Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

David Lynch – johdannoksi

Petri Saarikoski | petri.saarikoski [a] utu.fi | Päätoimittaja (editor in chief) | Yliopistonlehtori (lecturer, adjunct professor| Digitaalinen kulttuuri, Turun yliopisto (Digital Culture, University of Turku)

Pauliina Tuomi | pauliina.tuomi [a] tuni.fi | Toimittaja (editor) | Tutkijatohtori (Post-Doctoral Researcher)| Informaatioteknologian ja viestinnän tiedekunta, Tietotekniikka |Tampereen yliopisto (University of Tampere)

Katriina Heljakka | katriina.heljakka [a] utu.fi | Toimittaja (editor) | Tutkijatohtori (Post-Doctoral Researcher)| Digitaalinen kulttuuri, Turun yliopisto (Digital Culture, University of Turku)

See English version below

Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That’s the thing about painting, photography, cinema.
David Lynch

Miten taide määrittelee ihmistä kokemuksen ja luovuuden lähteenä? Kysymys nousee väistämättä esiin, kun tarkastelee David Lynchin yli viisikymmentä vuotta kestänyttä taiteilijan uraa. Hänet tunnetaan ehkä parhaiten elokuva- ja televisio-ohjaajana, mutta hänen tuotantonsa ulottuu hyvin laajalle kentälle ulottuen aina kuvataiteista verkkojulkaisuihin. Jotkut ovat kutsuneet häntä alansa ”renessanssimieheksi”, jolla viitataan taiteilijan tuotannon monipuolisuuteen ja laajaan sivistykseen. Kysymys on kuitenkin yleistyksestä ja lokeroinnista, sillä huomion keskipisteeseen pitäisi aina nostaa myös luovan ammattilaisen henkilöhistoria ja asema ihmisenä.

WiderScreenin teemanumero ”David Lynch” (1–2/2021) avaa tätä kysymystä ja tarjoaa uusia näkökulmia David Lynchin elämään ja tuotantoon, mutta korostaa samalla nyt nähtävien avauksien hetkellisyyttä ja katoavuutta. Ne kertovat myös meistä katsojina, kuluttajina ja ihmisinä. Tulkinnat kertovat tarinaa meidän omakohtaisista ja ainutkertaisista kokemuksistamme Lynchin taiteen parissa. Eri tarkastelutavoissa on huomioitava ettei ”oikeaa” tai ”väärää” tulkintaa ole olemassa, ne ovat pitkälti yksilöllisiä ja ainutkertaisia.

David Lynch kasvoi ja oppi taiteilijaksi Yhdysvalloissa 1950- ja 1960-luvulla, jolloin maassa elettiin valtavien yhteiskunnallisten ja kulttuuristen murrosten aikaa. Lapsuuden ja nuoruuden aikaiset kokemukset näkyvät ja tuntuvat Lynchin taiteessa myös seuraavilla vuosikymmenillä. Hän toi esille – osittain nostalgisellakin tasolla – ”pitkän 1950-luvun” synnyttäneen henkisen ilmaston, joka idyllisyydestään huolimatta piti sisällään merkittäviä ristiriitoja. Pikkukaupunkien kulissien takana väijyi painajaismainen pimeys, joka hiipi herkästi esiin kolojen ja halkeamien kautta. Tästä kaksijakoisesta henkisestä maisemasta Lynch ammensi monia tärkeimpiä ideoitaan jatkotyöstöä varten, ja laajensi niitä suurkaupunkien rapistuneisiin miljöihin. Ränsistyneestä Philadelphiasta kasvoi yhtä lailla hänen henkinen kotinsa, kun taiteilija kaivoi yöretkillään slummien roskakoreista tarvikkeita ensimmäiseen kokopitkään elokuvaan. Vuonna 1977 ensi-iltansa saanut Eraserhead on edelleen tuon kehitysvaiheen huipentuma ja kunnianhimoinen kokeilu, joka toimi kasvualustana tulevalle.

Debyyttielokuvan monimutkaiset vaiheet kertovat myös Lynchin suhteesta taiteessa käytettävään tekniikkaan. Chris Rodneyn haastatteluihin perustuvassa omaelämäkerrassa Lynch on Lynch, jonka ensimmäinen englanninkielinen painos julkaistiin vuonna 1997, hän avaa taiteen luomisen käytännönhakuisuutta. Lukijan on melko helppo huomata, miten roskisten penkomisen rinnalla päästään mutkattomasti teknisiin kokeiluihin kameran ja filmin parissa, jolloin loppupäässä odottivat uudet, verkkotekniikkaan perustuvat tuotantotavat. Hänelle taiteessa kaikki elementit olivat tärkeitä, ne olivat vain saatava toimimaan saumattomasti keskenään. Tekniikalla oli näin ensisijaisesti välinearvoa, mutta jos kokeilut toimivat, hän otti uudet sovellukset mutkattomasti käyttöön.

Goottilainen saippuasarja Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017) yhdistetään yleensä kaikkein vahvimmin David Lynchiin, mikä on tietenkin näkynyt kaupallisen menestyksen ohella myös sen synnyttämässä arvovaltaisessa fanikulttuurissa ja laajassa tutkimuksellisessa kiinnostuksessa. Kiistattomasti TP edustaa hänen tuotantonsa yhtä huippua, ja sen kulttuuriperintö televisiosarjojen historiassa on valtaisa, mutta usein unohtuu, millaiseen henkilöhistorialliseen kontekstiin sarja asettuu, ja miten Lynch kehitti siinä käsiteltyjä teemoja eteenpäin. Kaupallisuuden osalta David Lynch on tavallaan ollut aina väliinputoaja, sillä muutamia suurmenestyksiä lukuun ottamatta monet hänet projekteistaan ovat olleet taloudellisesti tappiollisia tai jääneet melko vähäiselle huomiolle. Tästä huolimatta kymmenet muut tuotannot pystytään helposti yhdistämään myös kaupallisiin huippuhetkiin, ja osoittamaan miten ne pitävät sisällään samoja eri näkökulmista toteutettuja visioita, joita Twin Peaksissa nähtiin.

On ymmärrettävää, että suuri osa teemanumerossa julkaistuista kirjoituksista käsittelevät laajasti tätä kulttisuosioon noussutta ja alallaan hyvin innovatiivista televisiosarjaa. Teemanumero alkaa kokonaisuutena, joka pitää sisällään Twin Peaksin taide-universumiin kytkeytyviä poikkitieteellisiä kirjoituksia.

Sarjan aloittaa Francisco B. Trenton artikkeli Twin Peaksin kolmannessa tuotantokaudessa nähtävän Dougie-hahmon analyysistä neurodiversiteetin käsitteen kautta. Dougie oli nähtävissä tavallaan antiteesinä ja kaksoisolentona Twin Peaksin alkuperäiselle sankariagentti Dale Cooperille, jolle rakentunutta maskuliinisuuden tematiikka käsitellään Karla Loncarin kirjoittamassa laajassa esseessä. Alesha Serada vei puolestaan tarkastelua pelitutkimuksen puolelle, kun tarkasteluun nostetaan Kentucky Route Zero -pelin ja Twin Peaksin väliset monimediaaliset yhteydet.

Twin Peaksin fanikulttuurin eri puolet nousevat esiin kolmessa julkaisussa. Katriina Heljakka käsittelee omien taideprojektien kautta Twin Peaksin tuotannollisia aspekteja sekä omaa, subjektiivista leikki-suhdettaan televisiosarjaan. Faniuden kulttuurimatkailullista puolta valottaa Pauliina Tuomen omaelämäkerrallisiin havaintoihin pohjautuva matkakertomus televisiosarjan kuvauspaikoille. Sarjan päättävä Samantha Martinez Ziegler puolestaan tekee esseessään retrospektiivisen katsauksen Twin Peaks -faniuden ilmentymiin verkkofoorumeilla.

Teemanumeron seuraava osa koostuu sarjasta tapaustutkimuksia, joista ensimmäinen on Petri Saarikosken kirjoittama, sisällönanalyysiin perustuva artikkeli Lynchin mestariteoksiin lukeutuvasta Mulholland Drive -elokuvasta (2001). Fátima Chinita puolestaan nostaa tutkimuksessaan keskiöön lähes kuriositeetiksi jääneen Industrial Symphony No. 1 -teatterikappaleen (1990), joka jälleen kerran on osoitus Lynchin taiteen yllättävistä ja intermediaalisista suhteista. Chinitan artikkeli myös alleviivaa kuinka ensiarvoisen tärkeässä roolissa musiikki – ja yleensä äänimaisema – on ollut Lynchin tuotannossa. Samasta aiheesta jatkaa Rami Mähkä katsauksessaan, jossa aihetta lähestytään tarkastelemalla sitä laajemmin ”1950-lukulaisuuden” teeman kautta.

Numeroon on kerätty myös kolme Lynch-teemaan sopivaa kirja-arviota. Tuomo Marttila nostaa esille David Lynchin yhdessä journalisti Kristine McKennanin kanssa kirjoittaman, elämäkertaa ja muistelmateosta yhdistävän kirjan Tilaa unelmoida (2018). Pasi Heininen tarkastelee Scott Frostin teosta Twin Peaks: Dale Cooperin omaelämäkerta, joka on esimerkki välittömästi Twin Peaksin ilmestymisen jälkeen julkaistuista kirjallisista oheistuotteista. Viimeisenä mukaan on saatu Kimmo Ahosen kirja-arvio Niko Jutilan teoksesta Poikki! – Toteutumattomat kotimaiset elokuvat (2020). David Lynch esiintyy teoksessa lähinnä yllättävänä sivujuonteena, sillä 1980-luvun lopulla häntä kaavailtiin ohjaajaksi Valkoisen peuran uudelleenfilmatisointiin, joka projektina kuitenkin kaatui rahoitusvaikeuksiin. On kutkuttavaa ajatella mitä olisi tapahtunut, jos osittain suomalaista sukujuurta oleva David Lynch olisi ohjannut Blue Velvetin ja Twin Peaksin välissä mahdollisesti surrealistisen version Lapin maisemiin sijoittuvasta suomalaisesta 1950-luvun kauhuelokuvaklassikosta.

Nyt julkaistava teemanumero on ollut sopivasti luonteeltaan ”lynchmäinen”. Vaikeaan ja kansainvälisesti runsaasti tutkittuun aiheeseen valikoituneet kirjoitukset edustivat lopulta vain osaa laajasta taiteellisesta ja tutkimuksellisesta kiinnostuksesta teemanumeroa kohtaan. Pandemian riivaaman – ja yhä jatkuvan – globaalin kriisin aikana syntynyt lopputulos oli joka tapauksessa toimituksellisena kokemuksena kuin hyppäys koneen surinan ja höyryn pihinän täyttämille pimeille sivukujille. Toimitusprosessin vaiheista kertoo myös osittain numeron loppuun lisätty päätoimittajan katsaus joulukuulta 2020. Näin kesän kynnyksellä julkaistu teemanumero tuo kuitenkin lohdullisesti esiin David Lynchin taiteen perusajatuksen: kaikki taide on aina avoin uusille tulkinnoille. Tulkinnat eivät ole välttämättä kestäviä, mutta ne ovat silti ajankohtaisia ja yksilölle merkityksellisiä. Taiteilijan rooli on johdatella meitä, avata polkuja eteemme, jota pitkin pystymme löytämään samalla palasen myös omasta itsestämme. Näin avautuvien arvoitusten ääressä me pystymme turvallisesti kertomaan meitä piinaavista painajaisista ja löytämään myös niiden takana piilevää uskomatonta kauneutta.

Nyt eteenne avautuva teemanumero on myös yksi ensimmäisistä akateemisista Suomessa toimitetuista David Lynch -erikoisnumeroista. Kunnia kuuluu niille, jotka ovat sen ansainneet. Kiitämme toimituskunnan puolesta kirjoittajia, referee-arvioitsijoita ja tekstien kommentoijia arvokkaasta työstä! Toivotamme antoisia lukuhetkiä poikkitieteellisen ja kansainvälisen Lynch-paketin ääressä!

Porin yliopistokeskuksessa 31.5.2021

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David Lynch – Editorial

How does art define the human as a source of experience and art? This question arises when one considers the long artistic career of David Lynch. During the past 50 years, Lynch has been best known for his work as a director of films and television shows, but his works comprehend a wide range from visual arts to online publications as well. Some have called him as a ”renaissance man”, referring to the diversity of his contribution on the field. Therefore, attention should also be directed to his multifaceted personal history.

This special issue, simply titled “David Lynch” (1–2/2021) aims to open up new perspectives on the life and works of Lynch. At the same time, it highlights the momentariness and ephemerality of these openings by shedding light on audiences, consumers, and human beings. The interpretations of Lynch’s work tell the story about our personal and unique experiences with Lynch’s creations. It is important to note that there is no right or wrong way as interpretations are highly individual.

David Lynch grew up and was educated as an artist in the 1950s and 1960s, during the times when major societal and cultural changes took place in the U.S. What Lynch experienced as a child and in his youth can be seen and felt through his art during the following decades. He adduced the mental climate of the 1950s in his works – partly through nostalgy – which regardless of its idyll, was an era of significant complexities. What lurked behind the sceneries of small townscapes was a nightmarish darkness that creeped easily out of its holes and cracks. From this mental landscape, Lynch drew many of his most important ideas to process them further, and incorporated them to the deteriorated milieus of large cities. The decayed surroundings of Philadelphia became a spiritual home for him, as the artist dug supplies for his first full-length film from the waste bins of the slums in the dark of the night. Eraserhead, which premiered in 1977, still represents a culmination point in Lynch’s artistic development, and functioned as a seedbed for what was about to come.

The many-sided phases of the film debut tells about the relationship of Lynch’s art with the technology used. In the autobiography Lynch on Lynch based on Chris Rodney’s interviews, which was first published in 1997, Lynch opens the pragmatic aspect of hiss artistic creation. It is quite easy for a reader to note how the artist effortlessly proceeded from rummaging waste bins to the experiments with cameras and film, and in the end, discovered the possibilities of web-based production. For Lynch, all elements of the art are important, they just need to be seamlessly fitted to each other. In this way, technology had instrumental value for him, but if the experiments worked, Lynch started to use it ingeniously.

In addition to films, the gothic soap opera Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017) can be seen as one of the most remarkable works of Lynch. Alongside the commercial success, the influence of the television series is perceivable in the notable productions of fan cultures and the substantial academic interest. TP undoubtedly represents one of the highlights in Lynch’s oeuvre and its cultural heritage in the history of television is vast. Nevertheless, it is often forgotten how the series can be contextualized with Lynch’s personal history, and how he developed its themes further. Despite some commercial successes, many of his projects have been unprofitable, or received little attention. However, a great number of other productions can also be linked with commercial culmination points, and it is possible to see how they advance the visionary themes developed in Twin Peaks.

It is understandable that many of the writings of this special issue concern this cultish and innovative television series. The special issue begins with multidisciplinary texts elaborating the artistic universe that Twin Peaks represents. The first article of Francesco B. Trento, focuses on the character Dougie from the third season of the series, Twin Peaks: The Return. Trento’s analysis is based on theories of neurodiversity. In the article, Dougie is perceived as an antithesis and doppelgänger of the heroic agent Dale Cooper. Cooper’s constructed masculinity is also the focus of the extended essay written by Karla Loncar. Alesha Serada intertwines her analysis of Twin Peaks with game studies by focusing on the multimodal connections between the game Kentucky Road Zero and the television series.

Aspects of fan cultures are brought up in the three following publications. Through her own artistic projects, Katriina Heljakka elaborates the productive dimensions of fan activities and her own, subjective and playful relationship to Twin Peaks. Pauliina Tuomi highlights practices of fan culture and tourism as part of her personal travel story, which took her to the actual filming locations of Twin Peaks. This part concludes with the essay written by Samantha Martinez Ziegler, who makes a retrospective analysis of web forums and online manifestations of Twin Peaks fandom.

The following part of the special issue consists of a series of case studies. The first, acting as a content analysis and historical article, written by Petri Saarikoski, focusing on the production of one of Lynch’s masterpieces—the film Mulholland Drive (2001). In the following article, Fátima Chinita centers the attention on Industrial Symphony No. 1 – a theatrical production from 1990, which evidences the surprising intermedial relationships in the art of David Lynch. Chinita’s article further stresses the important role of music—and more broadly, soundscapes—composed for Lynch’s productions. In his review article, Rami Mähkä continues this theme by concentrating on the influence of the 1950s era for Lynch’s work.

The special issue also includes three book reviews. Tuomo Marttila brings up the autobiography and memoir written by Lynch and journalist Kristine McKennan, Room to Dream (in Finnish, Tilaa unelmoida, 2018). Pasi Heininen scrutinizes The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes by Scott Frost, which is an example of paratexts published right after the broadcasting of Twin Peaks. The last one is Kimmo Ahonen’s review of Niko Jutila’s Finnish book Poikki! – Toteutumattomat kotimaiset elokuvat (2020) (a history of unfinished Finnish film projects). David Lynch appears, in relation to this work, as a surprising wild card, as he was considered to be the director of the remake of Valkoinen peura (The White Reindeer, 1952). This project was canceled due to lack of funding. It is fascinating to think what would have happened, if David Lynch would have directed a surreal remake of this horror cult classic between Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks. In any case, for Finnish the audience this remake would have meant something special, because some of his ancestors were immigrants from Finland.

This special issue is aptly ”lynchian” in its nature. The chosen writings of the already broadly researched topic only represented some aspects of the artistic and academic interest towards the special issue. The outcome achieved during the global—and still ongoing—pandemic was for the editors like a leap into the dark alleys filled with sounds of whirring and sputtering of steam. These moods were reflected in an essay written by the editor in chief (published in December 2020). As we approach the beginning of the summer, this special issue brings us a comforting message that is also related to David Lynch’s work: all art is always open to new interpretations. These interpretations may not be durable, but they can be meaningful for the one making them. We can think similarly about the experiences and emotions in reference to Lynch’s oeuvre. The artist’s role is to guide us, to open paths in front of us and let us find new perspectives on ourselves. Mysteries that are unraveled in this way, enable us to tell others about the nightmares that haunt us and to find unbelievable beauty behind them.

The special issue is one of the first academic special issues on David Lynch published in Finland. Honor belongs to those who deserve it. On behalf of the editorial board, we would like to thank the contributors, reviewers and commentators for your valuable work! We wish our readers a pleasant unwrapping of experiences with this multidisciplinary and international Lynch package.

At University Consortium of Pori 31.5.2021

Pääkuva / front page image: Johanna Lehtinen (2021)

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

An Inquiry on Post-linguistic Subjects in Twin Peaks: The Return

Dougie Jones, entelechy, neurodiversity, post-linguistic subjects, Twin Peaks: The Return

Francisco B. Trento
francisco.trento [a] uniarts.fi
PhD, postdoctoral researcher
The University of The Arts Helsinki

Viittaaminen / How to cite: Trento, Francisco B. 2021. ”An Inquiry on Post-linguistic Subjects in Twin Peaks: The Return”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/an-inquiry-on-post-linguistic-subjects-in-twin-peaks-the-return/

Printable PDF version


In the long-awaited third season of Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990-1991; Showtime, 2017), the audience was introduced to Dougie Jones, a tulpa of FBI Agent Dale Cooper, the series’ main character. In the series, a tulpa is a fictional entity created through somebody’s wishful thinking and meditation. The audience and critics interpreted Dougie Jones as a clumsy, unintentional, a-rhetorical character, incapable of solving the investigation cases like Cooper. In this article, I discuss Dougie’s post-linguistic subjectivity to contest the notion of intentionality which relies on linguistic traits and normative behaviours. Dougie Jones’ character disturbs the normative understanding of intentionality, which fails to embrace subjectivities that do not always express consent through linguistic constraints. To discuss these matters, I draw on Neurodiversity Studies (Yergeau 2018) and Critical Disability Studies (Clark 2013).

Introduction

First, I will introduce Dougie Jones’ role in the drama and supernatural mystery TV series Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990–1991), created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Dougie Jones expresses themselves by repeating short words and non-linguistic signs of intention. I posit the question of linguistic intentionality because it is used to categorise individuals as rhetorical beings. I draw on the scholarship of Neurodiversity Studies researcher Melanie Yergeau to challenge spoken and written language as the sole modalities of expressing intention. I analyse Dougie Jones’ scenes from the third season of Twin Peaks through their lenses. Briefly, I also mention how people in the spectrum of neurodiversity are represented in North American TV shows.

Dougie Jones never expressed himself through complex phrasal constructs. That does not mean their intentionality is not expressed. Non-linguistic intentionality and post-linguistic consent modalities are often read as dangerous features. They receive the label of ‘creepy’ or ‘weird.’ Neurodiversity Studies’ growing body of literature discusses the narrow-mindedness of the common understandings of rhetoric and intentionality.

Neurodiversity, as a term, was coined by the activist Judy Singer. She defines neurodiversity as a subset of earthly biodiversity. Humans colonised almost all earthly ecosystems (Singer 2019). Therefore, neurodiversity is present in the entire world, and it “refers specifically to the limitless variability of human cognition and the uniqueness of each human mind” (Singer 2019). Neurodiversity, in this conceptualisation, does not distinguish between able and disabled human bodies. Instead, in Singer’s vision (2019), everybody is neurodiverse, as there is a wide range of cognitive variability and modes of expression and communication. The neurodiverse movement and the neurodiverse paradigm focused on the subjectivities who are not neurologically typical, especially the ones in the spectrum of autism. While the discussion regarding the limits of neurodiversity and its different connotations is far from being finished, some bodies who do not adhere to the normative/standard modes of being and communication suffer from the lack of proper recognition of their onto-epistemological views.

Neurodiversity Studies (Rosqvist, Chown & Stenning 2020) is an emerging research field that focuses on the non-neurotypical modalities of perception. It emerged from within Critical Disability Studies in the 2010s. It aims to craft anti-ableist onto-epistemologies and dislodge able-bodiedness as the centre of the human and non-human experience. The concept of a post-linguistic subject was borrowed from the Literary Theory Scholar Antony Ballas (2019).

Of Tulpas and Doppelgangers

Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) is the third instalment of the Twin Peaks TV series. The Twin Peaks franchise’s main plot revolves around the investigation of Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) death in the North American town of Twin Peaks, Washington. She was murdered under mysterious circumstances, and her body was found wrapped in plastic near the shore. While Laura was portrayed as the archetype of the innocent white and virgin girl, her lifestyle embraced substance abuse and sexual misconduct that could bother a small conservative town’s inhabitants. In this series, Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) was presented as a skilled FBI agent sent to Twin Peaks to investigate Laura’s death. Cooper’s character is compassionate and possesses a vast knowledge of occultism and Tibetan Buddhism – one of Lynch’s primary influences (Bishop, 1992). This attunement to the occult otherness fed Cooper’s intuition and helped him solve the mystery. Laura was murdered by a ghostly entity that has inhabited Twin Peaks for decades – Bob (Frank Silva). Bob had incorporated into Laura’s father body, Leland (Ray Wise), and killed her during an orgy in the city’s hotel, as shown in the films Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (2014), directed by David Lynch.

The second season of Twin Peaks ended with Agent Cooper stuck in another dimension: The Waiting Room. Cooper crushes his head into a mirror in its last scene and laughs with his face covered in blood. Cooper had travelled to the lodge to rescue his girlfriend, Annie (Heather Graham), kidnapped by one of his nemeses and former FBI agent Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh), as a lure to capture him and get revenge. The Waiting Room is an interdimensional portal that mediates communication between our universe and the others. Its scenery includes red curtains and kitsch furniture lying on a zig-zagged stylised ground. In Twin Peaks, the other dimensions, layers of the actual fictional world, including the Black and the White Lodges. The former is the home of evil beings, including Bob and the Man from Another Place (Michael J. Anderson).

The White Lodge scenario was designed through computer-generated imagery, and it is presented as a fortress lying in a purple sea. It hosts peaceful entities and spirits, like ‘The Giant,’ later named ‘The Fireman’ (Carel Struycken). He wants to restore the balance between the good and evil forces through interference into Earth’s world. In Part 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return, it is implied that he sent Laura Palmer to Earth to restore the balance after the first human-made nuclear explosion opened a dimensional schism that allowed creatures of the Black Lodge to populate Earth. This mechanism later brought Dougie Jones to Earth.

While the first two iterations of Twin Peaks revolve around Dale Cooper and his catchy phrases, Cooper is absent from the first sixteen episodes, or at least a talkative and self-presentational version of the FBI agent. It knowingly contests the earlier show’s core of audience identification with Agent Dale Cooper” (Hills 2017, 08). During the six first parts of Twin Peaks: The Return, most of the usual scenarios of Twin Peaks’ town were absent, and as well the characters of its sheriff’s department (Hills 2017, 4), breaking the continuity of the series’ spatiality. During the beginning of the season, Cooper had journeyed through the thresholds of another dimension, while in the ‘real world’ scenario, his tulpa was thriving to survive. To make the absence of Agent Cooper in the ‘real world’, unnoticed, Mr C – an evil doppelgänger of Dale Cooper, under the control of Bob – forged two copies of Cooper’s body and sent them to Earth. In the third part of Twin Peaks: The Return, the audience was presented to Douglas Jones and their daily life. Douglas worked in an insurance company, Lucky 7 Insurance. Douglas was portrayed as fatter than Cooper, and he used colourful and tacky clothing in contrast with the always well-adjusted black coat of the FBI agent. Dougie Jones was created to mimic FBI Agent Dale Cooper, as the main character was stuck in another dimension since the end of the second season.

