live from "Berlin"
(ostensibly) on le nü dasha Film
print is dead. zines are dead. film is dead. G̶o̶d̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶d̶e̶a̶d̶ – no no no – we must bring God back. before: the cinema was a church – to sit in the dark in absolute silence imbibing that one stream of media – there was nothing like it. and I miss it more than anything else. With no church to attend, there was a crisis of faith – we had to bring back God, in a time more unsuited for God than ever: we had to make God new, once we realized the unrealized realities – hearts souls minds bodies eternal monads and undying dyads putting on their airpods & tapping into the latest BLOODZ BOI 血男孩 and Triad God in the brief moments before brief sinofuturism takes us into the moments before collapse. I feel like Nick Drake I feel like Nick Land I feel like Walter Benjamin I feel like Drake I feel like Swami Vivekananda I feel like Rainald Goetz I feel like Vilém Flusser I feel like Young Thug I feel like low iq Mark Fisher I feel like Fernando Pessoa but most of all I feel like Pablo. plz baby no more parties in LA. plz baby no more parties in E8. plz baby n more – take this – it's only a moment. I can give it, but you have to take it: take a moment to take a breath to pray to inhale deep to find God. it's every moment, 4 u 4 me 4 us 4ever <333 I'll see you on the other side:
We started with images – the drawings on the walls of Lascaux, then hieroglyphics muddling things before linear writing emerged, controlling our conception of reality. Time became linear, History became linear – and God was flattened: no more beautiful hymns at churches lifting the souls of illiterate masses. The oral traditions were lost, there are Vedas that we’ll never hear again, and who’s to say if that Gregorian chant sounds as it should. Forever living in Nubia. God is a sound – it only takes a walk through Istanbul and hearing the Adhan ring out across the city to realize the beautiful, harmonious realities that are still possible.
But the power of God was transferred to those who could wrest the image of God from cold scripture and conjure it back into the lives of the people. Bazin said intelligence flows from the audio to the visual; he meant that spiritual experiences reach their apotheosis through sound – you feel it while watching a ghost dance with a lover in Atlantique while Fatima Al-Qadari’s Body Double plays or being lost in delirium as the voices of Derek Jarman’s Blue echo around you. It’s that recurring refrain that goes into full effect as Antoine Doinel breaks from his prison and runs to the beach. It’s the same as waking up before the sun rises and taking an autorickshaw to the temples in Chidambaram – where you feel the resonances of the mantras and bells bouncing against the wall at frequencies you never knew existed, eyes fogged with sleep, half-awake, half-asleep in a half-stolen memory. This was before science, or rather, perhaps, when science was God, and energy flowed throughout the world in equilibrium.
But it could only get worse: science stole God from the cosmos and rendered the sky a wretched mess of known phenomena. But where was Heaven supposed to go? Another day spent under a soulless sky, amongst the continual series of bastardizations that necessitated the very recreation of God: where – our minds, our hearts, the constructions of our realities – our spirits, our souls, and Love.
What goes up must come down: we’re about to sink back to the equilibrium. Everyone realizes it – it’s the reason Uzi appropriated Heaven’s Gate iconography, it’s the reason evilgiane is heavens gate CEO – we know how close we are to The End. push me to the edge // all my friends are dead – linear writing took control of Life, and conceptions of thought, of history, of time became linear too. Image production moved towards the representational, then towards abstraction once linear thought lead to the technologies that allowed technical reproduction of images. And the 20th century saw the slow rise of the technical image, then came the explosion of the 21st century which we are only just beginning to see – one where technical images emerge as the dominant apparatus that conditions our thought, where realities are blurred, all on the edge of the apocalypse – a moment before the transition between worlds – the Kali Yuga was meme’d into Online Consciousness, and we are on the precipice – of what I wish I knew. I’ll never know the future – I only know God’s love.
Linear writing is over. The era of the technical image is here and we’ve lost everything that comes before it. History doesn’t exist, 9/11 will be widely recognized as Based by its 20th anniversary, the amount of data scraped by the Chinese government from TikTok will prove sufficient for them to create GPT-4 deepfakes of American teenagers to launch mass disinformation campaigns against the Zoomers while leveraging psychological warfare on the Roblox fronts of Gen Alpha. The TikTok stars and YouTubers of tomorrow will be composites of pixels and vocal samples, and AI will resuscitate the beauty of Fado while synthesizing it Gqom – the new Clairo will ostensibly be a light-skinned child of Portuguese immigrants from New Bedford, MA – you won’t be able to prove otherwise – which is why they leaked the Avril Lavigne clone story…
Born too late to get paid tens of thousands of dollars to write words while abusing a duffel bag full of drugs, born too early to be apparatus-conditioned like never before into Mind Control Bliss. Guerilla psychiatries will emerge, practiced by occult groups attempting to save some semblance of ‘public thought’ but it’s all lost already, the era of the fent-xan will be eternal, there’s no reason to not overdose, a future with hope cannot exist until after the Collapse. So we must push things as far as we can, we must pierre menard every book we’ve never read and transform the past into an endless cycle of ever-fleeting technical images: buy fake accounts by lauren oyler, paint over the pages, print your screenshots, paste them over the paint, cum tribute every page to glue the book closed, 3D scan it, upload the CAD file to the blockchain, mint an NFT, become God. This is the new immaculate conception.
