I am writing these notes on the train from Berlin to Amsterdam. A self-imposed exile of six hours to write down some thoughts. I have told myself there are three things I should write about: images, sounds, and their coincidence.
A yellow figure floating in an endless grey space. The figure has no outline, no boundary, but melts into the surroundings.
Images from an infrared camera. Photography without light. Or actually, photography of light we cannot see. At first, it makes you think of an X-ray; instinctively you think that an image which shows something hidden, must be the image of an inside. But in fact, these images show only radiation; not even a surface, but that which envelops the surface.
You could say these images are a metaphor, because a sense is carried over. That which usually is felt--warmth--is transferred to a visual representation. The invisible is made visible (is that a form of synesthesia?) To paint what you hear. To say what you feel.
On these images you can see that the warmest places in the body are those where we say feelings house: the chest, the belly, the crotch. In a flash, I link the infrared images to a Jesus painted by Grünewald. Not the famous crucifixion, but the one on the back, Jesus resurrected from the grave. Floating in a night sky, painted in a surreal combination of yellow, pink and red, his face merges with the light of a bright star. The wounds on his hands and feet radiate the strongest. They must be the warmest.
Infrared cameras were developed by the military, and are used by drones to find their targets. Omer Fast interviewed a drone operator, who 'flies' a small plane in Afghanistan from a room in Las Vegas:
“…if someone sits down on a cold surface for a while and then gets up, you’ll still see the heat from that person. For a long time. It kind of looks like a white blossom. Just shining up in heaven. It's quite beautiful.”
A wooden spoon hitting a steel plate, a song coming from a bucket, a coffee cup sounding like an alarm clock.
It might be cheesy to put it this way: objects that speak to us. But it is tempting to do so, to think of what they would say. In my imagination, they are desperately trying to get a point across in a language that we don’t understand. Lending them a tragic air, suffering from their inability of expression. Or perhaps they are ghosts from the past, an echo from history, trying to warn us not to make the same mistakes again. Or finally, they could be incarnations from another world, who are not saying anything, but quietly laughing at our feeble will, our changing emotions, our petty concerns.
The planets are aligned in a particular way, and at the same time someone's life is in crisis. For example, the break up of a relationship between two teenagers. To think that the alignment of the planets and the break up are in a necessary causal relationship with each other is a fallacy.
But at the same time, it is deeply human to ascribe meaning to coincidence. Put a plastic Spiderman figurine on a baroque table and the meaning of both objects changes. I think of the collaborations between John Cage and Merce Cunningham, in which they would independently of each other create a music and dance piece, to be performed simultaneous.
I imagine the loop of the slides different in length than that of the sounds. Thereby creating a multitude of coincidental relationships. Sometimes the sound will coincide with the image of a washing machine, the next time with a naked woman, again a next time with an image of the sea. Like two planets in different orbits, two lives lived independently of each other. At times crossing each other, at times not.
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