Issue 38: Spectacle
The mechanism of an endless scroll of images transfixes and has no out or natural break; no pockets of air. Reflective surfaces demand the slinging back and forth of affective/devotional~curious energy which happens in one-touch moment to the next. Instants teeming with emotion and feeling are allowed to bombard you at any times of the day and it becomes impossible to avoid an overwhelmed state of inattention. Unconscious adulation of a device is normalised and succeeds in creating a preset mode of distraction—infinite momentary walls/zoning outs, uncanny or enforcing a premeditated boredom and obliqueness. Obliqueness comes in at an angle but itself has no angles — is rounded but not necessarily soft. Round in the way that air contained in a bubble can’t be grasped (gasped, breathed) and is out of reach. Softness is to do with touch—needs touch for its definition; something has to be touched to be soft.
Phones may be the thing we touch the most—maybe more, even, than we touch ourselves… Yet through its surface it’s as though touch is magnificently absent, or magnified into absence. Touching, or all sensuousness, turns into a glaring distance. Scrolling through photos is like stoking a void—unable to let go of or stop eating what makes you sick, and yielding your consciousness and sense of time and place.
Pen and paper precursor
pen and paper prescience
pen and paper religious nut
Words no longer cut it or take too long; scheduling in the writing of messages to friends.
Screens covet distraction whereas the distractions which occur when writing/reading are in accord with the multitudinous senses in one’s surroundings. A self-referential bubble is sealed in a loop between the fingertips and eyes, seesawing with the romance of older technologies; candlelight eyesight, epistolary epics, creases.
The spirit of some kind of spectacle was alive in the live concert film of Prince’s Sign o’ the Times. They ran around on stage so much! It’s the ultimate move—to run. And writing outside on a park bench could be its opposite? Embodying the grown up person with words old person swimming in memories middle aged person wading through, trying to remember, to be able to not have to remember, to shit. To not be costive!
The spectacle of the hole / glory hole
(the single focus)
The force & the stuffing (the sensation, the happenings) in Sign o’ the Times (and Purple Rain)is palpable, is energizing, so sensuous. The feel of the fabrics; dirt, sweat, touch, texture, warmth, static, weave, clinginess. Spirit resides there? In these details, in concentration?
‘Letting your eye fall asleep is about not wanting to see. When it doesn’t see, it sleeps’
(and can dream)
I need to take better care of everything now. I need to take better care of everything now. Door handles, brushed steel, bulbous, the type which you press the button in the centre to lock, golden latches, the plastic bag from which they tipped out in a pile of winter leaves, browns, large five-fingered & hand sized. The pile, stash, a corner beside a parked car, stairs. I walked past down the stairs exaggeratedly imagining the 50 or so handle and latch-less doors from which they’d come; an elaborate heist, the means to steal, the in, the locks then becoming the prize/the booty itself, and then that being too much to bear. Being cast off at this spot, dumped, shimmering in the afternoon moon.
Everything being photographable—able to be contained/reduced but then somehow saddened, slighted, slightened, surfaced, singled out, worded, through that process.
(Clarice Lispector, Agua Viva, Penguin Classics (2014):83.
(Clarice Lispector, Agua Viva, Penguin Classics (2014):6.
Melanie Kung graduated with a BFA (Hons) from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2013 and was a co-director of RM gallery and projects between 2012 to 2015. She has written for Matters journal and #500words, participated in The Physics
Room Reading Walking Writing workshop in January 2015 and has exhibited
collaboratively and in group exhibitions at split/fountain (Auckland), Window Gallery
(Auckland), and Pilot (Hamilton).
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