13 November 2015
Architectural Association, London
‘The Bemusing Musings of Scheherazade A Prufrock’ is an anthology of short texts, based on scenes from a range of films. What the scenes have in common is the ghost-like presence of the camera. Not only does the camera pan, zoom and track, it floats. The texts are written from the point of view of these ‘ghosts’, namely one ghost, Scheherazade A Prufrock, an invention. It is an attempt to explore the consciousness of a camera, and view the scenes from the unique, omniscient perspective of a phantom. The featured excerpts stem from scenes in Taxi Driver (1976) and The Darjeeling Limited (2007), respectively.
Rhapsody in Red
Poof. He wants to disappear. Poof. He thinks he’s dynamite. Poof. He’s a prophet and a pusher, partly truth, partly fiction. A walking contradiction. Is that a harp, I hear? And so it goes, the Rhapsody in Red, the score to your nightmares, extinguished by a not so super, superhero. My, my, what a scene this is… I suppose it would be best to get out of here. It’s time to fly away, to float and hover above the scene, like those wretched souls leaving their wretched bodies. Burst into flames and be gone! But first, let’s survey the damage, shall we? Oh, what’s this? Ah, yes, thank you for coming, dearest officers, you’re just in time to see the blood on the walls, on their hands, on their shirts, on the floors, in their eyes… Eyes sealed shut… Eyes bleeding tears… That poor sweet child… Fly away home, little one. Fly, as I do, as I proceed on this interior journey through the remnants of a violent past… Down the staircase we go, another corpse, terribly morose… A desaturated mess of guns and roses… A rose garden of the macabre, fragrant with death and dismay… Rouge, red, vermillion, yet reduced… Not so carmine, after all… How wearying is the darkness… I must hasten to escape… Cymbals clash, the drums beat on. Hearts beat on, except for the ones that don’t. Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
Dr Darjeeling or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Play with Fire
Well, you’ve got your diamonds and you’ve got your pretty clothes
And the chauffeur drives your car
You let everybody know
But don’t play with me, ‘cause you’re playing with fire…
There lies some comfort in the act of twirling, of spinning, of mimicking the constant motion of the planet, fantasizing that you too are a somewhat grand celestial body spinning on, and on, forever, into the ether… Much like the whirling Dervishes of the Orient… Eyelids sealed… Channelling some form of Spirit… Mere mortals… Celestial caricatures… Look here, a family. Torn apart, forcing an impossible reunion. Eyes wide open. Shared looks, shared emotion, shared blood, shared spirit… Communication without words, or grand gestures but through spirit, for that is how we’re connected, is it not? Innately, intrinsically, inherently… Supposedly but not so, for here I am, yet I am not. But I am spinning, and whirling, and we go spinning from spirit to spirit but not to me, yet I am all spirit, and yes, I’m still here, and yes, this is unjust, but just because this is how it goes, so justly because that’s all we know, all we know is the here and now, and that’s how the story goes, and it goes on and on like a merry-go-round, a carousel, shimmering and bright, so bright, it was so bright, it hurt my eyes and it went on, spinning around and mesmerising and loud and wonderful and bewildering and.. A glimmer! Yes. Spinning. Yes. Praying. Yes. For love, and for gold, and for glory. Cut to:
Destination; a train… Somewhere… Exotic? Oh, yes, complete with cobras and tigers and fears, oh my! We’re gliding now. What’s that? He’s leaving on a jet plane? Don’t you know that gliding’s the best form of travel? Oh dear, she’s at the Hotel Chevalier! Ma chérie, Natalie, a true nomad glides! Don’t you know that? We drift and we glide because gliding is elegance epitomised! Let’s glide through time! Traversing space… Traversing time…
Memories as compartments, as enclosures, as entrapments.
Now, fly back home to your mother’s eyes, whilst you can.
… So don’t play with me, ‘cause you’re playing with fire.
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