Kako niz sastavljen od prvih sličica svakog kadra govori drukčiju priču od one koju govori film kada ga se gleda u cjelini.
The Carmen Horse
The First Frame of Each Shot from Lana Del Rey’s video Carmen
The Turin Horse is about the heaviness of human existence. How it’s difficult to live your daily life, and the monotony of life.–Béla Tarr, on his film The Turin Horse
And if I tell you that I feel something intangible, strange, circling around me in a threatening way, do you believe me?–Roberto Bolaño, from The Third Reich
Shot #1The familiar color bars. A sense of halted, paused time marking the edge-zone moments before or after the next show. The red, red shade of color bar #5 will be sampled and reaffirmed as a rose in shot #3.
Shot #2Noise. (As a child, this was called “snow.”) A synecdoche for analog nostalgia. “Carmen” is a remarkably old-fashioned song and video, rusted by lust and time. “What’s the point of all this precision?” a character asks in Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise, which is precisely the same question posed in shot #2.
Shot #3Linear time code recording. Perhaps a Panasonic VHS camcorder. Time coded precision as if analog was already foreseeing its doom in digital, and as if time itself could be captured in digits. There is—and you feel this in your bones—something lurking behind or within the image.
Shot #4Lana Del Rey (Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) in black and white, born the year of Blue Velvet’s release, in glory, a flower in her hair, with the (“faux-retro, smash-edited, low production”) video that so many hate and so many love, as Ms. Grant stands in for a generation as both the object of French-infantry-bayonet-practice-hatred and the object of blood-red color drained to black-and-white adoration.
Shot #5A flash of red, picking itself up from color bar #5 in shot #1. “No one notices the negative space around life. Surrounding this town, between trees and businesses,” says the narrator in Grace Krilanovich’s novel The Orange Eats Creeps. When the world fails to offer up mysteries anymore, you have to make them up yourself, to find them in hints and traces and in the blood red corners of a pop video that offers clues hidden in plain sight.
Shot #6The rose, the change it undergoes from shot #3 imperceptible except that its progress is marked by the forwarded time code. A ruthless individual enters the picture now, though you cannot see him.
Shot #7“Don’t ask me why I’m moving. I’ve forgotten,” Anne Sexton wrote to her psychiatrist friend Anne Clarke in 1964. The screen is blank, framed by the crimson and burnt-orange vertical lines on either side. In another context, another medium, this might count as an abstract painting.
Shot #8The characters (played by Josh Rachlin and Lana Del Rey) are so hyper-aware they are being watched that they have practically forgotten.
Shot #9The presence of the Other.
Shot #10The time code advances. No one cares about the rose any longer. It’s going to keep opening: that’s inevitable. “I could not hear the restless sea,” says the narrator of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, “and because I could not hear it my thoughts would be peaceful too. They would not carry me down that steep path through the woods . . .”
Shot #11The flecks on the screen, magnified bacteria, await a host.
Shot #12The old Ford Del Rey logo, taken from second :30 of this.
Shot #13A sudden flood of images, like something out of a Dziga Vertov film. The ruthless individual has now fully entered the video, and so a second story begins. In the flickering spaces between these images, he will make his way with the inevitability of history towards you.
Shot #14The star, Lana Del Rey, is the object of the men behind the camera. That is the inherited legacy of the female star in the Hollywood studio system. Is it different when, today, the star creates her own, self-distributed video? “Even the entertainment film becomes a newsreel and an extension of its own publicity,” Theodor Adorno wrote in his essay from the 1940s, “The Schema of Mass Culture.” “We learn what Lana Turner looks like in a sweater.”
Shot #15You are back in childhood, and your memories are shaped and filtered by the way you have thought about them over the years. Your memory has been deformed by memories of your memory.
Shot #16In his essay “Screen Memories,” Freud wrote that further “investigation of these banal childhood memories has taught me that . . . an unsuspecting wealth of meaning usually lies hidden beneath their apparent harmlessness.”
Shot #17In the open space of this frame, something ominous and uncertain creeps in. It is more dangerous than the ruthless individual from shot #6, and in fact “it” observes him as he observes you.
