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Michael Snow and Bruce Elder in Conversation 225 attempt at realizing a specific concrete/materialist base. Successive seeming clarifications in my philosophy as in many others always lead to a Mystery. I'm not a "literary " philosopher but, if we are here to name everything, it all has to build to a Transcendental Signifier. Out of facetious humility, I'm "religious." The paragraph above means that I'm resigned to begging for revelation and thus probably don't deserve it. But Who's to say? More or less back on more or less land, I'd like to return to this path for a moment: in my work with still photography I've tried to consider the nature of the surface, the way the shot-of-image is mounted, presented (it should be "integrated" with some compositional/content job to do), the size of the final print in relation to the subject, the source of illumination. In many works, I've made the subjects themselves (Midnight Blue, Glares, A Wooden Look, Morning in Holland, Waiting Room, Times). In some cases the subject is in the final work (usually partially), as you mention. I've tried to control the ' 'distance'' from the here-and-now of the spectator to the times and places in the past when the photos were taken. This gap is closed quite tightly in some works which try to achieve the presentness and lack of deflection elsewhere, more fact than fiction, of the best abstract paintings (ideal of "modernism"!). I was very influenced by Mondrian. I haven't much time for representations that want to take me totally elsewhere. Rather sleep. Iris-IRIS is a recent piece which tries to contain a set of pyramidal states of readings of different times and places with (an attempt at) almost measurable temporal distances from the concrete here and now to remote meres and thens. Trying to make the inevitable nostalgia of photos palpable. First: the work is two equal-sized squares side by side. One panel includes a postcard of Mont Blanc on a painting (wall?). The other is a photo of a bedroom somewhere which shows the same (?) postcard same size on the same wall (painting?) in a late afternoon (?) light. The self-referentiality of this work might keep a spectator moving around in a perception/thought cycle. By comparison A Wooden Look keeps you (relatively) in the now. A past glance causing a present glance. My photo-works continue the mistakes of the Buffalo Photo-pictorialists!6 RBE: The diagrammatic shapes some of your films (the conical shape of Wavelength or the interlocking, nearly sinusoidal shapes of seem to me to possess temporal features analagous to those of representations. The shapes of both those films, for examples, suggest the passage of time and yet the diagrammatic shapes arrest the flow of time by converting time into a spatial form. These forms, then, like representations, seem to have aspects of both time and eternity. MS: I'm sure you can imagine how pleasing to me this paragraph is. Thank you. To shape time (actually it's mind) seems to me to be the quintessence of cinema. In The Republic, Plato has Socrates describe the levels of Being of Table (last long sequence of Rameau's Nephew involved in this too). He says that qualitativelya representation of a table is inferior to a real table made by a carpenter, but superior to that is the idea of table which is necessary before the other two can exist. Pythagoras is no doubt behind this and would have added a supra stage: the cube. I think it is unusualto be guided to sense time as a particular shape and that it is a refreshment with eternal implications, if you will. Also, Plato banished poets from the Republic not only because (as above) they trafficked in falsehoods but also because they seem to dwell on sorrow and make efforts to keep loss fresh. 226 The Collected Writingsof Michael Snow RBE: The spectator constructed by your early films has a similarly dual nature. One part of him is "entranced," mesmerized by the simple form; another part, a transcendent , reflective consciousness, is outside that experience reflecting upon that first part in the course of its experience. A duality similar to those described above seems to be involved here, since one part of the mind seems involved in the temporal experience and to participate in it, another part stands outside that experience and reflects upon...


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