Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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December 03, 2007
not about "Vaché and boredom"

Contrary to yesterday's promise, here is not a post about Jacques Vaché and boredom.

The topic became too boring to post about, before we could even manage to do so.

Maybe tomorrow. If we can muster up the enthusiasm.

Instead, here are some links to what will seem like random info about a couple of artists who have made work that has involved mirrors.

First, Yayoi Kusama:

A link to an article with an image of her standing in her 1965 "Infinity Mirror Room" is here.

In the interview portion of the article, she states:
The original idea for this work dates back to my childhood. . . . To create an endless mirror room had been my long-cherished dream.

An image of her 2005 sculpture, "The Passing of Winter," is here.

A cleverly-titled article, here, describes the work like so:
a box tiled with mirrors inside and out is pierced with cut-out circles; look inside and your reflection is bounced around a dizzying matrix of suspended and fallen reflective balls

An image of her 2006 sculpture, "Spirit of Early Spring," is here.

An article, here, describes the work like so:
a superabundance of polished-steel balls endlessly reflected along with the viewer's face

We'll get back to Kusama's work in a moment.

Second, Orson Welles:

A brief filmclip taken from his 1947 thriller, "The Lady from Shanghai," is, for the time being anyway, here.

The clip shows the ever-astounding finale sequence, which is set in a house of mirrors or "Magic Mirror Maze."
3,000 square feet of glass, eighty plate glass mirrors, and twenty-four distorting mirrors were used

The Hall of Mirrors maze was designed with the help of special effects wizard Lawrence Butler . . . . It contained 2,912 square feet of glass. Some of the mirrors were two-way, allowing Lawton and his crew to shoot through them; other times they shot through holes drilled in the glass.]

For those who can't view it, the monologue delivered in the scene by the great Everett Sloane goes something like this:
So you'd be foolish to fire that gun.

These mirrors -- it's difficult to tell: You are aiming at me, aren't you? I'm aiming at you, lover.

Of course killing you is killing myself. It's the same thing.

But, you know . . . I'm pretty tired of both of us.

An instant later, the clip features:
a piercing scream

a gunshot

then a blitz of gunshots, screams, splintering glass and countless, mirrored human images that combine and overlap (indeed, the overlap already began, before the shootout, and its reflective counterpart is the above monologue), then shatter, dissolve into shards and burst apart.

I had to replay the clip almost a dozen times before I could get myself to believe that the entire sequence, from the first gunshot to the last gunshot to the final dead silence, elapses in less than 20 seconds. It seems like it goes on for minutes. And minutes.

The first time I watched the scene, it seemed to last for hours. Maybe that was because of the way that it seemed to hang around and reverberate in the memory. So, in a way, it did last for hours.

Some of Kusama's larger sculptures involve mirrored rooms that the spectator can enter and walk around in, a bit. Examples include her "Infinity Dots Mirrored Room," "Repetitive Vision" and "Fireflies on the Water."

One could imagine a version of one of Kusama's mirror rooms that contained multiple film projections of the house of mirrors sequence from "The Lady from Shanghai," in a loop, bouncing around inside.

What would be the proper musical soundtrack to play in such a space? I am thinking of the Stooges' "Fun House":
every little baby knows just what I mean
livin' in division in a shiftin' scene

Also in a loop. Though their "L.A. Blues," from the same album, would work too.

Or both, in overlap. Either or both should, in any event, be played at near eardrum-splitting volume.

One wonders:
What would it be like to enter such a room, for a little while?

What would it be like to be shut up inside it all day?

Or locked in it?

What if you were shut up inside but expected to maintain an outward appearance of normalcy, and to go about your daily business, balancing your checkbook, doing your homework, diapering the kids, arranging conference calls with the boss, etc.?

One wonders:
How many of the people that one passes every day on the street, or on the highway, or wherever, might feel like they're in that room, every day, for at least a second or two?

The lesson here is obvious.

Everett Sloane pretty much rocked.