with L’ALTRO CIELO (DREAM WARRIOR) (PTI)
a video by KLAUS CAPRA
I had looked at this—our first issue created especially for those who choose to support the work of Stillpoint Magazine financially—as a moment of respite. FLIGHT, or as schizoanalytic thinkers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari envision them, “lines of flight.” Flight, and lines of it, that offer escape paths, paths between paradigms in moments of historical shift or revolution, ways to (or experiences of) freedom. Even if that escape or change or freedom is only fleeting, even if that flight can only leave traces—evidence—for another, possible, hidden world.
But I’m grounded, stranded, velcroed to the land; maybe you are too. And so the visceral—rather than conceptual—aspects of flight are those that tempt me. The moment of liftoff, imperceptible at first, and then the cut through cloud cover, the rupture, the emergence into the expanse of sky. Horizonless.
Is it a cliche if it has become unattainable?
I’d intended to start this editorial statement with those elements of flight I’d set for contributors: experiences of political, personal, and ethical liftoff; wisdom for finding escape while staying the course through struggles for equity, justice; ways to persevere and find freedom through the stillness of lockdown; the transformative and revelatory gifts of literature, of knowledge. And those elements are here in the digital pages that follow.
But there remains the body. The body that can never be captured or represented sufficiently in a non-space like this: the digital. The truncated, sutured, still body surrounded by screens and screens and screens. How can I truly evoke a notion like flight—its bodily totality, its abandonment—to you, finding this message in yet another screen? And both of us velcroed, grounded, stranded, stuck. Where, then, is flight?
I stole this title from a story by Vladimir Nabokov: “Wingstroke,” a story of angels and suicide. A story of skiing. “Wingstroke,” a story rife with problems of gender, sex, and class. And also, a story with a worthy and conflicted depiction of flight. Flight in “Wingstroke” is not transatlantic but is instead depicted as a refusal to participate; flight is intimacy—from within a single room—with the monstrous, desirous, winged creatures that exist beyond the perceptible world and visit (stinking) only at night; flight is unending longing for what remains just out of reach—like the dead, the unattainable, or the beloved; flight is the moment of elation, just before the fall.
Here, in my home, in my wounded, healing city, liftoff would be an abandonment, a betrayal. And so, instead I’ll leave you with flight like Nabokov has it. I’ll leave you with the sublimity of flight not at liftoff, but at descent, at arrival.
L’ALTRO CIELO (DREAM WARRIOR) (PTI)
A video assemblage of the artist’s ongoing multimedia project L’altro Cielo (Italian for “The Other Sky”), concerning itself with the collisions of history and contemporaneity, and the effect of the flow of time on the ephemeral reality in two of the most contemporary cities in the world, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Though their curiosity is with the effect of the flow of time on the present day in their surroundings, the work equally considers the complex dualities of time and the impossibility of unraveling such a mystery.
In this way, The Other Sky, inspired by the Western films of John Ford and the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges, is a make-believe approach to reality. It refers to a nostalgia, or a dream of place within a world re-arranging itself, seemingly stretched out of linear space and time.
This collection of still and moving images, created with diverse image mediums, is simultaneously documentary and personal essay; the position of the photographer shifts from witness to participant in the post-truth experience of the fluid, amnesiac constructed environment.
View PTII (collages) of L’altro Cielo (Dream Warrior) featured on stillpointmag.org here .
ANNE MARIE WIRTH CAUCHON editor-in-chief
Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon is Editor-in-Chief of Stillpoint Magazine, and Creative Director of the PrairieCare Institute’s Center for Applied Psychoanalysis, the mother of two, a PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, and the author of the novel Nothing.
KLAUS CAPRA artist
Klaus Capra is an Italian multimedia artist working on long-term visual essays. He has been living in Shanghai and Hong Kong since 2011.
L’ALTRO CIELO (DREAM WARRIOR ) (PTI): Video with sound, 02:38min. View PTII featured on stillpointmag.org here.
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