her-influence-on-him, which is, of course, impossible.

0 0 47the picture, this time in the shade

0 0 48then he takes care of the red part in his thirteenth horror event, leading to his complete breakup, when he kills the guy who gave him the gun

0 0 49then, THEN, which shows you how shallowly people read movies, when they are read simply as eidolic exercises to offer you role models for giving memeing to your life, but he has his coming out dance, after thirteen horrible things happening to him in the string of a week, a very complicated, entirely, in fact, implausible series of events, earlier him saying all I have is negative thoughts, the progress of the movie showing that in his life all he has is negative events, so this is his victory coming out. The thirteen collapses of self, resulting, then, in digging down in to truthtelling, then the repair of self away from the kid who was burnt by the radiator he was chained to (notice the fire escapes lining the triumphant stairway, he is dancing on the edge of the universe on fire), then, that not being enough, after all his delusions, an inherited disease, end, he BECOMES his mother, by killing her, and replacing her, as Joker (so a Psycho (1960) plot too, but a bit less gothic).

0 0 50back in October, when I was working on the sequencing of the approach of a Conjure figure, I argued that, as it comes in on you, it might well reverse itself. This would announce the arrival of the Conjure Figure, who now comes in on you. What to name this phase, when everything turns? This is what I came up with (this from my entry on Victor Willing’s MS paintings).

But, then, it turns out, in Zosimos’s visions, he called a little attacking homunculi an ANTHROPARION. And that is what I will call this conjure figure demon, little, but obviously there, attacking. Zosimos particularly speaks of a priest who turned into the opposite of himself, so there is an enantiodromic quality, and I referred to this too recently with regard to the Joker stairs,

0 0 51

and the pictures.

0 0 52

etc

0 0 53

but, relating to the Exorcist would be perfect too, he has exorcised his old demon, by taking a new demon into him

0 0 54

an opposite of oneself, likely also relating to Girard’s notion of the substitute victim being the monster double.

Thus, it is strongly suggested by the trope of the steps itself, that coming down as if another person or demon is part of the enantiodromic aspect of the long stairs as a trope in movies, going back some ways (my guess, American in Paris).

It continues, then, the blue gate opens to Murray, but, now, the new demon, he continues his posturing, going through it

0 0 55then in the middle of his comedy, he goes steely, almost evil gay guy stereotype evil (sorry to point this out, but true), his eyebrow and bags under his eyes, in anger and scary face conveyed by, his evil eye conveyed by a framing of…..blue! to shoot Murray, to then enter into his career as Joker.

0 0 56But, now, one more trick. In a youtube video I watched, it claimed that you could read the movie in whole as a long retelling of his life story to a new social worker in his hospital stay, that would explain the overloaded blame everyone-else plot, but then that would also make this sign off signal of the old days the crescendo sequence, from the refrigerator, to the tricephalic boudoir, to the stairs, this then becomes how he is, his old self as checked out, is off the air, a new self is a “native” or a “primitive,” the indian chief who used to close down tv in the 60s

0 0 57how could one construe this, as this war bonetted chief, as symbol of the Joker, the new Arthur, composite of former fragments of selves?

0 0 58first, we have seen him split into three beings, this started at the boudoir mirror, in a trope shot of such age I hardly need tell it, it is all but a cliché, if it were not for the fact that no one ever consciously reads it, but he splits into three, (the repeated underscoring his rib cage from behind might also indicate a desire to sprout wings, to be a new evil self, in this case, going down, a Cerberus figure.

0 0 59then he is crowned, or war bonneted, as if by the sun god he worshipped at the hospital, to be forged into a new being, the fire escapes, in this entry, going down shot, into the valley of death, as it were, signifies his trial by fire having in fact forged him into a new evil being.

0 0 60all his movements as if choreographed by the fire escapes.

0 0 61also a well known trope of escape from one’s circumstances, in movies

0 0 62then in triumph, he assumes a position of adoration to the new god, the sun of Joker, Apollo Far Shooter (this is getting quite midsommary), with smoke signals, so formally too, it is as if he assumes cryptically the mantel of the bonneted chief, the demon of the sign off, Chief Sign Off (I call this trope, and it is a trope pre-1980; but for that reason shows up in The Amityville Horror (2005) remake too) to become a night life self.

