Letter from Sally Dixon to Stan Brakhage (11/24/1971)

November 24, 1971
Stan Brakhage Box 6
Rollinsville, Colorado 80474 Dear Soul - large soul:
I am thrilled with your letters on new film to A.M. & B. I want to write you some about the additional understanding I got on the whole "invisible” art as it were - by re-reading McClures Meat Science Essay’s. That is,
Philip La Mantias Anglo-Saxon definition of Weir (Weir Falcon Saga). You, in your letter to me the sunnier you made W.F.S., said you received the title repeatedly via dreams (again-dream-vision) and understood weir to be a net or holding, containing device, as for fish, birds etc., which is satisfying as far as it goes But look at the Anglo-Saxon definition via McClure-La Mantia, "Weir is a solid spectral reality of light on particular objects in special moments of vision” (essay, Phi Upsilon Kappa). Add that to your definition VOILA an absolute tie in with Mikes vision that so surely seems given you, via him and at the time you were making W.F.S. and he freely says "it was just a vision” He’s (Mike) not going to wrestle meaning out of it, its not his way. "If Brakhage wants it, I give it to him - it’s his.” (said after your phone conversation) meaning that Weir Falcon Saga was for you a pivot point, as you felt and write me at the time "these Weir-Falcon films occur to me as distinct from any film making I have done before. They engender, in me entirely 'new' considerations. I connot describe them....” and then you go on to quote an exerpt from Basil Buntings "The Spoils” which if you read it carefully is speaking of and to your present/ coming style and subject! Re-read it and ponder "Have you seen the Falcon Stoop accurate, unforseen and absolute...- (why are we so angry with the unforseen to the point of rejecting it by way of response? Being taken by surprise by unforseen film style as well perhaps as death. The ultimate unforseen, by choice, in America today and therefore rejected, surprise.
Deus Ex and Act of Seeing... will hopefully help us remove this fear of seeing - read McClure again, same essay. Henceforth, from this pivotpoint and for this time at least, the "art" of your films will be invisibly netted, contained as you see and describe it now to Annette.
I feel very urgently right about it Stan - your new direction. It is the result of an evolution not a departure. If one looks, the only conclusion can be this.
Only you can judge the inner feeling of rightness, the click into place as it were. You have hence been a lazy man, you’ve been obedient to your visions demands in the most gruesome and grueling tasks, unspairingly.
The dross has been (fire!-it's done!) burned off through those years of so called lyrical visually complex films. As I see it, you’re ready capable finally of communicatiogg"art" invisably, simply - you’ve learned how to make gold (Deus Ex) the ultimate alchemist.
For fun, Websters Collegiate on Alchemy.
1. A medieval chemical science & speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinately prolonging life,
2. a power or process of transforming something common into something precious. !
Repread the definition and think film (still & motion) - (mike & you) for med. ehem. sci. and our inability to accept what is base2 & of animal nature in ourselves which according to psychology causes our ills, and finally keeps us from accepting death as natural a life process as birth and therefore closed to the possibleispeculation of a continuing consciousness, an indefinitely prologged life on either side of those two occurrances.
As I’ve told you before this was the understanding I got from Deus Ex -in a direct way visually, metaphorically through camera technique etc. the means could be catalogued the deeper meaning is not obscure if the sensibilities are open. Further more Deus Ex & A of S. WOOE represent a continuation and perhaps a culmination with your onn filmic dance with death over the years. Aprehending and coping with increasing clarity & directness. I’m guessing, though I havn't ween2it, that this last film at the coroners might be the final direct dealing with the subject - if through the shuffle you’ve managed to accept it! It may let you off the hook!
Dear old soul, I’m stopping now.
The day is gone.
My love to you as always
Mike came for lunch and I gave him your letters & told him of ray fun with MeClure-LaMantias "Weir" & looked at me strangely and said that last nite at that same time he was reading the McClure you had given him - SOME HOW we are all in this together. Also connected in thrust is Georgia O'Keefe.
I told you my good summer dream. Did you know that, "O’Keefe resigned from teaching & went to live in N.Y. in 1918, painting her first city-themes in 1926. During this period her work ranged from realism to abstraction."
Previously it had been abstract & she became famous for magnified flower subjects (my dream!) Stan she was she started her city-themes! How’s that for fun?
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