Under Occupation

Date of Submission

Fall 2021

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts

Project Advisor 1

Ephraim Asili

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Why is a pregnant woman always beautiful? We have settled into a complacency that no degree of transgression can budge, the image has become oversaturated and forced into the shallow water, so that all we can see is our own reflection, with the latent image lying dormant beneath like some half-fossilized ancestor. If making sport of our own impotence has become the primary use of language, than perhaps the written word is no longer a useful means of communication, perhaps it never was. Perhaps it was always an inferior form of communication, one that was doomed from it’s very inception to create order where there was never meant to be order. In many ways the creation of the written word created two pillars in which nothing could exist outside, only within the confines of the two poles could meaning be extracted. A narrowly conceived marginalization of language’s capabilities in the service of merchants and money-handlers, all with the hope that this shoddy system of figures would serve a means to an end. If meaning can only be found at the margins at language, in the spaces between meanings and symbols. Misinterpretation becomes the only true means of understanding, of eliciting a reaction. In many ways the framework we currently exist under exists to be misinterpreted, to keep populations confused and therefore remotely passive. Make no mistake, the sounds of an unseen jet, or a highway, exists as a form of communication between the state and the individual, under the misunderstanding that these power relationships are set in stone by a power higher than the individual, that of capital. That these communicative factors are merely dragged into reality by the advent of technology rather than the hidden sultan forever watching his cabinet members from a hole in the wall, picking figures at random for death, his lived in presence unnecessary as long as there is some cause effect relationship between his presence and the livelihood of those he watches over. As long as he was there once he was always there. In a world of heightened surveillance, in which every action is recorded deep underground or high up in the heavens, is it any surprise to see the children of the 21st century posing as if they were Duher painting themselves every second of every day? These are not side effects of the state, this is the ramifications of modernization. A brutish existence under the palm of the state, which is unrepresentative and governed again by the same merchants who invented the predecessor to the wheel or the door: the written figure as a means of bringing reality into the realm of the visual. Imagine a world in which it was illegal and strictly enforced by a body of invisible, ruthless enforcement, for anyone to talk above a whisper, how this might change the relations between the teacher and the student, the lawyer and the accused, the doctor and the patient. That is the definition of community, of the value of a human life, which has all but been cast aside by globalization, and more importantly, the existence of various genetic mutations which, like the plane which can only be heard, prevent the creation of a global community, or more important, an intimate community. It seems an insurmountable issue to create functioning communities, the existence of disease, which also spurns fantasy, created by, again and most importantly, the inability to visualize what causes changes in the physical image. How did miracles function in biblical verse? Jesus cures the leper of his ailments. Disease is the foundation of miracles, simply because it exists in a non-visual realm. Faith in fiction is all that remains, and shows the human being as capable of turning the non-visual into more ordered approximations through language. Faith in fiction is the only thing that allows the potential for these communities to have the potential to ever exist, as its the only time in which these Arabic merchant’s symbols can be turned back into the abstraction in which every conscious being spends infinity. First there was :the word, but what is a word beyond something non-visual by nature. Human beings are instinctively non-visual, visual is simply a language for deciding value. There is nothing poetic in the rendering of shapes and colors, only the gaps between shapes and colors. If one wishes to find poetry visually outside of a cinema, they must find instances where the light is pushed to the limits of perception, namely in sunsets, stars, and rivers, nature essentially becomes the locus of poetry, and the state complies half heartedly by creating belabored attempts to turn natural spaces into museum spaces, of which art, which attempts to bend wavelengths to extend the borders of perception in a way which is worth, to the individual, monetary compensation. Therein lies the sad humors involved in the creation of art, that all pieces must exist in its own space much like we as viewers absorb the art in our own spaces, in small groups or mostly alone, all driven by the fear of spreading disease, the nonvisual, between us. Communities must be small in order to mitigate the spread of disease, but the smaller the communities the less abstraction is allowed in the superimpositions of ideas and character. Until of course we arrive at the individual, who when, existing in a community of only themselves, descends into solipsism, despair due to exposure to the true nature of reality, and loses faith in fiction, and thus themselves as figures in fictions. Once you see it, don't believe it. Life is continually lived out as a narrative as projected from another person within the communities eyes, not just for landscapes do we need viewer surrogates, rather, because of landscapes we are trained to only be able to experience reality through the eyes of another. Another weaponization of technology leading to the ability for larger, less personalized globalized communities, the control of light. Light is distributed in a manner that is only designed to confuse and isolate those subjected to it. Sleep, the only real evidence we have that fiction exists visually, can no longer happen in darkness, as days never end. The light never goes away within an urban space. The ugliness of the light, the manicured hideousness of efficient lighting has the same repercussions as the merchants' involvement in increasing the value of rare metals and establishing a