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vortex
  • 311154.1030
    In the lumbering dark age of film (1982 - ?), few films managed to capture the zeitgeist of its local era by looking backwards better than Donnie Darko (consider the compression in Blue Velvet, a then present-day eighties resembling the fifties). Darko portals a tough audience during Halloween 2001 with North America at its unconscious peak 1988.  New wave music flooded teenpocalypse Donnie managed to teleport brooding audiences back to 1988 with a mixture of vernacular and desire (anybody remember Star Search?). Rip-roaring through Reagan aftermath teenage angst, Kelly throws us bullies, cellar doors, Halloween, bunnies, vandalism, psychotherapy, self-help, portals, Smurf theory (begun in costume: notice the pizza dinner's outfits on the kids - they're Smurfs), second-stage Stephen King and a collage of 80's existential blockbusterisms: E.T. through The Abyss. Even strange little details like the chyron "Recorded Earlier" on the Presidential debates offer compass heading to the procedings. The detail pile-on is infectious and pretty carefully woven. Unlike Linklater's anthropological-sociological overnight Dazed and Confused, Kelly knows how to organize references through visual overlapping. Skeletized with metaphorical parallelism, Donnie's key stroke is to hide its time-travel as a function of cinematic convention. Many, many pages have been spent uncovering Donnie's details (here is Dan Kois's attempt Everything You Wanted To Ask About Donnie Darko But Were Afraid To Ask), but these inquiries look only at the nouns, the liminal pieces, none go into the metaphysical suggestion that gives the film its stand-alone gravity. At the film's release, somatic thinkers like Elvis Mitchell misperceived Kelly explicitly - he read it as Hughes (John) meets Marquez (Gabriel Garcia), but the chaos in metaphors of nature and body isn't the thing, the metaphors are optic.  Donnie isn't merely an eighties retro fable, it's about a specific type of travel. What gives Donnie's portals their meaning, their substance, is their direct relationship with celluloid's continuous time-travel. The film is a time-portal for every audience member, the way Donnie uses his to navigate fate for 28 days. Kelly makes this clear by showing us three scenes inexorably linked, the bathroom scenes and the movie theater scene. In the bathroom scenes, Frank stands behind, or within a clear, film-like surface that wobbles as Donnie touches it, and bleeds light when Donnie stabs it (the metaphor gets its reality dose: the light that screams from Frank's eye is the projector's bulb). Get it? Donnies somehow awakened inside a film, trying to stab his way out; he might be cinema's first character conceived to be semi-conscious inside celluloid (outside of Bugs's, Mickey's, Daffy's and all animation radical fourth wall breaking). To counterpoint the bathroom lesson is the Aero movie theater scene (its name goes with the fallen plane engine), which stars Frank as well, and involves Donnie's second lesson in time-travel displayed on a movie screen that portals. Now instead of standing on other sides of the celluloid, they face it, proving Kelly animates, or progresses his metaphors. The double-feature even has a subtle aside using Scorsese's martyr-opus, Last Temptation of Christ as a second feature, unseen. That film ends with a rising son blitzed into a light show that can only be considered celluloid abstraction (it's pure analog optic). Scorsese blends his Jesus with light just as Kelly does, only Kelly makes him aware of his dimension. His prison. And his release into light: he's laughing not suffering. He gets the joke. Once you really put the two films in the double-feature together, or spot what the engine goes through before it gobbles Donnie (or a million other clues), you see what Kelly's getting at.

     

    Gretchen replaces the film screen between Donnie and Frank.

  • 311149.1254

  • 311117.1643

    These two views of the same event are precise opposites. One is spoken, one is just eloquent without words. They both come from an amazing page of videos. The flashes are the substations popping offline. A good editing teacher would assign them as a project to intercut them, although you could find perfect synch marks, assuming it was all the same tornado...

  • 311111.1516

    Scientific American proclaimed Einstein's theory would be inexplicable via silent filmmaking, and Fleischer sought to prove them wrong.

     


  • 311100.1107

    Above: Spatial organization of retinal neurons. Spiral left and funnel right.

    Article Multi-State-Theory.

  • 31195.0736

    a Higgs Boson. At Fermi Lab, one the eve of the particle accelerator Tevatron's shutdown, an anomaly is spotted and it might be nothing, but nothing is statistically impossible at one quarter of one percent. If it is an H.B. then the very building block of matter might have been shed.

  • 31191.0930

  • 31188.1230

    Subway (1950)

  • 31181.2040

    ...buy a spot in a bunker. "where would you go with three days notice?"

  • 31170.1921

    What would you choose to fund as a world culture:

    Two obvious luxuries or the safety of a majority of the species in our oceans. Fukushima's array of Mark 1 reactors may become the first atomic sarcophagus adjacent to an ocean. Know what that means?

     

    [Fukushima's reactors are GE Mark I BWR's (Boiling Water Reactor) and their safety features have been heavily assailed by the U.S. regulatory agency N.R.C. since the early 70's; below is quoted from www.nirs.org, dated 1996]

    However, as early as 1972, Dr. Stephen Hanuaer, an Atomic Energy Commission safety official, recommended that the pressure suppression system be discontinued and any further designs not be accepted for construction permits. Shortly thereafter, three General Electric nuclear engineers publicly resigned their prestigious positions citing dangerous shortcomings in the GE design.

    An NRC analysis of the potential failure of the Mark I under accident conditions concluded in a 1985 report that "Mark I failure within the first few hours following core melt would appear rather likely."

    In 1986, Harold Denton, then the NRC's top safety official, told an industry trade group that the "Mark I containment, especially being smaller with lower design pressure, in spite of the suppression pool, if you look at the WASH 1400 safety study, you'll find something like a 90% probability of that containment failing." In order to protect the Mark I containment from a total rupture it was determined necessary to vent any high pressure buildup. As a result, an industry workgroup designed and installed the "direct torus vent system" at all Mark I reactors. Operated from the control room, the vent is a reinforced pipe installed in the torus and designed to release radioactive high pressure steam generated in a severe accident by allowing the unfiltered release directly to the atmosphere through the 300 foot vent stack. Reactor operators now have the option by direct action to expose the public and the environment to unknown amounts of harmful radiation in order to "save containment." As a result of GE's design deficiency, the original idea for a passive containment system has been dangerously compromised and given over to human control with all its associated risks of error and technical failure.