Friday, November 12, 2010

Black and Orange

First the black was not dark enough. There was a grayish brown patch over the book that would not fill in and made the background dull and uneven. The technician claimed that the image was flawed on the file but no evidence of irregularity could be discerned when displayed on the monitor. Later, by telephone, comparisons were made between the printed result and the original image. Fortunately the enlargement of the image did not destroy the sharpness of the writing. The title of the book, its author and publisher had not been degraded by expansion of the visual field. The important small details of the object captured by photographic processes such as the wrinkles and tiny tears and folds along the top edge of the paper cover of the book had been perfectly rendered by the printing. Two impressions resulted. Considerations of placement and color followed. One way to overcome the problem of the disfiguring ghost image above the book was to reduce the size of the black background in order to mitigate its effect. The issue of the subject itself brackets the question of primacy regarding background and foreground. The bright orange book floats on the velvety black depth holding and supporting it. The darkness enveloping the surface of the orange rectangle is without limit, without place and void of substance. This is the “melancholy”[i] of light—its absence. The remainder of the grieving process. A bitter tasting color left to cover the places where no residue remains. Bereft and fallen, the figure in the middle remains silent and still—motionless under the cover of an artificial night and hoping not to be noticed as passersby follow. The imperfections along the edge create an entry into the narrative of progress and discovery. False cover block passage into the darker territories of the story. The language of the list points to an unfinished sequence. This is like those songs you love so much. Do you remember the lyrics or the melody first? How prominent are the physical surroundings in this conception of song? Block out the interference from the background noise and concentrate on the sharp focus of song and speech. Attempts to undermine the safe marriage of each constitutive element along the fabric of experience originate in the position that each po[nt along the fold can only be made equal once an absolute measure of total effect has been attained. Sheer, barren language staring in the face of an utterly unsympathetic future. These are sad songs, sung only in memorial. The final entombment of unharmonious fictions of the last impressions of memory. This iteration is like the ending. Devouring the final shred of information in order to obliterate the last associations with place. When passing the location in fantasy, a story of completeness is projected onto the train of narration. Holding this edge against a figure of the end, the frame slips away making the fit difficult. The break is slight, like a dislocation of the limb—the logic of the end not meeting the middle. Inside—a tumult, disorder a cacophony of voices breaking through, in fragments. Something held open, door left ajar.

[i]Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, trans, Brian Massumi, (Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1985), p. 27:} In its biological reality, noise is a source of pain. Beyond a certain limit, it becomes an immaterial weapon of death. The ear, which transforms sound signals into electric impulses addressed to the brain, can be damaged, and even destroyed, when the frequency of a sound exceeds 20,000 hertz, or when its intensity exceeds 80 decibels. Diminished intellectual capacity, accelerated respiration and heartbeat, hypertension, slowed digestion, neurosis, altered diction: these are the consequences of excessive sound in the environment. A weapon of death. It became that with the advent of industrial technology. But just as death is nothing more than an excess of life, noise has always been perceived as a source of exaltation, a kind of therapeutic drug capable of curing tarantula bites or, according to Boissier de Sauvages (in his Nosologica methodical, "fourteen forms of melancholy.”

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