relationship between objects and value, applied visually. Is it any surprise that value is expressed within the multi-faceted order of light intrinsic to a diamond. Here is the poetry of nature, the pushing of the limits of visual perception, within an object that can be assigned value itself. Notice how a diamond doesn’t appeal to any of the other senses, it isn’t warm or smell pleasant or sound off. It has no taste. The diamond is purely visual. Compare this to an American nickel, of which a figure is impressed upon, this likeness is once again politicized art, poetry and money and politics are forever folded into one another. Why a profile of an American president for the American coin? It is a testament to the timeliness of our systems that the idea of a man’s impressed face on a unit of money doesn’t come across as absurd. So the visual is therefore forever associated with value, you can tell the value of a portrait about the difficulty of rendering the light with paint. A painting with harsh lighting is, after all, only half a painting, and thus only worth half the price. Black is cheap. Black has none of the poetry of values. One only needs to close one’s eyes to see black. True black is unseeable. Light, being without order by the practice of the state, only available to the very rich, not merely the wealthy upper classes, but only those members of the state, not perhaps, the government, but non-existent members of the state all the same, forced the creation of the cinema, as a place in which light could become ordered, in which visuals, which is our only means of perceiving truth, could be accessible to those whose very lives were lived within the ugliness of a light grid, which is to say everyone. No one can escape the quality of light in which we find ourselves. In order to engage with any public space there is a question of giving up control. Our leaders find themselves in the same system of the light as the poorest citizens, and thus lose all empathy for the people they proclaim using words, which are facile, to be representative of. Thus the blind lead the blind. No wonder the twenty-first century is designed to escape into the relative order of stage like static spaces. Residents move into one screening room to another, so impeccably ordered as to give some illusion that through fiction order can be found in the construction, read: transcription, of images, order so desperately needed due to the irregularity and proliferation of light. Sleep as a construct only seems to exist any longer because it is a natural way of creating visual order within one’s mind out of the relatively brutishly chiseled landscape of the state. Waking hours then are relegated to recapturing the visual order that sleeps provides us, that is to say, hours that are not delegated to work within the system of visually confusing, horrifically pornographic spaces one must occupy in order to receive marks of value, little paintings with faces and codes and colors that seem as designed to create this “phantom sultan” as any other of the states apparatus. There is no state outside of the realm of fiction, which this phantom sultan has colonized with his absent eye. Beyond all else there is a desire of the subject to be viewed as art, as a system of indecipherable pulpits of light, and so we let the state walk behind us at all times. We act in accordance with it’s desires so it can more easily classify it’s progeny. Of course, the “invisible sultan” only exists in the bewildering existence of other conscientiousness present in the physical mirror form of others, in which the sultan is projected onto visually, or we are projected upon ourselves by others. Something that we can only understand abstractly. Soon we will no longer need to show our faces, we will become sultans ourselves, always transcribing value by seeing yet never being seen ourselves outside of absurd self portraits. We will become authors, the lump sum of our words rather than our visually abstract selves. Communities will be formed around the language we choose, our curated selection of figures for display. Museums thus become redundant, we may as well be paying to walk around our homes, our neighbor’s homes. Only cinema. Only the cinema becomes relevant as theatres go bankrupt and the lights of the city flicker on at dawn. Where else can a community of whispers be expected to flourish? The visual order intrinsic to cinema allows a space in which truths can be communicated in a higher, less ubiquitous form of language that every human being in a globalized world has become versed in. The cut, the juxtaposition of images, takes the place of the overwhelming didacticism which veils an abundance of solipsistic thinking. The ordered space of the visual square creates a gap between reality and constructed, ordered framed reality. Once one looks through the cloth with the hole burnt in the center, reality is forever attempting to maintain the same relationship with reality as the constructed one so immediately becomes perceived as more truthful. More real than reality, not at all. Moreso reality becomes less real because of it’s unconstructed nature. Everything can be traced back to its source. The constructed image mutates reality into a new language that is universally spoken. The cinema is a transparent one. One is never aware how transparent everything is in reality. The pursuit of knowledge seems fruitless, there are always more questions. In cinema reality is laid out for you and dissected, and more helpfully, repeated into the point of orgasm. Cinema is a sexual act, but not an erotic one. It is an act of erotic penetration just like a piece of silk being pierced by a needle is an erotic act. No liquids are dispelled. The sexual act is metaphoric, and therefore constructed. To watch movies, one must renounce the fashion of impenetrability. There must be no fear of penetration. Of course, when you let something into yourself, you are also letting something else in. This something else could also be classified as divine space, because it is as unperceivable as seeing all the light from a divine vantage point, we are relegated to a minor key, perceiving small patches over time, time unspools itself as a visual experience. The other senses are not unimportant but rather less tainted by order than sight. Sight has become a science of recognition. One is more likely to be frightened by an unfamiliar vision than an unfamiliar taste. Unfamiliar sounds register as curiosity rather than fearful.

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