“Schlegel’s observation in this sense reveals a deeper significance. The chorus is the “ideal spectator” in so far as it is the only beholder, the beholder of the visionary world of the scene. A public of spectators, as we know it, was unknown to the Greeks. In their theaters the terraced structure of the theatron rising in concentric arcs enabled everyone to overlook, in an actual sense, the entire world of culture around him, and in an overabundance of contemplation to imagine himself one of the chorus. According to this view then, we may call the chorus in its primitive stage in early tragedy a self-mirroring of the Dionysian man: a phenomenon which is most clearly exemplified by the process of the actor, who, if he be truly gifted, sees hovering almost tangibly before his eyes the character he is to represent. The satyr chorus is above all a vision of the Dionysian throng, just as the world of the stage is, in turn, a vision of the satyr chorus.”
“It is in keeping both with this insight and with general tradition that in the earliest tragedy Dionysus was not actually present but merely imagined. Original tragedy is only “chorus” and not “drama” at all. Later an attempt was made to demonstrate the god as real and to bring the visionary figure, together with the transfiguring frame, vividly before the eyes of every spectator. This marks the beginning of “drama” in the strict sense of the word. It then became the task of the dithyrambic chorus so to excite the mood of the listeners that when the tragic hero appeared, they would behold not the awkwardly masked man but a figure born of their own rapt vision. If we imagine Admetus brooding on the memory of his recently departed wife Alcestis, consuming himself in a spiritual contemplation of her form—how a figure of similar shape and gait is led toward him in deep disguise: if we then imagine his tremor of excitement, his impetuous comparisons, his instinctive conviction—then we have an analogue for the excitement of the spectator beholding the god, with whose sufferings he has already identified himself, stride onto the stage. Instinctively he would project the shape of the god that was magically present to his mind onto that masked figure of a man, dissolving the latter’s reality into a ghostly unreality. This is the Apollonian dream state, in which the daylight world is veiled and a new world—clearer, more comprehensible, more affecting than the first, and at the same time more shadowy—falls upon the eye in ever changing shapes. Thus, we may recognize a drastic stylistic opposition: language, color, pace, dynamics of speech are polarized into the Dionysian poetry of the chorus, on the one hand, and the Apollonian dream world of the scene on the other. The result is two completely separate spheres of expression. The Apollonian embodiments in which Dionysus assumes objective shape, are no longer “an eternal sea, a changing weaving, a glowing existence,” [Goethe’s Faust I, 505–7] as is the case with the music of the chorus, no longer those powers deeply felt by the enthusiast, but which he is incapable of condensing into a clear image. The adept no longer obscurely senses the approach of the god: the god now speaks to him from the proscenium with the clarity and firmness of epic, as an epic hero, almost in the language of Homer.” -Ibid
Do you rely on intuition or measurement or both when finding the pairs and how they fit?
“It was like waking from a dream: my producer showed me a suggestion for a poster. “What is that?” I ask. ”It’s a film you’ve made!” she replies. ”I hope not,” I stammer. Trailers are shown … stills … it looks like shit. I’m shaken. Don’t get me wrong … I’ve worked on the film for two years. With great pleasure. But perhaps I’ve deceived myself. Let myself be tempted. Not that anyone has done anything wrong … on the contrary, everybody has worked loyally and with talent toward the goal defined by me alone. But when my producer presents me with the cold facts, a shiver runs down my spine. This is cream on cream. A woman’s film! I feel ready to reject the film like a wrongly transplanted organ. But what was it I wanted? With a state of mind as my starting point, I desired to dive headlong into the abyss of German romanticism. Wagner in spades. That much I know. But is that not just another way of expressing defeat? Defeat to the lowest of cinematic common denominators? Romance is abused in all sorts of endlessly dull ways in mainstream products. And then, I must admit, I have had happy love relationships with romantic cinema … to name the obvious: Visconti! German romance that leaves you breathless. But in Visconti, there was always something to elevate matters beyond the trivial … elevate it to masterpieces!
I am confused now and feel guilty. What have I done? Is it ’exit Trier?’ I cling to the hope that there may be a bone splinter amid all the cream that may, after all, crack a fragile tooth … I close my eyes and hope!”
Lars von Trier, Copenhagen, April 13, 2011.
