The Delirium of Negation

Episode Two Hundred Thirty One: The Delirium of Negation.
In which we not.

1 comment:

  1. I remember vacillating on which frames to include on this one. I'm fairly certain I had the storyline down before I started on the first SM four weeks' earlier, though the formation of this strip likely morphed as the weeks progressed and the individual strips presented themselves. I'm happy with how it came out.

    Reading it now, I see it as a commentary on the invective to not pass judgment. As a hypothetical, it’s a great sentiment. The birth of this hypothetical, however, is itself a transformation into the practical, and so calls for its practice, and that practice is always fundamentally antithetical to one's instinct, i.e., it's as painful as ripping the ego from the id. But this is likely a judgment evoked from the ego that is untrue and based in fear.

    Again, the 'Art' line from Kurt's Rejoinder, Before and After Science, '77. But, of course, if you're this far along with me and don't recognize the Art figure in the last frame by this point I'm not sure I want to keep having to explain that to you.

    'Separate the torso from the spine' has been rattling around up there, and it's bouncing against a photo-journal essay I encountered in the mid-90's of political unrest in Central America. One photo captured a dumping ground for bodies, the image itself a lush jungle mountain view that could have been an inviting tourist postcard if not for the bloated pair of legs in jeans that sat idly on a pile of brush, a gleaming stack of lumbar vertebrae rising up from the waist, clipped at about L1. It was an unceremonious reveal (which was, no doubt, the power of the image), and the incongruity of it brought that shock of unreality.

    The banality of a stuffed pair of Levis, just like the pair I had been no doubt wearing as I took in this image, the person inside them no doubt similarly having enjoyed swimming, and television, and music, and evenings with family, and fresh bread. Yet here also was a half-corpse, severed at the waist, the backbone feebly reaching for the sky. Rotting meat, discarded, in a jungle, and just one of the many reports of half-heard human disappearances that were peripheral to my daily suburban routine. *This* was the cold war, and it was very cold.

    In my early 20's, long before the Internet, I received Amos Vogel's 1974 book ‘Film As A Subversive Art’, in which there's a couple of b&w stills from Stan Brakhage's (1971) 'The Act Of Seeing With One's Own Eyes'. This is a silent and impassive documentary of the business inside a Pittsburg mortuary, following (I am to understand - still haven't seen it) autopsies and the embalming process.

    There was one image that eluded me, and, as it was one of dozens of intriguing images in the book, I never gave it close scrutiny. But it began to grow on me, and one day I sat down and stared at it until I understood what I'd been looking at. It was a human head on which the scalp had been peeled from the cranium and pulled forward, covering the face and tucked under the chin. Having previously come to know the image without understanding its significance made this realization itself a viscerally uncomfortable subversion.

    So, that's something around the spine line, I think.

    The title, 'The Delerium of Negation', is a late 1800's psychological study that details the 'Cotard Delusion' (by neurologist Jules Cotard) in which the patient believes themselves to be dead, that they do not exist, that they are putrefying, or that they have lost their blood or internal organs. (From Wikipedia on 'Cotard Delusion'.) Yup.



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