0 0 64it is also true that the new social worker, also a black woman, as, no doubt, and in experience, most are, she has very strange eyes, looking at him, but doubting him, amused, or sad about him, I can’t make out the look, she is a very sympathetic looking person, but is she disbelieving his bullshit, is that why she is killed? because she is killed, and while African American and Native American audiences might be insulted by such a cooptation of their being, this is after all the normal way with evil white persons in psycho movies seeking exoneration for their sins (though he is Irish Catholic?), they not only blame their mothers for their horrible lives, they then have to find some scapegoats, and that always has to be, according to Girard, someone they perceive to be socially weaker than themselves, to that the “scapegoat mechanism” can click in, difference itself always being the exploiting factor, ergo, minorities, strangely, cryptically, the movie slipped her in at the end, to further make of him a kind of Legion demon with many selves now soddered by the sun into a new evil being of vengeance (some men just want to see the world burn, the Heath Ledger version said, where, we have shown here how this sign off from real life Vulcan was forged).

So, it is not simply, if this larger reading of the whole movie as a fantasy exoneration telling of his life to a social worker who is not buying it, and will be killed for her skepticism, her four eyes, two piercing, two reflecting the white of the table, in a clinical atmosphere, it is not simply that in this telling he did not kill Wayne and wife, he was out of it, in a crash, in another fantasy scenario.

0 0 65it is that the whole thing is an alibi formation, a lie, typical of the psycho. But this also means that, with all this, he is the ultimate Blue Boy, IN HIS MINd, like in Black Christmas (1974), there is a psychokiller loose in the world, just like Keir dullea, he has an issue with a person involved in the defense against the psychokiller, thus implicating himself as the killer to the cops; then that person, but in this case, it is himself, kills him, to solve her problem with him, and the police believe it, he is the Wrongful Scapegoat, well, Joker sees himself as the scapegoat, but he also sees himself as the Wrongful Scapegoat, that is, he sees himself, regardless of whether or not the world does, as being not guilty, as everybody else is to blame for him turning out this way, as, in fact, the Blue Boy (the rationalist mind is stuck, in so many cases of shooters in recent times, unable to discern a “motive,” but the motive is in the activation of the “scapegoat mechanism,” at some point, he gets so out there, he bottoms out, fills up with blackness, and will take other with him in suicide, only, in this case, a comic book case, he went the other way, to develop a powerful new, entirely evil persona).

For all of this, then, it is quite surprising. The art directors sought ways to convey the idea that this movie is happening in old times, so they likely knew of the trope, then put Blue boy and Pinkie front and center of the psychosis of the family situation Arthur was caught in, to then work it out on its regular trope level, but then in the blue shift of deeper energies, then as a nexus which contributes to delusion as well, to provide a pathway to his Joker persona shift. It is surprisingly well done (and my guess is that a movie like this gets nominated for Best Picture precisely because it triggers from cinematic moments that are hard to explain, mixed or conflicted emotions that stir one up).

Note

One final note.

In the middle of watching the movie, I came across this show by Win McCarthy.

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turns out it was all about an evil clown. I asked Gen if she remembered when we saw the Big Apple Circus down south in Prospect Park one night, she vaguely did. But the far shot is of Grandma, a clown, a featured act, but later found to be a pedophile.

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I remember him, the news is weird

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when my daughter asked about why clowns are so scary, I gave her a bit of migration theory, I wrote on message, “passive-aggressive provocation to laughter which even in my childhood began to feel like bullying, like mean tickling, been scary now for over 50 years. Good summary. That is, the sense of humor of pre1960 was coarser, simpler, rougher, likely due to coarsening as a result of two world wars, it had this evil laugh element. Joker was born as a creation in that era, the beginning of flipping the clown to a negative thing, because it just began to feel, when sensibilities softened after 1970, mean, then scary, and thus we get to King’s It, which I also want to watch. In any case, this year, child abuse has emerged as the secret behind The Shining, I suspect it in The Exorcist, then there is the catholic church, there is the Qanon theory that there is a whole ring of child abusing sex traffickers lead by Clinton, so then the crowd in this movie all but replaces the guy fawkes face of ambient out of control anarchic populist force, and suggests equally a kind of Qanon or Clown conspiracy theory, as to the basic ills of American culture. It makes me wonder.