Shot #18“The test of the really weird is simply this—whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes on the known universe’s utmost rim.” H. P. Lovecraft, from Supernatural Horror in Literature.
Shot #19This shot is nearly identical to shot #14 except that the camera has panned slightly to the left.
Shot#20Methamphetamine causes the norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin (5HT) transporters to reverse their direction of flow. This inversion leads to a release of these transmitters from the vesicles to the cytoplasm and from the cytoplasm to the synapse causing increased stimulation of post-synaptic receptors.
Shot #21“Woman then stands in patriarchal culture as signifier for the male other, bound by a symbolic order in which man can live out his fantasies and obsessions through linguistic command by imposing them on the silent image of woman still tied to her place as bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning.” Laura Mulvey, from “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.”
Shot #22Miss Pole Dance Australia Felix Cane, circa 2006.
Shot #23The ruthless individual stands immediately behind the camera now, and in the moment she glimpses him her eyes go black; she retreats into a mask. The location is unsourced. After the shoot, someone will tell her that something terrible once happened on those very steps.
Shot #24That night, in the hotel room, she receives a mysterious phone call. She is alone, finally alone. The shower is running. In the quiet of her own mind she is neither Lana nor Elizabeth. She lifts the receiver and feels the presence of evil, purple swollen static, the stench of a hundred dead bodies, and although she hangs up quickly she realizes that it is too late, that she has been found.
Shot #26Can a video by a beautiful pop star immunize itself—though irony—from its own commitment to shallow images and fame? “Carmen” presents Lana Del Rey as object of the male gaze—the false smile of the man in the purple frame—and that itself is the story the video tells. Which is to say: the subject of the video is the video itself.
Shot #27Again: an abstract painting disguised as a video frame. The dark and ominous presence from shot #17 appears fleetingly in a disguised form in the upper left-hand corner. You avert your eyes. The phone rings again. She watches it until it stops ringing.
Shot #28There is someone at the middle window, just out of sight. The person vanishes when observed. Lana Del Rey studied metaphysics at Fordham University.
Shot #29“The postmodern fatal woman is a creature of excess and spectacle, like the films she decorates. For apolysemic, pic-and-mix cinema such as our current one, she is the perfect symbol, combining fear and nostalgia in equal amounts.” Kate Stables, from “The Postmodern Always Rings Twice.”
Shot #30Q: Who is she? When was this footage taken?
A: Lana Del Rey. Contemporaneous with the making of the “Carmen” video.
Shot #31The collapse of the symbolic order has opened up vast, empty spaces in the realm of signs.
Shot #32The dark shadow of the doorway. “At that the priest was enflamed by the sacred fighting urge which comes upon those whose hearts are dedicated to God as soon as they sense the imminence of the evil one; it comes like the growth of life upon the seed of corn or the opening flower or upon the warrior who is confronted by his opponent’s drawn sword.” Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider.
Shot #33“Our popular culture functions as a myth for our society: it both expresses and reproduces the ideologies necessary to the existence of the social structure. Mythology is remarkably responsive to changing needs in society.” Janey Place, from “Women in Film Noir”
Shot #34The ruthless individual, creeping closer frame by frame, is the bearer of this gaze. He is responsible for the trouble that is to come. He feels himself falling asleep and then willfully dreams of being held in the arms of another to keep himself awake. He recalls a childhood fragment: the hot wind blowing sand and dust from the low desert through the trees. The “Carmen” video frame before you now is blurred and unsteady. The dance pole has shifted to a blue-green vertical distortion in the analog image.
Shot #35“Sir, transmit / the whiteout. Wait for the white to unfocus you, but don’t wait. Can / you feel the animal breath watching? Its slow teeth watching.” Christine Hume, “Hibernating Sir, Today Is The Day,” from her collection of poems Alaskaphrenia.
Shot #36The actors acting. Who are these people? What is the nature of their desire?
Shot #37In the flow and context of shots, this one causes the most damage. It implicates you. It aligns you with the greedy-faced man on the screen.
Shot #38Everything, everything about our loss is recorded now. Nothing is secret.
Shot #39Color, beneath the Sign of the Web. Strangely, the color image—rather than the black-and-white—assumes the aura of the past, of history. It is like those World War II-era Kodacrhomes: the more color saturated, the more epically ancient.
