Shot A + Shot B

“The only way to understand stories
such as that of the Annunciation
is to repeat them, that is, to utter again
a Word which produces
into the listener the same effect…

I am hailing tonight, with the same gift,
the same present of renewed presence.

Tonight, I am your Gabriel!”

(Bruno Latour)

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Do you remember how, in Fight Club, one of the backstories we’re given for “Tyler Durden” is that of a movie theatre projectionist? How he would splice subliminal frames of lewd imagery into family films to mess with normies’ sense of reality, and how the film itself had frames of Tyler’s face flash randomly on screen to subtly hint at—spoiler alert—the less-than-actual nature of his existence?

Sometimes it feels like the reel of my life has random frames thrown into it too, maybe to mess with my head, idk, or maybe even to tell me something. These can be subtle, like waking up yesterday to read that the name & purpose of a student group I was part of in college had been resurrected, more than 15 years after I remember its dramatic demise. If I linger on that single flash of nostalgia, I might spiral into all sorts of associations: how that name was always already an homage to a ghost, & how that ghost has haunted me all these years, up to this very day, as I share a snippet of a work that interpolates a famous piece of music set to his words; an interpretation that I had commissioned weeks before I knew how I’d use it exactly. I cried when I first heard those notes leap from transcription into sound.

I could spiral out even more, connecting these sounds to The Mars Volta’s release of the demo version of “Inertiatic ESP,” a song that I am probably alone in the universe in my associating with this ghostly melody. I would listen to that album every morning as I drove to college & only give it a break by switching to a compilation I’d burned with that piece as closer. “Inertiatic” became so entangled with that stressful mangle of car bombings & class assignments that for many years after, I couldn’t listen to any Mars Volta without bouts of anxiety.

I could spiral even further & notice how connections I’d made separately in that period when I tried my best to avoid that anxiety & just focus on creative possibilities, friends that were near collaborators that I haven’t seen in years & years, now hanging out & making art together.

I could make even more connections: the citational webs of books we’ve been reading & zines you’ve been writing, the reoccurring motifs of screens & sets that I see on my feed while feeding back the same on other screens; the muses we both stumble on, separately, & how these are making art together now too, somehow. Sometimes I reach out to let you know of these spiraling connections & sometimes I just keep them to myself.

These are just discontinuous frames & fragments that my mind circles around & around, trying to make sense of, not because everything has meaning, but precisely because everything does not—everything “awaits” meaning through the work of our interpretation/interconnection. But right now, I’m still inside that spiral’s envelop, noticing what I notice, trying to make myself available to this accelerating unspooling; just another splice in the discontinuum.

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“Communism has always been and will remain spectral: it is always still to come and is distinguished, like democracy itself, from every living present understood as plenitude of a presence-to-itself, a totality of a presence effectively identical to itself. Capitalist societies can always heave a sigh of relief and say to themselves: communism is finished since the collapse of the totalitarianisms of the twentieth century and not only is it finished, but it did not take place, it was only a ghost. They do no more than disavow the undeniable itself: a ghost never dies, it remains always to come and to come-back.”

(Jacques Derrida)

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