Humble Bee / The, E And I – The Indescribable Brightness Shone / Projected Images
Posted In: Nathan Thomas, Projected Images, The E And I, The Humble Bee, The Indescribable Brightness Shone
Comments: 2 Responses
The cover of the book reads “The Franciscans – Love”. Inside, yellowed pages of text: the Hornbill, the Greater Bird of Paradise, the Sea Otter, the Bobac; related drawings. The pages are cut up and inserted as fragments, some upside down or sideways on. Like Cubist collage, oil cloth and ‘Le Journal’. The Cubists perhaps wanted to insert a piece of real, ‘everyday’ life into their paintings. Yet once torn from one context and pasted into another, the fragment is distorted, shattered across a dozen different surfaces, rendered unreadable, or at least requiring new ways of reading. Through collage, the ordinary becomes the occasion of the strange and the puzzling, of meanings lost and found.
The lens casing, the glass plate, the filing cabinet. In making their mechanisms, apparatuses and processes of production visible, the short films by The Humble Bee contained on the DVD “The Indescribable Brightness Shone” present to us the real, the material. Yet it is a real at one remove, distanced from the viewer. The colour aberrations, the brightness of refracted light, the graininess of the image all attest to the fact: ‘I was real once’. It is a lie: those colours never really happened. Or rather: they are real only as re-presentation, as recorded traces, as ghosts. The effect of this real/reel is perhaps a melancholy one: in the flicker of projected brightness we mourn the plight of a memory that exists without reference to any original event, the taste of a madeleine we have never eaten. An “exquisite pleasure” nonetheless invades our senses, as it did Proust’s.
And then there is the remembrance of sound. How can a sound be at the same time a memory of a sound? One would have thought it could be no more than a re-staging, a reoccurrence. The audio CD “Projected Images” by e + i (The Humble Bee and Emmanuel Witzthum) suggests otherwise. First of all, the mix is very quiet. You have to strain to hear the burbling washes and tiny, bare-whisper melodies. Psychoacoustic distance becomes a metaphor for temporal distance. Then there are the hisses, the cracks, the static. An old dusty record creaking on a turntable. The old-fashioned strings in third track “Fogging Processes Plate”, the voices of which are heavy and worn by the weight of years and thousands of cigarettes. And finally the title of the CD, which links it with the grainy fuzz of the accompanying DVD. This is what memory sounds like. The travelling time from speaker to eardrum is infinitely multiplied, and goes on multiplying.
Forgetting is the non-existence of that which happened. This screw post-bound book and enclosed DVD and audio CD from Cotton Goods represents the opposite: the existence, through remembrance, of that which never happened. The text, the image, the sound. A collage of fragments with no originary meaning, or as many as you can imagine. Their juxtapositions actualise a making of sense that is each time entirely new.
- Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio