02_Ocean Of Light
Archive for the ‘Nell (넬)’ Category
I should be studying right now for my final, but whatever here goes something productive out of my procrastination.
“When you are away, you are nevertheless present for me. This presence is multiform: it consists of countless images, passages, meanings, things known, landmarks, yet the whole remains marked by your presence, in that it is diffuse.” (78)
_then we see the death, soon followed by conspicuous disappearance of the dead body in subsequent scenes, and all of its power of absence congeal upon the single frame of the camera screen. Because what the audience observes and appreciates (i.e. The MV) is that of stylized product—in that, it is cut, edited and spliced together to make a coherent, although non-uniform in temporality, whole—and what the camera within the MV has captured, if we think about it for a second, is a single take. There is no cutting involved in simply setting down a camera and talking. Editing comes after-wise. However, in that moment of freeze-frame, the moment of pre-post-production, the image that is congealed onto the digital camcorder is that of a video reel, singular and forward whole.
In short, the MV represents this diffused being, the fragments of memories. The flagrance of flowers, the taste of fresh brew of coffee, drinks, the texture of the utterance of poems against one’s ears. All of these are stopped, arrested and adhered against the camcorder screen.
Without a home at the center of the real, one was not only shelterless, but also lost in non-being, in unreality. Without a home everything was fragmentation.
Home was the center of the world because it was the place where a vertical line crossed with a horizontal one. The vertical line was the path leading upwards to the sky and downwards to the underworld. The horizontal line represented the traffic of the world, all the possible roads leading across the earth to other places. Thus at home, one was nearest to the gods in the sky and to the dead in the underworld. This nearness promised access to both. And at the same time, one was at the starting point and, hopefully, the returning point of all terrestrial journeys. (56)
-John Berger, And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos
Cliff Parade is a peculiar object that sums up Berger’s thoughts on home with neatness and precision of pillow settings: “Home was the center of the world because it was the place where a vertical line crossed with a horizontal one.” The lyricism and the title of the song, as well as the video footage used for the Lines concert, work in tandem to create a world where horizontal lines and vertical lines alternate rapidly and bathe in blinding redness to extrude the painful illusion of home. The rapid succession of vertical and horizontal lines never quite appear on screen simultaneously; in other words, they never bisect each other to create a cross, a point of return, a home. or rather it seems as if they never create a home.
Nell’s music, in all its consistency, coherency, drastic differences, and evolutionary writhing of emotions, has been an elusive figure to me. The best way I understand their music is as a culmination of self-love, although not in narcissism, but more so as an act of self-preservation in the moment of dire failure of love of two, a weaving of insulation against the thrashing of “you”. Even in the most plain of their loves songs, Nell does not purely sing about the love of lovers or the sexually charged disparity between the “now” and the “memories”. However it certainly is of loss, of one manner or other, that becomes the preoccupation. Nell’s music career has been a sequence of elongated attempts at crystallizing this vacuity, the ever present but impossibly inarticulable absence.
In comprehending not only of the Music Video of “And, Things Left Behind” but also of the overall arc of the album, Slip Away, I attempted to put the cypher of John Berger intertext of And Ours Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos as shown in the MV in relation to Nell’s latest.