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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #149


Second #7003, 116:43

The camera pulls back, low like in the beginning when it entered the lawn grass, to reveal Jeffrey, lounging, Sandy just having told him that “lunch is ready.” A concrete angel looks over him as he suns himself in his black pants and heavy black shoes. Order has been restored, but something has changed, something is different. You can feel it in the framing of the shot, in the oddly canted way that Sandy and the house bend inward, towards the center.

In his recent book In the Dust of This Planet, Eugene Thacker questions the assumption that human thought “is always determined within the framework of the human point of view.” The answer seems obvious: of course human thought is human. What else could it be? Thacker proposes a radical alternative:

Scientists estimate that ninety percent of the cells in the human body belong to non-human organisms (bacteria, fungi, and a whole bestiary of other organisms). Why shouldn’t this also be the case for human thought as well? In a sense, this book is an exploration of that idea—that thought is not human.

Earlier posts have suggested that Frank is evil in a supernatural sense, as evident in moments such as his “I’ll fuck anything that moves” disappearing scene at Ben’s place, which are imbued with a sort of dark magic. The strange thing about this frame, at second 7003, is that despite the destruction of Frank, and the waking of Jeffrey into the restored world, something is still amiss, as if trace remnants of the earlier, darker parts of the film had somehow been dragged into the present of this frame. Perhaps the question should be: is Jeffrey still Jeffrey? The figure of the protagonist in a lounge chair is echoed in Lynch’s Lost Highway, and the appearance of Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty), a white picket fence in the background of both frames.

What if the horror that Blue Velvet hints at is not local (Lumberton) but cosmic? Jeffrey—who is staring up at a robin in a tree at this moment, as revealed in the previous shot—senses something, and so do we. Perhaps the robin is actually, as Sandy hinted at earlier, not from this planet, but from out there somewhere (an escapee from Eraserhead’s “Man in the Planet”?), a feathered signal that has managed to cross into our world, perceptible to Sandy and Jeffrey and, by extension, to us.

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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