How many frames in a five-second film? Forty-five in 1894: that’s nine frames per second. Each moment captured one-ninth of a second’s presence and the sneeze from beginning to end lasted five seconds. In the film, I see the sneeze sneezing before my very eyes. A phantasmagoria – this ghost from the past: a man long dead who lives on in his eternal sneeze.
Wrapped in music, eyes closed then wide open, Mi casts shapes and shadows on the walls of the barn. She’s immersed in herself and this moment; the moon above and the circle of revellers; she’s never felt so alive, so real and so free. The changing beats and pulsing rhythms move her muscles, blood and bones from deep within. She’s open, swirling, reaching for the stars, then crouching, curling, stalking on all fours. So alive. She feels her heart and soul beating, breathing, being.
Figured through the metaphor of Ernst Bloch’s Gothic lines, Woolf’s explorations of the utopian possibilities of language, consciousness, community, society, space and time resonate with the powerful undercurrent of negative dialectics and the possibility of becoming. Bloch, in his essay on the utopian function of architectural structures, provides a compelling and energetic metaphor for the study of the utopian dynamics at play within the literary text. Through the metaphors of stone and line it is possible to explore the ways in which utopian desire inhabits and drives a text structurally and stylistically.
Futures tells the story of Eye, who resolves to construct her own future after her past is taken from her by trauma. Eye’s resulting shock effectively creates a rift between her own past and her future – a rift she inhabits like a nomad, wandering through a world whose pieces no longer seem to fit together. In this void, Eye discovers the freedom to choose her own path, as she gains the strength of presence to decide whether and how she wants those pieces to fit together for her.
She’s nothin’ like they say she is, you know. Green-haired, frog-faced, sucker-fingered creature, with the tail of a six-foot eel. I mean, most people don’t even realise she’s a woman. But I’ve seen ‘er, so I know.
This ekphrastic response to Andy Warhol's Atomic Bomb, 1965, was written as an exercise for my Writing from History course on the MA. It draws on ideas from Walter Benjamin's 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', 1936 (Illuminations, Ed. Hannah Arendt, 1968), and is also influenced by this reading of Warhol's image … Continue reading Post-Apocalypse