Thursday, January 26, 2006

Beauty, Sorrow, nice cup of tea...

TimeSink Alert!

Via the ever-splendid bldgblog comes the awesomestsome (is too a word) - the site of one Berhard Edmaier who takes possibly the most beautiful photographs I've ever seen. I know we're hard-wired to see faces in random patterns, and anthropomorphize anything that we're not actually ingesting at the time, but isn't it odd how landscapes have a sort of moral force, especially terrain seen from above?

[pause for browsing therein]

[deep breath]

This reminds me of/isn't quite the same thing as a meme on Clive Thompson's excellent blog collisiondetection concerning "solastalgia", meaning something like sorrow at one's own destroyed environment. This hopefully-not-increasingly-useful neologism was coined by Glenn Albrecht, a professor at the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle. He defines it as "the homesickness you feel when you're still at home" (swallows hard, glances away, acquires look of lantern jawed resolve)...

OK, they're not the same thing, but thanks to Stanley Kubrick, they're merging in my mind together, to the strains of Ligeti. The Big K (as he urged me to call him, both before and after his death) deserves at least some back-handed credit (if not actual bigging up or the recipience of props) for pressing some fabulous real actual proper composers (wigs, quills, everything) into service in his soundtracks. Kubs got a big leg-up from Ligeti, especially in The Shining but then the Ligster got actual popular exposure, and introduced the world at large to genuine orchestral terror.

The Strauss waltz in 2001 makes everyone smile, but it's the Ligeti that presses people back in their seat. 2001 in particular strikes me as the hardest Hard Art Movie to ever play a multiplex and gain admission to the popculture pantheon. By Hard I don't mean difficult to "get", more "harshly affective". I remember watching it as a kiddie and being reduced to snuffles by the SORROW of deep space, reasoning that maybe there is life out there, they just can't handle the woe of travelling to see us.

I'm now 33, and have had neither occasion nor cause to change my views on this matter.

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