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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #145


Second #6862, 114:22

Jeffrey, taking the gun from the Yellow Man’s jacket pocket, as Frank is in the bedroom, shooting. In addition to Jeffrey and the Yellow Man, there is the camera, or at least its presence, invisible in accordance with classical cinema’s codes, which, even after the deconstructive storms of postmodernism, are themselves invisible, having been absorbed into the very technologies that make film possible. In Blue Velvet, for the most part, the camera does not call attention to itself; most of its movement is motivated, aligned with, and justified by corresponding movements in the film’s narrative. And yet sometimes there are moments when the presence of the camera is suddenly and unexpectedly felt, moments when you feel the camera there even though the film doesn’t ask you to.

In “Clip 4,” a recent story within a story by Mark Danielewski, a young man tracks down a person who appeared in a mysterious clip of film/video, only to confront him with the fact that there was no camera to record the incident:

There, where it should have stood, had to have stood, to record your ‘Clip 4,’ to do all that panning and zooming, close-upping and such, there, right there, there never stood no one, and there sure never was no camera.

There is a similar moment in Gabriella Giandelli’s quiet, spooky, graphic novel Interiorae, a sudden surge the perspective into one of the panels suddenly seems impossible, breaking with the traditional formula of one panel = one captured frame of time. In the panel below, the character exists in unfolding time not in separate spaces, but the same space all at once.

As in film, there’s always a distinct visual perspective in the panels of comics and graphic novels, even though, when they are running with narrative throttles full open, we tend not to notice. There’s no reason to detect the presence of the camera at second #6862, nothing too striking about its composition, nothing meta- about it, and yet there it is, a moment when ideology cracks and we have a chance to rescue ourselves from the black grip of the film.

Over the period of one full year — three days per week — The Blue Velvet Project will seize a frame every 47 seconds of David Lynch’s classic to explore. These posts will run until second 7,200 in August 2012. For a complete archive of the project, click here. And here is the introduction to the project.

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