Shot #40By now, you understand that it’s too late for you. The ruthless individual making his silent, invisible way through the “Carmen” video will turn his attention to you, eventually. In this frame, he has instructed Lana Del Rey to look away.
Shot #41See shot #12.
Shot #42She is somewhere in the city. The dangerous person is there too, nearby. You can feel his presence in this image. He is in the building at the center of the frame, looking out across the distance at a person taking black and white footage of the skyline.
Shot #43The structure is unfocused, unsteady: “Before an observation is made, an object exists in all possible states simultaneously. To determine which state the object is in, we have to make an observation, which ‘collapses’ the wave function, and the object goes into a definite state. The act of observation destroys the wave function, and the object now assumes a definite reality.” Michio Kaku, from Parallel Worlds.
Shot #44Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was born in New York City in 1986, approximately one month after Hands Across America.
Shot #45“Are there ever humans who are not, as it were, always already gendered? The mark of gender appears to ‘qualify’ bodies as human bodies.” Judith Butler, from Gender Trouble.
Shot #46Does your heart break when guys say that? This is a statement disguised as a question. The dark presence from shots #17 and #27 is reasserted here, stronger than ever. You can feel it in the degraded, over-pixilated image, and in the broken waves of light that emanate from the white source in the frame’s upper right quadrant. The warped confusion of the frame captures a moment so evil that no technology could ever bring it into proper focus.
Shot #47The chemicals, the diseases, the parasites that change us.
“Once he’d seen a dog having a rabies attack. Springing about like a mechanical toy / and falling over on its back / in jerky ways as if worked by wires. When the owner stepped up and put a gun / to the dog’s temple Geryon walked away.” Anne Carson, from Autobiography of Red.
Shot #48The home movie, in warm colors, coming immediately after the shot of meth chemicals. Images, today, are learning how to think.
Shot #50“I could write it all in the second person: you, Reader . . . I could also introduce a young lady, the Other Reader, and a counterfeiter-translator, and an old writer who keeps a diary like this diary . . .” Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler.
Shot #51“When most black people in the United States first had the opportunity to look at film and television, they did so fully aware that mass media was a system of knowledge and power reproducing and maintaining white supremacy. To stare at the television, or mainstream movies, to engage its images, was to engage its negation of black representation.” bell hooks, from The Oppositional Gaze.
The Turin Horse is about the heaviness of human existence. How it’s difficult to live your daily life, and the monotony of life.
–Béla Tarr, on his film The Turin Horse
The video mutated. Through copying, it evolved until a new strain emerged. It’s still lurking out there somewhere. And it’s taken a completely different form.
–Koji Suzuki, from Spiral
He stared at the black rain she had inked on his hand and told himself it was there to soften his resolve to fight. She was clever. She knew what rain does. It softens hard things.
–Deborah Levy, from Swimming Home
Shot #52The frame is blood-soaked by the invisible hand of the one who watches over the video. Detached from the flow of images that make up “Carmen,” the video frame serves as an omen revealing—for an instant—that this is not just another music video, but rather a horror film.
Shot #53“As in science, the process of creative art is two-fold: the experience of reality by the artist on one side, and his manipulation of that experience into an art reality on the other. In his person he is an instrument of discovery; in his art he exercises the art-instrument of invention.” –Maya Deren, from An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film, 1946.
Shot #54The elderly woman approaches the end of the diving board, trailing a patch of white light behind her. We are in the open sun, now. The illusion of safety.
Shot #55“The day is close when the 8mm home movie footage will be collected and appreciated as beautiful folk art, like songs and lyric poetry, that was created by the people.” –Jonas Mekas, from “8mm as Folk Art” in The Village Voice, 1963.
Shot #56In the darkness the edges of the frame move in brief illuminations. In the fast contexts of the video, this shot makes no sense other than to bind color to black and white.
Shot #57The first of several home movies, perhaps of Ms. Del Rey, performing something somewhere.
Shot #58The black, reasonless frame again. In his book The Fold, Gilles Deleuze wrote: “At a point close to us, human Reason had to collapse.”
