Cloud and chimera

Pensées hybrides

CASTING THE NET

UN ROMAN EN DEVENIR/FICTION INTERLUDE

CASTING THE NET

A visitor in this strange city. Lost in cultural translation. And geographical shifts.
Glistening water. The pebbles hissing. Nothing left of the summer restaurants.

The billows come and go. The memories come and go. Close your eyes and you depart with a broader stroke. Swimming across images, sounds, visual sculptures of impressions and emotions. Pebbles set to sound and motion by the waves of your mental recollections.

Turning around, following another map of the intricate geometry of memory and imagination. Hotel Suisse. James Joyce. You pick your room. Perhaps, from up there, you will follow the lead.

Turning back still. A little boat coming across the bay. Sailing across, undeterred by rising waves. Fishing ahead. Ahead of fishing maybe too. An invitation to interrogate your own sense of freedom and independence. To revisit your undaunted choices. Setting the course squarely on the rising sun.
Cinematic jumpcut to western imagery. You smile. Comforted by the ease and the fluidity of the suggestion. The sailor looks back, seems to call out to you. At least, you would like to think so. But the net (your own net) has to be cast from the shore.

Virginia W interrupts James J :
“To get in touch with the reader, the writer must set in front of the reader something which he recognizes, which stimulates his imagination and makes him willing to cooperate in the more difficult business of intimacy”.

The sailor arrests the swimmer.

Marie Lienard-Yeterian

Person to Person (Manhattan Stories)

PERSON TO PERSON (MANHATTAN STORIES)

NYC and its urban jungle,
An ecology of fraud and authenticity.

Enter emblematic characters illustrating different ways for humans to interact,
Striding in and out of the space of their dreams and longings
Performing the intermittences of our loves and passions
Acting out our compromises and tentative redemptions
Working through our fears and anxieties.

Bene and his passion for vintage records
Establishing the leading metaphor:
You are in the groove or not.

The teenage friends
Melanie and Wendy, and their respective boyfriends or dates.
Wendy aspiring to casting the net wider, yet
Encountering the violent reality of life: first through the video recorded by voyeuristic onlookers,
And later on her own, the spilled blood still a stain on the sidewalk. And on her life.
An ominous shadow. A stubborn cloud in her sky.

Claire’s lonely life with her cat
And her attempt at changing jobs (and life).
Her encounter with the manipulative journalist of NewYorkNews
And her newly-found awareness of what matters for her.
Phil’s apparent gentility, and his concealed face: anger and frustration.

The wife who killed her husband
His stopped watch giving her away and setting her on a different course of time.
The repair shop owner Jimmy and his stubborn silence
A pawn used by different players: customer, police, journalist.

Bene’s friend Ray who has damaged his girlfriend’s life by posting pictures of her on the Internet.
Jealous and self-centered
Betrayed in his turn for 20 dollars that are later spent on a lottery ticket.
Janet’s love and forgiveness,
And a new beginning?

The shopkeeper out to make an extra buck
Betraying friends and promises.

Buster and his fling with the hairdresser.
Bene and his budding love.
Women and men, sex and desire, love and romance.

Woody Allen-like characters and mood.
Intertwined stories and recurring persona.

Lies and deceit
Loyalty and friendship
Agency and independence.
Slices of life, snapshots of emotions, sound bites of conversations
Contrived or real.
Whisperings and murmurs
With occasional shouts and screams.
And silences.

Some happy ending, if not a Hollywood ending: a party to celebrate love and the acknowledgment of it: “I have big love for you”….” I do too” … “That’s good news”..

Indeed.

Marie Lienard-Yeterian

THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE

THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE

“Truth, like Art, is in the eye of the beholder”
(Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil)

A fairy tale for our modern times
The fantastic, with a political and artistic twist
Scripts, old and new.

A thought-provoking work about virtual reality, a sort of companion piece to Ready Player One. In its own way. Playing in a virtual world, to escape reality.
Creating an avatar for yourself,
Falling prey to it… for better and for worse.
But in the process, you inspire others.
And journey on. On a horse, on a mule,
Or on foot.

A statement about what creation is: the search, the recycling of previous ideas, the intertextual processes, the dialogic dynamic between different generic traditions and conventions.
The literary text and its screen adaptation through the creative reworking of the individual film director
The trappings of the mise en abyme device
The maze of numerous narrative lines
The rewriting of the old to shape the tale(s) anew.
Fiction and its attending spaces: creativity, imagination, illusion.

Intruders in the fictional party: politics and ecology.
New forms of power and feudalism.
The old castle and the new dwellers, lords and feuds of a different era.
The grotesque excesses of wealth, the instrumentalization of the other: her body (the notion of a « whore », « what is the going rate? »)/his face: “you have a good face”.