Tulpas and tulpamancy – the practice of crafting tulpas – grew in popularity in online communities like Reddit in this decade. There, users gather to discuss techniques to craft these imaginary companions. Many of David Lynch’s aesthetic and narrative choices are inspired by Tibetan Buddhism. It is supposed that tulpamancy emerged in meditative practices in which it is believed that an entity would be created according to the intentionality of the person who crafted it. Tulpas, as explored in many online communities, like Reddit, are conceived of as entities that share mental space with the host (Martin, Thompson & Lancaster, 2020). In Twin Peaks, tulpas were not only portrayed as creatures of thought; they also emerge physically, outside the body of their creators. After being crafted in somebody’s mind, the tulpa may develop its own desires (Martin, Thompson & Lancaster, 2020).

[A Tulpa] equates to ‘thoughtform,’ both as the idea of a form conjured from thought as if out of nothing, but also specifically in Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet having been very important to Cooper prior to going into the Lodge. Note that a Tulpa in the Twin Peaks mythos is not the same as a doppelgänger, which is an inversion of the original; the Tulpa seems to be an extension of the original. This Tulpa was named Dougie Jones, and had a weakness for gambling and prostitutes, yet somehow married and produced a child. Being an extension of the evil Cooper, he has wants (greed and lust) that may or may not reflect the original Cooper. (Piercy 2018 as quoted in Tembo, 2020, p. 192)

In Twin Peaks: The Return, the tulpas are framed as entities without intentionality. They are proxies built to perform actions and mimic other individuals. The show implied that Douglas Jones is a tulpa of Dale Cooper sent to this world twenty-five years before the show’s third season timeline. Douglas lived in Las Vegas. In a rendezvous with a prostitute, Douglas’s body embodied Dougie. Dale Cooper was sent back to Earth, travelling across the electricity network during that moment. Cooper, however, was transferred to Douglas’ body, which was already inhabited for decades. As two different things cannot be in the same place without having their physical integrity affected, they merged into a distinct entity, Dougie Jones. He is neither Douglas nor Cooper, but Douglas and Cooper, a mesh of Douglas Jones and Dale Cooper’s subjectivities.

David Lynch’s oeuvre is marked by the presence of doppelgängers, physically similar or identical to the body they mimic – and therefore interpreted by the same actors, but generally embodying a different sense of morality. Frequently, the characters meet their analogue or digital doppelgängers, delivering them into uncomfortable and uncanny situations (Jarvis, 2020). In Lost Highway (1997), the main character can transform herself into unknown doubles. In Twin Peaks: The Return, several copies of Dale Cooper appear. These copies are not doppelgängers, as the latter oppose or mirror the ‘original ones.’ They are, instead, empty shells that have an individual autonomy to become something different.

Another character portrayed as a tulpa in the third season of Twin Peaks is Diane (Laura Dern). She has been present since the first episode of Twin Peaks. Agent Cooper kept a diary in his cassette recorder, and Diane was his interlocutor. ”Diane, 7:30 am February twenty-fourth. Entering the town of Twin Peaks. Five miles south of the Canadian border, twelve miles west of the state line. Never seen so many trees in my life. As WC Fields would say, I’d rather be here than Philadelphia” (Twin Peaks, Pilot). Only in the third season, her face and background history were narratively explored. In the series, Diane used to be an FBI agent briefly romantically engaged with Cooper. In the third season, she was recruited by FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole (David Lynch) to help him find Cooper, who was out of the radar since 1991. While being interrogated by Cole and his partner Albert (Miguel Ferrer), Diane realised that she was not the ‘original’ Diane but a tulpa sent by the entities of the Black Lodge (Video 1).

Video 1. Diane Scene Twin Peaks Season 3 Part 16.

The observation of non-typical behaviour is key to identifying tulpas who aim to pass as another person. After being debunked and sent back to the interdimensional waiting room, Diane-tulpa met MIKE (Al Strobel), a mischievous entity that uttered the phrase: “Someone manufactured you. For a purpose!”. She was transformed into a pearl-shaped seed.

Image 1. Douglas Jones and Diane’s tulpa returning to the seed state after fulfilling their entelechies.

Tulpas often detour their ‘entelechy’, defying their ‘planned’ purpose. Entelechy is the idea that the initial stage of a being contains the recipe that will define its entire existence. The autistic scholar Melanie Yergeau explains entelechy “as a finality or cause that is intention possessed within and unto itself. Aristotle’s primary example of entelechy was that of the seed: a seed’s potential and eventual plantness is encoded within that very seed”. As I mentioned, after the phrase ‘Someone manufactured you for a purpose, which now has been fulfilled’ was uttered in the series, the bodies of the tulpas precisely returned to the shape of a seed, as if their entelechies were fully reached, except for Dougie Jones’ character, briefly analysed in the next section of this article.

Dougie Jones’ Post-linguistic Subjectivity

To discuss the state of Dougie Jones’ narrative role expressing intentionality beyond the linguistic signification, I break down the device of intentionality into three elements. They are the linguistic – or post-linguistic – rhetoric, linguistic – or post-linguistic – consent and the primacy of humanly-performed behaviour. I analyse a few passages where Dougie enacts their post-linguistic subjectivity. Dougie was repeatedly questioned and interdicted because of their ‘strange’ acts.

Dougie Jones acted ‘strangely’ – he rarely spoke or used complex phrases in his societal interactions. In other academic publications, he was described as a ‘trance-like stupor’ version of Agent Cooper (Grønstad 2020, 124). I discuss Dougie’s narrative role to exemplify how bodies that are not neurologically typical are devalued by neurotypical society. Dougie Jones’s tulpa cannot be classified as a neurodiverse body in the narrow sense of the term. However, Dougie’s tulpa performs behaviours that do not reproduce typically structured methods of social and work-related performance.

The empty vessel[1] schema mirrors a common trope regarding people in the neurodiverse spectrum. As Melanie Yergeau (2018, 73) says, concerning the Autism Speaks co-founder Suzanne Wright, “in other words, Wright suggests, autistic people are mere husks, fleshy orbs who breathe and dwell and exist, but whose presence is not accurately termed living.” Dougie’s interests do not rely on fulfilling the typical standardised patterns of communication. The media and film scholar Matt Hills (2017, 7) defined Dougie Jones as “a ‘shell’ of false identity: He is depicted as unable to speak, beyond repeating the ends of others’ sentences, and is unable to recall his own identity and history”. From now on, when referring to Dougie Jones, I point to the tulpa that inhabited Dougie’s body.

Image 2. Dougie Jones thrives on black coffee.

Despite not behaving like her husband’s previous iteration, Janey-Y sent Dougie to their job, a big insurance company in Los Angeles (Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 5). When arriving in the complex where the company is located, Dougie started to explore the environment. Dougie did not walk in straight lines or with a clear purpose in the eyes of their employers. Dougie bumped into an insurance company assistant (Video 2), who was carrying a pile of coffee cups straight from the coffeeshop.

Video 2. Dougie Elevator Scene.

Dougie’s body was captured by the gravity of the strong smell of coffee and moved their head towards their lids. The assistant mentioned that Dougie was late for a meeting, but his attention remains on the coffee cups. He walks towards the elevators, and Dougie follows – the coffee, not the person. Dougie enters the elevator, and their face looks to the back of the elevator, not into the other passengers’ faces. This gesture caused some discomfort on these individuals who were not used to non-typical socialites that detour face-to-face conversations. Suddenly, Dougie’s head was propelled in a different direction while he utters one of the few words he learned after being manufactured as a tulpa: “C-O-F-F-E-E.” The assistant said, “I am sorry, Dougie, I didn’t get one for you.” However, Dougie does not respond to linguistic modalities of consent. Instead, he followed his appetites, and his arms reach toward a cup of coffee, disregarding the names written on the coffee cups. When the coffee finally touches Dougie’s mouth, an orgasmic sound echoes. He drank a large cup of coffee in one sip, impressing the other passengers in the elevator and repeating the phrase said by his assistant: “A DAMN GOOD JOE.” Dougie communicated and expressed his desires by repeating the exact phrases and bodily movements that his peers did not understand. Repetition is discarded from the typically ableist understanding of intentionality, or a post-linguistic subject, as Ballas (2019) asserted:

Dougie (Dale Cooper’s ‘tulpa’) is a post-linguistic subject who has no memory of language, and must relearn simple tasks like eating, drinking and social cues. However, Dougie’s amnesia does not result in a lack of agency, but rather enhances his abilities—as though he has pure, unmediated access to reality, is able to divine the truth, and ultimately access knowledge of the real beyond the subjective frame. (Ballas, 2019, 123)

Image 3. Dougie in the elevator.

Other interpretations of Dougie’s performance diminish his mode of being: “Dougie’s blank intoning of linguistic tropes from the original show, always slightly off-key, gestures tantalisingly toward something that is and will remain absent” (Jones, 2020, p. 10; our remark) or medicalise his existence, by affirming that Dougie represents Lynch’s “fantastical connotations of dementia” (Hills, 2017, p. 01). The previous phrase may express the common understanding of intentionality. As there is no clear objective in linguistic or bodily language easily readable by neurotypicals, one assumes a lack of it. It is absent. Eventually, ‘non-normal behaviour is pathologised, deemed dangerous and unpredictable, as it does not fit onto the grid of controlled expectations of a control society (Deleuze, 1990), where a network of devices survey deviant behaviours.

I highlight the ending credits of Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 5 (Video 3). Dougie stares at a statue located in the parking lot/entrance of the insurance company that employs him. His fixed gaze towards the statue lasts for a long time, while Dougie slowly explores the monument’s toes by gently touching them. That simple gesture, without a clear intention, was enough to activate the hyper-policialised society’s alarm, as a guard of the company arrives and tries to inform Dougie that he is not allowed to stay there after the working hours. The credits start rolling over Dougie’s apparent stuckness, and Johnny Jewel’s Windswept plays in the background while the last lights of the complex of buildings are turned off. The artist-researcher Jaime del Val connects this constant personal and interpersonal vigilance to the bodily postures and non-linguistic rhetorical signs of human bodies to a fixed model of vision that emerged during the Renaissance. According to him, “this model, that is still grounding our cameras and screen-based interfaces in digital culture, allows to reduce movement to segments that can be codified, first in strict behavioural patterns and architectures” (Del Val 2020, 315).

Video 3. Ending credits of Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 5.

On a broader level, agency, as a concept, is understood by new materialist epistemologies as a distributed phenomenon that happens through intra-actions (Barad, 2003). Therefore, agency is not restricted to the intentionality of a singular individual. Nevertheless, it is still essential to understanding the nuances of the empty vessel schema. There are bodies read as empty vessels incapable of societal interaction, like Dougie. In that understanding, intentionality is only read as expressing clear linguistic order words in English. As I wrote (Kuipers & Trento, 2018), Dougie Jones’ non-normativity disrupts daily life’s behavioural and normative constraints. when Dougie intends to do something, “it’s not through linguistic and social techniques. (…) There’s not “I want,” not at least as a voice that passes through their throat, but as a movement-moving, their body tending towards a piece of pie or a black cup of joe”. (Kuipers & Trento, 2018).

Intent and non-typical rhetoricities in post-linguistic subjects

In this article, I draw on Neurodiversity Studies as they offer a robust framework for deconstructing the normative understandings of rhetoric that Dougie did not fulfil. The following paragraphs illustrate the current growing body of literature on neurodiversity and my experience as a person on the spectrum of neurodiversity. While there are several definitions regarding the neurodiverse spectrum range, I advocate for a broader understanding of it. It encompasses not only those diagnosed or identified with the spectrum of autism but also the body-minds with ADHD and non-typical ways of focusing, and those who suffer from anxiety and depression disorders. In general, one could say that any non-normative mode of behaviour could be assigned to the spectrum of neurodiversity. Importantly, though, is to reaffirm that each condition/mode of being has its particularities/necessities that shall not be ignored.

Melanie Yergeau’s (2018) book Authoring Autism: On Neurological Queerness explores how neuroqueer perception is often discursively de-rhetorised. Moreover, in its most normative sense, rhetoric embraces a distinct sense of perception of intentionality. One mechanism that aims to exclude neurodiverse bodies from the rhetorical realm is the affirmation that they cannot express intentionality. Intentionality is understood as a solely linguistic feature tuned to a particularly normative mode of sociality, which diminishes the agential potential of the non-human relationalities. The intent is only evaluated when it is clearly spoken, and when it is “offered in conjunction with the neuroqueer, it becomes illegible: we only know what intent is when that intent is read via pro-social measures” (Yergeau, 2018, 37). Nowadays, many practisers of ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis), the most recognised therapy for neurodiverse persons in the Americas, still see neurodiverse bodies as lacking intentionality. In sum, Yergeau systematises intentionality as a linguistic or non-linguistic system expressions of inference:

If we were to define intentionality rather simply, we might cast it as that toward which we turn as well as the action of turning-toward unto itself. Intentionality encompasses both the process of inference and the physical action of communicating or making that inference known. It is determined by both cause and effect, the latter of which is made recognisable on the body—through speech, through gesture, through gaze, through paralinguistic cues such as throat clearing, or feet shuffling, or kiss blowing. (Yergeau 2018, p. 37)

The issue lies in intentionality being only read in the typically spoken language or in gestural codes that rely on a neurotypical causality [i.e., I smile because I am happy]. Also, in ”neuronormative Western cultures, on the other hand, are more likely to demand eye contact as a sign of respect or attention, demand’ quiet hands’ as a sign of being ready to learn (Bascom 2011) and prioritise speech over other forms of communication.” (Hillary 2020, 97). The compulsory withdrawal of the intent from the neurodiverse perception dehumanises people on the spectrum, posing them as non-subjects. If intent cannot be detected in somebody’s speaking, it is deemed non-existent. Melanie Yergeau explains that intent “isn’t empirically visible in the way that flapping fingers are; nor is meaning as neutrally descriptive as fingers moving back and forth, or fingers thumbing the air, or fingers fluttering over the eyes of an autistic interlocutor” (Yergeau 2018, 145). While these non-typical demonstrations of intent are hardly noticed in many social situations, they suffer several attempts of categorisation by the standardised state apparatuses. However, “what finger motions mean cannot be contained in a graph, plotted as an average, or intuited by means of physical observation. However, finger motions can be contained, extinguished, reinforced, prompted, faded, shaped, or otherwise brought into compliance” (Yergeau 2018, 145).

In her dissertation, the Critical Disability Studies scholar Emily Clark (2013) analysed the representation of deafness in the literature of the 1980s. Clark problematises the compulsory implicit and collective understanding that the expression of an internal feeling can be only made through a linguistic utterance. Instead of categorising individuals by their ability to perform language normatively, which may solidify the ableist divide between the able and non-able bodies, Clark (2013, 12) proposes alternative categories:

  • Bodies with language (specifically English), and without languae (mute, unintelligible).
  • Bodies with “correct” language (grammatically-correct, understandable, “appropriate”), and with “incorrect” language (cursing, screaming, “sloppy” grammar).
  • Bodies that communicate verbally; bodies that communicate non-verbally.
  • Literate bodies; barely literate bodies; illiterate bodies.
  • Bodies that chose to read, and those that chose not to read.

The notion of post-linguistic subjectivity converges with the post-linguistic turn in the social sciences and humanities during the 1980s. It vouched to overcome the structuralist paradigm, which posited the discursivities as societal construction’s leading agents. In a structuralist framework, “where there is reason, there is a subject” has been replaced by “where there is language, there is a subject” (Wolfe 2003, 129, as quoted by Clark 2013, 68). In the TV series, Dougie Jones’ post-linguistic subjectivity oscillates between ‘bodies with incorrect language’ and ‘bodies that communicate non-verbally.’ However, “language in the form of representation, including literary representation specifically and evocatively, is a mechanism that has the capacity to humanise as well as to dehumanise” (Clark 2013, 68). Dougie has a lot to say in terms of non-linguistic modalities of intent. Let’s take one of the scenes in which Dougie is attracted by the smell of a ‘damn’ cup of black coffee – a desire that emerged from the bodily memory of Agent Dale Cooper. His body moves towards the cups propelled by his obsessive appetite for that drink is an example to help the reader understand how the normative device of neurotypicality funnels all experience and expression. Both Dougie’s stillness and his constant desire for more coffee and pie were pathologised. These are glitches that may disturb the ‘correct’ organisation of societal behaviour through neurotypical eyes. In cinema and TV, non-typical behaviour and post-linguistic subjects are mostly praised when they fulfil a goal of success, in terms of a successful career or the ‘overcoming’ of difficulties, as I will briefly discuss in the next section.

In the series, Dougie Jones had obsessions. Dougie frequently expressed his constant desire to eat cake, pies and drink large amounts of black coffee. Despite not being fully understood by his colleagues, his obsessions facilitated his working life. Dougie received messages from the lodge’s entities through visions of them pointing to random points of his sight. In the first part of Twin Peaks: The Return, the entities are shown in the scenario of a casino, where they pointed the right directions to help Dougie win a large sum of money in the slot machines. With a pencil, Dougie drew a series of lines over the insurance company’s spreadsheets back at the insurance company. The drawing helped his boss unveil a fraudulent internal schema of corruption and the workers responsible for the non-appropriate behaviour were purged. When the owner of the insurance company, Bushnell Williams, invited Dougie into his room, he promptly understood what Dougie’s drawings meant without requiring the utterance of complex spoken phrases. This gesture embodies not only acceptance but engagement with post-linguistic modalities of communication, acknowledging that “there are bodies who will never speak, or at least, will never speak in recognisable human language” (Clark 2013, 15). As I have written, “perhaps revealing in typicality, but the lines are just lines as much as red is just red. To draw just a line means not to parse all of the abstractions into its act or to rely on pure habit. It is just a line in the drawing of the event, while simultaneously its ingression” (Kuipers & Trento, 2018).

Image 4. Dougie’s drawings.

On another occasion – Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 13 – Dougie Jones was summoned by Anthony Sinclair (interpreted by Tom Sizemore) for a coffee date in the insurance company’s café. Sinclair aimed to kill Dougie Jones by poisoning his coffee, as Dougie’s drawings revealed the latter was involved in a corruption scheme. The character walked towards a display filled with several apple pies in the scene. Dougie’s eyes immediately focused on the pies. When asked by the attendant, he could not speak out his intentions of eating the pie. When the attendant said he could sit down and have a coffee while waiting for the pie at the table, Dougie promptly changed his direction towards the table as if some keywords activated his movement. In the following scene, Dougie promptly takes the cup of coffee not destinated to him and puts his hands on Sinclair’s neck, changing his mind. Later, Sinclair decided to confess his involvement in the corruption scandal.

Dougie defied the expected entelechy for a character manufactured for a purpose, a body with “incorrect” language (cursing, screaming, “sloppy” grammar)”, according to Clark’s (2013, 12) previously-mentioned categorisation. An excellent concept to describe Dougie’s entelechy always-in-becoming is the Dogon egg, as it was conceptualised by the French Post-Structuralist philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. For them, the construction of one’s self and subjectivity mirrors the development of an egg yet-to-be-hatched: “the egg is the milieu of pure intensity, spatium not extension, Zero intensity as principle of production” (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 164). While the egg contains the genetic information, which will determine most of an individual’s phenotypical features, they are present in intensity, as they are subject to several contingencies. The egg “always designates this intensive reality, which is not undifferentiated, but is where things and organs are distinguished solely by gradients, migrations, zones of proximity” (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 164). When post-linguistic subjects are stigmatised, their entelechy refers to a life with precarious agency and not much room for deviations from a master plan. Dougie was created to be easily manipulated, but the intensities present in his subjectivity helped dismantle the goals from the entities of the Black Lodge.

Dougie’s representation on screen brought discomfort to some spectators. One may argue that Dougie’s character carries the perspective of comic relief. However, his persistence in the series, to the detriment of the appearance of the real Cooper – who ‘appeared’ only during the last two episodes-, emphasises David Lynch’s interest in the post-linguistic modalities of rhetoric present in his most recent short films. A segment of the audience as well as some of the characters in the third instalment did not fully grasp the non-linguistic rhetorical potential of the tulpas and post-linguistic subjects. However, post-linguistic subjects take part in the social realm. They need better inclusion frameworks that rely less on their ridiculing and more on recognising their modes of being as valid onto-epistemological systems of belief. Neurodiversity and post-linguistic subjects are not simultaneous or the same. However, they may eventually overlap, as the oppressions of the shared collectivity of non-able bodies also overlap. In the next section, I briefly turn to the representation of some non-typical traits in contemporary television and film.

It is happening againestigmatising atypical rhetoricities on screen

Repetition is one of the most well-known traits of neurodiversity and other non-typical modes of being. It may refer to some gestures repeatedly enacted or known as stimming. It is often framed as ‘obsessive behaviour.’ Obsession is also often connected to ‘hyperfocus’ (Ashinoff & Abu-Akel 2019, p. 09): “(1) hyperfocus is induced by task engagement; (2) hyperfocus is characterised by an intense state of sustained or selective attention; (3) During a hyperfocus state, there is a diminished perception of non-task relevant stimuli; and (4) During a hyperfocus state, task performance improves”. In this article, I am not particularly interested in the possible biological causality that results in hyper-focusing. I am interested in societal responses to a mode of being that embraces hyper-focusing and often fails into including them into the work and social life. In the cinema, hyper-focus is often represented as a ‘superpower,’ while there is also a trend of framing it as an advantage at work.

As Malcolm Matthews (2019) has written in the article ‘Why Sheldon Cooper can’t be black’, neurodiverse subjects are often represented as white-male and heterosexual savants who hold extensive knowledge in mathematics, physics, coding and the hard sciences in general. They are portrayed as lacking the desire to interact with other humans—especially sexually. This prominent representation excludes an incredibly diverse pool of identities that may fit into the neurodiverse spectrum, who’s neurodiversity is never considered due to the significant tendency of assuming that the autism spectrum only includes white male individuals. That is the case of the protagonist of The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007-2019) TV show, where Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) is on the spectrum of autism (Rourke & McGloin 2019). Sheldon is portrayed as a genius who obtained his PhD in theoretical physics as a teenager and disliked social agglomerations and sexual contact. This tendency grows on an old trope from the Applied Behavioural Analysis that fashions autism as an extreme-male disorder, while psychosis would be a female mental characteristic (Yergeau 2018).

Like Netflix’s Atypical (2018), and in other shows, generally well-received by the neurodiverse community, the main character Sam is an 18-year-old teenager who seeks to engage in a romantic heterosexual relationship with a colleague. In the American medical drama The Good Doctor (ABC, 2017-), the representation of autistic savantism and the inability to read social and bodily cues reappears, as the main character “Shawn Murphy is a young, genius surgical resident characterised as being inappropriate with patients, but able to decipher medical complications other surgeons cannot solve because of his autism.” (Audley 2020, 5).

These non-typical characters still successfully express intentionality by ‘passing’, performing as neurotypical, despite the emotional distress it can cause. In other words, they reach towards their entelechy of success. There is a particular common understanding of what ‘reaching towards’ (Manning 2007) means that needs to be deconstructed. Dougie’s touching expresses intentionality and cannot be only read through terms of uncertainty or dangerousness, as the danger of a ‘strange’ being that touches other people without pre-agreed linguistic consent. Linguistic consent must not be the measure of all intentionality, as it excludes beings who communicate and perceive differently than the norm. These modes of being are often represented in the mainstream audio-visual field as dangerous and creepy. I advocate for the creepy to become the crip, as in Crip Theory (Puar 2017). This academic field aims to foreground the non-abled ontologies and analyse how societal devices and discursivities mould the normative modes of being. There is nothing wrong or lacking in being crip, as queer activism reassigned the term ‘queer’. There is a need for more intersectionality in portraying and analysing fictional and non-fictional characters in audio-visual media.

An example of post-linguistic subjectivity’s portrayal refers to Samira Makhmalbaf’s protagonists in Sib (Iran, 1998): two sisters raised in an enclosed environment without being introduced to language. In the film, the camera follows their ‘release’ into the society after and portrays their communication with Tehran’s inhabitants without the utterance of fully formed words. There is a growing body of literature in academia that recognised the importance of this intersectionality. It interweaves between Deaf Studies and Neurodiversity Studies to modalities of communication “beyond the category of languages in general – and this is perhaps where autistic scholars and researchers attending to stimming (practices such as flapping arms, humming, spinning, playing with a rubber band, knitting, doodling, and tapping a foot” (Friedner and Block 2017, 287).

Conclusion: some considerations

In this article, I aimed to test some notions emerging in Neurodiversity Studies and Critical Disability Studies in film and television research. The concept of tulpa, and its portrayal in the series, helped examine the understanding of intentionality that stigmatises post-linguistic subjects. In Twin Peaks: The Return, Dougie’s portrayal as deviant from his purpose and utilitarian entelechy – “someone manufactured you, for a purpose, which now has been fulfilled” – and the unpreparedness of his peers to understand his more-than-linguistic modes of communication mirror the failure of societal organisations on dealing with the traits of neurodiversity.

While at any moment, Dougie Jones’ journey was recognised as a narrative of neurodiversity, the analysed scenes express that it is essential to posit and vouch for a broader understanding of the spectrum of neurodiversity in film and television fictional portrayals. In this sense, revisiting the concept of neurodiversity, as Judy Singer crafted, may help broaden the inclusivity and embrace individuals who communicate differently from standards of normalcy. As I mentioned (Trento 2020), Robert Chapman’s approach (2020) to neurodiversity is pragmatically valuable for those who identify with the spectrum. The author connects neurodiversity and autism, in particular, to a serial collective. This collectivity is not attached to an identitarian paradigm. It is a shared experience of oppression that can be transitory or permanent. The serial collective, as a notion, was created by the political theorist Iris Marion Young: ”serial collectives are defined in light of shared external material factors that mutually affect each member of the collective, regardless of whether they identify or not” (Chapman 2020, 12).

