Subjects and Objects
Posted by <Andy Bennett> on 2022-02-15
Subjects and Objects, 2022 HD Video, TRT 10:06 min, Andy Bennett
Linus, from the cartoon “Peanuts,” sucks his thumb and holds his blanket against his face. The first narrator says, “No human being is free from the strain of relating outer and inner reality.”
Snoopy runs from off screen and bites down onto the blanket, dragging Linus behind him. Linus holds on to the end of the blanket as Snoopy hurls him around the room until eventually, he lets go. Linus lays on the ground visibly hurt.
“The social subject emerges in the ‘potential space’ between the individual and the environment. It is here, in this potential space, that the subject acquires agency.”
Linus angrily takes the blanket back from Snoopy. Linus immediately begins sucking his thumb and holding his blanket against his face as Snoopy looks him up and down in a manner that communicates he is frustrated.
“The struggle between our impulses and a sense of security is an eternal struggle, which is acted out in our engagements with transitional phenomena.”
Linus then begins to dance with his blanket, and inexplicably the blanket becomes animated and dances along side him.
“They belong to the subject’s fantasy world, while at the same time having a physical existence in the outer world of material objects.”
A supercut of the interiors of hoarded houses from the A&E television show “Hoarders” plays.
The second narrator says, “The act of hoarding affirms the existence of a material agency at work. The objects just took over, got out of hand, overwhelmed me. I experience the hoard as having its own drive to persist and grow. And feel the insistent allure of objects in thrift shops and dumpsters. The items demand to be taken home with me.”
The first narrator interjects, “But how do things manage to do this?”
The second narrator responds, “One way to explain the ability of paper, plastic, stone, or glass to actually overwhelm people, is in terms of the object’s comparative advantage, in relation to human flesh, when it comes to endurance, patience, waiting it out.”
The first narrator interjects again, “It’s in the nature of bodies to be susceptible to infusion, invasion, collaboration, by or with other bodies.”
The second narrator responds, “Any boundary of entityhood is always subject to change. Bodies are essentially inter-corporeal. I have a membrane around me. There is a membrane around all bodies, and they’re somewhat porous. This applies to my objects, as well as my body; each bares the imprints of the other. I’m acutely aware of these connections, and I have a keen sense of myself as a permeable and aggregate body, integrated into the hoard.”
Tom Hanks draws a face into a bloody handprint on a Wilson volleyball.
The first narrator says, “This is the actor Tom Hanks personifying a volleyball in the movie ‘Castaway.’ Wilson the volleyball served as Hanks’ character’s only companion during the four years that he spent alone on a deserted island.”
Tom Hanks takes the ball out of the cardboard packaging and sits it on a tree stump. “When the movie was released, Wilson Sporting Goods launched its own joint promotional campaign emphasizing how one of its products was co-starring with Tom Hanks. They then manufactured a volleyball with a reproduction of the bloodied handprint on the surface.”
Tom Hanks appears flailing in the water, screaming, “Wilson” as the ball floats further and further away from him.
“Object loss doesn’t only give rise to feelings of sadness and longing. The first reaction may be one of anger and the desire to attack the self for being responsible for the loss. Projecting onto objects helps the ego overcome anxiety. The process of splitting parts of the self and projecting them onto objects is thus of vital importance for development.”
Tom Hanks grabs onto his raft before it too starts to float away from him in the water.
“Affordances have been defined as potential actions that objects allow. For example: A handle affords gripping, just like a doorknob affords twisting, or a button affords pressing. Merely looking at an object primes the brain to perform the action the object affords.”
The second narrator says, “I am a woman. And this is a bridge.”
A woman gazes at the Golden Gate bridge.
“And despite our vast differences, we are very much in love. And our love in itself is no different from any other love that exists between two beings.”
She walks on the bridge holding a piece of iron that was once apart of the bridge. Two spectators watch her as she holds the piece, and looks out at the water.
“I feel very, very blessed to have a piece of my sweet Golden Gate Bridge. I just hope that when I make love with this piece of him, that he can sense and feel how much I really, really love him. Because I am in love with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. And the Golden Gate Bridge is very much in love with me.”
The woman caresses a red fence.
“People can love objects, but they love them to a certain degree. More or less for practical purposes. That’s why they don’t see the soul of the object. Whereas when you truly, truly, are interested in an object, and you’re willing to bear your soul, then you see theirs.”
The woman rides an elevator overlooking Paris.
The first narrator asks, “Why are some of the objects a he and some are a she?”
The woman gets off the elevator and looks up at the Eiffel Tower.
The second narrator responds, “You know, obviously, you can’t lift up a leg on the Eiffel Tower and see whether she’s male or female. But I think really what it boils down to is — We can’t call the object an ‘it.’”
The woman kisses a beam of the Eiffel Tower, and proceeds to mount it.
“Well, every time I come here, I always feel that there’s some distance. Some barrier between her and I. But now that barrier is gone. I mean, I’m one with my body is flowing into her cold steel, and the cold of her steel is flowing into my body, and we are reaching equilibrium, where we both are the same temperature.” The first narrator asks, “Is it not unpleasant that she’s so cold?” The second narrator responds, “It’s actually quite pleasant that she’s cold. Because I can feel the exchange of temperature between us. Which is an exchange of energy, and that energy is very spiritual.”
The first narrator asks, “And do you feel that she loves you back?” The second narrator responds,
“Oh gosh yes! She definitely loves me back. I can feel that.”
A montage of architecture and art from Florence including, “David” by Michelangelo, “Madonna Enthroned” by Giotto, “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, “David” by Donatello, “Medusa” by Caravaggio, “Primavera” by Botticelli, “Penitent Magdalene” by Donatello, “Jacob and Esau Panel” from “Gates of Paradise,” by Ghiberti, appear on screen.
The first narrator says, “The staff at Florence’s Santa Maria Nuova hospital are accustomed to tourists suffering from dizzy spells or disorientation after viewing the statue of David, other artworks in the Uffizi Gallery, and various historic relics in the Tuscan city.
“I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence .... Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty .... I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations .... Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves.’ Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.
“Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the same cerebral areas involved in emotional responses are activated during exposure to art.
“What transpires between the “viewer” and the artwork that causes such a strong physiological response?”
The Black Knight, from the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” says, “I move for no man.” King Arthur responds, “So be it.” A sword fight begins between the two characters.
The second narrator says, “The problem with the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, is that when you get down to a small enough part, you can’t figure out what the whole is anymore. For example, what if he cut his arm off?”
King Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s arm.
The second narrator says, “There’s an arm, and there’s him.”
“Tis but a scratch” the Black Knight says. “A scratch? Your arm’s off!” King Arthur says. “No, it isn’t” the Black Knight says. “What’s that then?” King Arthur gestures to the bloody arm on the ground. “I’ve had worse.” “You Liar” King Arthur says. “Come on you pansy!” the Black Knight says.
They begin to fight again. The second narrator asks, “Now what if he cut off both his arms?”
King Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s remaining arm. “He’s still there.”
The Black Knight continues to try to fight King Arthur with just his legs.
“What if he cut off his leg?”
King Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s leg.
“At what point does he stop being himself?”
The first narrator asks, “At what point does the body transform from subject to object?”
King Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s remaining leg.
The second narrator responds, “I am in the process of dying, and will eventually turn into inorganic material, and because of that fact, there is an underlying material connection between me and inorganic objects.”