So, the thing that gets me here and why I’m sharing this statement are the last lines. He has produced a film, and obviously the film is the film, what is it that he is ‘closing his eyes and hoping for’? What is this “bone splinter” to “crack a fragile tooth”? I am confident that I found it!
In certain cases, the back story of how the pieces of media connect will be brought to my awareness after the fact. So, the syntax becomes an essential aspect in my extrapolations. Often the syntax will work to establish the legitimacy of the pairing, which is hard to convey to those that haven’t witnessed the process behind it firsthand. For example, when I saw the results of pairing Marilyn Manson’s album Holywood with Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain I was oblivious to the fact that Jodorowsky and Manson are actually close friends, not only that, but Jodorowsky officiated Manson’s wedding with actress Dita Von Teese. Here is an applicable interview excerpt with Manson speaking to a film project that never came to fruition, though I’d argue it ultimately did, though as more of an ‘Easter egg’ than an actual film: “There were plenty of people interested in working with me, but the material was too controversial, both politically and religiously with regards to violence. I spoke with Alexandro Jodorowsky, a hero of mine, and my favorite filmmaker. He and I were going to work together on it.”
It’s downright eerie how these pairings seem to add meaning and emotional depth to both the music and the film. Together they form meta works of art. What are your thoughts about that?
Not only does this happen in individual cases, it’s been observed by myself and those who’ve taken in many of these experiments that there are definite observable themes that run throughout the pairings. This can often be uncanny, and complimentary to what may have already been a solid meta-work on its own. If you look at Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures with Alien for example, you might notice the subtext in the film meeting the subtext in the album and spelling out far more meaning than either would convey on their own. In both cases you have satirical statements on Nazi ideology. This is not my personal observation, it’s been pointed out by many people. Joy Division got its name from when the Nazis would separate out the Jewish women they wished to have sex with in concentration camps, which speaks volumes to the ridiculousness of eugenics and its fundamental ideology, not that this example is needed to prove such an overt distortion. In Alien we see the way the life form is regarded by the military as a ‘perfect being’ despite the fact that it is violently destructive and conveys a hive-mind orientation. So, if this is the goal, to proliferate this terrible species, what does this say about our assumptions around what it means to evolve when Darwin himself denotes the ability to show empathy as an indication of evolutionary advancement in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.
The frequency at which I hit gold in my media experiments has heightened considerably over the years, especially after the aforementioned incident. Examples of noteworthy success used to be far in between with great gulfs separating genuine AHA(!) moments. For every pairing that blew me away there could have been anywhere from 10-30+ attempts that didn’t approach full synchronization, there could be ‘interesting aspects’ but I have been consistently focused on higher targets after witnessing what is possible. It is often that I come across ‘happy accident’ pairings that I love, but wouldn’t consider as profound, and though I’ve often been hesitant to share these, only because I rather someone witness a heavy hitter than get the impression those lesser examples are ultimately representative of my discoveries. A couple examples would be the 3 Jim Carrey films from 1994, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber and The Mask with Green Day’s album Dookie. I could also include Demi Moore’s 3 films Strip Tease, The Scarlet Letter and Disclosure with Lil’ Kim’s album Hard Core. These are just fun, and though there are plenty of connections, there aren’t as many WTF moments, which are really what I’m after.
“Hello, hello, baby You called, I can’t hear a thing I have got no service In the club, you see, see Wha-wha-what did you say? Oh, you’re breaking up on me Sorry, I cannot hear you I’m kinda busy”
This then corresponds to a video phone (this is a 1926 film btw) being picked up at the exact second the phone call intro in the song starts, and this intro ends the exact second the phone in the film is hung up. Another example would be the Lady Gaga sample in Dancer in the Dark that says “kill him” corresponding to the exact second the subtitle in the silent film reads “kill him”. This pairing like many others, builds considerably as it goes and totally delivers at the end sequences, so there is a necessary degree of faith involved. It is therefore my understanding that if I didn’t enjoy the happy little coincidences as much as I do it wouldn’t be as likely for me to stumble on these more astounding examples. I have a very high standard when it comes to sync, and at the same time, it can be good fun even if it doesn’t blow me away. I recently paired my friends’ (Will Morgan and Zach Bower’s duo: Pattern Recognition) album titled 8-Bit, with the Super Mario Brother’s movie and The Wizard and found it very enjoyable. A similar thing happened with a mix I produced which I paired with Black Swan years after the fact. In both these cases there is no way these were intentional on the part of the artists, but they are very enjoyable, none the less. My sense is that if this can happen on its own as well as it can, then it stands to reason that it wouldn’t take so much to produce such an effect intentionally, meaning it wouldn’t have to be as mechanical a process as some might assume. Another way of saying this is summed up metaphorically at the very end of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon where it’s said, “there’s no dark side of the moon really, as a matter of fact it’s all dark”. When it comes to genuine synchronicity and happenstance, there’s a distinction, but there’s no separation.
