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Screenshot from “My Still Life With Andre

There’s an idea (I’m not sure if it’s original or well-circulated) that every conversation in the world is recorded, we just don’t have equipment that’s sensitive enough to playback or recreate the sound. It’s a neighbor (or the inverse uncle?) of the Observer Effect.

One of the most famous cinematic conversations of all-time is Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory’s “My Dinner With Andre.” As maligned as it is loved, the film offers a more-or-less fixed-camera view of two men talking, for nearly two hours.

I’ve watched the film four or five times (in my 20s, 30s & 40s) and each viewing I see or hear something new — substantially new. This time, during Gregory’s musings on Findhorn, I began wondering about the table settings, specifically the motion that’s visible in the water and wine glasses.

Sure, they’re vibrating because Gregory is leaning-hard into the table with the force of a dynamic conversationalist, but at some small micro-level, the surfaces of water and wine (and the flicker of the candle’s flame) are also “recording” Shawn & Gregory’s conversation.

This fair-use supercut pursues the idea that in an audio-less future, we might be able to transcribe the film’s script from playing-back the ripples in Shawn & Gregory’s table glasses.

MDM 20161231

(This is the footer where I should tell you to click something to follow along, but I’ve never felt right saying those kinds of things when it comes to my own work, because if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve already engaged to the best of your ability, and that’s all anyone can ask for in this world now, and whenever someone prompts me to Rate Their Podcast or Click A Link To Like Me it makes me wince slightly, kind of like the water glasses above, how they shudder (in a sense) under the force of conversation — I know I’m stretching it here, but stretching it is exactly what we can do when we’re unconcerned about how to primly and professionally present our work (or ourselves) in the world, and if I can lead by example in the smallest of ways, I want to make the kinds of experiences that remind you, me, and that unsuspecting kid down the street who just turned 19 and hasn’t known a world without Facebook, that the Web can still be a place to create without consuming, and when I’m not working toward making something I’ve never seen before, I’m waiting to see what you’ll do — especially when you’re making something not perfectly polished, not so fussed-over; I’m waiting for all the things that contain fatal flaws, because beauty and amazingness can exist in tangles that aren’t easily teased-apart; we’re all built around our own internal time bombs (of a sort) and the more your personal work resembles something you’d see from a corporation, the less I trust it or want to engage, which is to say, show yourself, not because you dare to, or because you can, but because you must, especially now on the last day of 2016, when being quiet will help send this Clown Car We Call America right off the edge of South Dakota Highway 244. Don’t click to follow along or follow the likes or like the follows, just make your own way now — stand up, speak out, and I’ll hear you. We’re listening and we can’t wait.)

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Photographer, Writer, Non-Profiteer.

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