What reading/thinki...
 

What reading/thinking assists/enhances your Lynch excursions??  

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(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular

Greetings all!

I frequently find myself pondering what David Lynch's artistic output can teach us.

From a historical perspective, he's clearly invested in bygone eras, styles and artistic conventions-- including the "postmodern moment" that marked his arrival as a filmmaker of note with Eraserhead and, especially, Blue Velvet

His paintings are, arguably, that of a postmodern neo-expressionist , as this brilliant video demonstrates. His music is 50's nostalgia crossed with something of a gothish/industrial streak from the postpunk/New Wave era... In fact, this sound has become something of its own genre (c.f. Xiu Xiu Performs The Music of Twin Peaks, Dirty Beaches, and so much Lana del Ray, etc.)

Blue Velvet  is almost universally acknowledged as a repudiation of Ronald Reagan's 1984 "It's Morning in America" campaign advertisements-- a curious irony given that Dennis Lim reports in his Lynch biography The Man from Another Place, that Lynch was something of a "Reagan Democrat" in the 1980 election.  This, along with his more problematic eroticized rape scenes (Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart) and the total absence of people of color as principal characters (yes, Hawk and Josie notwithstanding), show us a typical male Baby Boomer auteur worldview, a reprise of the transcendental romantic ideology of art that reigned through the high-modernist post-WWII years ,  i.e., one that views freedom of artistic expression or the autonomy of the artist as sacrosanct, i.e., the artist has no responsibility to society... 

While this is, IMO, a pretty shopworn artistic worldview, I'm not passing judgment on Lynch or dismissing it out of hand. It can be an enormously productive approach to artistic practice, combined with Lynch's dedicated TM practice and interest in Buddhism and one's left with an artist who's awfully hard to pin down... All of this is to say that David Lynch remains inscrutable, leaving me continuously asking myself "Why do you do what you do, David?"

The Return seems especially rich in latent political meanings, albeit rendered ambiguous by the psychoanalytic abstraction/overdetermined nature of Lynch's surrealism. (i.e., corn, oil, radiation, mutated frog-bug, vomiting demons/spirits/deities, Manichaean orbs sent to earth).

All this leads me to ask:  

What non-Twin Peaks works of art/film/fiction, scholarship, philosophy, literary/film criticism, mass media enhance your individual relationships with David Lynch?

As an example, I'm reading Timothy Morton's  Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology at The End of The World .  I could write pages and pages about how this text is framing my understanding of Part Eight, but I'll defer to you all first.

One caveat: I have relatively little interest in conspiracy theories or pop-cultural mystic traditions like those that seem to fire Mark Frost's imagination.  Share if you think I should reconsider... but I'm not sure that theosophy, Kabbalah, Wicca (or neo-paganism), Masonry, Illuminati, UFO conspiracies, etc. are what I have in mind here....  But, hey, maybe Bill and Ruth are right and "the truth is out there...."

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Posted : 26/07/2017 5:00 pm
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular

I promise I'm only going to do this once for each of these parallel topics:

Helloooo-oooo??!!

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Posted : 27/07/2017 3:36 pm
(@colin_basterfield)
RR Diner Patron

OK.

Lynch's book of art - The Air is on Fire & Catching the Big Fish

Todd McGowan's - The Impossible David Lynch - introducing Lacanian theory to all his films. 

Anything about Jacques Lacan - Ecrits, which is intentionally dense to make people think (or brains bleed!) Bruce Fink has written an awful lot about Lacan.

Slovak Zizek's book - The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime (Lost Highway). Also his YouTube video - 

It's hard work, but for me anyways, it seems to open up doors in my brain, or are they portals...

 

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Posted : 27/07/2017 3:52 pm
(@silentbobni)
Roadhouse Regular

Lynch on Lynch is worth a read. Doesn't help with understanding his work but does let you understand a lot about the man

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Posted : 27/07/2017 4:04 pm
(@ordinary-agent-crow)
Lodger

Carl Jung. The Red Book

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Posted : 27/07/2017 4:08 pm
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Colin Basterfield

OK.

Lynch's book of art - The Air is on Fire & Catching the Big Fish

Todd McGowan's - The Impossible David Lynch - introducing Lacanian theory to all his films. 

Anything about Jacques Lacan - Ecrits, which is intentionally dense to make people think (or brains bleed!) Bruce Fink has written an awful lot about Lacan.

Slovak Zizek's book - The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime (Lost Highway). Also his YouTube video - 

It's hard work, but for me anyways, it seems to open up doors in my brain, or are they portals...

 

Terrific! Thanks for this terrific list, Colin.   I just got my hands on a copy of Michel Chion's book David Lynch, and I just heard a very intriguing interview with McGowan about his more recent book, Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets.

Excited to check out the Žižek , McGowan and Fink-- thanks so much for linking to these!

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Posted : 27/07/2017 4:11 pm
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Sammy Weir

Lynch on Lynch is worth a read. Doesn't help with understanding his work but does let you understand a lot about the man

Thanks, Sammy.  I read Dennis Lim's biography, The Man from Another Place, and found it very instructive re: "The Man." 

Clearly needing to brush up on Lacan and contemporary film theory, generally.

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Posted : 27/07/2017 4:13 pm
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Ordinary Agent Crow

Carl Jung. The Red Book

Thanks, Agent Crow.  Can anybody here elaborate on psychoanalytic approaches to Lynch?  I know only that Jung and Lacan represent radically different schools ... 

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Posted : 27/07/2017 4:14 pm
(@silentbobni)
Roadhouse Regular

Lynch on Lynch is the only one of those ---- on ---- directors books I've read that doesn't really expand on the work. Burton on Burton is tremendously enhancing for his earlier work. As for philosophical stuff, I would just read as much as possible by as many people as possible and find what you like, you've a whole history of civilisation to pick over of mankind's musings!

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Posted : 27/07/2017 4:19 pm
(@ordinary-agent-crow)
Lodger

It seems for me (or it's the main thing which is interesting for me), that Lynch's work is mainly about facing yourself, a spiritual journey with wins and falls. It also draws a lot from subconscious, which is both individual and collective. As no man is an island, and it is within as it is around, same principles relate not only to inner personality cells, but also to the society. His work always somehow makes sense, if you look from the perspective of development and freedom (and/or determination) of choice of each entity within the story. This all is also very close to the Jungian approach, to my understanding (personality "cycles", synchronicity, common symbols/archetypes in dreams etc.). 

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. - Carl Jung

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Posted : 27/07/2017 4:44 pm
(@the-conversation-is-lively)
RR Diner Patron

Timothy Morton definitely. I'd add to that Reza Negarestani (on oil) and Mark Fisher's last book The Weird and the Eerie. 

I've also been reading Thomas Ligotti short stories which are very Lynchesque. 

https://aroundthedinnertabletheconversationislively.wordpress.com/

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Posted : 06/08/2017 3:06 am
(@pynchjan)
RR Diner Patron

Plantinga, C. 2010. Affective Incongruity and The Thin Red Line. Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind 4(2):86-102.

Grodal, T. 2009. Embodied Visions: Evolution, Culture, and Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Batchelor, S. 2014. The Everyday Sublime. In Bazzano, M. (Ed). After Mindfulness: New Perspectives on Psychology and Meditation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: 37-48.

Bazzano, M. 2011. Empathy for the Devil: The Daimonic in Therapy: A Tribute to Jean Genet on the Centenary of his Birth. Existential Analysis 22(1):150-159. 

Carroll, N. 2013. Philosophical Insight, Emotion, and Popular Fiction: The Case of Sunset Boulevard. In Minerva’s Night Out: Philosophy, Pop Culture, and Moving Pictures. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell: 161-182.

Smuts, A. 2014. Painful Art and the Limits of Well-Being. In Levinson, J. (Ed). Suffering Art Gladly: The Paradox of Negative Emotion in Art. Palgrave Macmillan: 123-152. 

Falzon, C. 2009. Why Be Moral? In P. Livingston & C. Plantinga (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. London: Routledge: 591-600.

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Posted : 07/08/2017 4:30 am
(@caemeron)
Deputy

One the things I find to be great about Twin Peaks is that it seems to be responsive to whatever conceptual framework one brings to it, more or less. So, if I want to relate it to the work of Gilles Deleuze, I wonder to what extent that may be because of my own interest in his work (both alone, and in collaboration with Felix Guattari).

That said, I do see a lot of connections to draw there. I keep thinking about writing something on this, but unfortunately, the direction of my thinking keeps being more that of wanting to use Twin Peaks to explain Deleuze than the other way around. It's pretty difficult stuff. But the central notions of difference and repetition seem very apropos, with difference holding a primacy of place, and the only "identity" that exists being created through repetition... as does the way Deleuze thinks about the sign as calling out for interpretation. The sign provides food for thought - it is something of a signifier without a signified. Signfiers pointing to other signifiers... The notion of the encounter that forces thought, pushing the faculty to its limit. The attempt to provide a genetic account of sense (meaning) as emerging from nonsense... The critique of psychoanalysis: that it was a mistake to ever think of the unconscious as THE id (it) - it is rather a multiplicity of flows of desire, and so on....

Alternately, I think about Derrida, whose ideas are very close, but importantly different. Differance being about difference and deferral. The notion of deconstruction, the death of the author... But, then, I would want to say that Twin Peaks is a show that deconstructs itself. So, I prefer Deleuze to Derrida when it comes to a philosophy of difference, myself.

But, then, in many ways, it might be more fruitful to approach Twin Peaks through Freud, Jung, or Lacan (perhaps in particular Jung, whose work I know the least well of those three). I liked how Tammy refers to the Double as "it" in the Final Dossier (the id?), for example. I enjoy Lacan's seminars more than the Ecrits (they are far easier to read, for one thing!), but it has been awhile. Perhaps I will return to them with Twin Peaks in mind and see what fruit that might bear. 

The Zizek piece is good, though I enjoy his work/style in general. Many do not. If you tread into the waters of reading his books, my biggest recommendation would be to always make a note of the question with which he opens a section, and keep referring back to that and asking yourself, "How is it that he is still talking about this?"

My biggest problem with Zizek is that he always tends towards making everything fit into his Lacanian-Hegelian boxes. (This is a problem with Hegelians, generally). But his "Pervert's Guide" to cinema, and to ideology are both worth watching, if you can find them.

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Posted : 29/12/2017 7:20 pm
(@caemeron)
Deputy
Posted by: Badalamenti Fan
Posted by: Ordinary Agent Crow

Carl Jung. The Red Book

Thanks, Agent Crow.  Can anybody here elaborate on psychoanalytic approaches to Lynch?  I know only that Jung and Lacan represent radically different schools ... 

Right. Here's a go:

I don't know Jung terribly well, but basically we might say he started from Freud's ego/id/superego and complicated it a lot. He seems to have taken religious symbology and mythology and the like way more seriously than did Freud, who basically thought religion was hogwash, "God" was a projection of the Father, etc. 

Jung suggests that there is a collective unconscious in a way that seems fairly metaphysical, or "spooky" - such that there are various archetypes that manifest/structure the psyche. Each with also a shadow version of it. Joseph Campbell was very influenced by Jung, and then in turn influenced George Lucas, so maybe just think about Star Wars. That's reductive, but maybe helpful. 

Lacan, on the other hand, was very materialistic (in a metaphysical, not a Madonna sort of way) and insisted on a "return to Freud." At the same time, though, his thinking was very influenced by structuralism, so he was thinking a lot about language. In this sense, he also held to a kind of "collective unconscious" but in a linguistic way. Language structures what he called the Symbolic order - this would be how we understand, or make sense of things in a collective sort of way. As opposed to, on the one hand, the Imaginary, which would pertain more to the level of fantasy, or the phantasm. Here, we would discuss how these sorts of fantasy-themes play a role in the experience/understanding of reality. On the other hand, there is the Real, in distinction from "reality" insofar as the latter is structured by the Symbolic and Imaginary. The Real is what disrupts that. It is, more or less, the nonsensical, the stumbling block to sense making, the fact that there is no Father, but just as man who inseminated as woman... That sort of thing.

So, yeah, Jung and Lacan sort of move in opposite directions, because Jung opens this space of considering that the mystical actually refers to something deep and meaningful, whereas Lacan is probably more of a materialist than was Freud. But each complicates the psychoanalytic picture, so I guess they share that in common. And, then, of course, there are any number of others one might read. 

 

(I wonder if anyone will read these responses I am making to posts from months ago. Sorry I didn't see/engage with this thread sooner)

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Posted : 29/12/2017 7:43 pm
(@andy-rn)
Town Visitor

I enjoyed this person's commentary/analysis:

They also have commentary on "Inland Empire" and perhaps other DL works. 

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Posted : 13/04/2018 3:10 am
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