Film and Television Studies lack discussing neuroqueer minorities and post-linguistic subjects. Dougie Jones’ problematisation around the empty vessel model is a prolific point of entry into the debate on the representation of post-linguistic subjects’ intentionality in film and TV studies. The concept of “post-linguistic subjectivity” (Ballas 2019) needs further development, but it aligns with the post-linguistic turn in the Humanities. It also requires more audio-visual production that expresses neurodiverse subjects’ neurodiverse perception. One could argue that Dougie Jones’s character was developed as comic relief and therefore ridiculed. However, as I have exemplified here, post-linguistic subjectivities are represented through success and overcoming stories that tend to reproduce the mantra of ‘keep failing until you succeed,’ excluding the bodies who cannot attain dominant behavioural standards.

Francisco B. Trento is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Educational Research and Academic Development in the Arts (CERADA) at UniArts Helsinki, Finland, and previously obtained a Ph.D. in Communication and Semiotics at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil. Their work emphasises nonneurotypical modes of perception and techniques for dis/abling arts education through artistic research. Francisco previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Senselab (Concordia University), and they work on the intersections between queer studies, post-qualitative inquiry, and critical disability studies.

References

All links verified 27.5.2021

Research materials

Atypical. 2017. Created by Robia Rashid. Written by Robia Rashid and several authors. Weird Brain, Exhibit A, Sony Pictures Television and Netflix.

Lost Highway. 1997. Written and Directed by David Lynch. October Films.

The apple [Sīb]. 1998. Directed by, Samīrā Makhmalbāf, Iran: Ferdosi Multimedia.

The Big Bang Theory. 2007-2019. Created by Chuck Lorre. Written and Directed by Several Authors. Chuck Lorre Productions, Warner Bros Productions and CBS Television.

Twin Peaks. 1990-1991. Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Directed by David Lynch, Tim Hunter, Caleb Deschanel & Others. Lynch/Frost Production, Propaganda Films, Spelling Television and CBS Television.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. 1992. Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Directed by David Lynch. CIBY Pictures.

Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces. 2014. Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Directed by David Lynch, Absurda Productions.

Twin Peaks: The Return. 2017. Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch, directed by David Lynch. Showtime Networks, Rancho Rosa Partnership, Twin Peaks Productions, Lynch/Frost Productions.

News Articles

Felperin, L. 2017. What Netflix comedy Atypical gets right and wrong about autism. The Guardian 17.8.2017, https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/aug/14/atypical-netflix-autism-spectrum-depiction-cliches.

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Jarvis Brian. 2020. “David Lynch.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Gothic, edited by Bloom, Clive. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33136-8_46.

Jones, Joshua. 2020. “The past dictates the future”: Epistemic ambivalence and the compromised ethics of complicity in Twin Peaks: The return and Fire Walk with Me.” NANO: New American Notes Online, (15) Retrieved from http://ezproxy.uniarts.fi/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/docview/2356774067?accountid=150397.

Hillary, Alyssa. 2020. “Neurodiversity and cross-cultural communication.” In Neurodiversity Studies (pp. 91–107). https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429322297-10.

Hills, Matt. 2017. “Cult TV Revival: Generational Seriality, Recap Culture, and the “Brand Gap” of Twin Peaks: The Return.” Television & New Media, 19(4), 310–327. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476417742976.

Matthews, Malcolm. 2019. “Why Sheldon Cooper Can’t Be Black.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, 13(1), 57–74. https://doi.org/10.3828/jlcds.2019.4.

Martin, Anna, Thompson, Bailey, and Lancaster, Steven. 2020. “Personality Characteristics of Tulpamancers and Their Tulpas.” Center for Open Science. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/5t3xk.

Manning, Erin. 2007. Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, sovereignty. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Nieland, Justus. 2012. David Lynch. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Piercy, G. 2018. ‘The Fractured Self: Shattered Identity and Twin Peaks.’ 25 Years Later: A Site Both Wonderful & Strange.” https://25yearsla-tersite.com/2018/01/02/the-fractured-self-shattered-identity-and-twin-peaks/. Accessed on 27.9.2020

Puar, Jasbir. 2017. The right to maim: Debility, capacity, disability. Durham: Duke University Press.

Rosqvist, Hanna B., Chown, Nick, and Stenning, Anna. (Eds.). 2020. Neurodiversity Studies. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429322297.

Rourke, Brenda, and McGloin, Rory. 2019. “A Different Take on the Big Bang Theory: Examining the Influence of Asperger Traits on the Perception and Attributional Confidence of a Fictional TV Character Portraying Characteristics of Asperger Syndrome.” Atlantic Journal of Communication, 27(2), 127–138. https://doi.org/10.1080/15456870.2019.1574797.

Singer, J. 2019. June twenty-eighth). “What is Neurodiversity. Neurodiversity 2.0. Building on my original idea. https://neurodiversity2.blogspot.com/p/what.html.

Slater, Jennifer. 2020. “The Christian woman as a weaker, but honoured vessel (1 Pt 3:7): Forbidden to act in persona Christi.” In Die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi, 54(1). https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2519.

Tembo, Kwasu D. 2019. “Copy of a Copy of a Copy: Theorising the Triplicity of Self and Otherness in Season Three of Twin Peaks.” In Critical Essays on Twin Peaks: The Return (pp. 183–197). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-04798-6_12.

Trento, Fransisco B., Kuipers, H. (2018). “Extraordinary Adventures in Neurodiversity with Dougie Jones” Inflexions, INfLx pOp up 1: Diversity in Diversity. http://inflexions.org/diversityindiversity/The%20Extraordinary%20Adventures%20in%20Neurodiversity%20of%20Dougie%20Jones-1/TheExtraordinaryAdventuresinNeurodiversityofD.html.

Yergeau, Melanie. 2018. Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness. Durham: Duke University Press.

Notes

[1] A tulpa’s body is a vessel. A vessel, or a repository, is a common trope in several Western and Non-Western belief systems. The vessel does not possess any utility quality, as its function is carrying and delivering a message or fulfilling a purpose. In Christianity, “the metaphor of a liturgical leader as an empty vessel signifies openness and receptivity to divine authority and to act on behalf of Jesus Christ” (Slater 2020, 1) – “Jesus called Paul ’a chosen vessel of Mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel’ (Ac 9:15)” (Slater, 2020, 1).

WiderScreen 24 (1–2) 2021

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

“Call for help”: Analysis of Agent Cooper’s Wounded Masculinity in Twin Peaks

crime fiction, Dale Cooper, detective fiction, masculinity, trauma, Twin Peaks

Karla Lončar
karla.loncar [a] lzmk.hr
Ph.D. candidate
Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Lončar, Karla. 2021. ”’Call for help’: Analysis of Agent Cooper’s Wounded Masculinity in Twin Peaks”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/call-for-help-analysis-of-agent-coopers-wounded-masculinity-in-twin-peaks/

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This essay explores the shifts in representation of the masculinity of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, one of the leading characters of the Twin Peaks fictional universe, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. The research covers three chapters. The first chapter serves as an analysis of Cooper’s character from the original television series (1990–91) and Lynch’s film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), in which he is interpreted as an intuitive detective (Angela Hague), who departs from the conventional depiction of detective characters. The second one investigates Cooper’s “returns” in the third season/Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) and their significance for his character development through the lens of psychoanalytic interpretations of the detective/crime genre and its connections to past trauma (Sally Rowe Munt). The third chapter further explores the struggles of Cooper’s three major self-images in The Return: the Good Dale/DougieCooper, Mr. C and Richard, all of which suggest certain issues in perception of his masculinity, by referring to several psychoanalytic, feminist and masculinity scholars (Isaac D. Balbus, Jack Halberstam, Lee Stepien), official Twin Peaks novels The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes (Scott Frost, 1991) and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (Mark Frost, 2017) as well as the Ancient myth of Orpheus and Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo (1958).

Introduction

Ever since he appeared in the television pilot of Twin Peaks, a supernatural crime and soap-opera hybrid series (1990–91) co-created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), has become one of the oddest fictional investigators to date. Just as Twin Peaks immediately came to be regarded as an antithesis to generic television shows, Cooper served as an antipode to the conventional representation of a detective character. Throughout the two seasons of the original series, he acts charmingly strange: instead of predominantly displaying traditional masculine traits such as logic and aloofness like most popular investigators until then, Cooper’s brilliant crime-solving techniques include listening to his own dreams and intuition as well as empathizing with people around him, which are characteristics commonly perceived as “soft” or feminine (Gates 2006, 28). Even the ending of the show, in which he gets overpowered by evil forces responsible for the murder and continuous rape of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), the Twin Peaks high-schooler whose case he had been sent to investigate, defies the traditional portrayal of a detective-hero destined to restore the initial order.

Image 1. Dale Cooper entering the town of Twin Peaks in series’ Pilot (1990).

Several other official Twin Peaks works depict Cooper in a very similar fashion: in The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes (1991), the epistolary novel written by Scott Frost, he seems equally eccentric, just as in Lynch’s film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), where he – although briefly appearing – demonstrated yet again his attunement with the supernatural world by envisioning what is going to happen in the immediate future.

However, in Season Three of the series, or Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), Lynch and Frost conceived Cooper’s character in a much more intricate manner. The main plot follows the complex trajectory of at least three of his versions, developed after the Season Two finale, which was set in the red room, the transcendental realm of various spirits, where his personality got split in half. There is Good Dale, who after 25 years of hibernation in the lodge reappears in the world of men by mistakenly switching places with the insurance salesman Douglas “Dougie” Jones, in a process that leaves him operating in a “low-functioning amnesiac state” (Twin Peaks Wiki), which he needs to overcome in order to return to his previous persona. Then there is Mr. C, Cooper’s malevolent doppelgänger possessed by the demon Bob, Laura’s rapist and murderer,[1] who is on a pursuit to kill off the Good Dale and find Judy, another evil entity which can presumably “save” him from going back to the Black Lodge, from where he had previously escaped. And there is Cooper’s look-alike, FBI agent Richard, who appears after Cooper’s successful self-unification and continues to exist, presumably, in some parallel universe, where he is on a mission to save the adult version of Laura Palmer.[2]

What seems to be the most surprising is that Cooper, despite his final self-unification, never fully metamorphoses into that quirky and lovable character the audience once knew from Seasons One and Two. Even the very ending of the show, in which one sees the repeated scene of Black Lodge Laura whispering secrets into the Good Dale’s ear, mirroring the dream-like sequence from Season One, in which Laura tells Cooper who her killer is, suggests that he is more likely to enter another storyline similar to Richard’s than to go back “home”.

Considering this, one can assume that Cooper’s character in The Return is subject to major shifts in its representation. If the “old” Cooper generally serves as a portrayal of a detective who embraces his “feminine” side and is ready to understand the world’s darkness, the nature of his multiple versions in Season Three reveals that this is not entirely the case. Even though the “new” Cooper still functions as an unconventional detective-hero, the powerlessness (DougieCooper), forceful violence (Mr. C) and savior complex (Richard) of his newer versions all point out that his shattered Self is encountering a deep crisis connected to the notions of his phallic power, which lies at the core of the patriarchal construction of male subjectivity (Silverman 1992, 3). In psychoanalytic terms, if all these versions of Cooper are to be perceived as elements of his psychic reality, the Third Season Cooper does seem to have a problem with his own masculinity, if one is to define it as a “set of expectations that society deems appropriate for a male subject to exhibit” (Gates 2006, 28) that has more to do with a certain ”dynamic between embodiment, identification, social privilege and class formation, and desire, rather than … having a particular body” (Halberstam 2002, 355).

The aim of this essay is to explore the shifts in the representation of Dale Cooper’s masculinity and find out what they mean – especially within the context of the Twin Peaks fictional universe and the time during which its installments had been released. In order to do so, I will start by analyzing Cooper’s “original” character through the lens of his intuitive detection (Angela Hague) and feminist readings of the detective genre. I also intend to evaluate how Cooper’s “returns” in the third season correspond with the generic conventions of detective and crime fiction and the changes in his character, as seen through the lens of psychoanalytic theory (Sally Rowe Munt). When it comes to the exploration of his masculinity crisis, I shall refer to several psychoanalytic, feminist and masculinity scholars (Isaac D. Balbus, Judith/Jack Halberstam, Lee Stepien), as well as the official Twin Peaks novels The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes (Scott Frost, 1991) and Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (Mark Frost, 2017), along with the myth of Orpheus and Hitchcock’s film Vertigo (1958), a frequent reference point in Twin Peaks, all of which may provide further insights into this paper’s subject.

The Original Series and Fire Walk With Me: Cooper as an Intuitive Derationalized Detective

In order to explain the ways in which the original and Fire Walk With Me Cooper differ from the conventional detectives, one should refer to the insightful text “Infinite Games: The Derationalization of Detection in Twin Peaks,” written by Angela Hague, in which she analyses the detective narrative of the first two seasons as well as Cooper’s non-rational “intuitive detection” methods. According to her, Twin Peaks heavily defies the rules of the detective genre, which are “based on what John Cawelti has classified as the ‘classical’ detective story created by Edgar Allan Poe and Conan A. Doyle” and “equally applicable to the later ‘hardboiled’ versions of the genre written by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.” (Hague 1995, 130) Namely, “[b]oth classical and hardboiled detection posits that rational solutions can be found to human crimes, that mysteries are physically-based and accessible to the powers of the logical intellect” (Hague 1995, 130). Due to this focus on mental analysis, their stories need to have “definitive endings in which rationality and order are restored” (Hague 1995, 131).

The original Twin Peaks often flouts these guidelines. Firstly, it does this by centering its plot around supernatural agencies that are causing pain and sorrow among the people of the eponymous town. Secondly, by setting up an unorthodox crime investigator – Dale Cooper – who primarily relies on feelings, dreams and intuition while solving cases.[3] And thirdly, it achieves this by employing a postmodern, or metaphysical, narrative structure, which is non-linear, often parodic in nature, and lacks a firm plot and a neat ending (Hague 1995, 132).

To Hague, Cooper represents a player of an infinite game, a term coined by philosopher James Carse, who defines it as a game in which “boundaries are constantly being dissolved to prevent the game from ending,” unlike a finite game, which depends on “the existence of unchanging rules, spatial and temporal boundaries, and ‘conclusions’ in which someone must ‘win’” (Hague 1995, 133). A finite player may be well “trained” in playing the game but an infinite player is truly educated and “sees what is unfinished in the past and therefore discovers an increasing richness in it, with the result that ‘education’ leads to continuing self-discovery” (Hague 1995, 135). Following this assessment, Hague sees Cooper’s capitulation to evil in the series’ finale as something temporary, just like his prior accomplishments: “[t]o understand the nature of evil and its ‘shadow’ relationship with the good, he must completely experience it” (Hague 1995, 142). In doing so, he becomes the very embodiment of constant boundary shifts, represented by the nature of the infinite game.

The virtue of rationality, along with strength, heroism, virility, independence, and will, together with the more challenging, albeit socially acceptable traits, such as the inability to be flexible, coldness, and detachment, have all been considered manly throughout the decades (MacInnes 1998, 47). As expected, all of them have been attributed to many male detective characters. No wonder Cooper’s character, with all its social intelligence, receptiveness to unconscious forces, “ego elasticity” (Hague 1995, 137) and the ultimate surrender to the powers of the Black Lodge, seems like a parodic departure from the conventional detective persona, even though he may look like one (with his keenness for trench coats and slick hairstyles common in the 1950s, Lynch’s beloved cinematic and historical period).

All of this can be applied to Cooper’s character in Fire Walk With Me. Although not functioning as the central figure, since the first part of the film is about the murder investigation of Laura’s unfortunate predecessor Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) conducted by other FBI agents, he still demonstrates exceptional intuitive and non-rational mental abilities. For example, one of the key scenes, in which the special agent Philipp Jeffries (David Bowie) appears in the FBI Philadelphia Office from another dimension, serves as a manifestation of Cooper’s dream. He also intuits the details about the next murder victim in a conversation with the agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), furthering the audience’s previous knowledge of his extrasensory perceptions.

Considering the time of the original series and film’s release, Cooper’s subversive persona can be interpreted as co-authors’ negative response to the popular American films of the 1980s, like cop action films – such as Die Hard (1988) and Lethal Weapon (1987) or neo-noir films (Fatal Attraction (1987) – which try to reassert the traditional notions of masculinity, supposedly due to the crisis caused by the earlier failure of the Vietnam War and further political and economic empowering of women (Gates 2006, 100). It can also be read as their nod towards the handsome male characters of the then extremely popular soap operas like Dallas (1978–1991) and Dynasty (1981–1989), which have always been traditionally favored by female audiences.

That said, the originally conceived Cooper redefines masculinity within the context of the detective and mystery genre: he acts “feminized” and is revealed to be imperfect, due to his failed heroism in the series’ finale. However, what has not been disclosed is the extent of his “imperfection,” which in itself will become the theme of The Return.

Season Three: Cooper’s Returns to the Scene of the Crime

Season Three finds Cooper where Season Two left him – in the Black Lodge, still stuck in the surrealist world of “black/white dychotomy” (Hague 1995, 141). From then on he – or all of his versions—sets off on a heroic journey back “home” in order to acquire the object(s) of his desire by playing (if not acting) the detective who follows cryptic clues.

There is a special relationship between detective fiction and psychoanalytic theory, whose scientific aim is to trace and understand unconscious desires. “At the heart of both is the investigation of a conflict, with the intention of effecting resolution and closure,” states Sally Rowe Munt in her Murder By The Book: Feminism and the Crime Novel (1994, 143). “The figure of the psychoanalyst doubles with that of the detective, as an agent bent on interpreting clues and symbols, a figure of power who applies ratiocinative skills to a particular text. The psychoanalyst is adept at identifying repetition and return, something which characterizes not just the action of a detective,” but the whole narrative (Munt 1994, 143).

Expanding on this notion, The Return can be considered as a parable of psychoanalysis, just like the crime novella The Purloined Letter by E. A. Poe, which Munt distinguishes, relying on Jacques Lacan, as the perfect example of a crime text echoing the psychoanalytic process. Both of these works exhibit “continuous return and repetition,” which privileges “the act of interpretation over the original event” (Munt 1994, 144). What comes to the fore is their “endless deferral—one can never return to the same place, only hold a mutable memory of it” (Munt 1994, 144). In other words, what one witnesses is the works’ “obsessive return to the crime scene” and “continual reliving of the event” (Munt 1994, 144). In the case of The Return, whose title highlights the importance of this continuous recurrence, the “crime scene” evidently signifies a certain loss, trauma or a setback that Cooper, as a variation of a psychoanalyst and analysand, must figure out in order to move on.

Image 2. Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks: The Return (2017).

It is interesting to note that all of Cooper’s personas gravitate towards a certain vision of “homecoming,” which is a word defined by the act of a return. The Good Dale looks as if he wants to go back “home”, or to begin where he had left off 25 years ago. Mr. C’s goal is to find Judy, who may be perceived as his mother, especially if one compares the horned symbol found on the card he is carrying (Part 2) with the antlered Experiment which bore Bob (Part 8), the entity he is in symbiosis with. Richard, on the other hand, wants to take the woman named Carrie Page (Sheryl Lee), who he believes is Laura Palmer, to her mother in Twin Peaks, even though she is perfectly fine living in Odessa, Texas (Part 18). It seems that all of the Coopers have the urge to go back to, psychoanalytically speaking, the realm of “pre-oedipal unity” (Munt, 1994, 143), where the mother, or primary caretaker, acts as an insurer of the child’s absolute safety. However, as one is reminded by Carrie’s negative reaction to the (former) Palmers’ house, the site of horrible abuse that took place decades ago, a “home” can be associated with many crimes, too.

The Return notably plays with another motif that mirrors “our earliest Oedipal struggles,” and that is the split between the good and the bad self, just like the one Cooper experiences throughout most of this season. This “sadistic fantasy” is typical for crime fiction, as the protagonist often projects his own fears “onto a perceived ‘enemy’” (Munt 1998). To explain this fantasy, one needs to go back to the psychic processes of childhood: in order to conceive itself as a “separate identity,” ordinarily after experiencing the trauma of separation from the primary caretaker, the child needs to define itself through opposition, or an enemy, states Munt citing Tania Modleski and W. W. Meissner (1998). Extrapolating from Melanie Klein, Munt goes on further in suggesting that this “splitting off of projected and introjected images into two types – good, loved phantasms, and dangerous, bad phantasms – leads both to omnipotent fantasies of restoration and fantasies of paranoid destruction … Gradually, through the process of mourning,” the child ”learns to reintegrate the two sides of this internal, psychic, manic-depressive response, through an increasing testing of reality, which s/he performs through the activation of the super-ego” (1998). If mourning is not successful, the anger towards the imaginary enemy persists and turns into the state of melancholia (1998). Similar processes may happen in adults when particular events evoke past traumas, which certain artworks, especially the ones consisting of generic crime elements like The Return, convincingly recreate.

The eventual eradication of Mr. C and Cooper’s consequential unification, along with his metamorphosis into a ”separate identity” represented by Richard, does reveal that, amidst the processing of certain trauma, Cooper is gaining some sort of insight, which Shoshana Felman, following Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, defines as a ”singular event of discovery … that, because it cannot by its nature become a heritage … has to be repeated, reenacted, practiced each time for the first time” (1987, 12). But what kind of insight and what kind of trauma?

The Return and the Trouble with Cooper’s Masculinity

Except for their peculiar affinity for returns, DougieCooper, Mr. C and Richard all seem to have certain issues with power and potency. DougieCooper is the embodiment of powerlessness in as much as he is completely dependent on others: he walks where he is led and is at most able to repeat other people’s sentences (like “Call for help”). Sometimes he acts like his old self – for example, the first time he tastes coffee after 25 years of absence (Part 4) or when he masterfully disarms Ike “The Spike” (Christophe Zajac-Denek) in self-defense (Part 7) – but he is not able to consciously control his actions. He does not seem to have an erotic drive, either, except for the one time he had sexual intercourse with Dougie Jones’ wife, Janey-E (Naomi Watts), who took all the initiative (Part 10). Mr. C, on the other hand acts like his sheer opposite: he is the “embodiment of the all-powerful American and the ultimate capitalist product” (Stepien 2018) who does what he wants[4] powered by Bob, which includes killing people and raping women (like Audrey Horne /Sherilyn Fenn/ and Diane Evans /Laura Dern/). Richard seems like the combination of these two. In Part 18, he exercises different levels of power and control over his enemies as well as Carrie Page, a version of Laura Palmer, whom he desperately wants to take back to her mother in Twin Peaks. He exhibits sexual interest too, although his desire seems more ritualistic than authentic, as one can see from the depiction of his and Linda’s (Laura Dern) intercourse.

Having all that in mind, it is fair to assume that their complex relationship with control and power is related to the perception of their masculinity: DougieCooper acts pretty emasculated, Mr. C is an example of toxic masculinity, and Richard is somewhere in between, although gravitating towards a certain emasculation, due to his failure to bring Laura home. It seems all of them have a different relationship to phallic power, which can be defined as “the representation of the power that seems to be available to men in social and political terms in a male-dominated culture” (Halberstam 2002, 355). If one considers Cooper’s versions as the representations of himself, it is safe to assume that, throughout the Return’s narrative, he suffers from a serious masculinity crisis, due to internally conflicting self-images.

These images also reflect certain narcissistic traits – with Mr. C acting within the fantasy of grandiosity (he is a white male psychopath) and DougieCooper his vulnerable, fragile counterpart (he is constantly under attack by Mr. C’s assassins as well as the mafia), similarly to Richard, who behaves as what Isaac D. Balbus in his article “Masculinity and The (M)other” calls an “idealizing narcissist” (2002, 223), marked by his need to take care of others (that is, take Carrie/Laura back home). However they are read, if one considers them along with the previously mentioned psychoanalytic readings of detective fiction, this season can indeed be interpreted as Cooper’s turn to childlike, or pre-Oedipal responses as a defense mechanism from an evocation of a certain trauma.

In order to explore this presumed emasculating trauma one needs to revisit certain scenes of his returns, especially prior to his split and after his unification. The season begins with Season Two finale footage of him getting trapped in the lodge. However, it is worth remembering that the reason he got there is because he wanted to save his girlfriend Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) from the psychopathic killer Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh). In order to set her free, he agreed to give his soul away, after which he got split in half and met his doppelgänger, who immediately escaped out of the Black Lodge, leaving the good Dale stuck in the world of transcendence.

Another memorable return of his happens after the killing of Mr. C, when the presumably unified Cooper travels back in time and saves Laura from her demise (Part 17). In this scene, admittedly referring to the mythic legend of Orpheus and Eurydice’ journey from the Underworld,[5] Cooper does manage to save her from her killer and alter the course of history. However, just as Eurydice, Orpheus’ wife whom he wanted to resurrect by leading her out of the kingdom of the dead, she disappears nonetheless, leaving him confused.

In his last “return,” however, he tries to save her again, this time as Richard, who finds Laura/Carrie working at the Odessa diner (significantly called Judy’s) and living in a home with an unidentified male cadaver. She agrees to come with him to “her mother” but ends up screaming and causing a blackout in the Palmers’ house, which in this unknown timeline seems to belong to the Tremonds/Chalfonts – families from the earlier installments of Twin Peaks linked to the Black Lodge. As indicated in various resources, this plot twist is strongly reminiscent of the one from Vertigo (1958), Alfred Hitchcock’s film.[6] In this film, detective Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) is enthralled by a woman called Madeleine (Kim Novak), who turns out to be played by (another) Judy (Kim Novak), an actress hired to deceive him, so the real Madeleine can die at the hands of her husband (Tom Helmore), who pushes her off the tower Scottie cannot climb due to his vertigo, a condition that developed after he was unable to save his police partner. In the final sequence, Scottie manages to take Judy to the scene of Madeleine’s crime, where she screams in horror and falls to her death, too. Although Carrie doesn’t die in The Return, both of these works feature female doubles – one functions as an object of desire (Laura/Madeleine) and the other as its less glamorous version (Carrie/Judy) – as well as the damaged, fragile and emasculated protagonist (Cooper/Scottie), suggesting that there is an important link between them.