The Russian oligarch and his fantasy world
The regressive and infantile behavior
The new courtesans: to curry his favor to « obtain the contract ».
Sex and desire
Sublimated love (Dulcinea: the ideal/idealized woman)
How to uphold chivalric values in the crass world of money and advertising?
The new poor: gypsies, migrants, and other outcasts
The destructive ecology of a mindset generated by fear and prejudice
Assuming that the other is … dangerous, hostile, murderous, treacherous… and constructing a narrative around it. And acting on it. Violence–physical and other.
Reality undoes it, yet you persist in the script of your own making.

A landscape of rugged and uneven surfaces
The desert of some environmental disaster
And its attending heaps of garbage, material and moral.

On the narrative level: the black and white sequences: akin to italics and other typographic devices to show the different narrative layers in written texts.
Coming in and out of the cinematic world, coming in and out of the space of memory:
Remembering: staging/restaging an alternative reality.
Memory and its treasure chest of images—conjured out of the space of a former experienced reality, or created out of the space of longing and nostalgia.

The beauty of the creative illusion
And the ugliness of the illusions generated by fear and prejudice

The power of the imagination to map out alternative realities
And the power of the imagination to whip up anxiety and distrust

The delusion—and yet the awareness of that illusion
To uphold the illusion of grandeur, not just for yourself but for others.

The old film, the new in the making.
The return of the old film in his life: nemesis of his having sold his talent to the industry of advertising.

To inscribe yourself in a line of fictional heroes, to appropriate them for yourself at different times in your life.

Last but not least: a tribute to cinema
The enticing lure of the moving image to capture our inner dynamism, the momentum of our individual and unique imaginative power.

The Force was with Adam Driver… Could Toby outperform Kylo Ren??

Marie Lienard-Yeterian

EVERYBODY KNOWS

EVERYBODY KNOWS

The opening sequence: like the first paragraph in a short story, it provides clues and hints, it conjures coming themes, introduces the main protagonists, and establishes leading metaphors and tropes.

The church bell tower where some truth is told, some oracle is given:
“Everybody knows”
About Paco and Laura…

The clock mechanism proceeds relentlessly, setting other processes in motion: moving hands, ringing bell, flapping bird wings, fluttering thoughts and emotions.
A heavy and ominous atmosphere sets in
A foreboding of something to come: broken glass around the dial
The uttering and whispering of an unwelcome prophecy:
If you get too close to time, you can hurt yourself.

The scribbling on the wall, the scar of a lost passion.
What is intuited through the single initial,
What the marking indicates, points to, yet also silences.
What it stands for, what it fails to express
What it recalls, and still conceals.

The wedding ceremony in the room below: the marriage that could not take place years before: the fated and star-crossed lovers went their separate ways.

The re-apparition of the past and its unfinished business
The no-exit world of village life
And its attending array of passions and grievances, past and new.

The obsessive filming of every detail, in a quasi journalistic fashion.
The corridors and stairways, the doors—locked and unlocked
The upstairs rooms and the shared bedrooms: physical spaces mapping out psychological and emotional ones.
The building of a particular mood through the editing and the camera work
“A feat of compression” as Elia Kazan said about theatre: every detail matters, and leads to an outcome.
The comings and goings of family members
The unsaid and unsayable
The secrets and the taboos
The suspicions and the guilt
The resentment and jealousy

Irene, whose name means Peace, yet she brings recklessness and trouble
Whose daughter is she? Who is her father?
The biological/ the adoptive father who prevented the abortion.
Fatherhood: regained, and lost again.
The ending: a disquieting lack of closure
The stuff real life is made of
As everybody knows, indeed.

Marie Lienard-Yeterian

The Rider

THE RIDER

“He galloped up … his heels in the horses’ s ribs and it dancing and swirling like the shape of its mane and tail…” (William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying)

The articulation of passion and identity and self—and the loss of it all. At first.

The nightmarish return of haunting images of success. And failure.
Some turning point: the accident or event through which change brutally and relentlessly storms in, damages and destroys—taking off masks, ripping confidence and arrogance open, wounding and hurting.
The daily routine now altered by the unavoidable scar. The visible one, and the invisible one.

Yet, Brady gets to live, unlike the horse he had befriended. Another casualty of life and its rugged surface.

The love and gentleness of the simple-minded sister Lilly who puts paper stars on her sibling’s body when he is sleeping.

The friendship with other cowboys: their aspirations, endurance and fear. The terror and horror of the rodeo experience. And its addictive thrill and thrust.

