Another Day, Another Traffic Cone 22

Copyright 2009 Jens Haas -

Yesterday I watched Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse. As my co-viewer nicely put it, an “intensely pointless, intense and pointless, pointlessly intense (and so on)” movie. Indeed, in a conversation with Mark Rothko, Antonioni once described his movies as empty but precise. So maybe my co-viewer wasn’t too far off. Great photography though, especially towards the end. Certainly precise, and more than that.

The spoken commentary by a film studies professor had us cringe––a reasonably healthy reaction I think to intellectual analysis of intellectual movies about non-intellectual things. Somehow, this kind of “art critic” always manages not to talk about the art but about himself, and drone on forever. Vittoria, the female protagonist, is “unconnected” to the world. The world is “changing.” La borsa is “scientific” (eh?). Vittoria is, in case you missed it, unconnected, and, when she makes a phone call, in the words of the professor this undoubtedly “does kind of represent an attempt to kind of reach out, to kind of establish a connection…” Oh well. Nothing about the photography, the framing, the architecture, the old versus new art in the movie, or indeed anything that the artist might find interesting. But a lot about unconnectedness.

Which reminds me of my other readings this summer. So far: “Anarchy, State, And Utopia” by Robert Nozick (smart and entertaining, however, not all anarchists are convinced), a couple of papers on scepticism (don’t ask), Somerset-Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge” (a self-assigned service task of the publisher, for one of the aspiring novelists to your right), “The Shining” (I found the first 200 pages a surprisingly good psychological profile of the main characters; instead of reading the remaining 500 pages, I’d rather watch the movie though), “Tales Of Ordinary Madness” by you know who, and a couple of other books I already forgot.

The highlight of the summer, so far, are re-runs of Kojak. The “when men were real men”-awkwardness aside, I cannot get over the fact how ugly today’s cars are in comparison, and how many of them congest this great city.

Put all of this together, and you have the reason why, in my work, I focus on traffic cones.