Flux

Sunday, November 13th, 2005 | Art, Film, Travel

Yesterday afternoon I watched The Innocents with BC, based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. The film is about a governess, Deborah Kerr, who believes that the children in her care are possessed by the spirits of the deceased former governess and valet. We get to see the ghosts, but are never convinced that the apparitions aren’t entirely in the head of the governess. She sees the children’s innocent play as increasingly sinister. When she kisses the boy, it’s alarmingly on the verge of becoming passionate. The dialogue cleverly empahasizes ambiguity, with the housekeeper admitting to having seen a ghost, but then saying “I know what I saw” when asked for confirmation. The governess is inexperienced, this being her first job–perhaps a metaphor for her sexual innocence. She first sees the male apparition at the top of a tower, the female one at the lake, like Freud wrote the screenplay, and further suggesting that we’re seeing the longings of the erotically repressed. It’s really a brilliant film, in stunning black and white Cinemascope, too, with so much queasy psychological depth to mull over.

Last night my brother made gumbo for his wife Keith’s birthday, burning the roux and everything. My sister found a recipe for a Texan-Italian cake, celebrating Keith’s cultural heritage. There is a community for every food, evidently. Which reminds me, not that this has anything to do with anything, but the other night I was talking to BC and Philip about my “last taste” obsession, and I wonder if anybody else does this: When I eat, I scope out the situation and eat around what I anticipate to be the last bite, building up to a sort of taste-bud crescendo. With tempura, it’s always the shrimp that’s last, typically preceded by the broccoli. I can’t put down a bag of Barbecue-flavored Low Fat Baked Kettle Chips before finding the chip that has the most barbecue powder on it. Both the sight of it and the taste give me the sense of finality that I seem programmed to need.

I wrote my first art review, for Stretcher. It should be coming out in the next few weeks. I’m very sensitive to what a work of art is communicating, but generally tend to make statements, grand unsubstantiated claims or biases, and am not very good at elaboration, so getting past 50 words was brutal. I ended up writing in a style that I thought contained my voice, and then grabbing a thesaurus to make it sound grown-up. You’d be surprised by how many synonyms there are for “experience” and “shape.”

BC and I made plans to visit his family in Illinois in early December. We’ll be flying to Moline via New York, stopping overnight to see the Fra Angelico show, meet with Mr. Gallery Director and take pictures of the space. The gallery has expanded since February, so I may need to alter my proposed installation. We won’t have time to see anybody, but I’ll be back in March for a longer stay.

I’m growing my beard back. Flux, a constant state of flux–that’s the state that I’m going to reside in for a while.

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