Volume 2 - Issue 8 - Editorial

By Vertigo

“I am the dreamer who remains when all the dreams are gone, scattered by the millennial winds and sacked by the roadside.  

The solar clockhand stopped, confusion and fury on the street – so much idle paper shredded and tossed aside.” – John Haines, from Poem for the End of the Century

The now of the moving image is present, past and future, braided in ceaseless negotiation. The moment of the viewing, the gone event gifted to the eyes once more, and then offered to the years, the decades to come, almost as a wager, a loan, a sacrifice. But for us, now, the future does not exist and so the past becomes the future and the present is tense as it watches.  

What then is the matter, the subject of this now? What are we crafting as our totems, our hearths, our evidence to be discovered by tribes yet unborn? In one dish of the scales, Abu Ghraib, the British interrogations in Basra, the dusty wash of beheadings, Darfur’s tented betrayals, the final greyscale glimpses of street corner cctv, the unending face, like a howl with skin, of all the deaths that capital sows. Even perhaps, diluted down, admittedly, from such squalid heights, Celebrity Big Brother, the cloning makeover formats, the spraycan democracy of pundits and polls. And the soul unravelling, like a hand in acid, with all the made horrors that can be seen. With the presence of things, and the absence of things that matter.  

However, there is another image, altogether rarer but still breathing in this difficult air, an image of witness, of being in place, of standing with, not standing by, of saying, ‘we are here, all of us together; let me tell you what I have seen, and you tell me what you have seen, and somehow we will go forward.’ With knowing, with a weight maybe, like a drenched and trailing extra shadow in the long of the afternoon, but with an eye to the sun, fading to return through the trees.   We hope that, if we have worked the seam as we should, we have brought word of some of those images in this issue. The hope is, of course, a desire. And desire is perhaps what unites these images of empathy. A desire for involvement with understanding, for an authentic engagement, for now. Wanting now, and wanting to take it forward. With tenderness. Simone Weil said, ‘absolute attention is prayer.’ Maybe then, in these times of gods so feverishly claimed, we too kneel and look towards a light, in its tireless dance, dissolving the far wall of our shared and darkened room.