The beloved horse Gus sold off, and the crazy horse Apollo who gets tamed—momentarily.

The admired friend Lance abandoned by luck, stranded in a place of no return, remapping the boundaries of heroism, probing into the unchartered territory of the power of the soul.

Life compelling you to re-design your priorities, and accept a new perimeter for your wanderings. The scope of a new wisdom, perhaps. And the shape of some eternity.

The final choice: self-less love for the loved ones, instead of the self-centered pursuit of a deadly illusion.
Letting go of the “before” to allow for the delivery of some “after”—however uncertain and unknown.

Finding happiness in the knowledge that you still have life, and in the awareness that your ability to dream lives on—undamaged.

Marie Liénard-Yeterian

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT

“Sorrow is food swallowed too quickly, caught in the throat, making it nearly impossible to breathe” (Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing).

A form of contemplation, the quality of a gaze that strives to explore without damaging, to know without assessing. To see without becoming blind.

Gus Van Sant covering the territory of forgiveness and acceptance, tracking down despair, anatomizing courage.

The birth of a calling
The discovery of a hidden talent
The beauty of lasting beginnings

Empathy—and, more radically, compassion.
A form of mercy, too. For oneself, for others. For humanity in its irreducible scripts and achievements.

The American story of from ‘rags to riches’ revisited from the point of view of the body and the soul. The existential rise from despair, the understated heroism of fortitude and hope.

A variation of the American Dream, a declaration of will and purpose, and a requiem for posthumanism.

A form of prophetic insurgency, perhaps.

Marie Liénard-Yeterian

READY PLAYER ONE

READY PLAYER ONE

 

Teenage coming-of-age story the Twenty-First Century way…

Indulging in the magic that Spielberg’s works provide.

Like Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret, Ready Player One proposes some tribute to cinema

And the cultural work it provides.

An invitation NOT to play alone.

 

For the viewer who was a teenager in the 80’s, the enhanced visual pleasure of recognition: familiar references de-territorialized and re-contextualized in a virtual world—the only world when they can be found anyway, as they now belong to the world of memory only.

 

The legacy of enduring screen figures that have become new heroes and icons, King Kong leading the way for contemporary Aliens and Machines.

The thrill of the guessing game of a roman a clef :

How many references can you track down/identify/retrieve/appropriate?

Literalizing the trope of Back to the Future

The urban landscape as the SF version of Blade Runner?

 

The wonder of ET and AI combined with a topical and political agenda.

How do you live in a disenchanted world?

Withdrawing into an “oasis”

Conjuring an Illusion of power and agency into perfect shape and guise

Deploying your potential in which your ‘real’ life is now reduced to heaps of garbage or life in a cubicle (with a panopticon effect, a nod to Foucault maybe)

Fidelity centers and their new forms of enslavement.

The immature behavior of the CEO speaks to the current lack of world leadership, and an increasing regressive will for power : “Who has the biggest bomb?…”

 

Some kinship with the recent release Ghost in the Shell:

A fighting spirit and a rebellion

Resistance to the encroachment of big corporations

Reintroducing the collective dimension beyond the pervasive self-centeredness

Following the way set by the Atari Game Adventure where winning is not what matters, but playing is.

 

Attention to detail(s): the quarter that was going to be discarded is the access to a Second Life.

Look again: the curator is actually someone else

Review your hypothesis and assumptions

Revising eventually leads to the truth (and success in the contest)

 

The moral component of the fairy tale: “only the real world is real”

Shutting down the game two days a week: a plea to reinvest the places of humanity and explore its space anew—with or without the avatar(s)?

 

Reality: Augmented, repurposed.

 

Marie Liénard-Yeterian

EARTH DAY 2018 7: WATER LANDSCAPE

TAKING A WALK THROUGH DIFFERENT LANDSCAPES
DAY 7

From Louise Erdrich’s novel Future Home of the Living God:
“The deep orange-gold of the sun is pure nostalgia. An antique radiance already sheds itself upon this beautiful life we share. I grow heavy, rooted in my lawn chair. Everything I say and everything my parents say, the drift of friends, the tang of lemonade, the wine on their tongues, the cries of sleepy birds and the squirrels launching themselves…all of this is terminal. There will never be another August on earth, not like this one”

Blessed gifts of time:

Flow, change and mortality
An active physical and mental engagement with the world
A readiness to respond to circumstance
The awe and wonder of the child’s gaze indeed.

Walking in the rain, singing.
A glistening sidewalk. Rain dropping wetness and discomfort. An empty space. Walking and singing, non plussed by the storm, enjoying a newly-gained sense of freedom and the cleared-up space. Feeling of joy, like a child at play in the newly discovered snow. Seeing the place as familiar and yet experiencing it for the first time. Its texture, its surface, its urban beauty. Without the crowd, moveable or not. But with the feast.

