hello & welcome back!
i was intregued by this video mentioned in the final passage of the section, a bag of air (tacita dean, 1995) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggFkslK-RXU
it’s always of particular interest to me when writers create ambiguity around their work’s relationship to reality. here this inclusion of an artist from the real world complicates the book’s distinction as ‘fiction,’ as do all the many very contemporary references, but this stuck out to me as a particularly layered inclusion, describing the film as if we’re looking at it together, quoting verbatim some of dean’s monolog in the film. but then at the end of the passage, with the last sentence of section 2, we’re guided to what might be provisionally called a version of this novel’s thesis:
“three minutes of black and white film are over and what’s left is the story of human beings and air, something we hardly ever notice or think about, something we can’t live without.” (220)
& isnt that what this book is trying to do? reduce human spirit down to the shining essentials— strip back invasive technology & inhumane public policy to remind us humans of what simple compassion & joy we’re capable of. it’s an issue of noticing, the novel seems to be saying, & the more we point it out the better.