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VEM: A speculative thread

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  • #31
    So with The marching ever onward the mysterious VEM is being exposed layer by layer, It has become easier to look back at HOL and draw some conceptual lines that might not have been previously obvious. To that end I want to try explain what VEM might be and mean strictly within the confines of HOL. Also in the spirit of brevity I will refrain from quoting supporting lines in the text at every opportunity.

    Lets talk about movies. HOL is a love letter to film, in all its many iterations and interpretations. So lets talk about the one conceit present in almost every single work of film ever made(with two notable exceptions, documentaries and found footage films(both of which are cornerstone concepts for HOL)). This conceit is the conceit of the unseen camera.
    Allow me to attempt to get ahead of what you might be thinking. I'm not talking about the audience, I am talking about the space between the audience and the subject. The standard way of looking at a film is to claim the vision of the camera to be audience itself, but this isn't quite right is it? So you might call it the "directors eye" instead. A nice metaphor, but still at then end of day, inaccurate. The director provides guidance to what is already there, an eye that is not his.
    So whose eye is it? and what the hell am I talking about? First the what. When you watch an engaging movie your knowledge of its artifice fades away, allowing you to truly "buy in" to whatever is happening on screen. To you, actors become the characters they portray, sets become places, scenes become events. In short the films world becomes "real", if only for a short time.
    Now attempt to place yourself in that same mindset and call to mind your favorite movie scene. Where are you? No one in the room acknowledges your presence, you are invisible. Is your position one that should even been possible? do you occupy space? the answer is likely no, you are formless. Now this might seem obvious but as human beings we are neither invisible nor intangible(weather or not we feel that way is a completely different subject.), so then the camera must represent the perspective of something inhuman. Something else,something Other.
    That brings us to the Who. In this case the who seems to be more of a what, even if it seems to retain a certain amount of whoishness,the who is VEM. VEM is the penultimate observer. Uatu meets Brahman, a cosmic panopticon. When the dread Pirate Roberts planned his assault on the castle with his roguish companions, VEM watched. As John McClain dispatched those terrorists one by one, VEM was watching. While Jack Skelington lamented his inability foresee his failure to truly understand Christmas, VEM documented each moment.
    Does that make any sense? VEM is the "in universe" explanation of the camera. VEM is the eye the whose vision the director gives guidance to.
    To try and cement the idea think of some characters who break the fourth wall, Ferris bueler, Deadpool, or a dozen others. When they break the fourth wall we take it for granted that they are talking to us. To the audience. But layers exist between the audience and the character, and these characters know this. This is why fourth wall breaks a never addressed to anyone in specific(and when they are, are done with the knowledge the message may never be received.). They know they are watched but not by who and not why, and those few with a inkling of why of often deeply deranged(Freakaziod is a perfect example, a cartoon character who "in universe" is aware of every level of his existence.).VEM is who those characters are addressing within the context of their own reality.

    This is not for you
    A message not for us, the reader. Its a message to VEM. It is a protest, a declaration of opposition.

    I know this is a poor and sloppy assemblage of ideas, so feel free to poke holes until it sinks.

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    • #32
      There is a Japanese movie called Talking Head that is about film itself too. At many points, the characters hypothesize on two types of, well, characters - the first being the character who is mentioned but never seen, and the second being the character who is never mentioned but is always present in every scene. I think the camera is the latter. A similar theme.

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      • #33
        Here is a quote on VEM i transcribed from that galley discussion video from earlier in the thread. I know the video is there for anybody who cares to watch but MZD so rarely speaks about VEM I thought it might be worth sharing a little bit of it.

        "There are these things that sort of live and things that don't live, and...Vem has always lived and has always been a kind of purpose throughout. and I never know for sure if I will get another chance to write another book and I'm always grateful. but at the same time I'm always aware there are these ideas, these flavors, these stories that have a life of their own. you know? they seem far grander or tenacious or even viscous then even memes. they crawl into your life and are like "Im still here" and some of the concepts you have at you know? at one point in your life you may radically bury or you know get rid of but some others have a way of clawing through the top soil of your experiences and staying there. and VEM is sort of the one, and it was always around. there was HOL and then OR and i was like "no it still keeps going there". Whats interesting to me is that its moved into the sort of light of the text. there ae many things that will forever stay in the shadows but VEM has a kind of primacy."-MZD on VEM

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        • #34
          How is it enough?

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          • #35
            Originally posted by stgordon View Post
            How is it enough?
            Go on...

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