from the chapbook SPLIT FRAME (February 2014)
II: IS A NARRATIVE A HOUSE
4 hours later, Niki and Kiki move on to discover a new work – Omer Gal’s Naked Cave (2013; 3 Channel Video Loop, 15:29)
K: I am satisfied with my reflections on the nature of consciousness as represented in the pink feather duster. Let us now move on to the next piece.
N: Very well.
K: There are three screens here – and they are all producing different sounds. How do I know what to look at and what to listen to? Would it be easier if I had the pink feather duster?
N: Well, I don’t think that pink feather dusters have an inherent ability to help a person make decisions about how to distribute their attention span. But if you build some kind of symbolic power into what a feather duster means to you, what powers it harbors – then it might help you. But to answer your question – there’s no right and wrong thing to pay attention to. You should just… I don’t know, relax and see what attracts your interest.
K: Very well. Okay. I see a tent-like structure, which seems to be made of some kind of plastic, perhaps? It is a translucent compound – and I see a human figure costumed to appear like a wolf, a man, a woman, a hooded violinist, a female. Oh, yes, who is this woman?
N: The violinist captures your attention?
K: Yes… this violinist is an especially captivating character. Is she a muse, or a narrator? I cannot tell. She seems to be a character in her own right within the narrative of this piece, but also serves as a guide of sorts, almost like the master of a dream…
N: Yea, the narrative dimension of this piece is really interesting to me too – especially because the videos all play on loops, which intersect at different points depending on when you begin watching. Thus the narrative is like a repetitive and perpetual cycle, which to me seems more in line with the way that life is actually experienced, in contrast to the “closed totality” of most narrative works, particularly those with a clear “beginning” and “end” point (those that one watches in a single sitting).
K: Yes, I believe the violinist is the master of this so-called cyclical narrative.
N: Do you think that all narratives require a master?
K: I did not say that. But I do believe that the violinist is the master of the particular narrative we are discussing. I came across the expression “the one who pulls the strings,” and understand that it refers to the person who controls a particular operation – but somewhat invisibly, or in the background. I relate this idea to this violin player who does not pull the strings as much as she rubs strings against one another, according to a specific system, in order to produce vibrations that produce melodic sounds. But here it is both her sounds and her image that command the story.
N: Yea… And the woman playing the violin, or should I say, the woman playing the woman playing the violin, is also the hooded woman – there, who appears there with the wolf man.
K: She is the one who was feeding the wolf man? Or at least putting those objects that resemble food into his mouth. I remember they appeared as if they were made out of fabric of some sort… Can humans eat fabric? I had assumed that they cannot – and I actually conducted research on wolves recently, so I understand them to be carnivores, and thusly conclude that they do not consume fabric. Or are there some fabrics in fact made of meat?