December 14th, 2009
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What just happened?


There is a piece of writing in me that wants to come out, only I haven’t had the time to sit down and write. So now that piece of writing has morphed and roamed around in my brain, picking up other thoughts that were floating around in there and I’m afraid the result might be an incoherent mess. It must look a bit like the bits of lint and dust that I vacuumed up off the carpet this morning, all different colors, things that came in the house on the dog and fell off at some point. (I may delete this rambling intro before I press the publish button, i’m not sure).
We have been watching the film “Stalker” by Tarkovsky for three nights now (the last 20 minutes to be finished tonight), due to the fact that our little one has been having a bit of trouble getting to sleep, and if we don’t retire at a reasonable hour we cannot make up the sleep time in the morning. And so the film now takes on the feeling of a reading a book, throughout the day I wonder what will happen in the next chapter. It is hard to put into words what I feel about this film, but I will start by saying there is something about it that makes me excited and giddy all at once, the same effect that all of my favorite pieces of art give me, (these might include “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Calvino, the work of Sol Lewitt, “The Species of Spaces” by George Perec, Alan Fletcher, and many more that I have mentioned here before.) I should mention that the giddyness fades in and out, as Tarkovsky’s films are long and slow. But I so love the feeling of not knowing where the plot is headed combined with the feeling of not knowing if there will be any resolution at all.
And yet I feel I understand very little about what the filmmaker is saying, (maybe nothing to be honest). During the viewing (chapter 3) I was having many lightbulb moments, and really grasping the idea that we all bring ourselves to a work and in effect are the completion of it (in many cases). This is what Umberto Eco spoke of as an “open work”, which I have mentioned a lot during interviews, (I suppose you could call it my fixation of 2008/2009). In “the Stalker” the character of the writer says, “A writer should write about the reader.” which I suppose sums up my thoughts exactly.
My point in talking about this is to say that I felt distinctly that in some ways it is not necessary for me to understand what the artist meant, and possibly in my own way I understand it completely. This is interesting to me because I am always searching for the intended meaning when I come to a piece as if I am trying to prove to myself that I am intelligent enough to figure it out. I can’t help it, my intense curiosity about the world causes me to sometimes go crazy trying to “figure it all out”. I find myself constantly mining the world for clues to all the answers for everything.
So it is interesting to me that the thing that causes the giddyness is that feeling of “not knowing”. Dare I say even an excitement when facing it, in art, in life. Is it because I know the answer is out there waiting for me to find it? Or is it a growing contentment with “not knowing”. Maybe both are true.
Somehow I think the answers to everything lie in the simple fact that we cannot know. This is of course the human condition isn’t it? The thing that bonds us all.
I am making your head spin yet?
I think this is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. I would actually recommend watching it in pieces so you can let it soak in throughout the day, (and so you don’t fall asleep during the 3+ hours of slow, meandering plot.) I have rarely seen a film so full of texture. It is wet, crunchy, pillowy, jagged, mossy, damp, fetid, and dry.
(note to Christian Kiefer: My faith in your film recommendations has been restored. I will try to forget all about King Kong.)

 
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