October 15. 7am.
Shower, put on eyeliner. No matter that nobody sees me, it’s about framing the eye. Mine is a dark cell. I am an urban recluse. The only illumination is reflected from the porthole glass, the squint. There are no windows but through the squint I see a flush of flowers. I have been in here for decades, it’s fine, I’m not a bit domestic.
Inspecting film prints this morning I sense a series of enclosures: the celluloid frame, projection booth, the cinema. They are theaters for contemplation, inner mind and inner dwelling.
In the projection booth I ponder ghostly forms. Medieval physicians theorized imagination as inhabiting a virtual cell, a workspace for visions. Like Eisenstein’s montage, these virtual cells divide, collide, combine. These are high drama locales. Biological cells were named for their resemblance to monastic cells. Only later was the word for a prayer chamber applied to prisons.
This Lubitsch print is gorgeous and smells awful. It’s high vinegar, infected, brittle. Cellulose acetate film stocks are unstable — celluloid sheds its mundane physicality and emerges as a concept.
It’s a mild winter, I am wearing a trench coat, I am working. I can’t decide what to order-in. Twenty-minute film reels set my internal clock. With digital, time doesn’t exist. I’m showing some movie but I’m thinking about The Seventh Victim. I have been in this booth too long.
Film casts a glamour, deceives sight. The word “glamour” derives from Middle English “grammar.” In the Dark Ages grammar referred to learning in general: Latin, philology, the occult. Scholars were suspect. I am screening Barbarella in a theater too small for scope. These projection/visions seem to me socially promiscuous spirits, wayward, shapeshifting, and glossy. This is no matinee but dark art. The stories and these bodies reject their constraints.
I text my friend, Does “Quelle mort?” mean “What is death?” No, it means “What death?” or “Which death?” I am fascinated by my own brightly colored cloak, bought cheap. It’s loud in here: buzzy amps and hot rectifiers. Birds chirp in the monitor. Through that, thin dialogue from my computer speaks: Scheherazade tells stories to put off two things. Her own death, and also too close a relationship with... her listener… what was his name? It doesn’t matter. She has time on her side.