I keep thinking about a Tarkovsky documentary that I just finished, in which he staged the burning of an entire house as the pivotal scene in The Sacrifice. Apparently the first shot was a failure- explosions weren't set off, the camera jammed, and to top it off, he had an uncooperative ambulance driver. So what do you do? You set up for an entire house to burn down and the take doesn't go so well? There's not exactly a take two. Apparently Tarkovsky never compromised a single inch on any shot he wanted, so the solution was for an exact replica of the entire house to be built within a few days, and the entire scene re-done. Luckily, the second try was a spectacular success.
Wow, is all I have to say. Now that's clear, uncompromising vision.
Somehow in the middle of viewing that, I finally got an idea for what to do with my stories. I think that in this hopeful upcoming installation with obsolete objects, drawing, and projection, I was hoping to have these stories playing. I don't want for them to interfere too much, though, and would like the viewer to 'tune in' to these tales however they please. So the sudden epiphany was to install a little speaker into my candlestick telephone and make it clear that is is to be picked up and listened to. (Unless, of course, I figure out how to refurbish an entire antique telephone set, but I kind of doubt that's happening any time in the near future.)
Now, just to take apart some mini speakers...
The other thought came during my studio visit. I am still interested in serial images in that in-between stage, somewhere betwixt the moving image and video. It was lovely to hear Art Spiegelman discuss such things while introducing beautiful Art Nouveau comics- "Little Nemo"- up on screen, where the height of the cell gradually increased to accommodate growing brass bed legs, then shrank down to the same-sized cell at the bottom. I also purchased Lynd Ward's novel of woodcuts with his introduction- a beautiful example of WPA-era wood engraving as a tale told in pictures, not words.
So how does one arrange all of these drawings and stories in no particular order? For me, it's not a cut-and-dry tale with 'once upon a time' and 'the end'. They are all just flashes of memory: strange little recollections that exude a certain feeling, but don't necessarily make much sense. I began to think of the many forms of book structure and way that one can navigate through a page. At a talk in the rare books library last week, we discussed the difficulties of navigating scrolls- how hard it would be to go back and find something previously read, with so much rolling, unrolling, and putting back together involved. The codex, and then small, portable book structures were a huge advancement in the ability to navigate quickly, stop abruptly, and continue where one left off.
But what about other structures that aren't so clear? The only way to have an ambiguous beginning and end, I think would be to have something cyclical. There is, of course, the accordion book structure that continues endlessly:
Megan Berner Book
If the front and back were glued together, this would form and endless circle with no beginning and no end.
Someone else seems to have done this inside an actual accordion:
Peter and Donna's accordion book
And while we're at it, why not take a look at this amazing player piano version of an accordion?
Hohner Magic Accordion
This seems important with the recent video (I swear I will post it at some point) of pulling prints out of a red velvet accordion box, as well as playing with the accordion-like bellows of the copy camera. I hope to project the images inside of here as well. So what if I connect all of the drawings in a gigantic, circular fashion, running them around a main installation? And perhaps other texts and/or images run through a roll that endlessly connects between two typewriters? Who knows! But these are the latest thoughts. Now to just get down and do it.