Sometimes it’s the photography that stays with me. I don’t so much remember the narrative as the perspective. The shifting arrangements, the composition. An album of stills more a haunted wunderkammer. So, if I’m asked what the movie was about, all I have are a handful of photographs. Recently, I have been thinking about the photography of Carlos Reygadas’ ‘Battle In Heaven’. Again, I haven’t been scrutinising the movie as such, full, as it is, of Reygadas customary provocative (problematic?) exploitation of class tensions and torpor etc – but rather ruminating on the images. Which sounds much more deliberate an occurrence than it is. These images return to me involuntarily. A kind of haunting.
Something aslant in the photography, askew.
Reminded me of John Baldessari’s photography – the ones that say WRONG etc.
In my mind these images now become eternal companion pieces – Reygadas and Baldessari entwined. To what purpose? Baldessari’s commentary is on the medium, the convention of the spectator-eye that is obliged by visual culture to seek and demand the consensus of ‘correct’ framing and composition. Critiquing the logic that everything which somehow falls outside of these visual dictates is WRONG… the haphazard, the wayward, the amateur. Whereas Reygadas, maybe, is more interested in the figure in the frame. Reveals the link between aesthetic mis-framing and social outcasting. The perennial WRONG that is assigned to the stigmatised and marginalised. A kind of death by un-framing. But, I don’t really know why these images, Reygadas and Baldessari, have become sibling rogue elements within my mind and consciousness. Blind eye bald hand follows the clues, picking up frosted candy on the forest floor. This is the nature of my particular practise of deciphering the great cryptogram of images. Seeing doppelgängers where the mirror suggests them. And what would they say if they could speak, these composite opposites? Keep looking, they’d say. Keep on looking.
I’m watching a Brazilian film called “Rat Fever” (A Febre do Rato) by Cláudio Assis. It’s a black and white film with beautiful photography and features a vociferous street poet called Zizo. Remember when we were like Zizo? Big mouth poets, rabble rousers, creative and cretinous? Whatever happened to us? If everyone else is an ’emerging’ writer these days, then maybe we are ‘retreating’ writers. Friend, do you remember the blue storm, the night it rained and never stopped? We raised the large black umbrella, put our heads inside it, and never came out again.