Tag: Normal Love

Necropastoral, or, Normal Love

by on Jan.13, 2011

Screen Shot from the Necropastoral (Jack Smith's Normal Love)

The Pastoral, like the occult, has always been a fraud, a counterfeit, an invention, an anachronism. However, as with the occult, and as with Art itself, the fraudulence of the pastoral is in direct proportion to its uncanny powers. A double of the urban, but dressed in artful, nearly ceremental rags and pelts, the Pastoral is outside the temporal and geographical sureties of the court, the urbs, the imperium itself, but also, implicitly, adjacent to all of these, entailing an ambiguous degree of access, of cross-contamination. (The Pastoral, after all, is the space into which the courtiers must flee in the time of plague, carrying the plague of narrative with them.)Moreover, the anachronistic state of the Pastoral is itself convulsive and self-contaminating, accessing both a Golden Age, a prehistory somehow concurrent with, even adjacent to, the present tense, and a sumptuous and presumptive afterlife, partaking of Elysian geography, weather, and pastimes.

A Velvet Underground.

Rather than maintaining its didactic or allegorical distance, the membrane separating the Pastoral from the Urban, the past from the future, the living from the dead, may and must supersaturated, convulsed, and crossed. This membrane is Anachronism itself.

Another name for it is Death, or Media.

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Jack Smith, Normal Love, and Hate will Make You Cry Video

by on Sep.14, 2010

I’m very moved by the video Aylin posted — Most moving to me is the connection between this work and Jack Smith’s _Normal Love_. I know that some consider it problematic to contextualize the work of (gay) (women) in terms of gay men, whose work is already given so much serious attention, relative to the work of women. But in this case, the subaltern Jack Smith certainly seems occultly present in this project. His _Normal Love_ also operates in Arcadian setting, a literalization of an ‘outsiderstatus’– the spaces in Normal Love seem to happen outside any kind of polis or state, though possibly adjacent to one. At the same time, the Arcadian space of ‘Normal Love’ (is it a Utopia? An afterlife? Or just a vacant stare?) seems to occupy a binary relationship with a single sublime figure– in _Normal Love_ it’s Mario Montez as the Mermaid, in this video it’s the dyke figure decked in flowers who seems to play a completely uncool role of deity. I realize that these tropes are all played semi-ironically by the video– they are both a critique of Swedish national culture, with its sentimentalization of rurality and nudity, and a redeployment of these images in a way that makes them radioactive (the nudes in Karl Larsson might be surprised to find this dyke-goddess weighing her brick, or they might grab a brick.) The reworking of the disco tune/gay anthem also brings gay male culture into the project of aggressive counterprogramming entailed in this video. I’m all for this alternate ‘Alliance’.

[For video see post below.]

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