Gariné Torossian's Sparklehorse

It’s late in the evening on the first day of spring. A thin ray of light shines through the curtain.
An organ begins to play...there’s a voice in the background.
A skeleton wavers as it slips down the strip of film.
The voice becomes fainter. What is it he’s saying?
I don’t think it matters. Instinctively I know.
And now a man...split in two.
A bright orange light burns on his left...or is it his right?
The music plays as if transmitted from another time. From before. I recognize it but can’t recall from where or when.
How are we to explain that memories return in the form of images?1 There’s that skeleton again. It seems to have replicated.


If I had
If I had more
More would be laid at your feet

And again that colour orange. It burns like the sun.


All I want is to be a happy man

I’m starting to remember now...sitting on the floor in my room, the record player on, the bright sun outside the window.
...is a memory a sort of image, and if so, what sort?2 There’s that same image again...the one from before.
It seems familiar. I think I remember this.
And memory constantly throws us back to past moments that we live again.3 The images are slipping faster now. They seem so far away.


All I want is to be a happy man

A horse on the left tries to break out of the frame.
There it is again...now on the right.


I woke up in a horse’s stomach one foggy morning
His eyes were crazy and he smashed into the cemetery gates

Fragments tremble across the frame as the movement quickens: fangs, an elk, a woman, an eye.
The images try to hold on...all at once...all at the same time.
The orange light seems to pull them deeper into the screen.


All I want is to be a happy man

What was it I was trying to remember?
Outside the window the sun has faded, things shift deeper into darkness.
I remember traveling down a country road starring outside the window.
And now a bird. It seems caught...trapped within the image.
I’ve driven down that road so many times before.
That horse has come back. Now split across the frame.
Maybe it never left...caught in an endless repeating loop.
This time around the record is stuck. Or maybe it always has been, I hadn’t noticed earlier.
There’s a shadowy figure. It’s the man from before. No, wait. He seems different now.
Through layers of light the bird begins to fly.


Wings of hundreds of beats per second

And that orange again...that colour I can’t help but remember.
And memory constantly throws us back to past moments that we live again.4

Looking for a good place to rest
Your head upon my chest

The image moves deeper into the frame. I try to hold on...try to recall. Not wanting to forget as it begins to come back to me.
It’s not just that we see what we’ve already seen – it’s that what we’ve already seen contaminates what we feel we see and recomposes with what we’re actually not seeing.5 The light seems thicker now. Bluer. Greener.


Afraid our eyes might become impaled

Whose memory is this? I can’t recall anymore. It feels familiar as it takes shape before my eyes.
There’s that man again. Or maybe it’s a different man?


Looking for a good place to rest
Your head upon my chest

And that bright orange light. I swear I’ve seen it someplace before.

 

With text from Sparklehorse

Happy Man (Memphis Version)  lyrics by Mark Linkous – from the EP: Distorted Ghost (2000)
Hundreds of Sparrows – lyrics by Mark Linkous – from the Album: Good Morning Spider (1998)

Notes

1 Ricoeur, Paul, trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. Memory, History, Forgetting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

2 Ricoeur, Paul, trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. Memory, History, Forgetting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

3 Cox, Christopher. “On Time: The Loop and the Line” Exhibition Essay (2005)

4 Cox, Christopher. “On Time: The Loop and the Line” Exhibition Essay (2005)

5 Manning, Erin. “Grace Taking Form: Marey’s Movement Machines.” Cinematic Folds: The Furling and Unfurling of Images. Ed. Firoza Elavia. Toronto: Pleasure Dome, 2008.

John Piekoszewski