Shot #59The boy in blue understands that this frame from soundless color footage, taken over twenty years ago, will be seen by millions of people. He understands this, impossibly, at the time of the filming, and also this: that within the shot there is a secret message. The message is in a gesture, the gesture of the sun-bleached woman as the boy passes.
Shot #60The reverse-universe image from shot #53.
Shot #61“The spectacle is the acme of ideology, for in its full flower it exposes and manifests the essence of all ideological systems: the impoverishment, enslavement and negation of real life.” Guy Debord, from The Society of the Spectacle
Shot #62“She laughs / like God / her mind’s / like a diamond.”
Shot #63Weary of black and white, the change that happens in frame #65 is already in her mind.
Shot #64In another context, you would search for clues for an Event. A blowout caused by a gunshot, the rifle barrel withdrawing back into the window frame right. The white truck pulled over, its headlights about to go off. An image so over-coded with history that it barely exists as itself.
Shot #65The warmth of human skin in the city.
Shot #66“Audio tune lies / she’s still shining.”
Shot #67“They are taking pictures of taking pictures.” Don DeLillo, from White Noise
Shot #68“Carmen” cuts like an animated knife back and forth between two kingdoms, one that is color, and one that is black and white.
Shot #69In a sense, every image is a documentary image, reflecting the presence of the documenter.
Shot #70“Will the images we’ve seen throughout our lives remain inside our eyes? Will we be like a modern camera, filled with little rolls of film; of course, rolls that don’t need to be developed? If I die before reaching my home, before seeing my mother whom I love so much, will she get to see the photographic film stored inside me?” Silvina Ocampo, from The Topless Tower
Shot #71As in shot #54, the illusion of safety. Yet this time the subject passes too close before the camera, and something awakens.
Shot #72“Its [the home video] familiar exhibition apparatus, a VCR and domestic monitor typical for domestic television reception, requires no special lighting or setup, making home video more continuous than home movies with the everyday activities it depicts.” James M. Moran, from There’s No Place Like Home Video
Shot #73“Carmen, Carmen staying up ‘til morning.”
Shot #74The blacked out faces of the Disney dolls.
Shot #75In the confusion of angles, the watcher watches. Who will watch the Watchmen? We are beyond surveillance now. The act of looking constitutes a violation. The blue-green image is not of this world.
Shot #76In your dream, the silhouetted animated figures dance against the backdrop of an atomic bomb sky. A replication of a replication. The introduction of evil—real evil—into the world for the first time.
Shot #77A nightmare from, or about, childhood.
Shot #78In the context of Del Rey’s star quality, this frame seems to suggest a self-reflexive commentary on the necessity and absurdity of parading oneself in front of others in one’s role as star.
Shot #79“It is the quiet shore of contemplation that I set aside for myself, as I lay bare, under the cunning, orderly surface of civilizations, the nurturing horror that they attend to pushing aside by purifying, systematizing, and thinking.” Julia Kristeva, from Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
Shot #80Lit by hell fire.
Shot #81A refrain of shot #7 from part I.
A prelude to shot #88. The Teddy bear sits upon a stack of what appear to be old Life magazines, and yet they are reproductions. They are false. It is at this moment that the “Carmen” video makes its dark intentions clear. It is in the small visual by-ways that the video lies.
Shot #83The rapid movement of the zoom, the windows near the outer edges of the frame flying off, as if fleeing the ghost images that are beginning to make their presence felt in the video itself.
Shot #84“The VCR’s controls may manipulate the flow of images: fast-forward, instant replay, fast motion, slow motion, reverse motion, freeze-frame, and frame-by-frame functions allow for intervention, analysis, and play, revealing the tape as an artificial construct defamiliarizing video’s so-called reality effect.” James M. Moran, from There’s No Place Like Home Video
The darkness finally finds its embodied expression in the vertical space between the buildings.
Shot #86Black, turning to . . .
Shot #87. . . blood red.
Shot #88“If the videotape did mutate and evolve into a new form during the process of multiple copying, then it wouldn’t matter at all to the new species if the old one died out.” Koji Suzuki, from Spiral
Shot #89As a result of studying the decompressed image, it is clear that the TREE CARE COMPAN sign was inserted into the frame post-filming.
