Interpol bassist Carlos Dengler (we never have, and never will, refer to him as “Carlos D”) co-produced and stars in 26-minute film My Friends Told Me About You, which premieres April 17 at the Anonymous Gallery in New York. Dengler also wrote the musical score for the film, which revolves around the theme of celebrity and the damage it inflicts on identity and humanity. Notice we’re still reporting with a straight face here; no air quotes. Dengler is an easy target—mainly due to the fashion sense of an East Village idiot—but hold your fire: Who better to comment on the troubles caused by the onset of celebrity than a goth kid from Queens? We were ready to walk away from the press release with our hands clean … until we read Dengler’s accompanying statement. Here are some choice bits of incomprehensibility:
“The affliction of the onset of celebrity is a result of one of the logics of the ontic plenum established by the crowd via their positive value assignment to the visage.”
Pass the popcorn!
“My Friends Told Me About You deploys the dramatization of this pursuit as a primordial conflict between Man and Woman. It assigns the famed-ego the phallus and instantiates it as a genderized polarity called Man.”
Wait, when is the phallus deployed? Mr. Skin (please don’t click on that) wanted us to ask.
“This totality is the instruction of a tragedy.”
Is that a KRS-One lyric?
Full text after the jump.
Interpol’s “Public Pervert” from 2004’s Antics:
THE ONSET OF CELEBRITY
Celebrity is a kind of affliction, a malaise, in essence, a condition.
It is part of a psychosis derived from the overabundance of positive value assignments made by a crowd choosing a particular visage to carry these assignments.
The wearer of this visage experiences this assignment as something against his will. And thus, understanding that he will never be able to meet all the people who have assigned his visage this positive value within his lifetime, as there are too many to meet in the limited time frame of his lifespan, the wearer of the visage experiences this fact as a wound. This deep wound leads to the psychosis called the onset of celebrity.
The inability of the man to manage all of these positive value assignments within his lifetime is a crisis of identity in that he no longer is in charge of his face; the crowd has taken it from him.
Upon the onset of celebrity the man experiences a fundamental rupture within his psyche that transforms him into the famed-ego.
From the moment of the onset, the path of the famed-ego leads inexorably to dehumanization. The famed-ego is in a continual state of mismanagement of its relationships with the crowd as it is powerless to control the gradations of esteem accrued upon the visage of the person ensconced around it. This abject powerlessness produces a failure in causality between choice and consequence, reducing the famed-ego to a state of total arbitrariness.
The visage is the chief signifier of singular, personal identity; it is the meeting-point between the subjective reality of the ego and the objective reality outside of the ego. Since the famed-ego is in a continual state of mismanagement of this gateway, the social reality that has inundated it with positive value assignments has effectively stolen his face.
In this vacuum of meaning, the famed-ego is disconnected from the self’s personhood. The inability to establish meaning for itself places the famed-ego in an interminable bind of nihilism of action, a purgatory where no action or reaction produces stability nor stepping-stone to personal fulfillment. This is existential imprisonment, which is to say a total loss of free will. The self can not feel its own humanity, know or show love; the crowd has stolen the face and with that, the self collapses into the void of the onset of celebrity.
There is no break from this condition, no more than a person in a wheelchair may break from his affliction and walk on two feet for a moment. Because the onset of celebrity is an attenuation on the value of the visage dictated by a social imperative, it places the famed-ego in a space over which it has no control, under a condition of paralysis. The famed-ego inhabits a world in which the social reality blockades its path choices. These blockades have a logic known only to the collective responsible for positioning them, but the famed-ego has no epistemological access to this logic. Thus, the famed-ego experiences its reality as caprice.
Shackled in the catacomb of a universe of caprice, the famed-ego is barred from participation in the agreement of the crowd; so it continues its life in isolation from the crowd, in its own separate universe. As the agreed-upon social reality of the crowd rubs against the isolation-universe of the famed ego, a rupture from historical complicity occurs. In its isolation, the famed-ego is banned from the shared historicity the crowd enjoys.
Celebrity is indeed a psychosis. But as one can glean from this account, it is no simple hallucination nor mental condition. It is not treatable by medication or therapy. It is an ontic-psychosis, a psychosis not of the mind but of existence, the existence of the merciless electrical current that bonds the crowd with the famed-ego.
