Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Motion Beyond The Witch Point




At the end of season three Lana left Smallville and flew to Paris to study art. Lex helped her finance her trip by buying her share of the coffee shop they owned together. This is one of the rare moments in the series where Lana is happy.

This is all pretend of course. It’s actress Kristin Kreuk pretending to be Lana Lang and actor Michael Rosenbaum pretending to be Lex Luthor. And “Lana Lang” and “Lex Luthor” are cartoon characters anyway. It’s pretend pretend.






A while ago I posted about how I haven’t often seen people playing musical instruments in general entertainment—movies or TV shows not specifically about musicians, Returning From A Walk To Mars. But I posted a couple of examples from the TV show Smallville where people had been shown playing musical instruments for fun. Mostly it was the supervillain Lex at one of his grand pianos, Lost In The Villainy.

It occurred to me recently, too, that you don’t often see people in general entertainment painting or drawing for pleasure.

But immediately I thought of two exceptions and predictably the exceptions I thought of were from Smallville.

First of all, we did once see the interior of Lana’s room above the coffee shop where she was, apparently, in the middle of a painting:


We don’t actually see her working on the painting, but she does have a heavy-duty easel back there. And it is odd that it appears to be a marine painting while Smallville is in the middle of Kansas, but maybe it’s a scene from Crater Lake. At any rate it does appear to be a painting-in-progress so the scene stands out in my memory.

But not as much as this one:


Look: Lana is in Paris, in some church, and she is about to make a rubbing of a carved grave marker. She has placed a sheet of paper over the carved image, and she is holding a piece of stick media in her right hand—maybe charcoal or pastel or even a simple crayon. (I believe it’s traditional to place little weights of some kind at the corners of the paper to help hold it in position, but I might be wrong about that so I’ll let it go.)

Anyway, when you rub the stick media lightly then medium-vigorously over the paper on top of a carved or embossed image, you get a reproduction of the image on the paper, like this:


The French word for rubbing is “frottage.” The most common word for this activity is simply “rubbing” but frottage is sometimes used because it sounds fancy. Most technically, frottage is really used for a specific kind of rubbing, where you are capturing a surface pattern or a texture rather than a coherent image. But I’ve never heard anyone use the word so specifically.

I’ve always thought it was very cool of Smallville to show Lana doing such a beautiful fringe arts-and-crafts kind of activity like making a rubbing.


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I know it was a plot-driven device—
Lana had to physically touch the grave
so that the spirit of the ancient witch
could take possession of Lana’s body—
but the writers could have written the scene
with Lana taking a cell phone photo
and then just for instance dropping her keys
and touching the grave when she picks them up.

Making a rubbing involves agency.

But the writers had to know what it was
I mean the arts and crafts activity.

Did they see an artist make a rubbing?

I once saw a woman make a rubbing
of a coin to test a colored pencil—
it was a Derwent Graphitint pencil
I recommended and she was thinking
of taking a set on a trip with her.

But that was something like ten years ago.

It’s been years in fact since I thought of that.

People hold cell phones like stick media
and rub them against the side of their head
but it doesn’t create any image
so it doesn’t seem like an art or craft
this business of holding up a cell phone
but it creates an image in the mind
of anyone watching them on the phone
so maybe it’s a kind of art or craft.

Holding a phone does involve agency.

If I were a writer I’d imagine
that plot-driven device as a passage
between worlds but where a smart sexy witch
might travel to an artist making art
I’d imagine something else might travel
through the batteries and computer chips
emitting energy near microwaves
and I’d imagine whatever it was
would travel right into a person’s head.

Things that start in our head sometimes get out.

This for instance did and I imagine
witches are like a point on a spectrum
and things from beyond the witch point will too.







. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Oh, P.S. Those pictures of Lana
are from season four of Smallville.
Lana made the rubbing in
episode 1,
“Crusade,” and
we see the painting in
episode 15,
“Sacred.”


*


Motion Beyond The Fox Point


Exerting Agency, Liminal Entities And Scripts


Passages Between Worlds


Parsimony And Aberrant Forms


Ten Thirteen Unanswered Questions #2


A Sketchbook Page With No Sketches



















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