The Museum of Vestigial Desire

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Cinema, the original grand narrative which has tried to replace reality itself as a reference frame, is misguidedly celebrating that it has survived all these years. We hold this celebration to be a mistake. We believe a mourning is more in order. Mourning how over the years it has slid down from its pedestal of spectacular magic to becoming a random image on a fifteen inch screen that fills time between advertisements. Mourning how at one time it was actually a living manifestations of the urge to create a life-like fabric, with bends, folds, ruptures, tears and mirror-work. In the act of playing God, very quickly what happened was a break down of the shamanic aura to a material logic of what propels it, the wisdom of awe broke down to the very base conversation about the mechanisms and techniques. So when video offered a fraudulent image as an alternative, cinema got distracted for a moment. Cinema started talking about method, viewing experience and technical quality. Cinema should have remembered that people still go to spas, temples, churches and still crave for a little bit of insulation as long as it is coupled with mystery, sour suspense and emotion. The cinema theatre could have grown up from a popcorn restaurant to so many other things.

But now we have a television at a home and a television in a darkened room. We have home theatres at all because cinema theatres are nothing more. Even commercial jets offer a more adventurous experience. I go to the toilet on a plane and I flush the toilet and I know I am flying through air.

Cinema is deeply wedded to the idea of continuous narrative, an illusion of space, time and emotion. Where does this come from? How did anyone ever think of a storybook which one could stare at and go home with a complete dream running in the head. Insomniacs to this day watch movies all night long, because it is an experience so close to sleeping. Even wet dreams are possible. Cinema is sleep. Cinema is dream-time.

To lovers, embedded deep within the love moment, this will remind them of something else. It will remind of love itself. When you stare at another person and track the fluctuations in their gestures across temporal landscapes, you are experiencing cinema. The first war known to humankind started when she said to him, "You are my cinema."

But how do you experience this when you are sitting by yourself on a dry rock in the middle of what was once a river? Only lovers have the automatic, continuous supply of cinema. Other folk, the cynics, the religious, the traders, the romantic, have no way to ever know this person-propelled-cinema experience.

And the world of cinema, the world of cameras, lights, actors and simulated sex was made to mimic the world of lovers for others. What shall we call the others, we don't know. The desire to copy this world is an unfulfilled desire. Unfulfilled in perpetuity. Vestigial. And this leads us back to the source of the desire. It lives in the heart of yearning. The same organ in the body of our emotion that years for love, yearns for cinema. When you are looking into the eyes of your beholder you don't need to watch a movie.

The need to watch a movie arises in the moments that you are disoriented, lost, joyless, dry, opaque, idle, wasted or nonchalant. And no movie ever made has been able to address that itch. They try to substitute the cemetery of dry as a bone hearts with lush green fields of evergreen emotions. But the replacement only lasts till the movie lasts, the landscapes are reset after that. And because you can't rent an apartment in the middle of the limelight, can't be the movie star's next-door neighbour cinema is peddling biscuits to the dead baby. Just peddling biscuits to the dead baby.