“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

At the Dénouement

...you find yourself in a library...Jeffrey Kripal pointed this out to me, how fantastic is that, the way in which hermeneutical uncertainty is keyed into the most mystical part of Interstellar...you find yourself in a library where you have to use code to communicate, where your screams can't be heard by the person on the other side, as if you were communicating from the realm the books point towards (literally). An astronaut in a library--there's a strong allusion to 2001, that final scene with its eighteenth-century weirdness, no?

Like you plummet into the most obscure most dense most frightening part of the universe, at the point of the story when all is supposedly revealed--and you find yourself in your daughter's library, behind the bookshelves...trying to figure out how to use language...

The exchange between the robot TARS (anagram of STAR, clearly a luciferian angel) and Cooper in that scene is just too good. “Cooper, come in Cooper...” “TARS?” “Copy that.” “You survived.” “Somewhere, in their fifth dimension; they saved us.” ... “Do you have the quantum data?” “Roger I have it...”

TARS's voice actor is particularly good. Does anyone else notice how, when Romilly is killed, TARS regresses to a primitive computer voice, not quite Speak and Spell but definitely like the Apple voices? “Romilly did not survive...I could not save him.” An AI regressing because of the intensity. Nice touch.

I like to point out how OOO objects aren't naked, that they are surrounded by hermeneutical clouds of unknowing structural to their being. Like when you are having a mystical or paranormal experience, the idea that you are in a fiction can become overwhelming...thus making it easy to dismiss...


Anonymous said...

When he fell into the black hole and that scene manifested, I shook my head in bewilderment and heard myself mutter "Books?" But at the same time I felt like it made more sense than anything else, even before I figured out where he was.

Derek Woods said...

It's like the Library of Babel, in Borges.

Or is the infinite library in Interstellar like the recuperative moment of the sublime? Things are really big, but you have the idea of infinity (and time travel, or simultaneity in the fifth dimension)?

Maybe denouement is a good form for understanding ecology. It's about what happens to chemicals and waste after the climax of a pest-killing or consumption narrative. And ecology can now work on the assumption that the climax moment for "reversing" climate change is in the past, so we're living in the denouement of an earth scale narrative about fossil fuels.

I like the end of The Graduate, when the denouement goes on for a bit too long.