Mark Fisher said Borges doesn’t make it into cyberspace. Flusser said that with the end of linear writing comes the end of history. The Tractatus said a picture is a model of reality. Which picture? Which reality? Idk but I’m feeling quirked up, I’m feeling omnipresent – it’s like that one Veeze IG story: white text on a black background – ‘Gods put me here to be a creator’. And when I watched The Scary of Sixty-First’ and thought ‘imma fix w̶o̶l̶v̶e̶s̶ film criticism,’ I didn’t just realize, I Realized: God put me here to put these words down. The world is collapsing into itself, everything is dying, and a form of the cinema will be resurrected but Lola Bunny’s curves and Monsieur Pepe Le Pew will never return. I can’t go on I’ll go on. we’re here because Dasha has a new film @ berlin – there are graves to dance on. God said to dive into the abyss – may we find Love as we take the plunge.
Another lede to a different version of this: Dasha is Jonah Hill is Dasha is Jonah Hill. Jonah’s film school was working with Tarantino and Scorsese, Dasha’s collab-ed w/ Eugene Kotlyarenko & has had Pinkerton on her pod (significantly more valuable experiences that Tarantino correcting how you inflect the n word during takes). Jonah Hill made Mid90s and got his big dick I’m jonah hill music budget, Dasha made ‘the scary’ and got Anna K’s boyfriend to do the score. Jonah Hill shot on 16mm, Dasha shot on 16mm. White Boys Across America love(d?) seeing pictures of Jonah Hill’s “street style” & emulating it, White Girls Across America love to tap into the Dasha media stream (pod, ig, twitter, etc.) & emulate her, wishing their vocal fry was as good as hers. Both made films that premiered at international art film festivals (though Dasha’s was in a real section), but that also show how almost any American film being made today is a remake of some kind – in the case of Dasha, a blend of giallo (everyone’s talking about this), with some Eyes Wide Shut & Polanski references sprinkled in – you could throw Possession in there too. The key difference is in casting: Jonah Hill was too washed and old to play himself so he cast a skinny attractive kid to represent the childhood he never had (and plugged himself w/ a statutory W in the process), Dasha plays an Epstein-obsessed nameless character who sips vyvanse water – the delineation gets lost because all you associate the image of ~the character~ with is Dasha. The effect creates two films: one for the contextless audiences – which will be interesting to see depending on whether the film gets mainstream multiplex distribution (v possible given the genre and Dasha’s rising star power from Succession + BBC shows) – and a film functions as a hybridized extension of the ~ Red Scare Cinematic Universe ~
And maybe ~ Red Scare Cinematic Universe ~ is both cringe and not entirely fair. It seems that Dasha’s on the trajectory to become “the next Chloë Sevigny – if only because cultural memory has all but vanished and ‘Chloë Sevigny’ just vaguely signifies vaguely alt and/or somewhat transgressive blonde – while Anna is retreating into motherhood. It makes sense given their pre-Red Scare lives of aspiring actress & academic. Virality is a near necessary part of cultural success today – and it isn’t stumbled upon, but thoughtfully manufactured – jumping from Sailor Socialism to director makes sense the same way TeeJayX6 is standing next to Kasher Quon in the viral clip of ‘Shut the Fuck up! God Damn’ in 2016, then emerging as the star of 2019 scam rap.
All this to say, the film as a standalone is fine – that’s all it really needs to be to serve its purpose in Dasha’s trajectory – and the decision to take the giallo horror approach to the Epstein story will probably pay off in terms of distribution and marketability. So far the film has “polarized critics” and will be “controversial” whenever it becomes available (quotes b/c everything’s meaningless). Betsey Brown does a great job being fucked up and possessed, driving the film’s tension and excavating something torturous through the reeneactments of what was Real. The era of algorithmic streaming content means that people have already forgotten the Epstein documentary that Netflix did – so this film will break new grounds, etc. There’s the oft-quoted Rivette bit about how ‘every film is a documentary of its own making’ and this is where the real horror of Scary comes from. Nekrasova choreographs a hidden reality’s reenactment and the result is gripping, shocking, horrifying, etc. (all the publications that write reviews to provide pull quotes for movie posters & trailers will do a better job at this than me) – but none of this is the point, so much as whether the film enters the broader cultural landscape or is a niche viewing for the Red Scare Audience – whether the film will function as a standalone, or whether it’s just another piece of media in Dasha’s Cinema of the Interface.