All of Cooper’s returns involve failed attempts to save women: first Annie, then Laura, and finally Carrie. However, those were not the only women he knew who were in danger. Let us not forget the original series’ Madeleine “Maddy” Ferguson, Laura’s look-alike cousin (whose name also refers to the names of Vertigo’s protagonists), who got killed by Leland/Bob. There is also Caroline Earle, his first love, who got killed by her husband Windom and whose spirit interchanged with Annie’s character after Cooper entered the oneiric world of Black Lodge. Audrey Horne belongs to this group too, since she was held hostage at the local brothel and later raped by Mr. C. Cooper did help some of these women, like Annie and Audrey, to a certain extent, although it turned out to be little bit too late. And some of them, like Caroline, Laura and Maddy, he could not help at all. Yet, the last two versions of Laura – the ones resembling Eurydice – perhaps did not want to be “saved”.

“Cooper never questions for a minute whether or not he has the right to alter all of time and space, or the consequences that this might have for the people,” Lee Stepien interprets the scene of saving Laura (2018). “First off, by ‘rescuing’ Laura, Cooper is effectively depriving her of the right to choose. In the first season, Bobby Briggs reveals that Laura told him that she wanted to die. It’s an extreme example of the way that real world chivalry can often have the effect of suppressing a woman’s autonomy. Secondly, preventing Laura’s death doesn’t erase a lifetime of trauma. She was not a troubled girl who needed a man to save her, but someone who was trying to take charge of her life in the face of the years of physical and psychological suffering. Laura’s original problem … was Bob. He’s a symbol of the negative consequences of institutionalized patriarchy that is invisible or ignored, as in cases of sexual assault when the focus is shifted to the woman’s behavior.” (2018)

In psychology, the urge to save women, or to be needed by them, has been known as the White Knight Syndrome, which is the exact term FBI agent Tammy Preston somewhat sneeringly uses when referring to Cooper in Mark Frost’s canonical book Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier (2017, 57). Mary C. Lamia defines it as “a compulsive need to be the rescuer in an intimate relationship originating from early life experiences that left the white knight feeling damaged, guilty, shamed, or afraid,” which usually include some kind of “loss, abandonment, trauma, or unrequited love. Many [white knights] were deeply affected by the emotional or physical suffering of a caregiver.” (2009)

Although The Return does not suggest this, leaving the question of his initial wound open, it is interesting to note that, according to Scott Frost’s The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Cooper, in a way, he could not save his mother either. Namely, she died from brain hemorrhaging in a hospital when he was 15. After she died, Dale and his dad saw her and his dad whispered something in her ear (1991, 37). A variation of this scene can be found as early as Season One of Twin Peaks, with Laura’s persona whispering Cooper the name of her killer in the Red Room of the Black Lodge. However, this scene gets recreated at the very beginning (Part 3) and the very ending (Part 18) of The Return, too, suggesting its importance.

Having all of this in mind, The Return may be read as an allegory of Cooper’s psychic crisis triggered by Bob’s violence towards women, which catapulted him back to the interior realms of his earliest loss(es), or feelings of complete safety: like Ferguson in Vertigo, he too perhaps felt he was not “man enough” to save them when they needed him the most. This allegory does not have a neat ending, since it ends with the aforementioned scene of an anxious-looking Cooper listening to Laura’s whispers. However, the fact that this scene tends to repeat itself suggests a glimpse of hope that Cooper might eventually hear her and create an alternate timeline where he could get past his troubles and gain critical insight concerning his ideas of masculinity, which are more harmful than not to the women he so desperately wants to save.

Conclusion

Agent Cooper has been one of the most radical detective characters in television history. Since the time of the original series and the film prequel’s release, he has represented an atypical investigator – warm-hearted, intuitive and sensitive to supernatural forces – someone who incorporates lots of the so-called feminine aspects into his personality. Even his ultimate demise has been seen as a welcome antithesis to the conventional, overly masculinized, white male detective hero who mostly succeeds in solving cases. However, in spite of Cooper failing his final task, he could overall be seen as a psychically stable character who, in light of Lynch and Frost’s postmodern play with characters and narratives, represents an “infinite player,” whose seeming demise is just another stage in his mission to achieve a certain balance in the world.

In the third season of the series, Cooper remains an infinite player: he indeed passes many stages in his quest for insight and balance. But The Return represents a much darker take on this process, eventually reaching the point of radical deconstruction of Cooper’s character. By the end of the show, he still has not finished his journey, revealing his immense fragility, disorientation and insecurity. Moreover, the series exposes that his “old” character is just another and perhaps non-existing construct, and that the “real” Cooper consists of several personas, who severely struggle to find balance in the expression of their masculinity and power.

In order to metaphorically point towards Cooper’s messy psychic reality, Lynch and Frost cleverly play with several oneiric plotlines and timelines, as well as the conventions of crime and detection narratives, which can be seen as a repeated return to the scenes of the crime, or revisitation of certain traumas, losses, and unconscious childhood wounds. In psychoanalytic terms, they revisit certain traumas and losses in order to soothe the characters’ and readers’ subconscious childhood wounds as well as reflecting and revealing pre-Oedipal, narcissistic impulses that emerge while dealing with severe stress.

Since the fictional portrayals of psychic scenarios always at least implicitly reflect on social conflict, Cooper’s struggles with his manhood, triggered by his failures in saving Laura, Annie and a string of other women, may also be interpreted as a reflection of the current Zeitgeist. In this day and age of fourth-wave feminism, women’s rights movements have indeed been striking new blows at patriarchal social structures, disturbing the gendered notions of what makes a “woman” or a “man,” in a similar fashion as during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when the original series had been released, coinciding with the articulation of third-wave feminism. Considering this, The Return may well serve as a mirror to the latest social upheaval. However, there is a certain optimism to it, which in itself seems radical: by not providing a finite or happy ending, the series invites us to keep replaying the same narrative – just like Cooper – until we reach further insights, which would move us away from the confinements of rigid patriarchal rationalities to the realms of true empathy towards ourselves and others.

Karla Lončar is a Croatian Ph.D. candidate in film studies at the University of Zagreb, currently working at the Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography. The subject of her dissertation is Twin Peaks, for which she was awarded The Fulbright Research Scholarship in 2017/18. Her writing on the series has appeared in various Croatian and international publications (Supernatural Studies Journal, New American Notes Online, Desistfilm, 25 Years Later website, etc.).

References

All links verified 27.5.2021

Film

Die Hard. Director: John McTiernan, written by: Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, based on: Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman. Gordon Company, Silver Pictures. 1988. 132 min.

Fatal Attraction. Director: Adrian Lyne, written by: James Dearden, based on: Diversion by James Dearden, starring: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer. Jaffe/Lansing Productions. 1987. 119 min.

Fire Walk With Me. Director: David Lynch, written by: David Lynch and Robert Engels, starring: Sheryl Lee, Chris Isaak, Kyle MacLachlan. CIBY Pictures. 1992. 134 min.

Lethal Weapon. Director: Richard Donner, written by: Shane Black, starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey. Silver Pictures. 1987. 110 min.

Vertigo. Director: Alfred Hitchcock, written by: Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor, based on: D’entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac, starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Tom Helmore. Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions. 1958. 128 min.

TV series

Dallas. Created by: David Jacobs, starring: Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis, Patrick Duffy et al. CBS. 1978-91. 14 seasons. 357 episodes.

Dynasty. Created by: Richard and Esther Shapiro, starring: John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins et al. ABC. 1981-89. 9 seasons. 220 episodes.

Twin Peaks. Created by: David Lynch and Mark Frost, starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn et al. ABC. 1990-91. 2 seasons. 30 episodes.

Twin Peaks: The Return. Created by: David Lynch and Mark Frost, starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn et al. Showtime. 2017. 18 parts.

Websites

Lamia, Mary C. 2009. ‘White Knight Commonalities: Are you a ‘white knight?’ Psychology Today. May 2009. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-white-knight-syndrome/200905/white-knight-commonalities.

Loncar, Karla. 2017. ‘When the World Spins: Connections Between The Return and Hitchcock’s Vertigo.’ 25 Years Later Site. December 2017. https://25yearslatersite.com/2017/12/14/when-the-world-spins-connections-between-twin-peaks-the-return-and-alfred-hitchcocks-vertigo/.

Stepien, Lee. 2018. ‘The Men Are Not What They Seem: Shattering Fragile Masculinity in Twin Peaks.’ 25 Years Later Site. April 2018. https://25yearslatersite.com/2018/04/03/the-men-are-not-what-they-seem-shattering-fragile-masculinity-in-twin-peaks/.

Twin Peaks Wiki, n.d. ‘Dale Cooper.’ https://twinpeaks.fandom.com/wiki/Dale_Cooper.

www.BlueRoseEpics.com. 2017. ‘Twin Peaks Finale Partly Explained By Mark Frost.’ November 2017. http://www.blueroseepics.com/2017/11/twin-peaks-finale-partly-explained-by.html.

Literature

Balbus, Isaac D. 2002. “Masculinity and the (M)other: Toward a Synthesis of Feminist Mothering Theory and Psychoanalytic Theories of Narcissism.” In Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory, edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner, 193-209. New York: Columbia University Press.

Felman, Shoshana. 1987. Jacques Lacan and the Adventure of Insight: Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press.

Frost, Mark. 2017. Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier. New York: Macmillan Books.

Frost, Scott. 1991. The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes. New York: Pocket.

Gates, Philippa. 2006. Detecting Men: Masculinity and the Hollywood Detective Film. Albany: State University of New York.

Hague, Angela. 1995. “Infinite Games: The Derationalization of Detection in Twin Peaks.” In Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks, edited by David Lavery, 130-143. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Halberstam, Judith. 2002. “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Men, Women and Masculinity.” In Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory, edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner, 344-368. New York: Columbia University Press.

MacInnes, John. 1998. The End of Masculinity: The Confusion of Sexual Genesis and Sexual Difference in Modern Society. Buckingham and Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Munt, Sally Rowe. 1998. “Grief, doubt and nostalgia in detective fiction or … ‘death and the detective novel’: a return.” College Literature 25(3).

Munt, Sally Rowe. 1994. Murder by the Book? Feminism and Crime Novel. New York and London: Routledge.

Silverman, Kaja. 1992. Male Subjectivity at the Margins. New York and London: Routledge.

Notes

[1] He is the spirit that possessed Laura’s father Leland, who welcomed his presence when he was a child.

[2] There are two other versions of him: artificial doubles, or “tulpas,” manufactured by the supernatural technology, which include the aforementioned Dougie Jones, a sleazy insurance salesman, petty gambler, thief and adulterer, and another one who takes Dougie’s former place, this time as the caring husband and father of the Jones family.

[3] I would like to add he is not the only character in touch with his intuition and feelings: similarly defined are also some of the Twin Peaks women and men (Sarah Palmer /Grace Zabriskie/, Maddy Ferguson /Sheryl Lee/, Andy Brennan /Harry Goaz/, etc.), which contributes to the overall unconventionality of the original Twin Peaks.

[4] Memorable is his remark that he does what he wants: “Want, not need. I don’t need anything.” (Part 2)

[5] Mark Frost confirmed that in an interview for Empire Magazine, quoted in “Twin Peaks Finale Partly Explained By Mark Frost” (2017).

[6] For further reading, see Loncar (2018).

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

Will Kentucky Route Zero Take You to Twin Peaks? Tracing the Narrative of the American Weird

cybertext, fan studies, hypertext, intertextuality, metatext, narrative, video games

Alesha Serada
aserada [a] uwasa.fi
PhD Student
School of Marketing and Communication
University of Vaasa

Viittaaminen / How to cite: Serada, Alesha. 2021. ”Will Kentucky Route Zero Take You to Twin Peaks? Tracing the Narrative of the American Weird”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/will-kentucky-route-zero-take-you-to-twin-peaks-tracing-the-narrative-of-the-american-weird/

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In this article, I analyze the narrative of Kentucky Route Zero in search of tropes and constructive principles already known from Twin Peaks. I seek to find out how interactivity of the game adds to these tropes and techniques, and whether we can project our findings about its interactive hypertextual narrative back to Twin Peaks. I suggest that, in both cases, the fictional world largely emerges from the interaction with the audience that actively interprets the narrative and extends it far beyond the ‘tangible’ text. Furthermore, the authors explicitly call for such involvement by introducing self-reflexivity and metacommentary in their work. I conclude with the perspective of the American Weird setting, implemented in both ‘story worlds’; it can engender new meanings that surpass the linear logic of narration.

Introduction: Twin Peaks as the Point of Departure

Since its premiere in 1990, Twin Peaks has transformed the experience of consuming popular media, particularly television (see e.g., Barrett 2017; Boulègue 2017; Mittell 2015), not just for its fans, but also for the generations to come. This cult TV series remains one of the most influential texts in experimental storytelling, not least due to its unique fictional universe (‘story world’). In addition to television and film, the legacy of Twin Peaks can also be discovered in video games, as confirmed by many dedicated lists compiled by game critics. One particular game, Kentucky Road Zero (Elliott, Kemenczy, and Babbitt 2013), is frequently mentioned in such lists (Andriessen 2020; Green 2017; Seagrave 2017; Turi 2015; Welsh 2020). This association may be even more surprising, as the game does not visually resemble Twin Peaks. The look of the game is minimalist and clean; it has very few ‘cinematic’ segments and heavily relies on text dialogues.

Image 1. Scene from Kentucky Route Zero Act II (2013). The main characters are waiting for a giant eagle to carry them away from the corporate Museum of Dwellings.
Image 2. Scene from the finale of Kentucky Route Zero Act V (2020). The look of the game became more sophisticated in the process of development, especially in its depiction of space.

Kentucky Route Zero (2013–2020) is an independently developed computer game in five episodes, referred to as ‘Acts’ in the game. These ‘Acts’, united by an overarching narrative, were released in a serial form between 2013 and 2020. They were accompanied by another five shorter interactive ‘Interludes’ and other additional media content such as short videos and music recordings. The authors and developers of the game Jake Elliott, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt formed a small company called Cardboard Computer; later, they partnered with the publisher Annapurna Interactive to bring the game to popular consoles (Elliott, Kemenczy, and Babbitt 2017) (Elliott et al., 2017). The game proved to be a creative success and gained a considerable fan following. Its official Reddit community exceeded 2,600 members as of May 2021, with approximately 800 discussion threads posted by developers and fans since February 17, 2013. The main writer of the game story, Jake Elliot, has been nominated for the 56th Nebula Award in the Game Writing category (SFWA 2021).

The game experiments with interactive techniques of storytelling and breaks several conventions, such as plot closure, to an aesthetically satisfying result. For instance, the point of view constantly switches between different characters, some of which never appear on the screen. This also makes it difficult to identify how much each player character is supposed to know about the mysterious story world that is full of secrets. Sometimes two focalization points for narration are actualized at the same time, represented by two streams of branching dialogues on the screen (see Fig. 3). As it is common in adventure games, dialogue choices do not affect the development of the main story; they seem to lead nowhere in most cases, revealing frequent disruptions of continuity and logic in the narrative. However, this discontinuity, which is responsible for numerous blank spaces in the story, is a deliberate aesthetic decision much appreciated by the core fan base of the game.

Image 3. Scene from Kentucky Route Zero Act IV (2016). A branching dialogue that constitutes the principal part of the game story is sometimes divided into two parallel tracks.

It can be argued that high artistic ambitions of the game’s creators may have alienated a broader audience of players: some reviewers on Steam describe it as too much of an ‘art house’ (Renegade Master, 2020) and even “A collection of ‘contemporary art exhibits ‘ masqueraded as videogame” (manola.mann, 2020). Despite all the blanks and dead ends (or maybe thanks to them, as we will see later) KRZ also has a thriving community of fans engaged into solving puzzles, interpreting and extending its fictional world, in the same way as Twin Peaks does.

Stop Making Sense: Fan Reading as ‘Topological Analysis’

One of the first noticeable similarities between Kentucky Route Zero and Twin Peaks is the importance of online communities in solving the fictional mystery. Back in 1990, Twin Peaks was one the first TV shows to initiate early message boards and discussion groups such as alt.tv.twin-peaks; crucial analytical tools in active fan reading. Besides, it was one of the first cases in the history of fandoms to apply technologies of archival preservation (namely, VCR tapes) for the needs of collective meaning making (Jenkins 1995; 2003). New interpretations are sometimes derived from the smallest and, probably, random details discovered after multiple replays of a particular scene. Jason Mittell describes this mode of analysis as ‘drillable engagement’, characteristic of so-called ‘forensic’ fandom (Mittell 2015, 289).

Ultimately, this mode of reading is similar to academic text analysis, and, first and foremost, classical philology. In the style of traditional literary scholars, fans drill into all possible references and influences (intertext), establish meaningful connections to the media that accompanied the game (hypertext) and inspect the artefacts within and beyond the game that would shed light on the production of the text (metatext). This mode of inquiry acknowledges the ’intertextual landscape’ that surrounds the original text and construct a ‘rhizomatic’ structure of meanings that fans traverse in their active co-creation of the enigmatic narrative. However, unlike academic researchers, fans do not care about the potential hierarchy of signs and meanings of ‘high culture’ (e.g. Jenkins 2003).

In the case of Kentucky Route Zero, such a reference would be One Hundred Years of Solitude (Elliott, Kemenczy, and Babbitt [2020] 2020); early Surrealist cinema can serve as an example in the case of Twin Peaks (Boulègue 2017). These references are acknowledged and often admired by fans, but they are as good for solving the mystery as any film goof. Similarity and connectedness are the most important factors, valued even more when totally unexpected.

In literature studies, the term ‘topos’ (‘topoi’) is used to denote common topics, shared tropes and borrowed motifs that appear in different works throughout the cultural history, especially in the German philology and the Russian scholarship that inherited from it, which can be seen in Bakhtin’s works (Somoff 2015). Recently, the concept of ‘topos’ has been rediscovered and applied to adventure games in transmedial story worlds (Schmidt 2020); we will return to the updated version of this concept later.

The search for ‘topoi’ holds a special place in the academic Twin Peaks scholarship, as well: we may find elaborate investigations on what ‘food’, ‘clowns’ (Boulègue 2017, 137–60) or ‘air’ mean (Rooney 2018) in the context of the show. Moreover, fan-driven analysis seems to be rather ‘topologic’ in connecting common places into a larger, not necessarily ‘true’ or ‘objective’, but often highly engaging perspective of a fictional world (see Boulègue 2017 for fan-driven cultural analysis; or Rosseter 2019 for purely fan analysis). We, as well, might want to indulge ourselves into the hunt for shared ‘topoi’ in the worlds of Twin Peaks and Kentucky Route Zero. For example, the power line is an important location in Twin Peaks Season 3 (and electricity in general carries many meanings in its world), and we also see a similar silhouette of a power line in the first scene in Kentucky Route Zero.

The game starts at the gas station in Act I, and the gas station is the place that spawns Evil in Twin Peaks Season 3. The gas station in Kentucky Route Zero is called Equus Oils. It has a giant horse head on the roof, which reminds us of the Silver Mustang casino. However curious, these are probably coincidences: Act I of KRZ was released in 2013, and Twin Peaks Season 3 premiered in 2017. We may still ask ourselves about the common source of these ‘topoi’, as well as many others, which would require us to ‘zoom out’ and look at these two stories within the larger ‘intertextual landscape’ of media.

Intertextuality: as Deep as the Code Goes

Studies of intertextuality in cinema started as traditional ‘toposforschnung’, but soon went beyond the search of similar imagery or motifs. In the most influential Russian work on intertextuality in cinema, The Memory of Tiresias (1998), Mikhail Iampolski criticizes this ambition of creating quasi-universal ‘symbolariums’ of cinematic images. Instead, he connects the ability of the viewer to create a cohesive narrative to their memory about previous cultural texts. He writes: ”The semantic fullness of any text is surely the result of its ability to establish a connection with the texts that came before it, and occasionally with those that came later” (Iampolski 1998, 8).

Such perspective places particular importance on the viewer who inevitably perceives the film through the lens of their experience with other media. Following the footsteps of Mikhain Bakhtin, Iampolski understands intertextuality as the transformative field of meanings at the intersection of <the perspectives of> the author and the reader (Iampolski 1993, 34, absent from the English edition). Umberto Eco offered a similar model of intertextuality, recently adopted for digital transmedia realms by Hanns Christian Schmidt (Schmidt 2020, 109).

Intertextuality – connectedness to the previous texts through the previous experience of the audience – is an important feature of every work of postmodernism. Twin Peaks is generally characterized as a postmodernist narrative that builds on a multitude of previous works and genres (e.g. Geller 1992). Demonstrating even higher self-awareness (probably required at this stage of development of the relatively underexplored medium of a video game), Kentucky Route Zero explicitly connects itself to the tradition of postmodernist literature. Its style is described as ‘magical realism’ in the official Steam store, due to its references to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Its developers confirm the connection, and frequently mention this novel as a source of inspiration (e.g. Han 2020).

The names of characters in KRZ encourage further intertextual investigation, as illustrated by its substantial Fandom Wiki. Cousins Shannon and Weaver, two important characters in the game, are both named Márquez. Moreover, Shannon’s name is most likely a reference to the mathematician Claude Shannon (“Shannon Márquez” 2014). Another important character is named Lula Chamberlain; her second name hints at William Chamberlain, the author of the surrealist novel The Policeman’s Beard Is Half Constructed (1984) and the developer of the artificial intelligence program Racter (1984) that allegedly wrote that novel. Furthermore, the intertextuality of KRZ stretches beyond the text presented to the player: its fans have discovered a reference to the novel in the game’s files (”Lula Chamberlain” 2014). The ‘forensic’ fandom has literally taken the game apart in search of shared ‘topoi’.

In addition, this is where we may (or may not) find another reference to the work of David Lynch: Lula’s first name could be a reference to one of the two main characters in Lynch’s film Wild at Heart (1990), is a story of two lovers, Lula and Sailor. In Kentucky Route Zero, Lula acknowledges the romantic feelings of her former colleague Joseph but does not want this relationship at this point.

Image 4. Scene from Kentucky Route Zero Act II (2013). Lula Chamberlain is shown reading a rejection letter, probably a parody of the academic review process.

Hypertextuality: The Garden of Forking Dead Ends

The common understanding of hypertextuality starts with non-linearity of hypertextual works: they are often comprised from relatively independent fragments that can be consumed in a different order. Another frequent feature is the use of different media on one hypertext, such as, combining text, film and interactive (executable) programs (Bell 2010). From this perspective, KRZ is certainly a hypertext, complemented with Interludes that are included as a part of playing experience but do not move the story forward. The hypertextuality of Kentucky Route Zero does not end here: WEVP-TV, the fictional TV studio featured in Act IV, has its own website and several hours of original content (“WEVP-TV Broadcast History” 2017).

Even though the ending will not change depending on the choices made by the player, there will be slight, often purely poetic, differences in the game’s dialogues and scenes depending on the specific path through the dialogue choices and the scene sequences taken by the player. Thanks to this, KRZ makes an outstanding example of a linear but productively replayable game: in the end, we are left wondering what has actually happened, and we may want to replay different sequences in search for clues. Moreover, a dedicated player would go through all available content in the game to unlock additional achievements, while learning more about the strange world of ghosts in the static and underground bird songs featured in Interludes. Significantly, this is also how dedicated viewers engage with the complex story of Twin Peaks: The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer is one popular supplementary text to explore its world (see e.g. Mittell 2015, 299). Mittell refers to this book as one of the first canonical examples of ‘diegetic extension’ in American TV: an object from the story world enters the real world to extend the fictional universe.

KRZ features at least one ‘diegetic extension’ in the form of a separate digital artifact. Extending the universe of the game into the real world, Junebug, the fictional character from KRZ, has released a real-life album of aerial synth pop (“ambient whisperwave”, according to the fictional musicians themselves), on Bandcamp in 2020 (Junebug 2020). Unfortunately, the album is only available as a digital download, although Bandcamp also supports distribution of physical music records. However, it sets itself aside from the conventional forms such as an official soundtrack or even a rather paratextual interpretation of it by fans, such as interpretation of music from Twin Peaks by the band Xiu Xiu (Xiu Xiu 2016)). Even though we know that the music was written by the developers of the game, it is published in a way that suggests that the singer, Junebug, actually exists in our world.

The signature track from the album, “Too Late to Love You”, first appeared in Act III of Kentucky Route Zero. The song itself is a playable artifact in the game: the order of the lyrics depends on the player’s choices. In this way, the medium of a video game provides a unique opportunity for active involvement, although in a much more rigid scripted form than free interpretation of the text in the imaginary space between the reader and the writer/producer.

Image 5. Scene from Kentucky Route Zero Act III (2014). Performance of Junebug and Johnny at The Lower Depths, a bar reminiscent of Twin Peaks’ Bang Bang Bar.

The performance of Junebug and Johnny at the bar, The Lower Depths, in Act III — one of the most beautiful scenes in KRZ — is easily identified as a reference to Twin Peaks by its fans (as some of the game critics also note: see Turi 2015; Williams 2014). The ethereal music style, the visual palette, and the context of a night bar are reminiscent of Julee Cruise’s performances in all three seasons of the series.

Self-Reflectivity: The Randomness is What Makes it Realistic

Twin Peaks has always been self-reflective about being a TV show (see e.g. Geller 1992), and its metatextual quality has only amplified with time. One of the key scenes to express this self-awareness is smashing a television set at the beginning of Fire Walk with Me. This scene explicitly communicated the departure of David Lynch from the genre conventions of television (see e.g., McAvoy 2019; Joseph 2017). In a more recent example, Season 3 shocks the viewers with the gruesome death of two lovers. The young man’s work is to watch a shiny glass cube with vacuum inside that is also a portal to an alternative world — obviously, symbolic television. Agent Cooper himself appears in it at some point, when no one is watching, and this can also be a self-reflective gesture from Lynch; pointing at the expectations of his devoted audience who want ‘the old Cooper’ back. Meanwhile, the broader authorial ambition here is to show something that will figuratively blow its audience’s minds, as it literally, and shockingly, happens to the viewers inside the fictional world of the TV series.

As we have already observed in the example of The Policeman’s Beard Is Half Constructed, the novel supposedly written by an algorithm and referenced in the game, Kentucky Route Zero contains many particular references to the history and the process of video game development, also adding a level of metatext to its narrative. The first character whom Conway, our first point-of-view character, encounters at the beginning of the game, is Joseph, a former game designer; one of the first things that Joseph does is to invite Conway (and the player) to the cellar where three ghosts, the recurrent characters named Emily, Ben and Bob, are playing a mysterious tabletop game. This game immediately invites us, the players, to see it as a model of the actual game we are currently playing. The fictional players describe it in the following way: “The randomness is what makes it realistic”, which may also be read as the key to KRZ’s own creative success.

Kentucky Route Zero is self-reflective about being a video game, so much that it becomes one of its major plot devices. Much of the game’s events revolve around the artistic research project XANADU that Joseph, Lula, and their colleague Donald undertook many years ago when they worked as project researchers at the university. Another important character, the already mentioned young mathematician Weaver Márquez, was also involved in the project as a disposable intern, which might or might not have led to her early demise. The university funding was not enough to finish the project, and the researchers parted their ways (note the critique of the ‘merit-based’ academic evaluation in Fig. 4). This part of the story supports the societal critique that forms the core message of the game.

One noticeable difference between Kentucky Route Zero and Twin Peaks is that the former asks much more straightforwardly political questions. Even in its most enigmatic Season 3, Twin Peaks still represents probably the most straightforward contemporary version of the universal fight between Good and Evil in their purest and most abstract form. For comparison, in KRZ, the greatest evil is represented by the Distillery, to which the inhabitants of Kentucky are indebted. The Distillery is yet another symbol of capitalism that drives the conflict of the overarching story across five acts and seven years in development. This does not make a very surprising discovery, although the fans of the game highly admire its political message. In the final Act V, the characters seem to arrive at a better world where they may hope to build a sustainable community after the flood. Still, two innocent horses will die in the end, no matter how well you play.

Metatextuality: Invitation to a Beheading of the Author

On this journey to a better future, the mission of Joseph, Lula and Donald is one of the mysteries that the player needs to uncover. According to the common interpretation of the game’s story, the goal of the project was to build a machine that documents the process of its own creation in the form of an interactive game with multiple possible endings. In Act III, the player learns that before wrapping the project up, Joseph, Lula and Donald undertook a scary trip into another world that may or may not have been the virtual world of the game inside the machine.

Whatever happened during that trip (there are different options), the project seems to have failed at the point of time when the player had first entered the game. At the fictional time point when the player enters the game, Joseph works at a gas station, Lula works as a clerk at a Bureau, despite her artistic talent and ambitions. Eventually, we find Donald in the cave, which he named Hall of the Mountain King – another musical reference to the piece by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg for the play Peer Gynt (1867) by Henrik Ibsen. This reference suggests that Donald expects supernatural troll-like entities to help him repair the computer and relaunch the mysterious XANADU.

In the universe of Twin Peaks, we find a predecessor to XANADU in the Blue Rose group lead by Gordon Cole (played by David Lynch himself). In both cases, the figure that stands for the external author is limited in their knowledge about the fictional world – and yet, they know everything somehow. Joseph, the former leader of the XANADU project, is blind; Gordon Cole of the Blue Rose secret society is almost deaf. In both cases, their impairment symbolizes their ability to penetrate supernatural mysteries: a ‘topos’ that can be traced to Greek legends. To make this connection clear, one of the options for the name of the dog that accompanies the protagonists in KRZ is Homer.

Moreover, these ambiguous metatextual ‘author-characters’ take a special place in the narrative. They seem to have the external knowledge about the making of the fictional world we found ourselves in, and they actively initiate the quest of the main protagonist to uncover the fictional mystery. Their role in the narrative is to destabilize the position of the ‘reader’ and to remind them that, by consuming these texts, the audience also participates in a collaborative game of meaning making (which also includes the author of this article). In KRZ, Donald has even authored a research paper titled “Literary Multitudes: Hypertextual Narrative as Poststructural Witness”. Unfortunately, this article does not exist in our reality, despite our burning wish to refer to it.

Among many others, a rather minor but highly self-reflective question is whether artistic research and the arts in general can be offer a viable career when funding for it is driven by business logic. The decline of the arts in a profit-oriented social system becomes a recurrent theme: another member of the XANADU project, Lula, has not realized her artistic ambitions, although her sculpture showed much promise, as we learn from yet another interlude, an installation of her artistic work. Furthermore, when the players pass the conference hall in the Kafkaesque castle of the Bureau of Reclaimed Spaces, they unlock a peculiar achievement: a bearded, barefoot person plays a beautiful piece of music on the organ. This character’s name is Will, and he appears later in the game on a boat named Mucky Mammoth; he used to teach French literature and drama at a university but his department (of course, in the humanities) was dismantled as a result of budget cuts. This leaves us, the academic audience, with far too familiar real-world concerns, but also with the homely feeling of belonging into the narrative of the game.

‘Cybertextuality’: the Player as a Hypertextual Witness

Does it matter, in terms of the narrative, that Kentucky Route Zero is a video game? Its metatextual references firmly locate it within the discourse of narratology in new media, even though its actual playability rarely exceeds conventional interactivity. However, the name Xanadu may be a reference to one of the first hypertext novels afternoon, a story (1990) by Michael Joyce, which also mentions the location named Xanadu. After the players discover XANADU in the game, they are invited to engage in an archaic textual adventure game within the game – a homage to the influential historical landmark, Colossal Cave Adventure, (1977) that the writer of the game Jake Elliott used to play as a child (Han 2020). The choices made in this small game within the game affect the dialogue and the interpretation of KRZ in general. The player character can even die in this nested game, although this is presented as an achievement in the actual game, accompanied with a condescending line: “Your score was 0 out of a possible 8192”.

This may be the rare case when the playing scholar can actually get the essential experience of an old school textual adventure that is explicitly required to be able to understand the whole concept of ‘cybertext’ (Aarseth 1997, 2). The concept of ‘cybertext’ has been proposed by the game studies scholar, Espen Aarseth, to present a new perspective on non-linear texts, first and foremost, in literature and games (Aarseth 1997). According to Aarseth, a cybertext is the exemplary representative of an ‘ergodic’ text, the text that requires a “non-trivial effort” to make sense of it due to its physical properties in the material world. Eye-movements and page-turning would count as a ‘trivial’ effort: a non-trivial effort would be, for example, selecting one of the many different dialogue options in a hypertext fiction, or, ideally, typing lines of text to advance the electronic game. The ideal ‘cybertext’ is a machine by itself, “a mechanical device for the production and consumption of verbal signs” (Aarseth 1997, 21), – just like the fictional XANADU.

Kentucky Route Zero simulates exactly this kind of interactive experience with its exquisitely written and designed branching dialogue trees. Furthermore, it offers even more creative ways to invite user input that generate unexpected feedback loops. The ‘reader’ of the game is invited to complete its ‘text’ in many different ways that often reference old or obsolete media artifacts, such as simulations of a textual adventure game, an AM/FM radio receiver, and an old phone connected to an automatic answering line in one of the Interludes. The player can press buttons with numbers on the phone to access the information about the mysterious Echo River, receive traveling tips, and other information such as “Catalogue of subterranean bird songs”. The conversation takes unconventional turns when the voice on the telephone suggests options such as “If you are holding a snake right now, press 4”, and then asks “How do you think the snake feels?”. This is a characteristic example of the overall surreal mood of the game: after a number of similar occasions, we start accepting the whole world of KRZ in its entire weirdness.

This assumption may help us to shift our perspective from singular recurrent signs and themes to a larger picture of the story world as a particular ‘topos’. As Schmidt suggests, the concept of ‘topoi’ in serial transmedia can be read twofold: as a vocabulary of particular recognizable ‘common places’ in an intertextual landscape and as a fictional ‘setting’ in whole (Schmidt 2020, 109). Besides, panning from regular recurrent tropes (‘building blocks’) to the repeated structural characteristics of the whole world (setting), we also acknowledge our metatextual position in relation to a specific transmedial universe, as well as our ability to expand it.

It is important where the story takes place, not just the vocabulary that is used to tell it. The player conceives the non-trivial topology of Kentucky Route Zero and its surroundings by navigating its ergodic maps that present additional puzzles and challenges[1]. It may take a while to reach all locations when driving the van in Act I, but then the rules drastically change when the characters travel across the same map on the back of the giant eagle Julian. The map of the game world was two-dimensional at the beginning of Act I, but it suddenly becomes three-dimensional at the end of it. Consequently, this peculiar way of mapping fails to create a continuous mental model of the story world, despite the many clues it provides. Similarly, to an extent, this is characteristic of the world of Twin Peaks, despite this town being firmly located in a recognizable region of the US, with its material and spiritual surroundings thoroughly mapped. Both Twin Peaks and Kentucky Route Zero are ‘topoi’ by themselves, and both of them belong to the same narrative ‘setting’. It is the surrealist, horrifying, and yet, homely and believable world of imaginary ‘dark Americana’, best represented by the trademark ‘Lynchian noir’ (Sheen and Davison 2004).

Both fictional worlds have blossomed on the same fertile ground of modern American mythology, defined by the great American Dream and the current reality of ‘the American nightmare’, as Sionhan Lyons describes it (Lyons 2017). Rachel Joseph labels this re-enchantment of the mundane American reality in Twin Peaks as ‘the Northwest Weird’ and explains it with the weirdness and the horror of reality itself. In her words, “the “weirdness” of the world and performance of Twin Peaks is the weirdness of reality itself” (Joseph 2017, 66).

As Lyons writes, the American nightmare is often understood as the American Dream destroyed by male-enacted violence and darkness. It is the answer to both the American Dream, embodied in the comfort of roadside diners and the famous cherry pie, and the American Nightmare, embodied in the real-life figure of the serial killer Ted Bundy. By choosing this third option, the fictional worlds in the American Weird setting surpass the linear logic of narration and engender an abundance of novel poetic and political meanings. They may not provide freedom of choice mechanically (as in a hypothetical adventure game with endless choices), but they do it conceptually instead, envisioning the way to escape from the American Horror when the American Dream ceases to come true.

Conclusion and Discussion: Is Everything a Cybertext Now?

One of the biggest mysteries of Kentucky Route Zero is its inconclusive ending. The supposedly main conflict between the hellish Distillery and the people of Kentucky is never resolved. Even more mysteriously, this does not prevent its numerous fans from enjoying it. The same can be said about the multimedia compendium of television, film, writing and music that is Twin Peaks today. In both cases, the authors encourage free interpretation of their art (see Sheen and Davison 2004, 3 on Lynch), and this process is particularly active in online fan communities. The quest, or the investigation, never brings the protagonists close enough to the answer. The ends are never tied together – rather, they multiply like Hydra’s heads. There is no key to this puzzle, at least, in the authorial intent, but the absence of a finite answer only extends the pleasure.

In the ideal cybertext, there are many paths throughout such text, and choosing one way eliminates the possibility of the plot resolved otherwise. Aarseth refers to this contradiction as ‘aporia’ (Aarseth 1997, 91). However, there is no ‘aporia’ in Kentucky Route Zero: alternative choices may reveal more beautiful poetic lines and scenes (such as the organ concert or caring for the unfamiliar snake), but they do not have any influence on the main conflict of the story between the people of Kentucky and the diabolic Distillery. From this perspective, KRZ remains a rather linear game with very little narrative ‘aporia’: it corresponds to the architecture of the vector with optional side branches, the most typical narrative structure, for example, in digitally augmented books (Ryan 2015).

The game scholar Souvik Mukherjee would categorize this type of a game as a ‘monorail’ narrative “where the entire sequence of actions is scripted quite restrictively” (Mukherjee 2018). Still, each replay would still present a unique ‘reading’ for each player, according to Mukherjee, even though the player’s choices do not matter much, apart from the order and the tempo according to which the story develops.

In the end, can we imagine Twin Peaks as a ‘cybertext’? It definitely has an element of ‘aporia’ in it: as long as the viewer believes that it was Leland Palmer who killed Laura Palmer, the intrigue is gone, and most of the show (probably the best part) stops making sense for this particular viewer. However, the fans of the show choose a different way to read it. Initially served to the passive ‘voyeur’ audiences of ‘soap opera’, Twin Peaks has evolved over more than 30 years of its presence in the global cultural memory. It most certainly requires a non-trivial effort of perusing a wealth of manifold media artifacts to make sense in its current state. This makes it possible to interpret Twin Peaks as a “choose-your-own-adventure” book with many alternative explanations and even plot twists. The cryptic ending of Season 3 brings to the fore this tendency for the extreme and then just leaves it there: after almost 30 years with Laura Palmer, we still do not know her secrets. All we know is that her father once killed her against the will of her creator.

References

All links verified 27.5.2021

Albums

Junebug. 2020. Too Late to Love You (music album). Bandcamp. https://junebug.bandcamp.com/album/too-late-to-love-you.

Xiu Xiu. 2016. Plays the Music of Twin Peaks (music album). Polyvinyl.

Video Games

Elliott, Jake, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt. 2013. Kentucky Route Zero (game). Available on Steam. https://store.steampowered.com/app/231200/Kentucky_Route_Zero_PC_Edition/.

Videos

Rosseter, Anonymous. 2019. Twin Peaks ACTUALLY EXPLAINED (No, Really) (video broadcast). Twin Perfect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AYnF5hOhuM.

“WEVP-TV Broadcast History” (videoart). WEVP-TV. 2017. http://wevp.tv/vdb/.

Websites

Andriessen, CJ. 2020. “The Eternal Influence of Twin Peaks.” Destructoid, April 11, 2020. https://www.Destructoid.com/stories/the-eternal-influence-of-twin-peaks-582331.phtml.

Elliott, Jake, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt. 2017. “Notes on the TV Edition.” Cardboard Computer (blog). September 7, 2017. http://cardboardcomputer.com/2017/09/07/notes-on-the-tv-edition/.

Elliott, Jake, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt. 2020. Kentucky Route Zero Official Developer Wiki. https://github.com/dekuNukem/Kentucky_Route_Zero_Official_Developer_Wiki.

Green, Holly. 2017. “9 Games to Play If You Loved Twin Peaks.” Paste Magazine, May 19, 2017. https://www.pastemagazine.com/games/twin-peaks/9-games-to-play-if-you-loved-twin-peaks/.

Han, Karen. 2020. “The Strange Story Behind the Best Game of 2020.” Slate Magazine, December 9, 2020. https://slate.com/culture/2020/12/kentucky-route-zero-profile-best-video-game-2020.html.

“Lula Chamberlain.” 2014. Kentucky Route Zero Wiki. 2014. https://kentucky-route-zero.fandom.com/wiki/Lula_Chamberlain.

Seagrave, Richard. 2017. “10 Games That Fans of Twin Peaks Will Love.” GameSpew, May 23, 2017. https://www.gamespew.com/2017/05/10-games-that-fans-of-twin-peaks-will-love/.

SFWA. 2021. “SFWA Announces the 56th Annual Nebula Award® Finalists.” The Nebula Awards®. March 16, 2021. https://nebulas.sfwa.org/?p=6846.

“Shannon Márquez.” 2014. Kentucky Route Zero Wiki. 2014. https://kentucky-route-zero.fandom.com/wiki/Shannon_M%C3%A1rquez.

Turi, Tim. 2015. “Eight Games Inspired By Twin Peaks’ Weirdness.” Game Informer, April 6, 2015. https://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2015/04/06/8-games-inspired-by-twin-peaks-39-weirdness.aspx.

Welsh, Oli. 2020. “Kentucky Route Zero Review – Haunting Drifter’s Odyssey Comes to an End.” Eurogamer. January 28, 2020. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2020-01-28-kentucky-route-zero-review-haunting-drifters-odyssey-comes-to-an-end.

Williams, G. Christopher. 2014. “Transcending Fiction: ‘Too Late to Love You Now’ and ‘Kentucky Route Zero.’” PopMatters. May 21, 2014. https://www.popmatters.com/182075-transcending-fiction-too-late-to-love-you-now-and-kentucky-route-zer-2495656878.html.

Literature

Aarseth, Espen. 1997. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Barrett, Kyle. 2017. “Smashing the Small Screen: David Lynch, Twin Peaks and Reinventing Television.” In From Approaching Twin Peaks: Critical Essays on the Original Series, 47–64. Jefferson: McFarland.

Bell, Alice. 2010. The Possible Worlds of Hypertext Fiction. New York: Springer.

Boulègue, Franck. 2017. Twin Peaks: Unwrapping the Plastic. Bristol: Intellect Books.

Geller, Theresa. 1992. “Deconstructing Postmodern Television in Twin Peaks.” The Spectator 12 (2): 65–71.

Iampolski, Mikhail. 1993. Pam’at’ Tiresija. Moskva: RIK “Kultura” (In Russian).

Iampolski, Mikhail. 1998. The Memory of Tiresias: Intertextuality and Film. Oakland: University of California Press.

Jenkins, Henry. 1995. “Alt.Tv.Twinpeaks, the Trickster Author, and Viewer Mastery.” In Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks, 51–69. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Jenkins, Henry. 2003. Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. London: Routledge.

Joseph, Rachel. 2017. “‘I’ll See You in the Trees’: Trauma, Intermediality and the Pacific Northwest Weird.” In Approaching Twin Peaks: Critical Essays on the Original Series, 65–80. Jefferson: McFarland.

Lyons, Siobhan. 2017. “David Lynch’s American Nightmare.” In From Approaching Twin Peaks: Critical Essays on the Original Series, 128–42. Jefferson: McFarland.

McAvoy, David. 2019. “‘Is It About the Bunny? No, It’s Not About the Bunny!’: David Lynch’s Fandom and Trolling of Peak TV Audiences.” In Critical Essays on Twin Peaks: The Return, 85–103. Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-04798-6_6.

Mittell, Jason. 2015. Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling. New York: NYU Press.

Mukherjee, Souvik. 2018. Video Games and Storytelling: Reading Games and Playing Books. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Rooney, Monique. 2018. “Air-Object: On Air Media and David Lynch’s ‘Gotta Light?’ (Twin Peaks: The Return, 2017).” New Review of Film and Television Studies 16 (2): 123–43. https://doi.org/10.1080/17400309.2018.1447275.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. 2015. Narrative as Virtual Reality 2: Revisiting Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Schmidt, Hanns Christian. 2020. Transmediale Topoi: Medienübergreifende Erzählwelten in seriellen Narrativen. Marburg: Büchner-Verlag (In German).

Sheen, Erica, and Annette Davison. 2004. The Cinema of David Lynch: American Dreams, Nightmare Visions. London: Wallflower Press.

Somoff, Victoria. 2015. “Metapragmatics, Toposforschnung, Marxist Stylistics: Three Extensions of Veselovsky’s Historical Poetics.” In Persistent Forms: Explorations in Historical Poetics, 65–89. New York: Fordham University Press.

Notes

[1] Maps are also important in Twin Peaks. Its complex topography has been mapped by the Native Americans in rock art. This map explains the world in its unity of natural and supernatural powers, and the relations between them, such as the Black Lodge and the White Lodge that represent Evil and Good. Lakes are also meaningful in the landscape around Twin Peaks, and we can find a variety of lakes on the map of KRZ.

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

Eternal Returns to a Peak Experience: Creating and Curating Play(ful) Tributes to Twin Peaks

artistic tributes, peak experience, replaying, toyification, Twin Peaks

Katriina Heljakka
katriina.heljakka [a] utu.fi
Postdoctoral researcher
Digital Culture
University of Turku


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Heljakka, Katriina. 2021. ”Eternal Returns to a Peak Experience: Creating and Curating Play(ful) Tributes to Twin Peaks”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/eternal-returns-to-a-peak-experience-creating-and-curating-playful-tributes-to-twin-peaks/

Printable PDF version


This article documents the infinite allure of the cult series according to its own logic: In the spirit of play, what follows is a creative reflection of the author’s personal exploration of Twin Peaks through fandom, artistry and curatorship that sets to traverse the boundaries of a traditional academic text. The autoethnographic, artistic compilation includes a retrospective and reflective documentation of the author’s past experiences, exhibitions and events in relation to the Twin Peaks television series, seasons 1, 2 and 3; Twin Peaks: The Return, featuring a written introduction as well as ample visual and audiovisual material from the Peak Experience art exhibitions and related adventures. In the article, connections between the fictional series, its imaginative characters, and the actual geographic space of the pilot’s (Season 1) filming locations are made to fan-art, as they are discussed as inspirational resources for fans and artists in the creation, crafting and curation of play(ful) tributes to Twin Peaks. As a scholarly contribution of a researcher of toys and play, the text references contemporary sources on play theory as well as source texts tying the reflection with analyses of Lynch’s oeuvre. The discussion flows freely between the opus maximus that Twin Peaks is, and the innate playfulness and toyness of the artistic pieces produced for the ongoing exhibition series, as well as the author’s own photoplay in reference to the activities as a fan of the television series. The collage of photographic and audiovisual ‘playworks’ and artworks, which function as research material for the analysis, are claimed to follow a ‘lynchian aesthetic’—multiple and ambiguous in their identity – as proposed by Foster-Wallace (1997, 151), and represent the results of creation and curation of play(ful) tributes to Twin Peaks. By asking how ‘the happening again’ manifests in a loop of eternal returns, the author highlights the timeless gold of Twin Peaks as a source for artistry, fandom and play of creative adults.

Image 1. Curtain call: Meet the Peak Experience curator (self-portrait, 2017).

Beginning (19901992)

“I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange”, David Lynch once said about Twin Peaks (Burns 2015, 15). It is on this very foundational idea I build on my analysis and discussion on the phenomenon that the fiction and fantasy of Twin Peaks is—filled with the ambiguity of simultaneous wonder and mesmerization so familiar to play.

People play because they enjoy perplexity (Henricks 2015, 383). For this reason, the quest for wonder and awe demand talent from those who strive to move us imaginatively and emotionally. Today’s creative talents, the artists, designers, authors and play makers of the world know that predictable playgrounds offer very little magic. In fact, it is unpredictability, rarity, novelty, beauty, color, secrecy, and incongruity, which all stretch the imagination and encourage flights of fantasy (Frost 2015, 430).

Players yearn to be wowed and play is said to sometimes yield peak experiences of particularly high personal quality (Kerr & Apter 1991, 112). For Brian Sutton-Smith (2004, xiii), play represents a peak experience, which manifests as self-actualization, as ‘flow of being in the zone’. “Play is of the mind,” states Sutton-Smith as documented by Dorothy Howard (in Darian-Smith & Factor 2006, 6). He believes that play, humor, true pretend, and dreams permit the mind to go anywhere.

“Engaging with any form of entertainment, particularly of a fictional nature, is a form of play” (Gray 2010, 205). Humans are also ‘playback machines’ (Gaines 1991) that record what they see, hear, and otherwise experience sensorially, and then play back those experiences, transforming them in the process (De Kosnik 2016, 7). With these ideas in mind, humans both return to and re-play what is familiar and memorable for them.

Image 2. What will be Twin Peaks to fans forever. (Snoqualmie Falls, 2009).

The starting point for my own playing back and reflections on Twin Peaks, are derived from play theory as well as my personal reminiscing around manifestations of Peak Experience, a series of artistic tributes to the hauntingly unforgettable masterpiece that the 1990s television show is. By making my stance of a toy and play scholar and a fangirl transparent, it is easier to justify this uncritical, yet creative take on the subject.

In earlier research activities (Heljakka 2016), I have focused on the re-playing aspect of artistic fan engagements with Twin Peaks. In the study, one interviewee identified Twin Peaks as filled with ambiguities, using the terms “oppressing, decadent, mysterious, playful, enigmatic, sick, scary, cranky, fabled, surprising, erotic, weird and addictive” to describe the ambiance of the series. Indeed, Lynch’s work has been described to have an interest in forces, not identifiable as good or bad, but ambivalent forces with an impetus on environments and possibilities (Foster-Wallace 1997, 204).

The motivation for this think piece[1] is to play with potentiality of the (perhaps) perverse passion that Twin Peaks represents to me: To formulate an autoethnographic account and an artistic compilation, which includes a retrospective and reflective documentation of the past experiences, exhibitions and events related to the series, with a particular accentuation on Seasons 1 and 2. It features a presentation of playful theoretical threads, which have aided my own readings of Twin Peaks, as well as ample visual and audiovisual material from the Peak Experience art exhibitions. What adds on to the reflective and playful autoethnographic approach of the text (meaning both experimentation and eclecticism), are my personal adventures interested in investigations of Twin Peaks through fan travels, creations and curation of art.

The Timeless Gold of Twin Peaks

I consider Lynch a master of make-believe, just like George Lucas of Star Wars fame. His oeuvre begs to be approached as a paidic system, with childlike curiosity and enthusiasm. In contrast to ludic systems known from games, for Caillois’, paidic means open-endedness and more unstructured forms of play. Paidic systems are like sandboxes, which afford unlimited, unregulated space for creative play. Games have a steady foothold in Twin Peaks – just consider the gambling in One-Eye Jack’s casino, and later in Las Vegas, or more generally, the eternal game between the good and evil, black and white, pieces of chess played by Windom Earle against Dale Cooper. Without the rigidity the rules that these games imply, the childlikeness of paidic play communicates more whimsy, distortion and multiple ways of toying with possibility – being more malleable and plastic, asking to be tugged and towed to unexpected territories, even beyond the borders of the sandbox.

I believe David Lynch to possess a paidic mindset, interested in fantastic world-building according to his own aesthetic and rules – a logic forever reinvented. For this reason, he is a magician of play. But Twin Peaks despite its ‘paidic circle’ of play is not directed to children’s engagement or playful fantasizing. The series is very much a springboard for the adult imagination, as well as an invitation to many forms of play for the adult fan. It is no secret, then, that Twin Peaks has spawned playful tributes since it’s 90s beginnings thanks to Lynch’s originality, ingeniousness and vision. I consider it to resemble a ‘sandbox’ game, in which alterations and constellations are rather asked than afforded, or a construction toy kit, which provides more opportunities than limitations on building both material and imaginative layers on the flickering products of the mind – light and dark. As one of the Peak Experience artists, Jennifer Ramirez, writes: “This series is timeless gold that raises questions about our existence, about our most inner desires, our inner darkness our sadness, traumas and life force.” (Warmsquirrel blog, November 8, 2018)

My own journey with Twin Peaks started decades ago: In the beginning of the 1990’s I was a teenager, who after videotaping episodes of Twin Peaks with her sister, watched the recordings in the daylight and used to press the pause button every time Killer BOB appeared on the screen. Oh the teenage anticipation teased out of those tapings – I can see clearly now the temptation of it—the horrendous pleasure derived from balancing between the beautiful and the bad-assed. What else could it have been about than licking the cherry sunken in a weird cocktail of innocence and damnation (Foster-Wallace 1997, 211), distinctly a part of who Miss Palmer was prior to her murder, maybe even post mortem.

The eerie atmosphere around the series lingered around long after its ending on Finnish television in the 1990s, but the video tapings were never played again. For a long time, the mystery remained unsolved. Curiously, Laura Palmer, filled with secrets, had stated in one of the last episodes: “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” As Telotte (1995, 171) observes, Twin Peaks left us hanging from the cliff unlike any other episodic series has done. The wait began. What a lengthy teaser.

“Although the play-world exists in actual space and time, it also creates its own space and time” (Russell & Ryall 2015, 155). As suggested here, adult engagement in play, or reminiscing of teenage experiences of a cultish television series is not only about nostalgia, or endless manipulation of the souvenirs in one’s mind. It is about finding the force, being energized by it and navigating one’s own ways of using it as a source of wonder and possibility all over again. After having been a fan of the series for decades, I have during the past five years explored Twin Peaks both as a toy and play scholar and as a visual artist and curator. It is the adult cultures of toy play that inspired what would become a seemingly endless, “lynchian” playground for my own creativity, self-expression and exploration.

Invitation to Play(fulness)

Play scholar Henricks envisions how a society dominated by play principles would acknowledge the importance of openness, inclusivity, and aesthetic dimension of life (Henricks 2015, 116).

The most obvious modern manifestations of play as a consumable experience, however, include children’s toys, computer and video games, the attendance at artistic and sporting events of the young and the old-and the plethora of other and more specific entertainment available (Sutton-Smith, 2017, 233–234).

The aesthetic of play manifests in games, toys and playful environments. What is the link between contemporary television and toy play? Perhaps enjoyment and participation. The openness and inclusivity have indeed become part of what TV is today – inviting and interactive, just like many playthings of the present. Furthermore, media entertainment also provides possibilities for the flights of fantasies and escapism. Neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud defines play as fantasy woven around real objects that are or become toys, as contrasted with the pure fantasy of dreaming and daydreaming (Frappier, 1976, 104). The wowness of toys becomes tangible through the manipulation of them, the actual acts of interacting with the plaything through fantastic scenarios and narratives. It is here the dimensions of immaterial imaginings and material artefacts merge. Toying with the fantasy-laden resources of the world, like media products, means that affects are triggered.

Media, TV, toys and the like inspire art and in playing, even the fan becomes an artist. Nina Lieberman views the artist as a practitioner of playfulness (Lieberman 1977, 10). In the spirit of play, what follows is a spontaneously crafted and creative reflection of the author’s personal exploration of Twin Peaks through artistry and curatorship, which sets to traverse boundaries of a traditional academic text. This think piece documents the infinite allure of a cult series according to its own logic.

After having seen Raisa Kettunen’s astounding re-playing of iconic Twin Peaks scenes with her Blythe doll (Blythe as Laura, Blythe as the Log Lady, see Image 5), I dreamed up the idea of an art exhibition, which would invite contemporary Finnish artists and fans to participate in a group exhibition as Twin Peaks players and creatives. Instead of a ‘peak subjective experience’ (Sutton-Smith 2004, 45), the series of exhibitions celebrates Twin Peaks as a co-created, collective Peak Experience: Consequently, a dream team and an artist collective emerged, including Columbian and Russian talent.

The invitation to play with Twin Peaks has generated multiple pieces for the Peak Experience exhibitions; paintings, sculptures, mixed-method pieces, installations, toy-art, graphics, photographs and photogenic environments. Between 2016–2018 the collective has organized four exhibitions including setting up experiential spaces and performative events including various artworks installed both indoors and outdoors at galleries in Pori and Helsinki and the Superwood Festival. The collective has grown by each exhibition including artists and fans of different ages, gender, even nationalities.

Image 3. Welcome to Twin Peaks (2009). The author photographed by Tommi Vuorenmaa.

Revisiting (2009)

Tourism has been frequently compared to play. Heynders and van Nuenen (2014) recognize the fan tourist as a player of “cult geographies” (Geraghty 2014). In 2009, I made a road trip to Snoqualmie and North Bend with a friend. Fandom impacts the tourist experience in peculiar ways: While driving towards the mountains, Angelo Badalamenti’s original soundtrack was not playing in the car, but in the back of my head. Strange how the familiar tunes stick with one forever despite the fact that I was long beyond my teenage years and the first encounter with Twin Peaks. With my travel companion, we chased the location for the ‘Welcome to Twin Peaks’ sign, based on mere guesses as proper online homework had not been done, finally begging us to give up as the night darkened.[2] Of course, we were chasing a dream, an object and place that (no longer) exists in the real world and came to the intersection, in which reality, imagination, and the media that are at the heart of film tourism, meet (Waysdorf 2020, 284). Interestingly, we were probably not too far from the site.[3]

We decided not to splurge on the ‘Great Northern’ hotel, in reality Salish Lodge. However, after seeing the lobby, I realized I would need to revisit and accommodate properly some day. We chose a cheap motel instead. But the atmosphere was undoubtedly there – from the parking lot, you could see the traffic light, hanging on top of the street, giving that eerie, squeaky sound. The night landed swiftly on the mountainous landscape, almost like a blanket.

A fangirl forever, I am, and absolutely, needed to visit the Double R Diner, in reality, Twede’s Café in North Bend. This worn-out diner tucked in a street corner with slow traffic has an iconic spot for photoplay in its backyard. Snapshots they were, those quickly taken photographs I would now call ‘assisted selfies’ (Image 3), but most of the material aimed to capture the atmosphere (Image 4).

Images 4. The way to Twin Peaks, Twede’s Café and a slice of pie. Photographs by the author (2009).

In a transmedia sense, toys embody fictions. There were no Twin Peaks-related industrially-produced toys around at the moment, not even available in Snoqualmie or North Bend at the time, so no toy tourism (see e.g. Heljakka & Ihamäki 2020) with playthings with a direct fit to the setting of ‘real’ Twin Peaks could take place. I remember traveling with an Uglydoll plush (‘Deer Ugly’) at the time, but it was not taken out to roam the matter-of-fact Lynchian landscape on this occasion. Later on, in 2018 to be precise, however, I would travel here with a bag-full of character toys to indulge in photoplay (or, toy photography, see Heljakka 2012) in these particular and strangely enigmatic geographies of fan play, linking the imaginative with the realness of the landscape.

“Really experiencing” a place needs to be done in a multisensory fashion (Waysdorf 2020, 285), and this involves consumption conducted with all senses: “what is most important in any imaginative experience is that the fan is having the experience in their own body” (Ibid., 288)—even on their body (for Twin Peaks fandom expressed in nail fashion and wearable art, see Images 9 and 11). What was available were the oral pleasures: The visit called for take-out pie, neatly unboxed and eaten and washed down with a heap of filtered coffee at a lookout spot in miserably foggy Seattle. The city was quickly scouted through the windows of a rental car, before escaping to some nearby national park’s hiking trails, a must if you have a thing for the firs and entering the woods, when driving out of Twin Peaks (see Image 4).

Image 5. Raisa Kettunen’s artwork In the Waiting Room (2014).

Re-playing (2015–2016)

Whenever adults imagine and create, they are to some degree playing (Gray 2015, 126). Years 2015–2016 mark the anni mirabilis period in the author’s co-existence with Twin Peaks. In May 2015, I joined the conference “I’ll See You Again in 25 Years: The Return of Twin Peaks and Generations of Cult TV”, at the School of Art and Media, University of Salford. For myself, this event set many Twin Peaks related activities in motion.

In my presentation focusing on the fan play around Twin Peaks, I noted how existing Twin Peaks-related toys and playthings found on the Internet by the time, were the products of fan creativity, not industrial productions. I uttered my confident prediction that toy maker Funko would surely produce a series of toyified Twin Peaks Images, with plump heads and bodies, with that oh-so-familiar aesthetic known by contemporary storyworlds. Probably in one year, the sketches had already been presented to the decision makers of the toy company. In three years, I brought my own Twin Peaks Funko Vinyl Pops to Snoqualmie and North Bend.

To admit the toyetic[4] quality of Twin Peaks is to recognize its transmedia potentiality, but to realize its capacity to influence entire worlds of (adult) fan play, would be far more accurate. In 2016, 25 years had passed since the first broadcasting of Twin Peaks Season 1. It was time to start re-playing—to retreat to artistic amusings inspired by Lynch’s beautiful, yet dark and mysterious world. Inspired by Raisa Kettunen’s work, I invited artists to join the Peak Experience collective as both a curator and creator. A creator creates ‘stuff’ and services, but what does a curator do in a profoundly digitalizing age?

Wolff and Mulholland (2013) note that with the advent of improved web infrastructure and storage, users can select, collect, annotate, tailor, organize and present content of multiple media types. This process is similar to the one of museum curators, who research, select, interpret, organize and narrate exhibitions.

A curated exhibition is based on the knowledge and research of one or more experts in the field. This research informs both the selection and organization of the objects. Importantly, the curator offers an interpretation of how the objects relate to one another. Essentially, they tell a story (Wolff and Mulholland 2013, n.p.).

The grand narrative behind the series of the Peak Experience exhibitions are artists’ and fans’ responses to the multidimensional storytelling related to Twin Peaks. My role as a Peak curator entailed first, a selection of artists with a connection to the series as devoted fans or commentators of Lynch and Frost’s mesmerizing storyworld. Second, a collection based on artworks was created, some of them tailor-made for the exhibition, some channeling a recognizable aura of ‘lynchian aesthetic’ (meaning ambiguity resorted between the nodes of wonderful/strange), and therefore, qualified for the exhibition. Foster-Wallace explicates the meanings of ‘lynchian’ as follows:

An academic definition of Lynchian might be that the term “refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” But like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those […] words that’s definable only ostensively—i.e. we know it when we see it. (Foster-Wallace 1997, 161).

Image 6. Gallery exhibition poster art by Carina Laine; P-galleria, Creat Space, and Superwood/Ivana Helsinki House (2016–2018).

The name of our exhibition refers, besides Twin Peaks, to peak experiences theorized by psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908–1970). A peak experience stands for a moment of happiness and fulfilment, which has meaning to both wellbeing and mental development. Maslow placed the human desire for self-expression on the top of his hierarchy and by doing so, ensured a valuable position of play among the hierarchy of needs.

Play by large, is a self-expressive activity. According to Henricks, we do not play to refine what we already know; we play to discover what we do not yet know (Henricks 2017, 11). Play may focus on imaginary matters (Henricks 2015, 5) just as it often circles around physical matters. Again, “Imaginative play may underlie creativity, innovation, and new ways of operating within the physical, organic, and social worlds in which all creatures are embedded” (Burghardt 2015, 35). In fact, imaginative play is a celebration of our personal originality (Sutton-Smith 2008) as well as in artistic tributes, in which imagination as a mediated practice is built on the idea of re-creation and mimesis.

When playing, a person may have a peak experience related to the use of imagination and limitless self-expression. Contemporary forms of play are often inspired by popular culture and the re-imagining of and toying with story worlds connected to transmedia phenomena have become emergent in both fandoms and in the context of art. Mimetic forms of play and multifaceted intertextual references to iconic popular productions are present in fan art and tributes of various kinds. The selected artworks of the Peak Experience exhibitions each link to the series in their unique ways – some recapturing unforgettable scenes, some reinterpreting its memorable characters:

Our Peak Experience art exhibition plays with artworks and spatial atmospheres created with different techniques. It is an artistic tribute to the magic story world created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. In our exhibition minimalism meets maximalism, plastic meets organic materials and beauty is juxtaposed with terror. At the same time, humor, mischievousness and mystery are present. Further, visitors may photograph themselves in a staged environment reminiscent of Agent Dale Cooper’s dream world/the Black and White Lodge. (Press release for Peak Experience at P-galleria, 2016)

The first Peak Experience exhibition was organized at P-galleria in Pori in October, 2016. Displaying of the pieces was a product of the curator’s vision of how to distribute the works in the three rooms of the gallery; The first space, a seductive introduction, inviting visitors in a small mountain town, so familiar for many, the second space a walk through the fir-infested, eerie woods with the innate owls, a giant portrait of the Log Lady, and the third space[5], the quintessential Black/White Lodge.

Instead of aggression and the violent aspects of Twin Peaks, the Peak Experience exhibitions have sought to bring to the fore affective reactions and responses to it. Besides its ‘lynchian vibe’, the art created aims towards a certain aesthetic interest in toyification: to cutify and craft the mysteries into the form of visual, material and spatial objects, so that they become playable in the sense of both object play and play of the mind.

Image 7. Welcome to Twin Peaks (2016). A painting by Katja Tukiainen.

Welcome to the Playground

The notion of space is essential to play, may it mean roaming in terrains of the physical, virtual or imaginative. Lynch contributed greatly to the localization of the imagination by filming the pilot in the North-West. The forests and mountains of the mysterious lands, marks for a North-European person very much the spiritual ground of native Americans, a natural landscape surrounded by ancient traditions and respectful co-existence between nature, animal and human. My wish was, when designing the exhibition space, to bring some of this magic to the art and how it is ‘dis-played’.

The idea behind the physical organization of the Peak Experience exhibitions was to function as experimental spaces and immersive environments—as the Black and White Lodge with its zigzag black-and-white pattern was recreated and the red velvet curtains hanged to achieve that special atmosphere in the three exhibitions. In the exhibition at P-galleria, a participatory invitation to play was also thrown to the general public, first to join in the game by posting photographs depicting landscapes from their hometown, which remind them of Twin Peaks by using hashtags #ihakotvinpiiksis #precissomitwinpeaks #justlikeintwinpeaks and #peakexperience. The challenge resulted in a photographic artwork being included in the exhibition (see Image 8).[6]

Image 8. On the left a photograph by Rauno Korhonen at P-galleria, photographed by the author (2016). On the right, Black and White Lodge, a painting by Katja Tukiainen (2016).

My baby girl, merely 6 months during the first exhibition in October 2016, placed on the chair in that space mimicking the Black and White Lodge, reminded me how different the affordances for play appreciated by the very young and those “I’ve seen it all” adults are. Somehow, when joining me for the displaying day, she had grasped a branch of the fake Douglas “fir” I’ve salvaged at the furniture rental, and happily occupied herself by chewing it, while I was giving the exhibition its finishing touches. Then again, a quick conversation between the artists at the opening party revealed their spontaneous desire to roll around on the zigzag floor, just like the mischievous little maidens in Peak Experience artist Katja Tukiainen’s oil painting “Black and White Lodge” (Image 8). This illustrated how the paidic pleasures of play may not be so different for children and adults.[7]

Toys are the most known ‘paidic’ objects to cater for play in the contemporary world. Toys gain meaning and a glow (Heljakka, 2013) once manipulated as objects of play. Their materiality and design longs for human touch. In art, toys are used both as raw material and inspiration (Heljakka 2016). When remodeled into sculptures and installations, the artist casts an additional glow on the toys, just like any player. Worn out toys channel the message that they have been cared for, at best dearly loved. It is because of this that toys that are only allowed to live in the collector’s glass cabinet carry an aura of melancholy around them. In all these manifestations, play is about the consequences of self-expression (Henricks 2017, 11).

One example of toyified and playable art is “The owls are what they seem” (protecting its wearer from the evils of Ghostwood) my own wearable art piece with 52 plush owls, hand-sewn into the fabric base (Image 9). This toyified piece is heavy, wearing it feels like walking in a harness, dressed in the toyetic essence of Twin Peaks. Later on, this protective jacket – because plush owls would not be there to scare you, just to cover you – has been worn for Toy Fair in New York and by a TV show host for Finnish Broadcaster Yle’s morning show on Twin Peaks.

Image 9. Come, follow the owls. Peak Experience at P-galleria (2016). An assisted selfie of the author photographed by Merja Heljakka.

Returning (20172018)

The second Peak Experience exhibition opened at Creat Space Helsinki on the 5th of January 2017. The exhibition received good media coverage: The curator joined fellow Peak artists Katja Tukiainen and Mari Kasurinen in radio interviews conducted with Radio Helsinki and Yle, and multiple blogs published posts and photographs of the exhibition. Twin Peaks: The Return aired on HBO Nordic on May 22 in 2017. The saga of the original cult television series that still attracts new audiences continued in 2017, when the third season created by Mark Frost and David Lynch, and directed by Lynch saw the daylight. Bob returned, but so did Laura.

What happened before this was that I received an invitation to play the part of a Twin Peaks connoisseur on national broadcaster Yle’s morning show. Due to a hectic schedule at the time, I was destined to be in Tel Aviv for a toy design conference on the very same day that the live show was to be aired on Finnish TV. Arrangements were made and flights rescheduled so that I could be present. The protective owl jacket and some of my Funkos were sent to the studio in advance, so that I would reconnect with them when returning from Israel. Through a catastrophic series of delayed flights on the way home, I got stuck in Berlin and joined the TV show through a fast-organized tele-presence. Clothed in my Ivana Helsinki owl-themed top at the airport, I managed to participate from a distance from the airport lounge. The interview went well, but to my misfortune, someone stole Bob from Yle’s studio in Finland. In fury, I mitigated the feelings of loss by ordering a replacement from Amazon on the same day. The unfortunate event also prompted some photoplay, inspired by artefacts from the original series. I replayed a poster with the drawn face of Bob, asking “Have you seen this man?” replacing the question with “Have you seen this toy?” (Image 10). Later on, I was interviewed by a local radio station about the first episode on the same day it became available. This time, in-person participation was possible. This time the toys followed—none of them escaped.

Image 10. Have You Seen This Toy? A screenshot of an Instagram post made by the author (2017).

Repurposing Legos and the Log

Many returns followed. In 2018 the Peak Experience collective functioned as the main (visual) art partner of the Superwood Festival organized at Hotel Rantapuisto in Helsinki. Paola Suhonen, the designer of Ivana Helsinki, creator and curator of the festival and a filmmaker herself, has often referenced Twin Peaks in her work.[8] The Superwood ‘boutique festival’ is said to resemble a sleepover with a Twin Peaks-atmosphere: ”Art installations around the hotel milieu set the mood with quirky Twin Peaks atmosphere” (Superwood Festival website).

At Superwood, the Peak Experience collective grew into a significantly larger group of artists, who displayed works around and outside the hotel from the corridors to a specific gallery room. Some of the pieces were installed outdoors. In the gallery, visual artist and musician Sasha Kretova installed an ambient sound piece, and as an auditive experience, a completely new addition to the exhibition.

In playing, anything becomes possible—the strange disappearances of Twin Peaks treasures did not stop: For the occasion, I thought of making a neck-piece for myself of my daughter’s Lego shovel by giving it a gilded touch inspired by the tools seen in The Return. I rummaged her toy box and snatched the perfect piece suitable for this intention. Mysteriously, when it was time to paint the part for the impromptu necklace, the toy had vanished from the hotel room. I’m still looking for a replacement and wondering about the mystery. Please do not tell her.

For the Superwood exhibition, the artists were invited to create their individual interpretation of the Log. Game scholar Ian Bogost notes, how a stick doesn’t come with a manual. but it has properties. Length and woodenness, strength and breakability, a status as detritus inviting its absconding and repurposing, sharpness and length etc. “The stick’s delight owes a greater debt to the thing itself than it does to the child who would put it in use-even if that child’s invention of new uses for the stick’s material properties also contributes to its function as a plaything” (Bogost 2016, 166–167). The stick, the ultimate found-object-as-toy is “very open-ended, all-natural, the perfect price,” Strong curator of collections Christopher Bensch has said (Bogost 2016, 161). A stick comes close to the Log. But whereas the stick is an improvised, tactile plaything, organic and akin to a chunkier wizard’s wand, the log is shaped by human hands, leaving a texture of labor on it. It is rather wood than ‘wooden’ like some industrial toys, but it’s naturalness has been affected by the cut. Philosopher, sociologist and art critic Walter Benjamin (1935) liked wooden toys because according to him, their aura was sustained in the raw-material.

The Log in possession of the Log Lady in Twin Peaks is anthropomorphized like any toy character, highly personal and therefore psychologically powerful. Not everything is what it seems, and even dead wood may possess magic capacities. Held in one’s arms, the Log is a very universal toyfriend, just like the stick. Being more robust, the weight of the Log resembles that of a child—needy and demanding, it requires attention and nurturing. It has something to say, but like a doll, cannot speak for itself. Despite the fact that most (non-technological) dolls have mouths, they need players to articulate their inner lives. The Log, even, like Eero Aarnio’s famous Puppy furniture-characters, does not have a face at all. But what counts is its capacity to let the player imagine and thereafter, project a face on them. In this way, any appropriately modelled object, shaped either by nature or a designer, may become a toy and parasocial[9] companion if the player so demands. In the Superwood exhibition the Log reappeared in many manifestations of artistic play, in both subtle and subversive interpretations (Image 11).

Image 11. Super(iority of) wood and some characters. Peak Experience artworks (clockwise from lower left corner) by Mari Kasurinen, Henna Kallionkieli, Sampo Marjomaa, and Jasmin Anoschkin at Ivana Helsinki House photographed by Johanna Lehtinen (2018).

Toyification of Twin Peaks

Toys are prompts that trigger and persuade people to play with others. The Peak Experience has featured toys from its beginning – in the form of raw material, inspiration and actual toy-art. In Caillois’ (1964) definition, mimicry is a way for players to escape themselves by becoming someone or something else. As demonstrated, once superimposed with capacities of the human imagination, (toylike) things have the same potential.

In play, more than anywhere else, apart from madness, the player can escape the usual orthodox links between signs and their referents. In play, the significance of what is going on may come as much out of the minds of the players as out of the objects in their hands or the world to which those objects refer. (Sutton-Smith 1986)

Toyification communicates the idea of an entity (physical, digital or hybrid) being intentionally reinforced with toyish elements or dimensions; an object, a structure, an application, a character or a technology acquiring a toyish appearance, form or function (Thibault & Heljakka 2018). Many transmedia creations are toyified at some point, unless they are toys from the start. As noted in earlier research (Heljakka 2016) ‘toyish’ interpretations of Twin Peaks were long produced as part of the activities of fans only, and not as industrially made playthings. Nevertheless, like many media productions, even Twin Peaks was destined to become toyified. This happened through fan play and art long before the launch of Funkos, but happened again, as the Vinyl Pops entered the market.

Funko Vinyl Pop characters come with eyes, just like Hello Kitty (see Image 12). They are mouthless, but not mute. Like character toys in general, they come with eyes, and eyes are a gateway to the soul: “When you see the nose, eyes, forehead and when you are able to describe them, you relate to the other as if it is an object. The face is meaning […] The face talks” (Levinas 1996, 73–74). Despite their obvious amiability and cuteness, the magic of Funkos lies in how recognizability to the original referents remains, although the toys come with rounded edges, large heads, tiny noses and hands, channeling Lorenz’ kindchenschema (orig. 1943, see Lange et al., 2017).

My personal peak experiences in association with Twin Peaks have demonstrated how toyification, once at the level of imagination, on the one hand lets the simplest wood chunks become toys. On the other hand, industrial toys as precisive objects for play, are meant to set the imagination in motion by offering more clues for play.

Fantasy of the mind travels beyond semiotics, even if to be toyified in one’s imagination, and when the object calls out a certain weight and aesthetic. Therefore, we can see that the Log can be a toy in more ways that the saw that cut it never could. Nevertheless, what makes the Log more human than Funko, is its vulnerability. The Log may die once burned the way plastic never could. The materiality of toys therefore regulates their life cycles as human companions. The eerie foreverness of plastic toy figurines make them appear powerful, even threatening. Frank Silva might be long gone as an actor, but the image of Bob lives on in the form of Funko (see Image 13). As a toy, Bob always seems to lurk in the shadows of the glass cabinet of collectables, looking for opportunities to crawl behind a sofa and scare any other player, toy—or human. This, unless of course, Bob becomes stolen, evaporates or decides to leave to some other place, more beautiful and strange.

