If you pull this handle...
Out of the blue, a friend I haven't spoken to in years sent me this. It's simply staggering. Had I seen this earlier, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse might have been nothing more than a set of page-shaped paper padding surrounding a DVD of this.
There is a moment - you'll know it when you hit it - when the entire order of vision (that of ink and the hand-built line, with water-colored gray that trembles, that of the cartoon), is thrown literally to the windows edge, where now there is an other world of sight, of photography, above all of the everyday, and it requires only a turning on its axis, a throwing into velocity or freezing, to make it jive and jar with the animation of collapse. (Note: this dislocation happens only after the world as a whole, shot from afar as a gurgling, pustulant, seething thing, blows up in fall. It happens only after the animated world as totality is wrecked.) Nothing I've watched so nails the double sense of apocalypse that always interested me: an end, sure, but an end that means the bringing forth, as if refocusing a lens, lengthening the depth of field, such that the foreground loses out. That which we were here to see finds itself scrambling, like Koko, back from the teeming fact of the street. More than that, such a slippage and disaster occurs here in the formal construction of the thing and its manic incapacity to stay with a figure or theme for more than a moment. The planet will smoke a cigar, but it is not always a head. It was insofar as it smoked a cigar. It is no more.
The only thing that remains constant here is the urge to negate, a drive boiled down into single dog form, an admirable counterpart to the catastrophe-encouraging/deferring lupine gang of Wolfen, an asshole on the grandest scale cousin of Tintin's snowy. But unlike Wolfen, Fitz the Dog manifests just a will to do it all the way (read: a "passion for the Real"), despite the scrambling resistance of his human companion, the Catechon. And do it in proper, whole by part by atom. This small white Fenrir doesn't just bring about Ragnarök. The pup is committed to do it up right, hacking down one of the final trees that stands. The end, therefore, retains shape because of the ceaseless project of breaking binds and bounds. A pointless plan alone makes sense of what otherwise is just a bad storm.
[Two already's and a scattered note:
The earth is already turning, beneath them like a spherical treadmill. We cannot know if there is any traction, if their walking accelerates this, or if it a frictionless gliding. Moonwalking in place.
The earth is already empty. We don't see crowds until after the switch has been pulled.
The sign that hangs warns DO NOT TOUCH EARTH CONTROL: the entire facility is labeled CONTROL OF EARTH. The clown's hands may not be so clean after all. For while the blame is narrowed into a single handle, as if there was one emergency kill switch and the rest was the blameless play of weather, day and night, we notice, on the wall of switches with which Koko plays, one switch for LIGHTNING. And it is exactly lightning we see after Fitz finally succeeds that marks the end of the world: it is the sign of the cut here, a montage filler, a break between scenes of destruction and the apparent cause of all being stood on its head. The point is that the switch is just a fantasy concentration point, the blind that allows us to fumble and fuck with the wall of all the effects of catastrophe without having to claim the moment has yet come. Leave Koko at those switches long enough, and the outcome will be identical.]
So watch this and come apart. Of course, like Koko, you lose your head, and it will not be your own you will first find as solace. We slip into a dark puddle to slosh, without leaving a stain on the filmed desk, for these things may bristle before and aft of each other, but they cannot merge. Back and forth we go over the animator's page, the sea-drunk's rhythm of a conclusion knocked off its axis.
And on the off chance that this not be the case, rest assured, cameras can tilt the horizon, sidewalks can threaten to slide us right off the map, and we know how to wrestle ourselves to the ground and, clawing, desperate, more than a little bufoonish, to pore over the cracks, looking for that missing friction. After all, it's not as if we know how to do otherwise.
[Many thanks, J, for this]