If you live in the Red Scare Reality, you already know Epstein didn’t kill himself, that Dasha loves stims, that “Eyes Wide Shut was a documentary”, and an Anna K cameo that doesn’t serve the film in any meaningful purpose will mean something to you. This is the function the podcasts and posts serve now – as reality building machines: the more you consume, the more developed the world will be. The more they’re consumed, the more they can develop the world (see Anna taking credit for Lasch sales at the Strand). The thing about podcasts is that they really take up a significant amount of time and I haven’t listened to an episode of Red Scare since summer 2018 (though I’ve bookmarked the Žižek and Adam Curtis ones but idk when I’ll get around to it) but I listened to Dasha’s episode on Contain (preview here – also probably the most worthwhile ~podcast~ you can find in 2021, esp. in terms of they use the medium) – which more interestingly excavates her past, from when she knew Barrett in Oakland while attending Mills College & writing her thesis on Nietzsche. So when you view Scary in the Red Scare Cinematic Univrse, you’re watching Dasha make moves – both on and off-screen as she becomes the anti-girlboss girlboss starlet enfant terrible director of what will the nü “nEW yORk iNdIe sCeNE” while making a film that hybridizes our current reality with another remake.
““IT’S SIMPLE, PEOPLE PRODUCE WORKS, AND WE DO WE WHAT WE CAN WITH THEM, WE USE THEM FOR OURSELVES”. (SERGE DANEY) – NICOLAS BOURRIAUD, POSTPRODUCTION
In her interview with Adam Cook, Dasha describes the film as a “loveletter to Kubrick” and that Scary feels so heavily indebted to Eyes Wide Shut isn’t necessarily a bad thing but again brings up the idea of context when watching films, especially in a time of extreme post-historical collapse. There’s an homage to those shots of Tom Cruise facing the camera while walking around a greenscreened “New York” and the more overt reference to the letter – all of which I’m resonate with me at a level of pure apathy. Could it have been done better? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not. One of the main issues with cinema as a medium is that there’s a real limit on how far one can experiment with abstracting form in the context of remix while still being palatable/marketable/accessible to be consumed as ‘entertainment’ for mass commercial audiences.
The plasticity of rap music illustrates the optimal form for remix in the 21st century – one where there are few barriers to mass distribution of sounds and an entire Soundcloud ecosystem acting as an accelerator that on a macro-scale rapidly recombines elements of every type of music that’s been uploaded to the internet. There’s SEMATARY and Ghost Mountain sampling MBV, xxn1ff of jewelxxet spearheading a jerk revival, or the 2010s staple of Chief Keef remixing Gucci Mane Hearing 03 Greedo take a line from one of Pimp C’s most iconic verses and flip it into an entire new series of flows shows us the possibility of manufacturing a semblance of' ‘new’ from the available forms: the crisis of 21st cinema is that it will never be able reach these levels of experimentation to generate ‘new’ if it is beholdened to the vast corporate enterprises that gatekeep the standards of production, distribution, and consumption.
Eugene Kotlyarenko’s weare.fyi was rolled out onto its own website, bypassing all of the major power structures at play, in the final hours of the year. It’s radical in that it synthesizes a number of tropes from films of the 90s and aughts about regular people that aren’t made anymore (Guy has a shitty marriage, guy hates his job, guy is a reluctant father, etc etc etc) while edited in a way that evokes AWGE videos at times and is devoid of any obvious references to cinema history – remixing past cultural memories into the present with the smoothest execution possible.
The thing about Scary is that while it isn’t substantially revelatory, it is far enough ahead of the curve as we get ready to usher in our new era of arthouse remake, and that’s probably all it really needs to be for success. Alicia Vikander, A24, and HBO are turning Irma Vep into longform television – it’s only a matter of time before they option Ruiz’s Time Regained to be the new Crown and lose the source material altogether. The world will fall back into equilibirum, and as it does we will consume copies of copies of copies, and then we will die. We’ve moved past the poor image into a culture of derivative images. The only image left to be made is that of imagelessness – of God. We can only make it for ourselves.
how do we reckon with the end o̶f̶ ̶h̶i̶s̶t̶o̶r̶y̶?
pray with me: