Monday, February 18, 2013

That Sad Desire

I wish I remembered my dreams more often.  Usually I feel completely tangled up in them when I first wake up. Then by the time I've had coffee and left the house I have no idea what it was all about. Here's one I wrote down before the spell was broken:

I dreamed I was in someone’s house.
I was with a crowd of people, artists.  They were interested in an artist that I know who was missing, though there seemed to be some of his work around the room. They wanted to see his films, and found an old VHS tape of “his movie” which I started to play for them.

The movie was a long (seemingly never-ending) series of micro-narratives, little vignettes each with a little joke as its defining thing.  The vignettes were family scenes, in or around a working class house.  The people all wore costumes, loose, sloppy furry outfits like sad comic theme park animal characters, big fuzzy caricatures of bears and dogs.  The sense of humor in the various actions of the figures was mildly scatological.

I paused the video to explain to the people watching with me (who didn’t know much about the absent artist) that when he and I were in school together, and for a while after that, he had been involved in a more occult and different aspiration in his work, that he saw and painted ghosts and strange spirits, but that later he turned from that and deliberately toward his idea of what is “good”.

My sense was that this film was about that turn to reach for goodness, but that in its form and structure as well as its abject gesture’s pathos and humor, it was helpless to not be an art better, bigger and more basic than that sad desire.

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