A Correspondence on Dreams
Last night a vivid dream snuck in between bouts of fitful sleep.
A patron charged me with constructing some kind of sculpture/tower/work of art in the centre of an amphitheatre cum auditorium—dreams not being subject to architectural exactitude.
My building materials included thousands upon thousands of Gideon Bibles. These formed the main building blocks of my tower, a spectacular gothic monolith, or gotholith, which was admired by the crowds. But I was not satisfied.
As the audience left, awestruck, I fought off my artistic patron, set fire to the Babylonian tower and stood back to watch. I was the only one who saw it burn, the holy paper curling and crackling into twisted but beautiful shapes. I can’t describe how they looked, though the shapes had a familiarity to them. I just know that I found them beautiful.
Does this make me a book-burning nazi? Anyway, I wanted to share it lest I forget. Thanks fellas.
Dreams are important on a number of levels.
Naturally, there’s the self analysis, go with whoever suits or fits your sense of terminology best; Sigmund or Carl. They’re both as right as you let them be.
Secondly, there’s the free entertainment. A film you know nobody else will ever see, and you will never see again.
Thirdly there’s the ideas that stem from it. Got a Turner prize contender there for starts, or the basis of a scene/character/vignette/etc if you want it.
Finally, and most importantly, there is the action. Your subconscious just sent you coded instructions for the future. Answers to lost questions, hidden. What are you going to do about it?
I forgot to mention that the patron in this dream was female which, coupled with my construction of a tower, simply begs for Sigmundian analysis. Obviously the tower symbolises a knob. But then there’s the integral involvement of the Good Book. A Biblical Boner? Can boners be religious? The felonious allegations of a thousand rogered choirboys suggest that the stiffy transcends rather than incorporates religious doctrine. Therefore the holy tome’s presence is inconclusive.
Otherwise the dream could merely be a celebration or manifestation of sexual urges, which need no further explanation. The destruction of the boner, resulting in flashbang beauty, could stand for children or marriage but almost certainly stands for orgasm. However, while solid, this reading has too many loose ends, and besides, I didn’t have an orgasm. Which means I personally subscribe to:
Wherein I am engaged as entertainer of the masses and literally construct a nominal work of art, or rather a piece of artisanship, from accepted dogmae. I was brought up in an ostensibly religious household and the Bible is the first organisation of a) morality and b) narrative to which I was exposed, but I wasn’t very old before I judged both belief and believers inconsistent.
In the dream I use the book as a glorified Lego brick for my edifice, and this is well received by the audience, presumably because they are consumers of the readily consumable. However, I am only satisfied by the destruction of the sculpture, an act I undertake without knowing what the results will be. As it turns out, the results are immensely pleasing to me, but nobody else sees them.
On one hand, that doesn’t matter because the audience are already sated. On the other hand, it would be nice if they saw its beauty as well. I think this is my subconscious telling me to cease procrastination forthwith, and be unafraid of consigning accepted artistic dogmae to the four corners of hell.
Yer a dirty wee heretical pyro.
I think there’s probably a Reading 4, but quack psychology’s on the backburner for me nowadays. Further analysis of each individual element might be required for you. Did you care about the audience? Were they functional. Why the girl patron? etc. Signs/symbology. I am out of time. Will cross correspond tonight.
Bible arson is something I may return to for a future film or written piece because it raises some interesting questions. Obviously the mass burning of literature calls to mind fascism, but surely this is historical context intruding on event. What if thousands of copies of Mein Kampf were publicly barbequed? And given that it is the world’s all-time best-selling book, isn’t the Bible therefore a mighty symbol of capitalism? Worse—a symbol of capitalist exploitation of spirituality? Does the Bible, in its present commercial state, most accurately represent God or The Man?
Then we have the question of heresy, crime and general bad behaviour versus art; “art” meaning an act of expression against the status quo, which all art must be. We both know I have no problem asking people to puff cigarettes in non-smoking areas for the purposes of cinema. I experience only minor moral turpitude watching post-statutory rape Roman Polanski movies. I enjoy Frank Sinatra even though he wanted to break Woody Allen’s legs, and I enjoy Woody Allen even though he broke Mia Farrow’s heart.
The question becomes: at what point must morality intrude on our relationship with art?
Leni Riefenstahl is regularly the subject of such an argument, usually by critics who praise her colossal vision whilst condemning her political views, ignoring the fact that her movies were mostly expensive but mediocre productions featuring Aryan meatheads on top of mountains going “Yeeaaarrrghh”. Probably.
I am of the opinion that a good movie is a good movie, and that the correct way to impose one’s moral judgement on a film is not through critique but by paying or not paying to see it. Most of these things get produced within a white haze of cocaine powder anyway, making it highly probable that High School Musical is less than three degrees of separation away from any number of murdered Colombians.
It therefore seems reasonable that film criticism limit itself to discussion of the final product on its own terms. This is not an endorsement of, for example, racism in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or homophobia in The Shawshank Redemption, but rather a deference of moral judgement to each individual viewer.
Please tell me how long all that shit took to read so I have some kind of reference.
This exchange from 2008 later inspired a scene in Eve (A Christmas Play)