Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Our modern malaise is summed up in this bit of taped dialogue by Monica Vitti as Valentina in Michelangelo Antonioni's painful study of disconnectedness that is LA NOTTE (The Night).  Here he combines Cagean concepts with contemporary alienation as we (along with the infatuated Marcello Mastroianni as Giovanni) listen to an ancient technological wonder,  the tape recorder,  its tape later erased by Valentina when Giovanni asks to ear it again.

From the living room today you could hear dialogue from a film or television,

"If I were you,  Jim,  I wouldn't do that."

After that line,  the howling of a dog,  slow and sure,  rising in a perfect arc and trailing off in a great sadness.

Then I thought I heard an airplane,  but there was only silence,  and I was glad.

The park is full of silence made up of sounds.

If you press your ear to a tree and listen,  after a while you'll hear a sound.

Perhaps it comes from within us,  but I prefer to think it's the tree.

Within that silence were some strange noises that disturbed the soundscape around me.

I closed the window,  but the noises persisted. I thought I'd go crazy.

I don't want to hear useless sounds. I want to pick them out throughout the day.

Same with voices and words.  So many words I'd rather not hear,  but you can't escape them.

You must resign yourself to them.

Like the waves when you float on your back in the ocean.

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