Posted by: glue | August 11, 2008

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Instruction: document a site designated as a self-portrait.

Pain's Prairie

Pain's Prairie

We are using the analogy of how the Greeks invented Philosophy (literate metaphysics) out of spoken Greek in the context of alphabetic writing, in order to invent an image metaphysics out of filmic media (the movies as General Cultural Interface).

Relay: House of Sand, directed by Andrucha Waddinton. The interest of this example is that the film originated in a single snapshot of an elderly woman standing in the doorway of a flimsy hut surrounded by dunes, taken in the arid and poverty-stricken northeast of Brazil. The image evoked for the producer and filmmaker the whole experience and history of that region. Thus it recommends itself as a relay for understanding choral images. Waddington unfolded the snapshot into a narrative, demonstrating how a site implies a diegesis (a “world”). The Popcycle of discourses is active in this diegesis.



1) The story for the site emerged as a hybrid, sparked by a dream, in which Waddinton mixed parts of his memories of the Japanese film Woman in the Dunes, with the information about the Brazilian region (Entertainment Discourse).

2) The subplot of a visit of scientists to the area was based on an actual expedition in 1919 by a group that took astronomic measurements to prove Einstein’s theory of relativity (History Discourse).

3) The other relief from the women’s isolation are the neighboring residents of a quilombo community of runaway slaves (Public Policy disaster).

4) The theme of the film — the indifference of Nature to human intentions — expresses a feeling, an attitude, a mood experienced through this place (Expression).


  1. Regioning

    My emblematic landscape is this sinkhole pond at Payne’s Prairie, south of Gainesville. I’m trying it on, as test (epreuve = trial and experience). This whole region is a karst topography, which is part of the disaster (its porosity makes it vulnerable to contamination). Pain exceeds the reach of science, hence the continuing appeal of belief. Is there something karst-like about my experience? Kiefer supplies the instruction, with his remotivation of the burned field through a series of paintings and books. The monumental implications of karst are explored in this essay, written some years ago (Metaphoric Rocks)

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