05.02.2016

Thom Andersen and Mario Pfeifer

All you have to do is say, ‘it’s like something meets something else but with a twist’ and people will contemplatively dunk their heads up and down. But do they get it? I don’t know if they understand. I don’t know if I understand. It’s real difficult to foot in the land slide of similes. Someone at a party told me recently, ‘Yeah, it’s exactly like Die Hard meets…meets March of the Penguins meets Koyannisqatsi, but with a twist.’ And I inhaled through my nose a few times, deeply, as if to say, I get it.

I’m also guilty of moving away from concreteness with words, and it goes without saying that Los Angeles is by no means alone on this ubiquitous score, but it does seem more pervasive there because people talk in images. Is this just what we do when we are out at the end of our ability with words? Do we put up referents around the thing we are trying to describe? Sign Posts. Vernacular triangles. Picture this. Here it is. Once you go this way, you can just keep walking the perimeter.ĘThe last word is never in.

Mario, I’ve been trying to eat my own critique of this communication tic and deadened language by describing yall’s films with my own irresponsibly issued vernacular triangle, but I came slow to the point that yall’s films already do that responsibly. iEspecially Thom’s films. I mean, Los Angeles Plays Itself, not only is like blank meets blank meets blank with a twist it is blank blank meets blank meeets blank but with a twist (Anyways, I don’t want to overly emphasize this low-wattage epiphany because it seems, for better or worse, that a steady tacit in films, especially art-house stuff, is to be highly referential to the medium or ancestry.)

I’ve always thought that the only trailer you need for a film is your brain. I don’t mean to put up a vocational defense for the impotent P.R. Brat, or pass down the chattel that a picture is worth a thousand words (the price of that phrase is plummeting, I hope), but I think were better off just sitting down in the dark and eschewing surplussage until the films are over.

A screening of:

Mario Pfeifer, Reconsidering The new Industrial Parks near Irvine California, by Lewis Baltz, 1974, 2009. Dual 16mm projections with sound. 13m

Thom Andersen, Get Out of the Car, 2010. 16mm film with sound. 34m