Image 12. The Log Lady and Dale Cooper joined me for a damn fine cup of joe at the ‘Double-R’ Diner, a.k.a. Twede’s. Photographed by Carina Laine (2018).

Toy tourism in Twin Peaks

In 2018, I returned to Snoqualmie and North Bend with fellow Peak artist Carina Laine. This time with my nails painted exactly like Diane’s, or her Tulpa (Image 12). This time dressed for the part with a tartan-patterned skirt, a homage to the visual style of the series that had such a huge impact in my teens. This time with toys. The ones that I predicted in my essay (Heljakka 2016), would be later launched by Funko. And they were (see Image 13).

Images 13. Dale Cooper and Bob as Funko Pop Vinyl toy characters, photoplayed by the author (2018).

Therefore, it is interesting to note, how traveling with toys to locations of film and television toyrism follow ideas presented in reference to being a fan, for “Fandom, both in terms of the community and other fans and the experience of being a fan, is not an isolated moment. It is something that the fan brings with them to the location they visit and something they carry with them once they leave”, writes Waysdorf (2020, 290). Engaging in toy tourism, when visiting Twin Peaks, then, is to let the plaything make fandom tactile—tangible and playable, and perhaps most of all, to be photoplayed, once again captured on camera being behind the screen just like on television.

The phenomenon of travelling toys refers to activities, in which toys travel in the name of toy tourism, either as a part of amateur practices as their owners’ companions (see Images 13), single-handedly within hosting programs or professionally organized toy travel agency services (Heljakka 2013, 289), or within the game of geocaching (Heljakka & Ihamäki 2020). Previous research observes how toy tourism—or toyrism—is a hybrid of value dimensions, playful artifacts, and touristic playscapes in destinations and social media (Heljakka & Räikkönen 2021).

My friend and fellow Peak artist and I stayed at the “Great Northern”, a.k.a. Salish Lodge, this time the only possible choice. What echoed the visual attributes of Twin Peaks were surprisingly few in the hotel. Of course, we lit up the quintessential (electric) fireplace and prepared our cups of joe with the local roast. What is the highlight of this accommodation is its vicinity to the Snoqualmie waterfall and it’s beyond words scenic vistas offering amazing possibilities for photoplay with human companions and toyfriends (see Image 2). Perfect occasions and locations for tributes of fandom.

After breakfast at Twede’s, we strolled to North Bend making use of every photo opportunity that arose in the picturesque village. During the daytime the place seemed welcoming and harmless. An Uber driver navigated the way to Ronette’s bridge solely based on our assumptions that it would be located adjacent to a railroad. Upon arrival, I made myself into a toy, triumphantly swiveling in my long skirt of the sheer euphoria of being there. We found it like a treasure, without having that map (Image 14).[10]

Image 14. Assisted selfie on Ronette’s Bridge, on the left (North Bend, 2018) and Noormarkku, Finland, on the right (2020). Photographed by Carina Laine.

I asked for a number of ‘assisted selfies’ by my friend (for example, see Images 14 and 15) and found limitless joy in photoplaying with all the toyfriends that traveled with me this time. This time photographing needed not be rushed or restricted to a few shots only like during my first visit in 2009. My smartphone has a brilliant camera and plenty of storage, which encourages delving into play and a thorough state of flow, including concentration, contemplation and the ultimate freedom for self-expression, making this 2018 visit far more fruitful in terms of productive play than the visit of 2009 had been. Thanks to rapidly evolving technologies, contemporary play becomes enriched with extended possibilities.

Image 15. Welcome to Twin Peaks, again (2018). Photographed by Carina Laine.

There is no end (to imagination): The concept of eternal returns

The symbol for eternity, to infinity and beyond has become perceivable in some media creations, like toys. In my own art (This is Play, 2011) I have asked, “Are there toys in heaven?” To some, the thought of life as an endless state of play would be intolerable, the epitome of regression at worst, but for some the utmost and desirable precondition, in which the playing human (or any fan) may survive.

Essentially, play is progress through communication, and if there is no possibility for dialogue between players, one is limited to her own inner world and to the silent dialogues. A world without art and entertainment would mean a situation, in which we had more limited possibilities to toy with in terms of our imaginings. This would have severe outcomes for our creativity and problem-solving skills, even relationships. The idea of eternity intimidates, because it has cosmic proportions and transforms us humans into the toys of God as philosophized by Plato.[11] Lynch is a Buddhist and his spiritual worldview comes across in Twin Peaks in many ways. The concept of eternal return is therefore not distant from analyses on the cult series and nor can they be so in the reflections of a researcher, or a curator of ‘peak experiences.’

Sutton-Smith (2017, 225) writes how “we assume that the peak experiential states within play must be about happiness”. Despite the concept of eternal returns, it is not the cyclic movement that results in happiness, nor an end-state of ‘static’ afterlife. Play is far too messy to generate happiness only, and consequently more akin to the roughness and realness of creative chaos that succumbs to the hunger of novelty, and the quest for weirdness and wondering. It is the variations that are made during each cycle that make us content.

Essentially, contemporary play just like the world of Lynch, draws its awe from mystery and the unanswered. It is probably better not to know if there are toys in heaven, or whether we transform into cosmic dust in space in passing. Playing is about molding and extending the imagination—and nurturing the imaginations of others by adding endless narrative layers answering the what if’s that set it in motion. It is the glimmer in the creative beast’s mind, persistently chasing to feed on the unexpected, the unheard, the unseen. This asks for mental plasticity of a curious mind—the famous out of the box way of thinking. Finding oneself out of the box seems to have been an innate quality of Lynch, who paradoxically, by creating Twin Peaks with fellow producer Mark Frost got ‘inside the box’ that the TV of it’s time was. Clearly, a media that needed some serious toying with its conventions—some stirring and shaking in terms of defining what TV could be. Lynch returned by repeating the trick with Twin Peaks: The Return, with the hallucinatory episode 8 (Gotta Light?) in particular, but again, with a historical(ly) twist(ed angle).

According to Henricks, people play to discover expanded versions of self (2015, 11). Paul Frappier, a researcher of adult play states: In playing we recuperate unused parts of ourselves (1976, 195). I would add to this: people play because they want to test the limits of their (own and others’) tolerance and capacities. What is most rewarding is to stretch and by doing so, titillate the imagination, keeping the peak experience at reach of the fingertips, but never completely in one’s hands.

“By adopting, inventing, constructing, and reconfiguring the material and conceptual limits around us, we can fashion novelty from anything at all.” (Bogost, 2016, 223). In the end—or rather—at the dusk of a new beginning, what seems to keep fans and artists going, just like the creativity of Lynch, is looking for the rabbit holes in which, repeatedly let oneself fall in and bring oneself again, and again to those familiar vistas, that waterfall, that coffee mug, those cherries rolling inside our mouths, eternally teasing ourselves if the knot can be made or not. That is the secret of wrapping—to let it be intact, leave it be, unboxed and never opened and at the same time, to play with the concept of the endless potentiality of possibility. Like the fantasy of catching unicorns, or rather, white horses or the idea of forces of time, nature, and destiny, constantly affecting our environments and existence. Just look what happened to Laura—filled with secrets, but even though unwrapped, never emptied of her mysteries, really.

It is happening again (20192021)

Long-term play often gives the most gratification. The plan was to take Peak Experience to Tokyo in fall of 2019 with Ivana Helsinki. We planned a miniature exhibition including an AR element featuring the easily transportable log collection traveling in one suitcase and possibly, a mobile app. But time was not on our side and the event was postponed. Then, the world was hit by the pandemic with serious outcomes, limiting travel and movement for a duration, still by large, unknown.

Social distancing has had an effect on how we play, but not why we play. In play, we seek solidarity and companionship. We are socioemotional beings and remain playful even in times of crises. For many, pandemic play has produced a temporary, positive refuge from the never-ending flood of pessimistic news. Because play is escapism as much as it is interaction with the actual world. As Waysdorf notes, physical place may be even more significant in a digital and transmedial age (2020, 294). In the pandemic of loneliness and isolation, the desire to project sceneries from familiar and ‘fannish’ media locations, popularized by film or television on nearby landscapes, may represent forms of playful escapism to many. We seek the fantastic in the familiar, and are ready to believe in the make-believe superimposed even on everyday environments.

As the curator, I started scouting for a new exhibition location in my hometown, the city of Pori, where it all began, years ago. How I continued the quest for peak experiences in my own ‘hoods’ and woods, was by seeking the scenes in my own everyday environment. A familiar fact was that the town I live in has many neighborhoods that so obviously channel a ‘Twin Peaks vibe’—multiple railroad bridges resembling that of Ronette’s, a couple of historical saw mills and those somewhat disturbing forest-areas, which seem so similar to Twin Peaks that one would not dare to step into them in the dark hours. Perfect locations for filming the next Peak Experience—an immersive and completely digitized edition of our exhibition (for reference, see Addendum). So, there I am, once again, in Twin Peaks, on that bridge, swiveling around in a pleated skirt, feeling alive and ready to play (see Image 14).

Ultimately, peak experiential states are sustained through imagination, the key element of play. Peak experiences happen, because of creativity of artists, fans and players, not through fulfilment by happiness and having it all. To be kept alive, play asks for reruns and returns. Play requires reminiscing, so that it can prepare us to become curious again, for what comes next and what differs from what has been seen and done before. Through the playful artistic tributes, the Legacy of the Log lives on. Eternal returns mean that by playing (back), I’ll see You again, and again. And I’ll play (with) You again.

Addendum

The dream was to create an immersive, virtual exhibition of Peak Experience (Peak Experience: Immersive Edit) that can be accessed as a bonus feature below this reflective think piece. This multidimensional documentation exemplifies the many tributes to the TV series that were created and curated during the journey. Let us demonstrate how the magic of Twin Peaks lingers around. Welcome to our Peak Experience, virtually.

Acknowledgments

You’ve got to be grateful for beautiful things that are replayed in life. The author would like to express her deep gratitude to Kirsty Fairclough, Michael Goddard, and Anthony Smith at Salford University for organizing the conference on Twin Peaks in 2015, and to the fantastic fellow editors of this special issue, Petri and Pauliina: Thank you so much for your professionalism, good spirits and showing the ropes between some damn good cups of virtual coffee. What yields acknowledgment, is also the tremendous role of the late toy and play scholar Brian Sutton-Smith, my most preferred theorist on play(things). Markku, my father, for playing the drone, and Aliisa, who frequently revisits the wondrous territories of creative videography with me through our cooperation. And last, but definitely not least, thank you, my fellow artist superfans from all the four (+1) Peak Experience exhibitions, so far organized in 2016–2018 (+2021). I would not have wanted to do it, or could not have done it without You. As your Peak Curator let me promise You this: I’ll play (with You) again.

References

All links verified 30.5.2021

Art exhibitions

Peak Experience Collective (2016). Peak Experience. Art exhibition. P-galleria, Pori. 2.11.-20.11.2016.

Peak Experience Collective (2017). Peak Experience. Art exhibition. Creat Space, Helsinki. 5.-17.1.2017.

Peak Experience Collective (2018). Peak Experience Replayed. Art exhibition. Superwood Festival, Helsinki. 12.–14.10.2018.

Peak Experience Collective (2018). Peak Experience Replayed Extended. Art exhibition. Ivana Helsinki House. 1.-28.11.2018.

Peak Experience Collective (2021) Peak Experience Immersive Edit. Virtual exhibition.

@peakexperienceart on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/peakexperienceart/.

Television series

Twin Peaks. Lynch, David & Frost, Mark (1990–1992). Television series. Seasons I & II.

Twin Peaks: The Return. Lynch, David & Frost, Mark (2017). Television series. Season III.

Websites

Gooney Bird. 2011. Kenner Collector Focus: Interview with Bernard “Bernie” Loomis – President of Kenner, Posted on March 4, 2011, http://www.kennercollector.com/2011/03/interview-with-bernard-bernie-loomis-president-of-kenner/.

Merriam-Webster. 2021. Think piece. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/think%20piece.

Ramirez, Jennifer. 2018. Twin Peaks fans creating a damn good exhibition! November 8, 2018. https://warmsquirrel.com/crochet-art/crochet-art-log-lady-twin-peaks/.

Superwood Festival. https://www.superwoodfestival.com/.

YLE Areena. 2017. Tähtihetki: Twin Peaks tekee paluun. [Twin Peaks Returns] 19.5.2017. https://areena.yle.fi/1-4142308.

Literature

Alemany Oliver, Mathieu. 2015. “Rejuvenated territories of adulthood.” In North American Advances in Consumer Research 43, edited by K. Diehl & C. Yoon, 654–655.

Benjamin, Walter. 1935. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

Burghardt, Gordon M. 2015. “Integrative approaches to the biological study of play.” In The Handbook of the Study of Play 1, edited by Johnson, James E., Eberle, Scott, G., Henricks, Thomas, S., and Kuschner, David, 21–39. Co-published with The Strong.

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Notes

[1] According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a think piece is “a piece of writing meant to be thought-provoking and speculative that consists chiefly of background material and personal opinion and analysis”, see https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/think%20piece.

[2] For a similar experience, see Tuomi in this Special Issue.

[3] For reference, please compare the landscapes of Figure 3. and Figure 4.

[4] Toyetic is a term coined by Berbie Loomis, who worked at Kenner Toys. For reference, see Gooney Bird (2011).

[5] Third space also refers to the theorizing of E. Soja (1996), who proposes a different way of thinking about space and spatiality. “First and second spaces are two different, and possibly conflicting, spatial groupings where people interact physically and socially: such as home (everyday knowledge) and school (academic knowledge). Third spaces are the in-between, or hybrid, spaces, where the first and second spaces work together to generate a new third space.” For reference, see ‘Third space theory’, https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803103943995. More fitting for this analysis is perhaps the following perspective on third space: The term Third Space is coined by the theorist Homi K. Bhabha. He describes the Third Space as a transition space, where post-colonial power relations and norms are subverted by political, aesthetic or everyday practices. A Third Space is not a physical place, it’s much more a space where hybrid identifications are possible and where cultural transformations can happen. Third Spaces enable cultural hybridity, that is to say identities and practices, which perform difference without an assumed or imposed hierarchy. In reference to the ‘narrative space’ of Twin Peaks, we could consider the forest as a third space, shared by the presence of forces, and allowing shapeshifting and hybridizing of identities to take place. For this definition, see https://thirdspace-webseries.com/.

[6] Twin Peaks is a popular reference in association with descriptions of small and secluded townscapes and communities. At the time of writing, the author notices how Twin Peaks was brought up in reference to Mariehamn, Åland in Finnish travel magazine Mondo, where artist Nayab Kram compared her hometown to Twin Peaks by saying “Mariehamn can also be like Twin Peaks, mystic, uncanny, with secrets beneath the surface”. See Roviomaa, Johannes (2021) Onnellisten saari, Mondo 4/2021, 36–45.

[7] In fact, paidia refers to children in Greek language. For reference, see Alemany Oliver (2015).

[8] In a runway show in New York, Paola Suhonen chose to play Julee Cruise’s song Into the Night (1989) as the models walked the show for the Velvet Lake 2011/2012 collection. During cocktails after the fashion show I asked the designer if I had heard right, and she confirmed.

[9] Parasociality refers to “a term coined by Horton and Wohl in 1956 to refer to a kind of psychological relationship experienced by members of an audience in their mediated encounters with certain performers in the mass media, particularly on television. Regular viewers come to feel that they know familiar television personalities almost as friends.” See ‘parasocial interaction’ in Oxford reference https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100305809.

[10] In this Special Issue, a detailed map of these territories is provided by Pauliina Tuomi. For reference, see Tuomi, Pauliina (2021) ”Pöllöt eivät ole sitä, miltä näyttävät, mutta ovat löydettävissä: matkapäiväkirja ja vinkit Twin Peaks -kierrokselle”.

[11] For reference, see Plato, Laws (English) book 7, section 803c: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0166:book=7:section=803c&highlight=plaything.

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

Pöllöt eivät ole sitä, miltä näyttävät, mutta ovat löydettävissä: matkapäiväkirja ja vinkit Twin Peaks -kierrokselle

elokuva- ja tv-turismi, fanikulttuuri, matkakertomus

Pauliina Tuomi
pauliina.tuomi [a] tuni.fi
FT, tutkijatohtori
Tampereen yliopisto
Informaatioteknologian ja viestinnän tiedekunta, Tietotekniikka.


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Tuomi, Pauliina. 2021. ”Pöllöt eivät ole sitä, miltä näyttävät, mutta ovat löydettävissä: matkapäiväkirja ja vinkit Twin Peaks -kierrokselle”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/pollot-eivat-ole-sita-milta-nayttavat-mutta-ovat-loydettavissa-matkapaivakirja-ja-vinkit-twin-peaks-kierrokselle/

Tulostettava PDF-versio


Tässä matkakertomuksessa käydään läpi omakohtaisia kokemuksia vierailusta Twin Peaksin kuvauskohteisiin sekä tarjotaan vinkkejä muille matkaa suunnitteleville. Matkapäiväkirja koostuu kohteista otetuista kuvista sekä niiden kuvausteksteistä. Matkaa peilataan netissä jo oleviin, pääosin kansainvälisiin vinkkisivustoihin sekä osin fiktiivisiin TP-karttoihin. Kertomus toimii suomenkielisenä matka- ja vinkkioppaana Twin Peaksin tärkeimmille kuvauslokaatioille, ja sen toivotaan inspiroivan mahdollisimman monen TP-fanin tekemään unohtumattoman matkan (sitten kun se pandemian puitteissa joskus on mahdollista) seudulle, jossa Twin Peaksin tunnelman voi yhä aistia.

Kuva 1. Elokuva- ja TV-turismin tärkein ja tunteisiin vetoavin piirre on maantieteellinen tunnistettavuus esimerkiksi tiettyjen maamerkkien kautta. Twin Peaksin alkumusiikistakin tutut, Snoqualmien putoukset sopivat tähän tarkoitukseen täydellisesti.

Johdanto

Alkuvuonna 2019 pohdimme puolison kanssa, minne päin Pohjois-Amerikkaa seuraavaksi matkaisimme, ja yhtäkkiä, kuin salama kirkkaalta taivaalta, hihkaisin ”Twin Peaks”! Tiesin suunnilleen, missä kuvauksia oli tehty, ja täten matkakohteeksi valikoitui Seattle. Twin Peaks on 1990-luvun TV-sarjana itselle merkittävä, se on jättänyt lähtemättömän jälkensä tuolloin noin 10-vuotiaan mieleen. Kun sarja starttasi Suomessa olin katsottuani ensimmäisen jakson yhdessä vanhempieni kanssa välittömästi koukussa. Äitini vastusteli, että se ei olisi ikäisilleni suunnattu, mutta intettyäni, että haluan jatkaa sen katselua, siihen suostuttiin, vaikka en koskaan saanut katsoa sarjaa yksin. Julistin, että sarja ei ollut lainkaan pelottava ja osaisin hyvin erottaa todellisuuden ja televisiosarjan toisistaan. No, jälkikäteen mietittynä, se ei ehkä ollutkaan ihan niin. Sarjan hahmo Bob on sittemmin vieraillut vakiokasvona painajaisunissani aina näihin päiviin asti.

Olen sittemmin aikuisiällä katsonut niin Fire Walk With Me -elokuvan kuin televisiosarjan kaksi tuotantokautta useampaan otteeseen, ja nauttinut niiden tuomasta jännityksestä ja alkumusiikin ensisävelten ihokarvoja nostattavasta tunnelmasta. Ja vielä tänä päivänä, koska osaan sarjan tapahtumat ulkoa, Bobin tullessa ruutuun, katson kohtaukset sormien välistä – mainittakoon tässä yhteydessä kuuluisa sohvan yli ryömiminen -kohtaus sekä Lauran serkun Maddyn kohtalo (”it is happening again”). Suurin pettymys pienen tytön mielessä oli kuitenkin sarjan silloinen päätös (”how’s Annie”). Siitä oli vaikea päästä yli, ja kuullessani kolmannen tuotantokauden tulosta, olin enemmän kuin innoissani. Valitettavasti uusi kausi ei tuonut tuota vanhaa agenttia takaisin, mutta yhtä kaikki, senkin päätös oli vaikuttava. ”What year is this” – ja Sheryl Fennin kirkaisu siihen päälle, ja taustalla kiirivä huuto ”Laura” kaikkien valojen samalla sammuessa. Kaikki Twin Peaks -kaudet johdattivat minut sen syntypaikoille, kohteisiin, joihin en ikinä 10-vuotiaana olisi uskonut pääseväni.

Televisiosarja saa kulttimaineen, kun sitä pidetään jollakin tavalla merkittävänä ja poikkeuksellisena, ja kun se koetaan tunnusmerkeiltään nostalgisena. Toki, on kritisoitu, että näillä kriteereillä melkein mikä tahansa televisiotuotanto voitaisiin jälkikäteen julistaa kulttisarjaksi. Joillakin ohjelmilla on kuitenkin hämmästyttävä valta kannustaa fanit uppoutumaan kuvitteelliseen maailmaan.

Jo elokuvateollisuuden alkuaikoina ymmärrettiin oikeiden kuvauspaikkojen merkitys, ja näitä kohteita alettiin markkinoida ajatuksella ”you’ve seen the movies, now visit the set”. (Ks. esim. Connell 2012) Samalla muodostuu mielikuvia, jotka voivat stimuloida matkustamista määränpäähän (Kim ja Richardson 2003). TV- ja elokuvaturismin varhaisvaiheet liitetään usein Alfred Hitchcockin (1899–1980) elokuviin, joissa esiintyi helposti erottuvia ja mieleenpainuvia maisemia, kaupunkikuvia ja maamerkkejä. Parhaiten tämä näkyy ehkä psykologisessa trillerissä Vertigo (1958), jossa näkyvät San Franciscon legendaarisimmat turistikohteet synnyttävät katsojassa vahvoja tunteita. San Francisco mainitaankin yhtenä ensimmäisistä paikoista, joka on houkutellut katsojia hyödyntämään elokuvamatkailun etuja. (Edgerton 1986.) Innokkaimmat katsojat etsivät nimenomaan tarkkoja kuvauspaikkoja, ja tätä prosessia helpottivat aiheesta julkaistut kirjat ja myöhemmin verkkosivustot (ks. Reeves 2003, Iltalehti 2018.) 

Pirates of the Caribbean ja Harry Potter ovat tunnettuja esimerkkejä elokuvien mediabrändeistä, joiden ympärille on syntynyt elokuvaturismin lisäksi myös kokonaisia teema- ja viihdepuistoja. Niissä kuitenkin päädytään ennemmin simuloimaan kokemusta, kuin tarjoamaan autenttista, oikeiden kuvauspaikkojen tuomaa tunnelmaa. Niin sanotulla elokuva- populaarikulttuuriturismilla voikin olla useita erilaisia muotoja ja ilmenemismuotoja (esim. Busby ja Klug 2001; Beeton 2011; Croy ja Heitmann 2011). Yleensä ne kattavat vierailut tietyissä elokuva- / televisiotuotannoissa kuvatuissa paikoissa. Paikat ovat todellisia, kuten kaupungit, kylät, maaseutu ja muut ympäristöt, joita on sittemmin käytetty elokuvan kuvauspaikkoina. Riittää, että katsoja tunnistaa ne fiktiivisen tarinankerronnan osana.

Usein isoa roolia, erityisesti ei-kaupallisessa mielessä, pyörittävät fanit ja faniyhteisöt. Tiettyjen sarjojen ja elokuvien ympärille saattaa syntyä isoakin toimintaa, josta vastuussa ovat yksittäiset henkilöt, joita faniyhteisö tukee (Månsson 2011). Tämä pätee myös Twin Peaksin kohdalla. Sarjalla on jo vuonna 1993 aloittanut tapahtuma, vuosittain järjestetty Twin Peaks festival, joka on alun perin fanien alullepanema, mutta ensimmäisen kerran se toteutettiin yhteistyössä studion kanssa, jonka avustuksella paikalle saatiin myös sarjan näyttelijöitä. Tämän jälkeen toiminta jatkui fanivetoisena aina vuoteen 2019, jolloin CBS ilmoitti ottavansa tapahtuman haltuunsa, ja järjestävänsä sitä omissa nimissään. 

Toinen fanien luoma iso, maailmanlaajuinen tapahtuma, on vuosittain järjestettävä Twin Peaks Day, 24. helmikuuta). Päivän juhlallisuudet näkyvät ja pyörivät globaalisti muun muassa fanipohjaisen Welcome to Twin Peaks -Facebook-yhteisösivun kautta. On korostettava, että jopa David Lynch on noteerannut tapahtuman hienosti ja raportoinut siitä Twitter-tilillään. Fanit ovat myös tuottaneet sarjan ympärille useita erilaisia karttoja, erityisesti fanimatkailuun liittyen, joiden pohjalta on halutessaan helppo tutustua alueen eri kuvauskohteisiin (Kuva 2). Kartoissa fiktiiviset kuvauspaikat usein suhteutetaan paikkansapitäviin maantieteellisiin sijanteihin. Twin Peaksin kulttikohteiden ympärillä onkin useita sivustoja, joita vasten voi peilata ja suunnitella omaa kierrosta ja matkaansa (esimerkiksi Twin Peaks blog.)

Kuva 2. Karttamalleja on useita, ja ne yleensä sekoittavat niin fiktiivisen kuin todellisenkin maantieteellisen sijainnin.

