Bits&Pieces redux

Arthur Danin Adler - Scene4 Magazine | www.scene4.com

Arthur Danín Adler

Everyone Is a Moviemaker
Have you noticed the number of people who talk, chit-chat, get upset, get depressed about a movie they haven't seen? Have you noticed that they've noticed that you haven't seen it either? Sometimes they get enraged because you haven't seen what they haven't seen. Rage is the new stage for uninformed democracy. It begs the question... so what is a movie?

All movies are disposable, here now, gone in a minute, an hour, two hours. Also gone is the thrill of touching a round can with 'film' in it which you could even hold up to a light and see pictures. Now we have nothing but 1's and 0's. We have photos ... of photos... of photos. And they end up stewed in video. Hey, you... YouTube me and I'll YouTube you. Everyone in Hollywood, and Bollywood and London is a moviemaker. Here's my camera, here's my shoot, here's my edit (if I edit!), here's my movie. I'll show you mine if you show me yours. I'll be the doctor, you be the nurse, and then we'll switch.

What's Happened to TV News?

I spend a lot of time abroad. Wherever I am, local news is local news, if you know what I mean. To get away from giddy cheese prices and who's Kardashianing whom, I turn to the international outlets. What usually follows me around is BBC, France24, Al Jazeera, CNN, and the idiocy of Fox News. Slanted they are, beating the marimbas of their own agendas as they search for ways to make a buck, facing the mewling hunger of the 24-hour news cycle and filling it with mediocre journalism and mediocre writing. Case in point: BBC World News. Once the "New York Times" of the world, in a given hour, BBC now devotes as much as 15-20 minutes to advertising and in-house promos, often followed by frilly featurettes. The model is evidently Fox News. And the Fox News' model? Why... he's now the president.

Looking and Seeing

We, you and I, are one of two types of people:
We are either people who walk past each other and do not look at the other or, people who walk past each other and look at the other, to see if the other is looking at 'me'. For the latter, everything we do to our faces and bodies is to present to the other what we desperately want them to see, what we think we see in the mirror. It's a kind of prehensile narcissism. Monkey do, monkey see.


No one likes to be called 'dumb'... uneducated, okay, because it's a fact. 'Ignorant', maybe, because it has the feel of being temporary. But 'dumb' is like truth serum, it settles deep in the conscious and stirs the sub-conscious with a big paddle. Even the truly dumb, who truly can't acknowledge that they are 'dumb', react with anger and menace when labeled with the term. It is an oft-repeated pronouncement that the American electorate is dumb, a democracy of sorts that is propelled and perverted by 'dumb' voters. Which raises the question: is it dumb or ignorance? Maybe both.

What If This Is All There Is?

What if we live on a planet, in this interminable, indeterminate universe, that is one and only one of a kind, unique?  What if what we can see with our eyes, the solar system and the constellations of stars, is the extent of the physical universe and the rest, the galaxies, the nebulae, the black holes, the endless points of light, is simply interpreted and interpolated digital illusion, cognitive dissonance (as Mr. Ford would say), special effects created by scientists and video game-makers? What if the ancients were right and Star Trek is wrong? What if Charles Darwin is right and the scribblings of frightened, mal-educated, small-minded people who created bibles and  gospels and scriptures are wrong? Without gods and saviors and space-time and multi-universes and enlightenment and heavens and hells and spiritual this and that, what does that make our planet and we on it? Are we less with the awakening that this is all there is, or are we living gods with the desire and ability to extrude illusion, put it on film, and give it a life of its own? Is the arc of our story a full circle, are we headed forward to the beginning? And if this is all there is, what happened to all there was? Maybe it's all recorded in a book somewhere or even on a cassette tape.

Quick, Take Me to Your Leader

Yes, the Hubble telescope, comparatively speaking, is a magnificent piece of technology and there's better coming. We also popped a bunch of automatonic humans on the Moon some 50 years ago and haven't done it since. Now for heaven's and earth's sake, astronomers have confirmed the inevitable discovery of a nearby star system with earth-like planets in orbit around a fading star.

Think about it...

We take snapshots of little dots of light in the so-called universe, our so-called dimension and we take closeup snapshots of barren rocks that circle along with our rock around a small star. We speculate and agonize about the nature of things and try to emulate our brains in microcosmic boxes. And... we ask... why they, out there, don't contact us? Take a look around... would you, if you were they?

True outer space is currently verboten to humans because Human physiology cannot tolerate the rigours and mind-bending body alterations that occur in space travel. We are a thin-skinned species and can't even extend our life spans to a measurable point in cosmic time.

But, a big 'But' among all the "big butts" that are now in vogue is...we may not be able to defeat the jihadist plague or the worldwide-cloned trumps because we have brought our planet to the distinct edge of collapse. That's you and me and our ancestors. It began only 600 years ago when the human population crossed over the line of sustainability. The oceans are dying, the air is dying, and our food supply is malingering. The clocks tick, the lips lick, and the dreams stick like fading decals on a transparent wall.

Why don't they contact us? If you knew who they are and you were they... would you?

Owning Picasso

I have a friend who owns a Picasso... and not much else. Which one? Don't ask, don't tell. He acquired this painting via less than legal and righteous means. It involved a married woman, a tawdry brother, a... never mind! He possesses it, it's his, and it's worth a Russian oligarch fortune.

What does it mean to own, to possess a Picasso? Think about it... You have in front of you an image that began in the Spaniard's head, followed the smoke plumes from his ever-present cigarette into his hands, covering his eyes, animating his body, and then brushed on to a canvas in private moments, intimate moments that could never be shared. It is an image that contains the invisible mystery of Picasso's feelings, that contains his breath, his drops of sweat, his skin cells,
his actual skin cells, the lingering resonance of his grunts and moans. It is an image that "is" Picasso.

If you're not a painter, have you wondered what it is like for a painter to see a work he sold hanging on someone's wall or in an exhibition? There... is a piece of his memory, a piece of him, an image that expands into the remembrance of the emotions, the events, all of his life during the creation of the work, all of the dimensions of the world he lived in, which no aesthetician or critic or scholar could possibly reconstruct and describe. It is not important to know any of this biographical, historical information to experience a painting, to feel it, to understand it, to love it. All of that biodegradable data is only voyeuristic vichyssoise for viewers who did not create the painting. Except for the painter, who sees the painting and steps back into it, becoming part of it again. For some, it must be a painful experience.

So what does it mean to own, to possess a Picasso? It means whatever it means to you, even if you know nothing about it other than what you see on the canvas. It also means... you possess a secret, an image of secrets that only the living Pablo can share.

A Bridge in Paris

She was born with only three fingers of her left hand. He was born with only three fingers of his right. They met on a bridge in Paris. When they reached out to each other, her left hand to his right, they had six fingers between them. When they entwined their other hands, they had an additional ten. It was magic. Four arms, four legs, four eyes, two mouths, two tongues, and sixteen fingers . They were unique. They were in love.

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Arthur Danín Adler is a playwright, writer and the founding Editor of Scene4. He is the author of Medea Noir, directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms. More at
Darcy-Kane. His latest book, The Lyriana Nocturnes, will be published in January of next year.
For more of his commentary and articles,
check the Archives.

©2019 Arthur Danín Adler
©2019 Publication Scene4 Magazine


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