'For us, tired hedonists of this end of the century...'
[Alain Badiou, The Century]
'We have discovered happiness,' say the Last Men,
and they blink.'
[Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarasthustra]
What do we learn of happiness from B-Movies? How to 'faire
faux'? Make things worse to make them better? Spit on the grave of
convention, the family?
The original cult road movie, Vanishing Point by Richard Saratian
 starring Barry Newman as the nomadic, sexually
jaded ex-policeman Kowalski, fugitive driver of a 1970 Dodge
Challenger, is betrayed in the1997 version remake as American hero, family
man, whose wife is having a baby, a mutilation of the spirit of
subversion, the vicious parasite to the virtuous host. The
original, in contrast, surpasses many lukewarm imaginaries of
the [death] drive and the impossibility of love.
An amphetamine-fuelled flight from the law, it celebrates the violence of the
system in the visual beauty and freedom of the 'dromoscopic'
desert, shot at speed, it approaches an Imaginary Real,
a 'vanishing point'. To transform the delirium of rebellion from the ellipse of cinematic
space, the drive concentrates our attention upon a vanishing point. Discipline and focus
is required of the nomadic. Vanishing Point provides a desacrilised after-image of
disenchantment, angelic message turned to sour fact, and is at its very best an
inspired gesture of the futility of love, or of the parasite's wildness at the
heart of the anti-heroism, unnerved in the face of death and
psychosis. Freedom is gauged in the will to an accelerated suicide. We encounter
something spirited, like wild horses, in Saint-John
Perse [from his poem Anabasis, 1924] of
'[...] an assertion that seems especially obscure today: that of the superiority
of nomad greatness over happiness. This is pushed so far as to cast doubt on the very value of
happiness. The expression 'the gelded words of happiness'
[recalling that a gelder is a specialist castration of horses] seems to indicate that for a man of
anabasis, even where language is concerned, the obsession with happiness constitutes
a mutilation [...] for it holds that the desire for happiness is what prohibits greatness.'
[Alain Badiou, Anabasis, from The Century].
Paul Virilio gauges the greatness of the 'rush' as incalculable by discipline of the
senses; 'The depth of the landscape rises to the surface like an oil spot on the surface of a
painting. Inanimate objects exhume themselves from the horizon and come bit by bit to impregnate the sheen of the
windshield. Perspective comes alive. The vanishing point becomes a point of assault
projecting its arrows and rays on the voyager-voyeur.'
Paul Virilio, Edward R.
O'Neill, Dromoscopy, or The Ecstasy of
'[...] Some recent films reveal interesting parallel, and elliptical
tendencies. Protagonists are frequently presented as having sexual problems that nevertheless give them a
lot of 'pleasure'. Whether squirming in the uncomfortable fit of their
identity-as in The Closet, Hedwig and the Angry Inch,
L.I.E., or 'on the
road' in the youth cult movie Y Tu Mama Tambien-or languishing as a kind of
impotent, alienated ghost- as in The Sixth Sense
and The Others-several things emerge which bespeak the two meanings of 'vanishing
point': 'a point at which receding parallel lines seem to meet when represented in linear perspective';
and 'a point at which something disappears or ceases to
exist.' [From Mott, G. (2004).
The Vanishing Point of the Sexual Subject: The Closed, Hedwig and the Angry
Inch, Psychoanalytic Review,
Cinema has nurtured the perverse voyeur-voyager from within conventional narrative,
and 'virtuous' circles
with anti-narration. Imaginaries of the Real, as
set out in catastrophe and abundance, contradict their libidinal economies by intersecting and spiralling
axes. These stories are narrated at the same time as they are
Game [David Fincher, 1997] by
detours, wayward arrows, butterfly cusps, intersecting
dimensions of reflexivity, chance and hallucinated deception, at the vanishing point of
difference. Janus-faced paranoia feeds these virtuous and vicious characteristics into
affects. Derived from the originality of works by writers /
screen-writers such as Michel Butor, Alain
Robbe-Grillet, and Philip K. Dick the
spaces of 'erotic' transformation of The Game immerse and dissolve their automatic
subject into the forced occupation of the host body, Capital.
The virtue of the corporation, in Vanilla Sky [Cameron Crowe,
2000] is to be ambiguous as redemptive: the virtuous parasite entering the vicious
host, and vice versa, with technical support software,
to be infinitely reversible, since we all live inside the dream constructed of the corporate and we
'control' the dream as it controls
'us'. However the background sequences of Claude Monet's
paint box confectionary 'vanilla' skies, signal the
irreversibility of having clicked on a 'window too far', the clue in the persistence of
the image's virtual afterlife: the background noise becomes the message in a
forever-bright eternal circling sky, for if the gods are truly
dead, so are we. The 'generosity'
of the host coerces the dreamer of 'freedom'. The guarantee of security from ever
reaching his vanishing point i.e. ceasing to exist is exchanged with its absolute
value. Who wins in this game of destruction between the virtuous and the vicious?
The thought to re-ascend the slope? What if the rebel is now the
law? What if the act, the thought, perverse in rebellion
is normal in law, and so obscenely commands generosity in
'democratic' acts? Nomadic
'greatness' filtered through capital expenditure -
eros to thymos - now turns celebrity to something of the aesthetic order of the repulsive,
and of Terror.
Recall the cinematic logic of Luis Bunuel's mathematically perfect choreography in The Exterminating
Angel, realigning and breaking Dante's 9th Circle of Hell of Betrayal with impeccable
manners. Although broken by a ritual, the vanishing point of the last remembered moment
before ceasing to exist, is re-enacted yet useless, only
to be soon after again reinscribed, in another place.
[ Events ]
'...The parasite becomes the host... '
[Michel Serres Parasite]
The grass was greener
The light was brighter
With friends surrounded
The nights of Wonder
[The Division Bell, Pink
Black and Blue
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up and Down
And in the end it's round and round...
'Us and Them'
[from Dark Side of the Moon, Pink
Floyd, 1973, Capitol]
[from The White Album, The
Beatles, 1968, Apple]
Project for a Revolution in New York; a novel, Alain
Robbe-Grillet, novel, 1972
Passing Time, novel, Michel Butor, 1954
Ubik, novel, Philip K. Dick, 1969
Abre los Ojos, film, Alejandro Amenábar 1997
Vanilla Sky, film, Cameron Crowe, 2000
The Game, film, David Fincher, 1997
Edited by Peter Lewis, designed by Graham Hibbert
/seconds acknowledges support from Leeds Metropolitan University
from: peter lewis |+00447986084697
[ Events ]