New modes

Of the muscles: now bunching and heaping at the shoulders.

Of mud: for the first time in fashion history, jumping in thick drops as wind’s new mode blows it free from the ground.

Of light: reflecting instantaneously from smooth leather lowering itself into two dark cockpits.

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And on a wing, a fingerprint. This is the witness’s mark of a pre-literate history. It is to be interpreted as attesting that a camera attached to someone’s body has recorded a new mode of seeing the body. Until that instant there had never been a fashion plate representing an air full of the preparation for flight. Not until then had there been a need for a word meaning, “Last moment before two bodies drop heavily into something that mind has made and then rise free of body.” But such a word is what is expressing itself through you now.

 

Source: “Pilots climbing into the cockpit of a Curtiss JN-4 Canuck,” Provincial Archives of Alberta, Robert McKenzie fonds, PR1991.0305/23, https://www.flickr.com/photos /alberta_archives/17428524715/in/photostream/. At https://jonathanmorse.blog/2015/05/09/transport-ii/ I also discussed this image in 2015, but not in this Photoshopped form. Modern images of a reconstructed Canuck can be found at https://fairchild24.com/canuck.htm.

Destructive aviation: an obstetrics

For those soon to receive death from the air, a rubber body has lifted itself and begun to float in a medium formulated from air and the idea of air. It is free already from the earth that we its destined victims plod, and soon the doors of its cathedral-lighted matrix will swing open and deliver it to the sky over our poor heads.

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The celebrant of the opening has already started delivering his text. It promises to those who believe:

This airship of mine

His name is Mark Anthony, this is his picture with the rubber body behind him and a gas implement in his hand,

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and the face you see might serve as an icon of one of the Christian saints called Doctors of the Church: those whose teachings have become doctrine. By command and in experimental fact, the teaching that emanates from this shining body will have to be taken as true. In only a short time from now, the venous vessels connecting it to earth will be clamped off and released, the pains of its emergence through the doors into the light will begin, and the shadow it casts from heaven for the first time will be seen to be everlasting.

Sources: My post of August 7, 2018, “‘I have the means to make myself deadly,'” https://jonathanmorse.blog/2018/08/07/i-have-the-means-to-make-myself-deadly/, includes and cites the photograph of Mark Anthony and the January 4, 1909, clipping from the Cincinnati Enquirer. The image “Anthony’s wireless airship” is in the George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2014683106/. Post-processed.

Explanatory annotation

Aufstieg eines Jagdflugzeuges

Monet’s haystacks are a pastoral technology. Unchanged in form since the mummy god Osiris taught men to plant seeds in the earth, they remain still on the earth while the wheeling light passes over them. It is from such stillness under change that we have become aware of time.

This image is a Monet landscape, but its pastoral imagery is now shrunken almost to unnoticeability. High and large in the foreground and, as the image’s title says, ascending, a new technology is sending unchanging shadow back up to the sky from which changing light once descended unchecked, bringing with it life and death in seasonal alteration. Linear Marinetti history is superseding cyclical Monet history. A hundred years ago, says this historical record, death was on the rise.

Source: Aufstieg eines Jagdflugzeuges (“Ascent of a fighter plane”), Austria-Hungary, about 1917. National Library of Austria, http://www.bildarchivaustria.at/Pages/ImageDetail.aspx?p_iBildID=4814016. Photoshopped.