What’s it like navigating all the copyright filters even though you don’t profit from your creations online?
I can honestly say that copyright has been the biggest challenge of my life, nothing short of the bane of my existence. At one point I had 42 films disappear along with my whole Vimeo account, this happened after my hard drive happened to crash right beforehand, which meant the loss of a thousand hours of work; work which I had to start over from scratch with limited means to reproduce. I am quite literally a starving artist, so without the aid of sponsors that appreciate my work I wouldn’t be able to be where I am with it now. One of my greatest fears, which is a very real one, is that all my life’s work could be expelled from the internet and thousands upon thousands of hours of meticulous work could take the fate of a mandala, like whoosh. Many of my experiments have the volume of the film raised in between the vocals, which means that the process for each film can take days to produce, often times I’ll encode a film up to 20 times before I’m happy enough with it to share. Or I’ll share it, then I’ll watch it, see something I could have done better, make the changes and re-encode it, then re-upload it again. The uploading alone can take me a week sometimes because of a weak internet connection.
The Sync Book was a book published as kind of exposé on the phenomena of synchronicity with various authors contributing their respective chapters. There is also a Sync Book 2, which I have my own chapter in. It has been my feeling that books are important and this feeling is shared by our community of researchers, and though the internet has made physical books practically obsolete to some, I find the act of turning paper pages one of those joys that shouldn’t go by the wayside for the novelty of a glowing screen. Sync Book Press has published several books on the subject of synchronicity which are available on our website via Amazon. Our website also contains over 600 hours of podcasts. Several years ago, I was approached by William John to participate in a podcast called Always Record. William had contacted Alan Green with the same proposal. I agreed to take part under the condition that our mission statement include an intention to not play into something I had seen with so many other podcasts, this being the compulsion to start with a conclusion then an attempt to back up said conclusion. It was my hope that we could have dialogues that explored material without pulling out the ‘jump to conclusions mat’ to enforce any beliefs we might be attached to. I wanted to let our findings speak for themselves, and luckily, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. I feel we did as good of a job doing this as was feasibly possible considering the nature of the subject-matter we found ourselves delving into. We produced many interviews with various researchers in high weirdness, and though our focus was always synchronicity, it veered into other avenues, which is understandable considering the line between acausal parallelism and causal correspondence can often be thin. While this might bring some to feel ‘crazy’, we were all right at home navigating the high seas of occultism together, in large part because we knew well enough that the lines in the sand were just that, acceptance is transcendence. Our sister podcast, 42 Minutes, is still producing regular content from fellow synchronauts Douglas Bolles and Will Morgan (A Few Shots to Shaman) and the authors and creators that they interview are always interesting. While Always Record was more of a free-flowing conversation that could go on for anywhere between 2 to 4 hours. 42 minutes went on for, you guessed it, 42 minutes.
The day Jews attribute to the destruction of the temple is the 9th day of the 11th month in the Hebrew calendar, this is regarded as the day of greatest mourning for the Jewish people, who see the destruction of each temple as a further fall from grace. What are the chances that the apparently random date given in the Zohar for this world changing event would align to its numerical equivalent in the Gregorian calendar? What is more, that 11-9 would give us what Lars Von Trier has quite rightly deemed the rise of the Homo trumpus – the rat king (A rat king is when a group of rats become attached to each other by their respective tails; either because they are tangled, or caked in excrement etc. The rats cannot separate from each other and they become a big Rat King).
kill each other
and their teachers
they are angry
at not being taught
that Pink and Floyd
were blues singers
from the source of power
that would project their image
as well as their sound
who do not know
their history are bound to repeat it
unbound, she made her residence
on the dark side of the moon”