The glass curtain rolls over every segmented and coded unit ready to plug into a conditioned lack. In the cavernous belly of the beast, only objects of warm and cozy domestic bliss can be found. The unctuous chain of production leads back to certain reflective surfaces that bounce any seekers back to the reproduction itself. And in the rafters of the subsidiary, the conglomerate shadows eavesdrop for absolute compliance in service to all desiring machines in all directions.
Why else does the immensity of this space exist bound by the heaviness of this sea and cliff but for the most delicate of forms to sway and flow in the mimicry of something ineffable like a floral jellyfish or an illuminated nautilus whose static dance inhabits the gestures of Isadora Duncan stinging this spiral between weight and weightlessness?
The geometrical apparatus holds the sleepers who warp its architecture with an uplift so tremendous that it breaks into a distant shoreline. And this occurs in only a brief moment of the half-sleep allowed. The microquake of a nap ceases as soon as it begins by the pitter-patter of birds (varies from sleeper to sleeper – plovers, seagulls, sandpipers, egrets, herons, and so on) across their sandy brows. One sleeper reports a cassowary darting over her dune-laden forehead before she can fear for her life! When the sleepers abruptly awake from their slumber, it is imperative that they ignore their tectonic activity simulations or else the tasks at hand might wash away the added benefits of transitional states contributing to enhanced productivity desires.
As I head off down the road, my head splits in two. Nothing but fibers stretching and breaking apart. As I wonder which hemisphere of my squash I might be more comfortable in, seeds spill out and spawn pathways that fork off into other pathways. The rhizomes tempt me to question whether comfort is worth anything at all. Constant wandering mimics the framework better than any static container. But if I am everywhere at once like a bust open squash spiraling its flesh in every direction possible, then how can it be that I also feel like a singular purposed machine racing toward a vanishing point (as if it wasn’t of its own making but some actual physical vertex that the machine will eventually shrink into)?
I do not remember the exact moment or place of this photograph. I vaguely remember and assume that I waited for the wave to crash. Or was it a boulder that fell into the sea? Either way it looks like fate now. After the fact. Every particle suspended in a moment. But it never was suspended in actual experience. In that sense, fate seems baked into memory. An inseparable part of it that fails to grasp the immense complexity of randomness. Generalized fate simulations of memory gloss over the myriad of differences under its cover in order to produce some cohesive sense of order. A gist in the mist. A referent to nature sold as an epic experience or a reflection of an aspect of consciousness that never quite happened in the actual way the photographer experienced it nor the viewer. A simulation of a hyperreal moment. A fated memory smashed by particles flying in all directions. Through the reproduction of the image, let us fold this back in on itself. Let us rework this “moment” randomly. Let us bring the mist back into the gist.
Now we are no longer in nature or under its referential control. It is released from any semblance to a fated memory or reality. It feels light and free. Nowhere in particular. More mist than gist. The random process mirrors the random moment. The iterations reveal that there wasn’t really any reference in the first place. No actual moment experienced and relived. Rather, hovering in a space without an atmosphere that Baudrillard called the hyperreal in his book, Simulations (1983): “Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generalization by models of real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.” In this sense, an angle on the illusion of Being can be held through what some people call manipulation of a photograph (or when they scoff at an image being “photoshopped”) when in fact every photograph is a manipulation to begin with (though the very word is too heavy with negative connotations as if it had some evil purpose, so “construction” perhaps fits better to a neutral sense of the process).
This terrible beauty, this eerie sunset of doom is quarantined by a photograph. Here it appears as something from a saccharine dream of candied romance. But in reality it is the harbinger of destruction. Of the heat waves and fire season that people from drought stricken areas such as mine know to loathe.
Comfort and beauty intertwine and comfort finds a way to snake back around and bite harder the hand that wished this world were without the pain baked into all things. Beauty becomes a mirage that blinds the beholder to the harsher truth it conceals. I flinch during this time when people say “look at the sunset” as if it were just a sight to behold devoid of this brutal context where people lose their homes and vast numbers of animals lose their lives and habitats. Then I’ll catch myself saying the same thing and cringe at my mindlessness (but of course blame it on the debilitating heat).
It’s as if it is deep in human nature to live for the postcard image even though it’s a cheap ten cent glimmer of hope. Any shine at all will do to whet the appetite for the notion that things will be alright. As do I reluctantly grab the camera and take the exposure knowing that this outcome will result. An image taken in guilt yet into which I cannot bake the pain to inspire true revelation or change even in my own habits. These petty words trail like an anguished afterthought in a time when comfort (and its twin – convenience) is the business of the day and the sunset has become the barrier signifying the mystery of a collective denial seen as a brilliant display that might as well have been put on by the Dynamation gods in a Ray Harryhausen movie.