The Infernal Dream

The Infernal Dream incorporates two archival motion pictures Motion Studies Application and Folie a Deux both artlessly made instructional productions from the early 1950’s. Motion Studies illustrates methods of Scientific Management to show how work more efficiently on the assembly line. “Folie à Deux” is the clinical name of a contagious paranoid. The film was made to illustrate how to identify, but not treat, this mental disorder. Together they show two sides of the same coin, the presentation of the productive and unproductive body. The efficient and orderly gestures of women stuffing envelopes in Motion Studies Application find their distorted reflection in flamboyant gestures of the mother and daughter in Folie à Deux. In both films people are represented as the bearers of motion. One could call them objects.

A third film puts them into dialectical motion. Inspired by slapstick, things take on a life of their own. It is here, I believe, we enter into the dream life of objects, where the repressed of our industrial world erupts. I think of slapstick as the third term, the revolutionary potential hidden, between the efficient body of the worker and the disordered body of the emotionally disturbed. Slapstick posits a new relationship between the world of things and the world of people. It begins by destroying the order of the world that we know. And leads us where? We don’t know but that, I think, is its strength. It doesn’t proscribe for us but says quite simply that our world can be other than it is.