Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Ambivalent Image

Deren's final image of a woman 'suicided' in Meshes of the Afternoon is an ambivalent image. It is, what's more, an ambivalent image FOR other images ambivalent or not. In this case, it is an image radicalizing a situation of 'understanding' (accreting coherence in disjuncture) a woman's action or impulsion to kill herself. For other ambivalent and non-ambivalent images in my attention, Deren's image supplements against a finally coherent stucture (an understanding) for the desperate women of Palestine and elsewhere whether actually suicided or not.

This first image of a woman suicided is supplemented by another ambivalent image from her film: that of a woman's legs in profile stepping across four spatially (if not temporally) discrete terrains by means of film editing (cuts); as Deren herself tells us, this image is intended to present a woman walking across eternity to initialize the first ('primeval') in the last ('killing one's self') of a (recurrent, aleatory) series.

The ambivalence of this second image may be said to supplement that of the first insofar as it raises the dual specters of religious belief and contemporary scientific-philosophical consideration for immortality / resurrection. Can we use the ambivalence of these images to accrete a disjunctive coherence of the present crisis of belief as it is linked to "liberation" struggles and "fundamentalist"-materialist power plays alike (Bush Admin. preempting and augmenting [conjuring?]ubiquitous 'terrorist' threats for territorial advantage and control of natural resources)?

There is an elaborate (and kitschy) iconography / hagiography that glorifies one's decision to take their life and the lives of an enemy population in the current Islamic world. Videos of "martyrs" typically w/ Kalashnikovs, air-brushed wall posters, public service announcements / TV commercials honoring "suicide bombers," "martyr's picture goes here"-esque plaques, children's cartoons. Yet something rings false in an assumption that such an iconography would be merely enough to lend belief supportive of a will to die. The images from Deren's film lead me to this final ambivalence: that the situation in Palestine seems a kind of 'perfect storm' whose unaccounted variable is an uncanny and widespread willingness to die, a willingness that it is difficult to believe is the result of humiliation, material deprivation and effective ideology / propaganda alone.

1 comment:

Manufacturing Consent said...

Im telling you, they exist. See for yourself