|Reflecting Pool at Hearst Castle (via Destination Design)|
Well, mostly. There was just this one, you see...
"I have always imagined Paradise would be a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges
The Chapel of the Chimes, which which happened to be almost walking distance from the house with the shag carpeting, is less like a funeral home than a library for the dead. It is, in my mind, Julia's most spectacular building. It is less luxurious than Hearst Castle, by a fair amount - the dead, after all, do not need swimming pools or Persian carpets, or at least not the kind that the living can enjoy. But in terms of the light that comes into it, the shape and mystery of the rooms, well -- I would say it is far more beautiful, mysterious, splendid and alive. It has remained one of the most important and inspirational buildings in my life, and it is certainly a major influence on my ideas about the Museum.
So there I was in high school, busy becoming a film snob. I was lucky to have a great video production program thanks to our teacher, Jeff Castle, who worked tirelessly to see that our (public) school got the kind of resources that nearly matched what I had when I got to a fancy private college later. (Granted, that fancy private college was Hampshire, which, while deeply beloved by me, is broke as a joke because it's only 40 years old and has an endowment smaller than the one for its sister school Smith College's greenhouse.) He had a lot of wonderful ideas for assignments, one of which was a thing called a hip-hop montage. I made my hip-hop montage assignment into a complete and utter pretext to shoot a movie involving the Chapel of the Chimes. (A hip-hop montage is a quick montage using tiny snippets of film and sound to show a complex moment, invented by director Darren Aronofsky for the films Pi Requiem for a Dream to show drug use in a subtle and disturbing way. Some of the sound choices I made in my video, such as the weird pinging noise, can be attributed to the fact that I saw Requiem for a Dream under really embattled circumstances. I could tell you what they were, but then I'd have to kill you. Let's just say that the film's message of drugs are really horrifying, kids, is even more convincing if you are not, ahem, unintoxicated when watching it. Seriously, I thought my brain was bleeding. Did I mention that I watched it in class? And being a nice kid with a healthy fear of authority not given to running screaming out of classrooms for no apparent reason, I had to just sit there and watch it? Man, that soundtrack REALLY gets under your skin. Euuchh. That cured me of any interest I had in psychotropic substances for a LONG time.)
The slight cringe factor of this notwithstanding (those intertitles bear a peculiar resemblance to the stories I wrote between the ages of about four to nine, in which a lot of very tragic things happen to bee-yoo-tee-full pincesses and unicorns...especially the last card, which has a wonderful and probably completely unironic twist to it that was totally typical of seven-year-old me), I am glad it's still around (almost ten years old now, yeesh) just because it shows off the beauty of the Chapel in a way still photos simply can't. And despite my odd love affair with Death-as-sad-sexy-young-man (that's not me in the video, but certainly a proxy), I do think I got some things right -- the music, mostly, which I think does suit the eerie and beautiful stillness of the Chapel.
|Steve Kent at the Garden of Memory. Photo via Dactyls & Drakes|
Do you have a place that does this for you? Please, please, share it with me!