Exercise 1.6: The contemporary abyss
For this exercise I decided to venture outside the comfort zone of photography and take an alternate look at the Sublime in the form of a short clip from a movie. The movie is Jurassic Park and I am referring to the scene where the group of children led by our hero is taken up into the ducting in the ceiling to escape the Raptor. In the clip above the most sublime moment for me is that moment when the young girl is dangling from the ceiling and is pulled back into the roof moments before the raptor leaps at the camera, in this YouTube clip it is the last 3 seconds of the clip.
The reason behind my selection is rooted in a memory I have of going to see this film with my Dad when it came out, I can clearly remember that in that 3 seconds everyone in the cinema lifted their legs off the floor in unison.
If I now look at Morley’s text the first key point is where he quotes Burke:
“Burke pinpointed a key aspect of the sublime as being the heightened and perversely exalted feeling we often get from being threatened by something beyond our control or understanding.”
In our clip the feeling of being threatened is constant and that last moment of sudden fear that makes us jump is like an adrenaline rush of the sublime. In his opening sentence Morley states
“Joseph Addison described the notion of the sublime as something that ‘fills the mind with an agreeable kind of horror’.”
Morley also claims at the end that:
“Today a vast new potential for transcending the limits of the physical body is available at the mere flick of a switch, leading some to talk of a new era of the digital sublime.”
and ends on the statement:
“Perhaps it is indeed to this new world, beyond the limits of the physical body and of time and space, that the sublime experience is now migrating.”
While Morley is referring to the advance of Virtual Reality and computer generated images I could argue that much of the film Jurassic Park is Virtual reality and computer generated and what better way is there of displaying the sublime than a moving set of images rather than the traditional view projected by painters.