Shot #90Likewise, the time code here has been added much later, as an attempt to pass on information in the form of numbers.
The First Frame of Each Shot from Lana Del Rey’s video Carmen: Part III
The Turin Horse is about the heaviness of human existence. How it’s difficult to live your daily life, and the monotony of life.
–Béla Tarr, on his film The Turin Horse
For example, the problem of what it means to die. I know concerning this what people in general know about it; I know that I shall die if I take a dose of sulfuric acid, and also if I drown myself, or go to sleep in an atmosphere of coal gas, and so forth.
–Søren Kierkegaard, from Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846)
Shot #50The chance entrance to the city before it disappeared. Thoughts hanging like bodies from ropes. The image seems to have been taken from inside a moving car, but this is staged. The windshield wipers are props. The highway is front-projection.
Shot #51The white bank of information, flecked with clues. It is a glimpse of what is to come. Kate suggests it might be a multiple generation loss image from the Hotel Terminus.
Shot #52A woman in white falling through the sky. What keeps her from ever reaching the ground? Faith.
Shot #53“Without risk there is no faith. Faith is precisely the contradiction between the infinite passion of the individual’s inwardness and the objective uncertainty. If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.” — Søren
Shot #54The color of dried blood. Trace elements of the crime.
Shot #55There is no possibility of bringing this image into focus. In fact, the image itself is unsourced, and depending on which version of “Carmen” you watch, it is either there or not there.
Shot #56According to the time code from the raw version of the video, this shot was taken and inserted into the video after it premiered in April 2012.
Shot #57Here, her eyes look into the camera, which is not the camera that took this image.
Shot #58Until 1999, the sign read Midtown Tunnel, not Tun. The font was smaller. Kate suggests that this moment is meant to suggest the entrance into the heart of darkness, though like most of her readings, this is dubious.
Shot #59The blank billboard. “Man, that billboard’s never been blank,” says Kate.
Shot #60The man holding the cup in the background reappears with his back to the camera in shot 70.
Shot #61One of several clues so obvious that it’s easy to dismiss as a clue. Taken literally, the sign reads: Brooklyn Bridge is Above You.
Shot #62One of only four or five “real” shots in the video. “Perhaps,” according to Jean Baudrillard, “there will one day be fossilized vestiges of the real, as there are of past geological ages? A clandestine cult of real objects, venerated as fetishes, which will take on mythic value.” (Kate scoffs at Baudrillard. “He was a man of weak-tea theory,” she claims.)
Shot #63Another altered shot, but why? The lights have been changed in post production from red to green. On no level of understanding does this make sense. “Hey,” says Kate, “and where are the shadows for the vertical lane dividers?”
Shot #64“But if it is the misfortune of our age that it has too much knowledge, that it has forgotten what it means to exist, and what inwardness signifies, then it was of importance not to apprehend sin in abstract terms.” Søren
Shot #65A complete red herring, as the shot was neither taken in Manhattan nor in any way connected to the story beneath the story that the “Carmen” tells.
Shot #66This is the first image in the video that gets to the truth of things. “There it is,” says Kate, pointing to the red leader, actually touching it on the screen with her finger. She detects motion in the reel. But of course that’s not possible.
Shot #67A supposed flashback, Del Rey’s swiftly turning face, as sad as any shot of Antoine Doinel circa 1959.
Shot #68During the gap between shot 65 and this one the camera has tilted down slightly.
Shot #69In the analog version of “Carmen” this shot appears in color. Baudrillard once wrote that “with everything losing its distance, its substance, its resistance in the indifferent acceleration of the system, crazed values are beginning to produce their opposites, or to eye each other longingly.” That last bit, that’s what Kate’s doing to me right now.
Shot #70See shot 60
Shot #71Not from 1969 the moon landing, although it certainly recalls that moment. The crime in question has already happened and there’s no doubt that this image captures, in distortion, the aftermath.
Shot #72Slyly frame, this shot recalls a discarded scene from Julien Donkey-Boy that was intended to appear at the 74-minute mark until it was pulled by none other than Herzog himself, because, according to the rough audiotape, it “reveals too damn much.”
Shot #73Kate’s reaction: “In that poem you put me in I was never treated as badly as this.” It should be said that she hates the color green.
