THE PUDDLE. MARTA CURRY ON BRANDON REESE

noviembre 27, 2007

The idea of falling down a hole, like Alice tumbling down a rabbit hole into a certain wonderland, is an archetype of rebirth, or a return to one’s very beginnings. Before birth, all possibilities are equal. Until you make a choice, all possibilities are just as strong; until you make a choice to become one thing or another, all options are equivalent and have 100% chance of winning, so to speak.

Alice finds herself in the same dilemma at the bottom of the rabbit hole, which she soon transforms into a lake of tears. Something similar is going on in this dream: the dreamer falls into and then though a puddle that closes over her head, trapping her. The puddle in the dream is the rabbit hole au rebours. It’s not a place of extraordinary wonders and possibilities, but a place in which she fears she will be changed into a machine.

I have to say that the image of the puddle, opening up to reveal another more somber interior, made me think of a James Bond movie. The one with a lake opening up to reveal a rocket base—I think it was “You Live Only Twice.” A funny coincidence is that in this movie Bond falls through a trap door, slides down a metal shoot and finds himself in the office of a friendly agent.

Well, not everyone is Bond, James Bond, but what comes to my mind when I think of it are some other rather good examples of falling down a hole into the unknown. Brandon Resse’s drawing made me think of Solzhenitsyn and Kafka, with their concept of physical and intellectual entrapment, and all the damp darkness of their novels.

Art by Brandon Reese

There is another thread in my stream of consciousness and I half wince and half wink when I write about it. I grew up in a country where things had to be constantly mapped out and defined by Marxism-Leninism. Works of science and even fiction had to include a preface pointing out the synergy of their authors’ thought with Marxist-Leninist philosophy or condemning the work for straying too far from the path of righteousness. According to this worldview, capitalism blurs the boundary between man and machine, which spurs the dehumanization of the former and the triumph of the latter. Let’s cut to the chase: Western society is going to end up like the city of Zion in the Matrix trilogy.

There’s something in this drawing that triggered my express trip down memory lane. It’s funny that for me, someone from Central Europe, this image made James Bond, Lewis Carroll, Karl Marx, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Franz Kafka all shoot through my consciousness, as if seen through a kaleidoscope. But isn’t that the power of art, it’s universal appeal and relevancy?

I asked an American colleague from work to tell me the first association he thought of when he saw the picture. “Robocop”, he said immediately.
(Marta Curry)

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