The affliction of the onset of celebrity is a result of one of the logics of the ontic plenum established by the crowd via their positive value assignment to the visage. Thus, the famed-ego can not even locate a point of origin for its psychosis within the development of its own ideation. That point of origin is located from without the famed-ego’s universe, at some arbitrary coordinate within the ontic plenum of the crowd logic.
If celebrity is a malaise, it is a malaise acquiring its élan from social forces willingly conspiring with each other in a type of concealed Totentanz. This interaction congeals to the phenomenal realm, to the universe of things.
Celebrity is not just psychosis, a distortion of cognition isolated to synaptic verities of particular mentation. It is ontic psychosis, a condition in which the psychopath is a unity of social forces that bond the crowd with the famed-ego and thrust the condition of celebrity into the milieu of an ontic plenum established via social contract. Thus, the ontology of celebrity relies heavily on the understanding that existence is an agreed upon reality.
The famed-ego is entrenched in a hysterical purgatory.
This hysterical purgatory is the ontic node of the famed-ego’s psychosis. It is continually repositioned by the unknowable crowd logic that sets its condition in the first place, like a pebble rolled over and over by the undulating movements of a gigantic centipede.
As the centipede rolls this pebble over, the famed-ego, locked in its purgatory, experiences life as a state of tragedy.
Tragedy is process. Process has procedure. Therefore, the onset of celebrity has a procedure.
My Friends Told Me About You is the photographic documentation of the nature of the procedure of the onset of celebrity. It is the synaptic interface through which data transmissions leaked from the onset of celebrity bottleneck into the filmic-narrative apparatus. The real estate the movie occupies within the filmic-narrative apparatus is a display case of the most excessive plot points from the onset of celebrity, the points intense enough to push through the bottleneck and into the display case.
The film recasts the tragic procedure of the onset of celebrity as surrealistic-tragic melodrama. It distills the highest degree of truthful moments within the conceptual framework of the onset of celebrity and weaves them into an arabesque depicting a collapsible reality across a comprehensive experiential spectrum. It photographs an empirical tableau of excessiveness from the vantage point of a Cartesian ego under the duress of fame. It amplifies the conceptual nodes of the onset of celebrity as a crusade rife with the agonies of the pursuit and acquisition of fame.
My Friends Told Me About You deploys the dramatization of this pursuit as a primordial conflict between Man and Woman. It assigns the famed-ego the phallus and instantiates it as a genderized polarity called Man. To depict the rubbing-against of the famed-ego as-Man with the “city limits” in which the crowd has ostracized him, it places Man in opposition to Woman. In its isolation, the famed-ego can not see the crowd that has placed it into its purgatory. However, in order to live the struggle of its purgatorial realm, as Man, it contracts the horizon of the crowd forces that constrict it into a genderized locus that opposes it. This opposition is Woman.
The opposition between the famed-ego-as-Man and Woman is characterized in My Friends Told Me About You as misogyny. In its tragic fall from grace, once it has acquired a genderized articulation of identity, the famed-ego experiences its purgatorial isolation as a total Loss of Love. The absence of Love is Hate, and thus the opposition this absence spawns takes on the character of Disrespect for Woman, or misogyny.
Misogyny in My Friends Told Me About You is an effusion of imagination that results from the catatonic rupture occurring in the psyche of the famed-ego from the onset of celebrity. It is a component of the epic complex of suspicion and paranoia that constitutes the empirical tableau exhibited across the photographic slideshow of then film’s display case. The failure to establish a reliable temporal axis of linearity and the excursiveness of the event horizon of the film’s narrative are necessarily symptomatic narrative structures emanating from this epic complex, of which misogyny is but one component.
The process of narration of the procedure of the onset of celebrity involves the operations of the handed-down filmic-narrative apparatus colluding with the conceptual axes of three resonances, nonlinearity, surrealism, and misogyny, which operate on a metatextual level.
This totality is the instruction of a tragedy.
The onset of celebrity is a tragic fall from grace and dehumanization of the famed-ego by The crowd agreement to assign its visage positive value. It is an atemporal process resultant from the concurrence of psychic-ontic effusions from the social reality. Thus, the onset of celebrity can not be a story per se; but it requires narration, a specific type of narration, to illustrate itself. As the onset of celebrity acquires articulation through narrative, its conceptual framework is infused with particularity. As the narration unfolds, we see this particularity, of necessity, as devastation.