Many years later, on the Brittany coast
Beautiful sunset. Generous nature.
The sky, the sea. A giant tea party in red.
Scuttling of the clouds. Scudding across the distance.
Scribbling on the beach. Tiny birds scurrying the surface of the sand. Calling out
To retrieve what was written and has been lost
To the tide coming in, to the occasional longer wave, to human erasure.
Every second bringing change
Experiential and empirical.
The urgency of time.

Drinking the instant like water.
Clinging to every moment:

Existe et meurs avant de mourir

EARTH DAY 2018 6: PAYSAGES INVISIBLES

« Lorsque les dieux faisaient l’homme, ils étaient de corvée et besognaient: considérable était leur besogne, leur corvée lourde, infini leur labeur. Car les grands Anunnaku aux Igigu, imposaient une corvée septuple! Leur père à tous, Anu, était leur roi; Enlil-le preux, leur souverain; Ninurta, leur préfet, et Ennugi, leur contremaître. Tombés d’accord, les grands-dieux avaient tiré au sort leurs lots: Anu était monté au ciel; Enlil aviat pris la terre pour domaine, et le verrou qui barricade la mer avait été remis à Enki-le-prince. »

Poème D’Atrahasis, ou Poème du Supersage, vraisemblablement XVIIIème siècle avant J.C., trad Jean Bottéro in Lorsque les dieux faisaient l’homme, mythologie mésopotamienne, J. Bottéro, S.N. Kramer, Gallimard

Ils ont raconté des histoires, longtemps transmises de poète à poète, avec en mémoire la somme de toutes les vérités, de tout ce qu’il ne fallait pas oublier. Les règles invisibles régissant le monde, son ordre, son chaos, son infinie puissance dont il fallait s’accommoder.
Ils les ont peintes sur la pierre froide, sculptées dans la terre, elles ont été la trame de leurs parures, de leurs danses, de leurs chants.
Puis ils les ont grattées sur le bois, l’argile humide, le granit éternel.

Les histoires se sont déployées, le monde s’est ouvert, immense, mystérieux, puis refermé, figé, obscure, mais tout a toujours été double, dans nos paysages. Une portion visible, infime, superficielle, comme une invitation à se perdre dans l’invisible des causes, des ordres, des spéculations, sans lesquelles tout serait bien trop ouvert.

Nous avons construit des temples, des pyramides, des télescopes, d’immenses machines tournées vers l’invisible, comme autant de bornes délimitant l’au-delà, la présence d’un ailleurs bien plus loin et bien plus grand.

Nous vivons dans de multiples paysages superposés.
C’est cette tension permanente qui nous fait avancer.
Tant que nous acceptons de nous confronter au mystère, de croire en l’invisible.

EARTH DAY 2018 5: VEGETAL LANDSCAPE

TAKING A WALK THROUGH DIFFERENT LANDSCAPES
DAY 5

Andrew Motion reviewing Andy Goldsworthy’s works in a piece titled “The Pencil of Nature” (The New York Review of Books Feb. 8, 2018, p. 17-18):

“They are also works that impressively extend the expression of themes that have obsessed Goldsworthy from the beginning of his career. At the same time they let us hear the silence produced by the deadlocked confrontation of equally weighed and weighed opposites, they allow the earth to have its say. Not just by giving close attention small and insignificant-seeming things such as thorns and leaves and nettles and petals, but by embracing the fact of their own transience while also reminding us that everything in nature involves a past and future, as well as the present in which we regard it”.

Cherry Blossoms :
Petals spreading in the wind, messengers and heralds of a new order
Buds or in full bloom, to each one’s pace and rhythm.

Best seen from a distance: when you grasp them you are left with wind in your hands.
Nothing tangible, only a promise of something.

They are striking in the contrast they expose between vulnerability and beauty. Some guise and shape of a promise that has to be discovered, determined and fulfilled every year.
Again. Like a renewed contract with life.

This one tree, alone, not very big, conjures other trees. A myriad of them. Back there, back then. Here now, there now.

The single one doing its best to stage the beautiful and meaningful out of the nothingness of the urban setting. Reaching out to pedestrians, bikers and drivers. By the main road, yet no one seems to notice the symphony of colors, and explosion of joy.

Yet for those who pay attention, a moment of eternity is in store.
Place yourself under the tree. Be attentive to the perfume of its presence. The little clusters waving, and affirming the power of a beauty embedded in a world of possibility.

Breakthrough in your clouds. Transience and eternity reconciled. At least, momentarily.

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