Opening I

Opening I (Delirium)

I instantly thought of the idea of delirium when the image appeared on the contact sheet. The combination of unbalanced elements, along with the presence of a helicopter hovering in the sky; the rooftop sign that shouted out ‘Scientology’ in the distance; the road shaped like volcano lava moving and twisting upside down produced in me the sensation of a delirious dream. I turned away from the image and tried to remember the moment when the photograph was taken.

He had been tired. He had sat down on a low wall when he noticed the peculiar bend of the road. The evening light was reflecting its warmth on the tarmac and surroundings. He liked the shot. He set up the large format camera, framed, focused, and pressed the shutter.

 

The image has the strange power to fall obliquely in the sphere of the dream. It feels as if it were at the threshold of déjà vu and delirium. I long for the road to take me down it but remain in the obscurity that rests at the bottom of the image. The road appears slippery. If I attempted to walk through, I would fall back to where I am. Little by little I feel I disappear under the delirious authority of the image.

The image illustrates the process of endosmosis, where the space of memory penetrates the reality perceived. Memory-images gradually replace the impersonal character of the photographic image. Childhood memories, feelings, but also images from films, come to mind.

In this image time has lost its purposefulness, its linearity. But it is neither suspended nor arrested. It is turning around. Time here is of the sphere of the dream, locked in an interminable déjà vu. The unbalanced composition of the image gives the impression that the depicted space, or even by extension the city imagined in its entirety, would constantly disassemble and form new combinations.

The image invites the eye to follow the road down the valley. But it is not without any difficulties. As soon as I go down the road, I inexorably start again. The dream works in a circle. This is the doom of the photograph for being fixed and endlessly repeating itself.

I feel I could go down the road and emerge as another self, go down again and re-emerge as another self and do so indefinitely. Each time I go down the road, I include the fantasy of my indefinite selves. The road announces all sorts of possibilities: possibilities that will have been about to come. I go down the road. I know all those possibilities are now impossible but I want to feel their presence. I want to see how they could define me.

While contemplating the image, I feel I am outside time and my mind wanders. To be outside time is to be in a state of indecision. I often have a great difficulty to make decisions in my life. For me, decisions feel so dramatic, so serious, so irreversible. For me, decisions are like a little death: the death of the possibility of another in me.

He was here in Los Angeles with his camera. He didn’t go down the road. He had packed up his bag, stood up and walked in the opposite direction towards the distinctive skyline of Downtown.

 

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