Memories of -In Memory of Truth- a new installation by Ligorano/Reese on view March 8-April 7 eyewash@Monk Gallery (see below)
Woke up this morning thinking about the Ligorano/Reese piece -In Memory of Truth- "Bush is the pinhead," I thought. On the gallery wall, behind the viewer through which you can see the films projected on the head of a pin, hangs a blown up t.v. photo of Bush being told about 9/11 by Andrew Card.
There is an important reference to "Blade Runner" in this installation. While making the piece, Marshall called me up to ask me about certain parts of the Ridley Scott film "Blade Runner" starring Harrison Ford as Deckard, Rutger Hauer as Batty and Sean Young as Rachel. One question was about Batty's final speech on the roof after he saves Deckard.The two were fighting to the death near the roof of a building. Even though moments before, Deckard had killed his lover, and days before his friend and her lover, Batty allows Deckard to live. As Deckard, now on the roof, stilll in shock, stares at him, Batty says: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. C-beams glittering near the Tanhauser gate, attack ships on fire over the shoulders of Orion. All those moments will be lost in time. Time to die." Batty nods his head and dies.
On the way back to his apartment, Deckard sees Gaff, the assistant to his boss. Deckard and Gaff are blade runners, killers hired by the agency to kill, or "retire" escaped replicants. Gaff says: "Too bad she won't live. Then again, who does?"
Deckard goes back to his apartment and sees Rachel inert on his bed. For a moment he doesn't know if she's alive. He calls to her: "Rachel...Rachel...Rachel..."
He asks: "Do you love me?"
Rachel says: "I love you."
Deckard asks: "Do you trust me?"
She says: "I trust you."
Voice-over of Gaff: "Too bad she won't live. Then again who does?"
Leaving the apartment with Rachel, Deckard sees a silver candy wrapper origami unicorn Gaff had left on the floor. Gaff had not killed Rachel as Deckard might have expected him to. Gaff knew Deckard loved Rachel and that was why he had said: "Too bad she won't live."
Deckard voice- over: "Gaff had been there and let her live. Four years he figured. He was wrong. Tyrell had told me Rachel was special. No termination date. I didn't know how long we had together. Who does?"
In referencing "Blade Runner" here Ligorano/Reese may be highlighting several aspects of memory and truth. For one thing, we are living in a historical moment of crisis when no one knows how long they have to live, due to the threat of universal nuclear annhilation, which immediately suggests parallels between the survival of truth and the survival of the human race, given the stakes in supporting or not supporting the far right fundamentalist Bush administration at this moment in time.
Also, the interesting issue of close-ups in the film and in -In Memory of Truth-. In the film, Deckard uses a computer that examines some photos he found in Leon's apartment. This computer, like the Ligorano/Reese magnifier, isolates imagery in close-up form. Leon was the first replicant he killed. By looking at the photo with specialized magnifying equipment, Deckard is able to see a photograph of Zhora, Leon's strip-teaser girlfriend who works with an artifical python. Finding the scales of this python, which Deckard gets examined microscopically by a steet vendor, leads Deckard to Zhora's workplace. With the close-ups of the photos found in Leon's apartment (another reference to the struggle to retain memory and truth), Deckard was able to see Zhora's image reflected in the bathroom mirror, while she is invisible in the photograph itself.
In evoking truth and memory, Ligorano/Reese may be suggesting that we are shown only copies of images, and possibly can only decide the truth not so much by distinguishing memories from reality, but by distinguishing truth from lies. No matter how closely a pinhead looks at the truth, he or she will find nothing other than reflections of his or her own conclusions. If we are to save ourselves from the Tyrells= the tyrants, we have to look back and forth between our own insights into the images we are presented by the media, the same images as understood by our own close examination. In any case, like old war films, the truths repeat themselves again and again, old movies collaged together and repeated in a loop.
Images of war speak for themselves to anyone but a pinhead. "You don't need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows," sang Dylan over 30 years ago. if we look at reality closely for ourselves. If we examine with great thought and care (=magnification) the conclusions subliminally provided for us by the hypnotizing, propagandistic images pounded into us by mass media, we will remember nothing but what the powers that be want us to remember. These are not memories, as Deckard says to Rachel about her memories, these are implants. Like those of Rachel, our memories are implanted by tyrants by means of mass media manipulations. [I am reminded here of Steven Matheson's films as well, particularly his "Apple Grown In Wind Tunnel" discussed in these pages recently.]
Again and again, Ligorano/Reese's installations by means of multiple layering of imagery, recording, echoing and reflecting the ominous political realities around us, warns us to look very, very closely and examine reality for ourselves if we want to know the truth, if we want to survive. We will never understand anything about the truth by looking at what either the fundamentalist pinhead Bush wants us to see, or what the corporate mass media reveals to us, since both are blindly counting angels on the head of a pin and then deceiving themselves and us about it, while the world around them threatens to implode.