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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Visitors by Godfrey Reggio (with Philip Glass and Jon Kane)



It's kind of funny for me to talk about something like Visitors. Maybe I should draw something and post it as a commentary --- but then I suck at drawing.

I think the intention and effects of Godfrey Reggio's movie Visitors are fairly obvious if one is familiar with modern art. The point is to speak directly to and interact with the audience's emotions.

In one of the DVD featurettes, Reggio said something like, music speaks directly to people's emotions or souls, "It doesn't go through the metaphor." The images in Visitors get close to the same effect, although some shots (I suspect) are not entirely free of metaphors, such as the shots of trash bags tumbling down en masse and the lowland gorilla staring sadly at rows of human audience's heads.

I often think of something Joseph LeDoux wrote: the human brain has not evolved to integrate the conscious thinking top layer and the instinctive feeling lower layer. The point of music, modern art, images, etc., is to get straight to the lower layer without the mediation and interference of the top layer (which is what I am doing --- all words are top-layer abstract stuff).

The movie's title and the bookending shots of the moon's surface suggest a view of perhaps aliens. I imagine aliens would not have very different reactions to the shots of human faces and those of square buildings and windows. But we do. We humans have vastly different reactions to them.

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