New Civilization News: The Disease of Images    
 The Disease of Images2 comments
picture2 Oct 2002 @ 17:02, by Quidnovi

"There was a pool
silver with shining water...
Here Narcissus...
came to rest...
to quench his thirsts...
and fell in love with that unbodied hope...
The vision is only shadow,
only reflection...
I know my image now...
And even in hell he found a pool to gaze in,
watching his image in the Stygian water."
---Ovid, Metamorphoses [6] iii 326

Until the End of the World (1991)
Directed by Wim Wenders. Written by Wenders and Peter Carey. Starring Solveig Dommartin, William Hurt, Sam Neill.

"They lived to see their dreams. And when they slept, they dreamed about their dreams."

"...and here you are, seeing yourself to death."


In a variant of virtual reality, the movie features a bizarre invention with unexpected technical and philosophical complications. The 'visionary' invention is a camera that records 'the act of seeing' so that one person's vision can be transmitted directly into the brain of another---allowing even a blind person to see, if only vicariously. Others are drawn into the experiment, and ultimately use the technology to project the contents of their own minds, their childhood memories and dreams.

Soon they become addicted to watching their own mental images on-screen. The fascination becomes an all-enveloping, morbid obsession that, like heroin, displaces all other concerns. The addicts eventually become zombies incapable of relating to anything save their inward visions. (1)

"The viewer, like the characters, gets lost in the images themselves, which stay on the screen for long moments, mesmerizingly obscure, then fleetingly clear, very much like dreams. Generated on HDTV equipment, they are ephemeral and often painful visions of childhood, separation and loss. The impressionistic dream sequences are among the most beautiful in the film but are also the most dangerous to the characters, who must be rescued from "drowning in their own nocturnal imagery." (2)

"In the movie's opening, Claire dreams of "gliding over an unkown land," only to end up falling and panicking. As we hear of this, we are given shots of the Earth from space, but it is dark, stony, and unrecognizably cold, like a geological survey map. At the end of the film, Claire is literally gliding above the Earth as a member of Greenspace, the 21st century equivalent of Greenpeace. She is a crewmember aboard a space station which monitors the Earth's oceans for pollution crimes. The last shot of the film gives us Claire's view of the Earth from outer space. It is essentially the same view of the Earth from the film's opening shot, turned upside down. But, whereas the view in the opening was dark, with the sun just peeking over the umbrage, we now have a lush, blue-green planet, carefully guarded by our protagonist. (There's a mother-godess sort of theme in there somewhere, but I'm not ready to touch it.) The symmetry of this closure suggests a moral having to do with the idea of "getting involved" and making a contribution to humanity in order to keep oneself grounded." (3)


(1) DVD Savant: The strange case of Until the End of the world
(2) Images, a journal of film and popular culture: The Disease of Images
(3) Archie Harris: UTEOTW, An Attempt At Analysis

~ NARCISSUS , Gk.: m. NARKISOS, plant (so named for its narcotic properties.)

- The flower represents the metamorphosed corpse of Narcissus and is linked with ideas of death.
- Extracts from Narcissus are NARCOTIC. (Narcoman = Drug Addict)
- The extract NARCISSINE was used as an EMETIC.

Many discrepant versions exist about NARCISSUS but all include his METAMORPHOSIS into a flower of this name representing perishableness and death. These flowers grow in the underworld and are sacred to Hades (interestingly, in ukr., ZHADA = NOSTALGIA, REMEMBRANCE).

Pining away

Pine: (Archaic)
1. to suffer with longing, or long painfully
2. to fail gradually in health or vitality from grief, regret, or longing.

In PAUSANIAS IX it is written that Narcissus had a twin sister whom he loved so much that after her death seeing his own reflection in a pool he imagined that it was that of his sister. Narcissus could not part from seeing her and perished by being fixated on this spot. A more popular version states that Narcissus or Narkisos was loved by ECHO who was a Nymph whose speech was limited to repeating what others said. Narkisos rejected her advances and the dejected Echo grieved and pined away until only her voice was left. Nemesis punished the vain and idle Narcissus for ignoring Echo with the fate that Nacissus had to gaze upon the reflection of his own face and Nemesis had him "pine away" until he entered into a stupor and metamorphosed into a flower known as Narcissus.

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2 Oct 2002 @ 18:07 by quidnovi : The Adversary (soundtrack to the movie)
You see me in a foreign face
In ships that sink without trace
In your father's doubt
Will he praise or shout?

Behind the burning cross
Begrudged imagined loss
When you run to me, run to me, run to me

You try to fly, but you cannot fly
You try to hide, but I'm by your side
You run from me, run from me, run from me
I am the adversary
I am the adversary
I am the adversary
I am your foe
I go where you go

Between ideals and fact
Between the thought and the act
You sink without trace
Grow to hate your face
Will you sell all you own
To sit in a shadow by a throne
Will you run to me, run to me, run to me?

You try to fly, but you cannot fly
You try to hide, but I'm by your side
You try to run from me, run from me, run from me
I am the adversary
I am the adversary
I am the adversary
I am your foe
I go where you go

You will see me behind every door
You need not look for me at all
To her I'm just another
To her I am unknown

On your shoulder her hands lightly rest
As she lets fall her soft summer dress
Without self-conciousness of floating off in sleep
Without intention triumphs admid all defeat

She moves in her own sheltered way
My invisible hands are not at play
To her I'm just another
To her I am unknown

From the cold snow into the water
To her I'm just another
To her I am unknown

(Run from me, run from me, run from me)
I am your foe
I go where you go

Writers: Adams, Bonney, Haas, Hacke, Harvey, Stern
Performed by: Crime and The City Solution
Publisher: Trans Glide Music BMI.  

4 Oct 2002 @ 12:15 by martha : Thanks
I will try to rent the movie. Sounds interesting and relevant.  

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