Monday, April 21, 2008

Smoke in art

From commenter Sarah:

I was just reading the David Lynch interview book "Lynch on Lynch" and he was talking about why he has so many smokers in his films. He talked about smokes ability to be ever changing and it's organic movement. He also had a few things to say about photographs of smoke, you should check it out. Good book. (Emphasis mine.)
For those who don't know -- and I was in this category until I pulled up the book on Amazon -- Lynch was responsible for Lost Highway (never seen it but always enjoyed NIN's "Perfect Drug" from the soundtrack) and the television show Twin Peaks (hmm, never seen that, either -- I'm sheltered and uncultured).

The key word, as I've indicated with italics, is organic. In the most scientific essence of the word, smoke is certainly organic: there are a lot of carbon atoms flowing around in various molecules of smoke.

More important than the specific scientific notion of the word, though, is the idea that smoke is alive somehow. Its movements reflect the inputs of everything around it: to exhale near the plume of exhaust from an incense stick is to watch the effect of your breath. Smoke's closest relative is probably water (in the artistic, not scientific, sense).

But while water is so fascinating because of its devotion to gravity (as it splashes over rocks for centuries and centuries wearing down rock, for example, like the Wind River Canyon just south of my home) smoke struggles against that force of attraction.

1 comment:

Sarah Gail Hedlund said...

You have never seen "Lost Highway"? I just saw it for the first time last month LOVED it, among the great NIN track there is an amazing cover of "That magic moment" by Lou Reed. I think you would like the film, have you seen "Wild at Heart" or I would hope at least "Blue Velvet".