The Ventriloquists 10. Meshes of the Afternoon: 3 pictograms of warped time & space 夢的秩序:午間的網陣,翹曲的時空

The Ventriloquists 10. Meshes of the Afternoon: 3 pictograms of warped time & space 夢的秩序:午間的網陣,翹曲的時空

The Ventriloquists 腹語系

發表於: 11 Jul 2020

Three works interpret American avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, each visualizing a unique aspect of the film. 三個圖像,結構細節形骸有別,都是對準美國前衛名作《午間的網陣》,剖開不同層面的內部物質真相。

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RESEARCH KEYWORDS: dream narrative, time as space, multiplicity, desires, psychoanalysis, multi-linearity, montage, continuity 夢的敘事法、時間作為空間、多向、慾望、精神分析、複線性、蒙太奇、結合


Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, Maya Deren)

[watch the video]

“The film’s narrative is circular and repeats several motifs, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a mysterious Grim Reaper–like cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, a phone off the hook and an ocean. Through creative editing, distinct camera angles, and slow motion, the surrealist film depicts a world in which it is more and more difficult to catch reality.” (Wikipedia)

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MA Qingzhou CyanThe Symphony of a Dream World  
A pictogram for Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon

My pictogram compares the experimental film, Meshes of the Afternoon, to music scores, in terms of their looping nature. The logical and highly organized system of repetition in music scores to me also depicts the rich vertical and horizontal dimensions of the film.  

In this pictogram, the four movements serve as both time and space of the 

narration in Meshes. From bottom to top, the escalation indicates the structure of scenes and the heroine’s route: the road–first floor–second floor. And the sequence of the score is a step-to-step depiction of the horizontal content of the film, which concerns the breaking up and reordering of the linear process of each iteration of repetition.

Dream is the journey of exploring one’s deeper inner self, a world in which time and space may have very different measures. The dream world does not follow logic and rules in reality. Here, time distorts, flows backward, loops, leaps, faults; space displaces, extends, self-copies, becomes a plane, … … 



Daniel Wai (Wai Ka-kin): Meshes of the mind
A pictogram of Meshes of the Afternoon, Maya Deren, 1943

I wanted this pictogram to be able to convey the dream-like narrative of Meshes of the Afternoon. So I created a timeline with another axis used to represent the surreal nature which dreams tend to have. I started using a method similar to Freudian psychoanalysis to determine what symbols might have significance. But then I placed the final frame of the film to overlay the entire pictogram as the total culmination of events, and as the film collapses into the final image, redefining the events that took place in the rest of the film. This chaotic sea of images which seemingly have no relation between each other in fact reflects the nature of this film. This sea of emotions and thoughts that we are treading through to find the end to trying to understand this dream.


ZHOU Zixuan (Steven Zhou): The Circular Stairs: Objects, Actions and Mind 
A Pictogram for Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)


Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon highlights surrealism, dream narrative, and the beauty of the human mind by utilizing loop, repetition, and the emphasis of objects and the characters’ actions. The universe resembles the complexity of the human mind; the spiral staircase in my pictogram is what exists in our mind. Starting from the outermost part to the innermost part, we will enter deeper and deeper into the many layers of the dream. Dream aesthetics prefers complexity and mystery. We might be able to peek at the profoundness of human consciousness.


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