Shot #74The image that cannot–must not–be shown. Every narrative conceals a secret, no matter how small.
Shot #75“It’s beautiful,” says Kate, “but should you include it?” She feels we have strayed too far from Lana Del Rey. But it’s the video that’s strayed, not us, I remind her, gently.
Shot #76There is action now. Cars. They seem to be real, i.e., not front projected. Søren: “What reality is cannot be expressed in the language of abstraction. . . . Abstract thought can get hold of reality only by nullifying it.” And all that.
Shot #77Again with the camera. Looking in the wrong direction, either by intention or coercion.
Shot #100Kate’s notes: “Two shots, spliced together. And where is E. P.?”
Shot #101Another late shot, added to the video a full month after its premier, putting in the furthest reaches of the video’s meaning. Kate’s still gone. Her notes for this frame: “Is this a text or a text?”
Shot #102In the early 1990s, just prior to the advent of DVDs, media scholar Anne Friedberg, in her book Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern, wrote that the VCR is a “privatized museum of past moments, of different genres, different times all reduced to uniform, interchangeable, equally accessible units.” Kate says that those were the “bold” days of theory, when scholars felt compelled to make sweeping arguments as a bulwark against the hegemony of the image. But isn’t that what we’re trying to do now, Kate, with our “Carmen Horse” project? I ask. Kate smiles and shrugs. “I guess,” she says, chewing her nail.
Shot #103Information about this shot indicates that–as is true of most but not all of the other “black and white” images–the image is in fact RGB color.
Shots #104 & #105These shots–impossibly–were taken simultaneously, with the same camera.
Shot #106As per shot 12 from Part I, this.
Shot #107The scene of the crime, digitally degraded and softened, as if 0s and 1s could somehow lose their binary distinctness. The color of blood, trapped in amber, warmed by sun. Kate doesn’t think we should write about this one. She’s superstitious.
Shot #108Kate: “The fleck in the upper right quadrant is not an accidental imperfection but is fact the subject of the shot itself.”
Shot #109“But when you look at blogs, where you’re most likely to find the real info is in the links. It’s contextual, and not only who the blog’s linked to, but who’s linked to the blog.” –William Gibson, Spook Country
Shot #110Kate: “But what if the whole point of the video . . . what if everything we thought was supposed to mean . . .” She doesn’t need to finish. We’ve both been thinking this since the beginning of the project, telegraphing it through glances, silences, the in between spaces of the frames. But now that she’s said it, our bad end is coming into focus.
Shot #111The music beginning at this point–Gymnopédie No. 1–by French composer Erik Satie, published in 1888, is a sly bid to throw us off track by false direction. Satie’s 1923 postcard to Pierre de Massot remains, for its reference to the Hotel Terminus alone, a source of, well, sources.
Shot #112Identical to shot 114. “The first time that’s happened. Huh,” says Kate. She wishes she hadn’t said it, but it’s too late. It was too late the moment we accepted this assignment from Mr. Bennetts.
Shots #113-#117The extermination of the image.
Shot #118The slight turn of the head from shot 111. She is either complicit in the crime or its victim. “I don’t like where this is going,” says Kate, referring either to the “Carmen” video or, more likely, to us.
Shot #119She is on the other side, in the open, swirling, either running from or for the camera.
Shot #120Centered now in the frame. I ask Kate for some quotes, some “secondary” sources, something substantial against the fragility of our theory about a secret crime encoded in this video.
Shot #121The switch to color only makes things worse. We are on the other side of the fence?
Shot #122“God, she is facing forward like J-Horror. Her hair,” Kate says. I pour her a drink to calm her. Then one for myself.
Shot #123“That is not Lana Del Rey.” Kate is insistent. She is shaking. “The red triangulated claws / Kate’s Kate makes.”
Shot #124A dreadful realization, too late: it is not that we have been watching the video, but the video that has been watching us.
Shot #125Her left foot, in all its overpixillated beauty. The crime, endlessly deferred. Pause forever.
Shot #126Kate: “There’s no way we’re getting out of this, is there?”
Shot #127The end of the line, as they say. The video is stuck on this image, looping. Forced shutdown.