Ranskalainen Guy Debord (1983) on aikoinaan todennut, että spektaakkeli ei ole puhtaasti kuva tai kuvien yhdistelmä, vaan kuviin perustuva sosiaalinen rakenne. Elokuvaturismin erottuva piirre onkin maiseman tai kuvauspaikan muuttuminen spektaakkeliksi. Tämän prosessin kautta se muovautuu kulttuurimaisemaksi, jota voidaan uudelleen luoda, manipuloida, vahvistaa tai jopa kyseenalaistaa (Kuva 3).

Kuva 3. Twin Peaksia markkinoidaan spektaakkelina ja kokemuksena, ja se on tiedostettu niin Salish Lodgen kuin myös alueellisen markkinoinnin toimesta. Lähde: Snoqualmie, Washington -sivusto.

 Hills (2002, 145) on tähdentänyt, että mediafanimatkailu on affektiivis-tulkitseva prosessi, joka määrittelee tilan uudelleen, ja luo kulttimaantieteellisen alueen ja fyysisen toiminnan painopisteen. Kulttimaantieteellinen prosessi on parhaiten havaittavissa fanien kiinnittymisenä kyseiseen tilaan. Sellaisenaan merkityksettömistä paikoista tulee merkittäviä, (Shields 1991; Hills 2002), mikä näkyy selvästi elokuvakarttojen kautta ja oppaina näihin sijainteihin (esim. Reeves 2003; Barth 1991; Smith 1988). Grenier (2011) on tarkastellut elokuvafanien kokemusta ja suhdetta määränpäähän ja huomauttanut, että elokuvaturistien tärkein motivaatio onkin usein nostalgian etsiminen. Fandom-käsite elokuva- ja elokuvamatkailussa perustuu katsojan ja ”katsotun” emotionaaliseen osallistumiseen, ja lukuisissa tutkimuksissa korostetaankin juuri tätä henkilökohtaista suhdetta (Couldry 1998; Lee ja Yoo 2011; Kim 2012). Tämä tunnetason sitoutuminen, ja sen eteen nähty vaiva, johtaa usein konkreettiseen vierailuun kuvauskohteissa. Näin tapahtui myös minulle vuonna 2019, kun pääsin viimein toteuttamaan fanimatkan Twin Peaksin konkreettisiin, fyysisiin maisemiin.

Seattle airport – kohdetta kohti

Saavuimme Seattlen lentokentälle pitkän lennon, ja muutaman välilaskun jälkeen suhteellisen väsyneinä – Suomesta kun ei ole tarjolla suoria lentoja Seattleen. Löysimme valitsemamme RentalCar -autovuokraamon suhteellisen helposti läheltä lentokenttää. North Bendiin ja Snoqualmieen on noin 50 minuutin ajomatka.

North Bend sijaitsee Kaskadien reunavuorilla, noin 52 kilometriä Seattlesta itään. Kaupungin pinta-ala on 7,6 neliökilometriä, ja vuonna 2020 sen väkiluku oli 8039. Läheinen vuori Mount Si kohoaa kaupungin ylle. Lähikaupunki Snoqualmie, on noin viiden kilometrin päässä North Bendistä.

Navigaattorista on korvaamatonta apua, kun lähdet autovuokraamosta, mutta kunhan olet oikealla tiellä, loppumatka on käytännössä melko lailla suoraa tietä, ja voit vain nauttia maisemista (Kuvat 4 ja 5). Kimin (2012) tutkimus vahvistaa, että elokuvaturistit yhdistävät paikan päällä kokemuksensa tunteisiin, jotka tuntuivat katsellessaan televisiodraamaa. Kim on todennut myös, että emotionaalinen osallistuminen on ”välitön lähtökohta” monille elokuvaan liittyvien matkailukohteiden kokemuksille.

Maantieteellinen sijainti ja juuri oikeantyyppisen kuvausympäristön löytäminen olivat Frostille ja Lynchille tärkeää. Kyseiset lokaatiot löytyivät Frostin mukaan, heidän matkattuaan Washingtonin osavaltioon etsintäkierrokselle, ystävän suositeltua pikkukaupunkia Snoqualmie Fallsia. Frost sanoo heidän löytäneen kirjaimellisesti valmiina paikan, jonka olivat jo pilottijaksoon käsikirjoittaneet. Rautatieasemaa vastapäätä oli pieni ruokasali. Saha oli aivan kaupungissa. Ja erityisesti kukkulalla sijaitseva, täysin Great Northernin oloinen, hotelli seisoi vesiputouksen vieressä. Frost on kuvannut hetkeä, ja löytöä oudon osuvaksi: ”it was a really weird moment of synchronicity”. (Twin Peaks Fan Page, ks. myös Rodley 2005, 202–215.)

Kuva 4. Tätä lähdimme tavoittelemaan.
Kuva 5. Ja jo ajomatka Twin Peaksiin oli elämys, kun alat tunnistaa maisemista jotain mystisen tuttua.

Salish Lodge ja Snoqualmie-putous

Päädyimme yöpymään Salish Lodgessa, joka on siis oikeasti olemassa oleva hotelli- ja kylpyläkokonaisuus, jonka ulkopuolta kuvattiin sarjassa useasti. Sarjassa annettiin ymmärtää, että kyseessä oli Great Northern -hotelli, jossa muun muassa agentti Cooper yöpyi, ja Ben Horne teki erillisiä, hämäriä toimiaan. Salish Lodge toimi todella merkittävässä asemassa televisiosarjassa – alkumusiikin vesiputouskohtausta alkaen. Sisätilakuvaukset on kuitenkin tehty yksityisomistuksessa olevassa Kiana Lodgessa, Poulsbossa, Washingtonissa. Kysymys on elokuva- ja televisiotuotannoille melko tyypillisestä ratkaisusta, jossa tietyt kohteet toimivat niin sanottuina ”kaksoiskappaleina” todellisille lokaatioille. (Butler 2011.)

Kuva 6. Salish Lodgen sisällä on muistomyymälä, jonka valikoimiin kuuluu pelkästään Twin Peaks -tuotemyyntiä. Siellä on muun muassa myynnissä pehmeitä ”loglady”-pölkkyjä sekä kuvassa näkyvä, sittemmin myös kolmannella tuotantokaudella merkittävää roolia pyörittävä, agentti Cooperin hotellihuoneen avaimenperä.

Jos siis olet menossa putouksille, ja tutustumaan muihinkin kuvauskohtaisiin, suosittelen vahvasti yöpymistä Salish Lodgessa, vaikka siellä onkin hintavampaa kuin muualla. Sitä tunnetta ja ilmapiiriä on vaikea saada muualta, ja on hienoa – sekä pelottavaa – käydä putouksilla pimeyden laskeuduttua (kuvat 6–8).

Kuva 7. Hotellihuoneessa näkyy myös kulttisarjan kuvauslokaationa toimiminen.
Kuva 8. Kahvi on Twin Peaks -blendiä ja tietty populaarikulttuurinen leikittely näkyy: “The coffee beans may not be what they seem”. Sama markkinoinnin teema toistuu myös hotellin yläkerran The Attic -baarissa.

Salish Lodgen yläkerrassa toimii baari ja ravintola. Ruokalistalla oli tarjolla lähinnä perinteistä ravintolaruokaa pizzoista pihveihin. Baarin puolella on kuitenkin Agentti Cooperille omistettu drinkki, joka oli tietysti pakko maistaa (Kuva 8). Tuntui hassulta juoda sitä, autenttisissa olosuhteissa, putouksen näkyessä ikkunasta. Drinkki oli muuten melko hapan allekirjoittaneen makuun, mutta se ikään kuin kuului asiaan. Tutkimukset tukevat ajatusta siitä, että korkeamman tason emotionaalinen osallistuminen luo korkean tason tyytyväisyyden paikan päällä tapahtuviin kokemuksiin (Carl et al. 2007; Kim 2012). Esimerkiksi New Yorkissa on mahdollista osallistua Sex in the City -kierrokselle ja nauttia samalla cosmopolitania, joka oli päähahmo Carrien suosikkicoctail.

Kuva 9. Aamupala on hintava, mutta todella runsas.

Jos päätät yöpyä Salishissa, suosittelen ottamaan todella runsaan aamupalan, jota paikka tarjoaa (Kuva 9). Se pitää sisällään kaiken mahdollisen niin makean kuin suolaisen aamupalan ystävälle (Salish Lodge, aamupalamenu). Annos on niin suuri, ettet todennäköisesti saa sitä kaikkea syötyä. Ota silti huomioon, että sitä ei voi jakaa, vaan jokainen ruokailija maksaa oman summansa.

The great, centennial log

Kuva 10. Jättiläismäinen puu/pölkky on erityisen tuttu pilottijakson alkumusiikista.

Keskustasta löytyy eräs alueen vanhimmista ja suurimmista tukeista (Kuva 10). Snoqualmie Valley Recordin mukaan puu oli ”taimi vuonna 1587, joka säilyi 1970-luvulle saakka viiden meripeninkulman päässä kaupungista pohjoisessa”. Jättiläismäinen puu löydettiin alun perin hakatusta metsästä, ja siihen oli osunut salama. Puu asetettiin tähän paikkaan vuonna 1977, ja sen on ollut siitä asti tunnusmerkkinä kaupungille. Vuonna 2011 se päädyttiin aitaamaan, koska se koki vandalismia. (Snoqualmie Valley Record)

Ronetten silta

Kuva 11. Ronetten silta on karu, mutta silti vaikuttava. Se on myös faniyhteisöissä nostettu yhdeksi vaikuttavimmista kohteista, juuri karuutensa vuoksi.

Silta, jota pitkin Ronette Pulaski laahustaa pilottijaksossa, löytyy suhteellisen läheltä Salish Lodge -hotellia (Kuva 11). Silta on avoinna yleisölle ja se ylittää Snoqualmie-joen juuri sen alapuolella, jossa joen kolme haarukkaa muodostavat yhdeksi joeksi. Sen ylitettyään päätyy luonnonvaraiselle viheralueelle. Itse kohtaus Ronettesta oli aikoinaan pelottava, mutta normaalitilanteessa silta on kuin mikä tahansa silta, vaikka tuntuu kuin se olisi siihen juuri sarjaa varten aseteltu, niin osuva se on. Ronetten sillan läheltä, kivenheiton päästä, löytyy myös Lauran kohtalon kannalta merkittävä tienristeys (Kuva 12).

Kuva 12. Tienristeykseen on kuvauksissa lisätty tuulessa liehuvat liikennevalot. Tämä on paikka, jossa Laura hyppää pois Jamesin moottoripyörän selästä ja juoksee metsään, Leo Johnsonin ja Jacques Renaultin mökille, myöhempään kuolemaansa.

Twede’s Cafe eli Double RR Dining

Kuva 13. Double RR eli oikeasti Twede’s Cafe kuvattuna ulkopuolelta.

Double RR:ssä käyminen oli itselle yksi merkittävimmistä visiiteistä matkan aikana, putouksen lisäksi (Kuva 13). Tässä kohteessa korostui ehkä eniten TV:n luoma illuusio paikasta, joka ei sitten todellisuudessa vastannutkaan ihan sitä, mitä ajattelin. Kuppila on paljon pienempi, kuin sarja antaa ymmärtää, ja ainakin meidän siellä vieraillessa todella hiljainen. Fanin vierailu kuvauspaikoilla voi aiheuttaa valtavaa tyydytystä, mutta myös pettymystä. Katsojan oma tuntemus ja kokemus voivat muuttaa yksilön käsitystä ja nautinnon tasoa. (esim. Connell 2012) Paikan pienuudesta huolimatta, se oli itselle, Salish Lodgen putousten lisäksi, henkeäsalpaavin, ja mitä epätodellisin vierailu (Kuva 14).

Kuva 14. Sain kokea interiöörin, joka vastasi pitkälti sitä, mitä olin jo pienenä nähnyt. Samoin kirsikkapiiras oli taivaallista, eikä kahvissakaan ollut valittamista. ;)

Kuppilan seinillä on paljon alkuperäismateriaalia kuvausten ajalta, kuriositeettina vaikkapa Frank Silvan kuva, jossa Bob on siemailemassa tauolla kahvia (Kuva 15). RR-kuppilan hiljaisuus on rikkoontunut monet kerrat, mutta näiltä osin paikan suurimmat asiakasryntäykset tapahtuivat 1990-luvulla. Esimerkiksi Chris Rodleyn kirjoittamassa ja pääosin David Lynchin haastatteluihin perustuvassa Lynch on Lynch -kirjassa mainitaan, että RR-kuppilan emäntä teki ennen televisiosarjaa 6 piirakkaa päivässä, mutta sarjan jälkeen 60. Turisteja kiersi ”bussilasteittain” paikalla erityisesti 1990-luvun alussa. (Rodley 2005, 206)

Kuva 15. Twin Peaks näkyi kuppilan ulkoasussa vahvasti. Heillä on seinillään materiaalia, jota ei ole missään muualla nähtävissä.

Welcome to Twin Peaks -kyltti

Kyltin metsästys oli yksi vaikeimpia tehtäviä kierroksellamme (Kuva 16). Tärkein syy oli se, että kylttiä ei enää valitettavasti ollut olemassa – alkuperäinen kyltti varastettiin, eikä sen tilalle tehty uutta. Toinen ongelma oli Googlen ja nettisivujen antamat väärät koordinaatit. Haimme oikeaa paikkaa niiden mukaan melkein tunnin, kunnes etsin lisätietoa ja kyseenalaistimme siihen asti saamamme tiedot. Kun paikka tuli esiin, siitä ei voinut erehtyä. Olin nähnyt sen niin monta kertaa kahden ensimmäisen tuotantokauden alkukohtauksen yhteydessä. Kun olimme ottamassa paikasta kuvia, kanadalaisia turisteja pysähtyi samaan levennykseen kysymään, että olivatko löytäneet oikean kyltin paikan. Myös he olivat harhaantuneet Googlen ohjeiden pohjalta. Jaoimme mukavan, yhteisöllisen hetken fanien kesken kertomalla omat Twin Peaks -taustamme. Jos matkailua pidetään kohtaamisena, ihmisten väliset suhteet ja matkailuympäristöt voivat olla aineellisia, metaforisia tai kuvitteellisia (Crouch 2000).

Kuva 16. Aito kyltinpaikka löytyi lopulta, mutta ilman itse kylttiä. Fanipohjaisen netti- ja somemateriaalin pohjalta sain kuitenkin tilanteen lavastettua FB-kehyksen avulla.

Twin Peaks, Sheriffin asema

Twin Peaksin Sheriffin asema sijaitsee osoitteessa 7001 396. Dr SE Snoqualmie, Washington, eli se sijaitsee saman tien varrella, jota pitkin erikoisagentti Dale Cooper saapuu Twin Peaksin kaupunkiin. Navigaattori ei kyltin tavoin toimi tämänkään kohteen kohdalla. Oli vaikeaa päästä määränpäähän, sillä navigaattori näytti meidän olevan perillä keskellä metsäistä tietä. Ajoimme edestakaisin kyseistä tietä, kunnes sattumalta näin tutun sahan piipun puiden välistä. Paikan etsimistä vaikeutti se, että asema sijaitsee tältä tieltä alempana, ja sinne ei ole mitään opaskylttiä. Löydettyämme alatielle, näimme lopulta nyt osoitteessa toimivan firman kylttejä. Nykyisin asema toimii muta-autoradan toimipisteenä, jossa olisi saanut vierailla myös sisällä, mutta aikataulusyistä emme tehneet muuta kuin kuvasimme ikonisen, hyvin tunnistettavan, rakennuksen ulkoa käsin (Kuvat 17 ja 18). Yhtä kaikki, jos olet matkannut tuonne asti, älä luovuta, vaikka paikka ei heti löydy, pidä silmät auki ja suunnista sahan piipun mukaan.

Kuva 17. Parkkipaikalla oli myös TP-auto, ikonisine tarroineen, fanien iloksi kuvattavana.
Kuva 18. Nykyisin rakennuksessa toimiva Dirtfish Rally School ottaa fanit huomioon ja huolehtii, etteivät yli-innokkaat vierailijat loukkaannu alueella, mutta kutsuu halukkaat myös sisätiloihin käymään. Kyltti löytyy teipattuna sheriffin auton sivulasiin.

The Packard Sawmill

Kivenheiton päässä Seriffin asemalta sijaitsee myös Packard Mill, kovin ränsistyneenä, mutta sarjassakin tapahtuneen tulipalon osalta, se tuntuu ihan uskottavalta (Kuva 19). Todellisuudessa saha oli alkuperäiseltä nimeltään Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company, joka aloitti toimintansa jo vuonna 1914. Suurin osa pääsahasta suljettiin vuonna 1989, jolloin jäljelle jäi vain puun viimeistelylaitos. Ja lopulta koko laitos suljettiin 30. toukokuuta 2003. (University of Washington library)

Kuva 19. Jäljellä olivat enää sahan rauniot, mutta toisaalta se osui hyvin sarjassa tapahtuneeseen, Leo Johnsonin sytyttämään tulipaloon.

Laura – wrapped in plastic

Kuva 20. Laura Palmerin ruumiinlöytöpaikka on ainoa kohteista, joka ei ole käytännössä 10 kilometrin säteellä.

Ainoa merkittävä paikka, joka jäi näkemättä, on iso puu, jonka juurelta Pete löysi Lauran muoviin käärityn ruumiin (Kuva 20). Paikka sijaitsee muihin kohteisiin nähden kaukana, ja olisi edellyttänyt yhden päivän matkaa kohteeseen. Kyseinen sijainti löytyy jo aiemmin mainitun Kiana Lodgen alueelta, jonka rannalta kyseinen tukki on edelleen löydettävissä. Kuriositeettina Kiana Lodgesta on vielä mainittava, että siellä on kuvattu myös alkumusiikin alussa oksalla oleva lintu.

Lopuksi

Itselle kokemus oli juuri sitä, mitä lähdin hakemaan. Sitä värittivät tietyt ennakkoajatukset ja TV-ruudun kautta välittyneet mielikuvat. Kohteissa vierailu avasi kuitenkin silmiä sille, kuinka TV:ssä nähty fiktio muuntuu, kun siitä tulee fyysisesti totta. Monet kohteista eivät näyttäneet täsmälleen siltä, kuin sarjassa, mutta olivat paikoin sitäkin herkullisempia kohdata.

Twin Peaksilla on selvä vaikutus alueen turismiin, ja alueellinen markkinointi osaa hyödyntää yhtä 1990-luvun merkittävintä TV-ilmiötä. Oli kuitenkin ilo huomata, että turismi ja sen mahdolliset lieveilmiöt eivät näkyneet negatiivisesti oman vierailuni aikana. Paikat eivät olleet tupaten täynnä, vaikka tuolloin elettiin heinäkuun loppua. Päinvastoin kaikkialla oli sarjan hengelle juuri osuvan hiljaista. RR Dinerissa oli meidän lisäksi tuolloin ehkäpä yksi tai kaksi paikallista asiakasta, Ronetten silta oli tyhjä ja niin edelleen. Ehkäpä juuri siksi, että kuvauspaikkojen luoma turismin lumo on fanien tuottamaa, eikä niinkään kaupallisen markkinointikoneiston aikaansaamaa?

Netin turismiulottuvuus onkin yleisesti tunnustettua ja sen luomat faniyhteisöt ovat vahvimmin luoneet Twin Peaks -kokemuksia. Tavallaan tuntuu, että näiden yhteisöjen ehdoilla syntynyt turismi soveltuu kyseessä olevan sarjan ympärille parhaiten. Yksittäiset henkilöt kauppaavat netissä muun muassa opaspalveluja, mutta lähinnä omaksi ilokseen. Uskon, että Twin Peaksin nauttiessa ansaitusti kulttisarjan mainetta, fanituristit löytävät tiensä kuvauspaikoille jatkossakin – pandemian sen viimein suodessa.

Kun mietin seuraavia mahdollisia elokuva- ja TV-lokaatioita, joissa haluaisin vierailla, en keksi juuri toista yhtä vaikuttavaa kohdetta. Lähemmäksi kokemusta tulee vuonna 2017 tapahtunut vierailuni Yksin kotona 2-elokuvan kuvauspaikoilla New Yorkissa. Näin elokuvan niin ikään 10-vuotiaana, joten yhtä kaikki tämäkin elokuva heijastelee lapsuuden aikaista mediakuluttajan nostalgista tunnemaisemaa.

Aina kun kokee TV:ssä nähdyn paikan oikeasti, se vaan tuntuu hienolta. Tähän peilaten voisin nähdä itseni televisio- ja elokuvaturistina jatkossakin. Twin Peaksin osalta tämä matka oli tavallaan jonkinlainen täyttymys televisiosarjan värittämille vuosille. Usein sanotaan, että ihmisen pitää kohdata demoninsa, jotta pääsee eteenpäin. En tiedä onko sattumaa, mutta vierailuni jälkeen, eräs herra Bob ei ole enää näyttäytynyt unissani. Kop kop kop.

Kohteet ja niiden osoitteet:

  1. Salish lodge (Great Nothern)

6501 Railroad Ave, Fall City, WA 98024, Yhdysvallat

  1. Sheriff office/Saw mill

7001 396th Dr SE, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, Yhdysvallat

  1. Sparkwood & 21

396th Dr SE, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, Yhdysvallat

  1. Ronette’s bridge

40433 SE Reinig Rd, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, Yhdysvallat

  1. Welcome to Twin Peaks sign

41471 SE Reinig Rd, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, Yhdysvallat

  1. Giant log

201 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, Yhdysvallat

  1. Twedes (RR-diner)

137 W North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045, Yhdysvallat

Lähteet

Kaikki linkit tarkastettu 15.5.2021.

Aineisto

Matkakuvat: Pauliina Tuomi / Tero Vuori.

Muut kuvalähteet

Kuva 2:
https://twin.pk/jstpmap
https://welcometotwinpeaks.com/wp-content/uploads/twin-peaks-washington.jpg

Kuva 3:
https://www.salishlodge.com/

Kuva 4:
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/956338686077142992/FED5C81F412B2046F1EE8A0773DB1B29A6AAEF55/

Kuva 10:
https://i2.wp.com/www.twinpeaksblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/04_TPB_Loc_WA_GiantLog_2001Credits.jpg?ssl=1

Kuva 11:
https://i2.wp.com/welcometotwinpeaks.com/wp-content/uploads/ronette-bridge.jpg?ssl=1

Kuva 17:
https://twinpeaks.fandom.com/wiki/Twin_Peaks_Sheriff%27s_Department?file=Twin+Peaks+Sheriff%27s+Department+%282016%29.jpg.

Kuva 19:
https://twinpeaks.fandom.com/wiki/Packard_Sawmill?file=PSM.jpg.

Kuva 20:
https://i2.wp.com/www.twinpeaksblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/01_TPB_Details_DiscoverLaura_FEATURE.jpg?ssl=1.

Verkkosivut

Twin Peaks Festival. https://www.twinpeaksfest.com/.

David Lynchin Twitter-tilin tweetti, 24.2.2021.

Snoqualmie, Washington -kotisivut. https://www.ci.snoqualmie.wa.us/379/Twin-Peaks.

Twin Peaks fan page, Annie Cordier, 23.10.2016. https://www.twin-peaks.fr/articles/serie/ewspecial.html.

Twin Peaks blog, Steven Miller, 31.12.2020. https://www.twinpeaksblog.com/2018/03/17/complete-guide-to-twin-peaks-film-locations/.

Salish Lodge, aamupalamenu. https://www.salishlodge.com/assets/PDF/salish_diningroom_brunch.pdf.

Valley Record, Carol Ladwig, 28.11.2017. https://www.valleyrecord.com/life/centennial-celebration-100-years-ago-snoqualmie-falls-lumber-co-planted-seeds-of-community/.

University of Washington library, Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Company: https://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcollections/collections/exhibits/Kinsey/snoqualmie.

Iltalehti, Markus Tiittula, 4.6.2018. https://www.iltalehti.fi/viihdeuutiset/a/201806042200990409.

Tutkimuskirjallisuus

Barth, Jack. 1991. Roadside hollywood: A movie lover’s state-by-state guide to film locations, celebrity hangouts, celluloid tourist attractions, and more. Chicago: Contemporary Books.

Beeton, Sue. 2011. ”Tourism and the Moving Image—Incidental Tourism Promotion.” Tourism Recreation Research, 36(1), 49–56.

Busby, Graham and Klug, Julia. 2001. ”Movie-induced tourism: the challenge of measurement and other issues.” Journal of Vacation Marketing, 7(4), 316–332.

Butler, Richard. 2011. ”It’s only make believe: the implications of fictional and authentic locations in films.” Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, 3(2).

Carl, Daniela, Kindon, Sara and Smith, Karen. 2007. ”Tourists’ experiences of film locations: New Zealand as ‘Middle Earth’.” Tourism Geographies, 9(1).

Couldry, Nick. 1998. ”The view from inside the ‘Simulacrum’: visitors’ tales from the set of Coronation Street.” Leisure Studies, 17.

Connell, Joanne. 2012. ”Film tourism–Evolution, progress and prospects.” Tourism management, 33(5), 1007–1029.

Crouch, David. 2000. ”Places around us: embodied lay geographies in leisure and tourism.” Leisure Studies, 19(1).

Croy, William Glen and Heitmann, Sine. 2011. ”Tourism and film.” Research Themes for Tourism, toimittaneet Peter Robinson, Sine Heitmann ja Peter Dieke, 188–204. CABI.

Debord, Guy. 1983. Society of the spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red.

Edgerton, Gary. 1986. ”The film bureau phenomenon in America and its relationship to independent filmmaking.” Journal of Film and Video, 38(1).

Grenier, Alain. 2011. ”Film tourism: from concept to the fan in the heart of the experience.” Teoros, Revue de Recherche en Tourisme, 30(1).

Hills, Matt. 2002. Fan cultures. London: Routledge.

Kim, Hyounggon and Richardson, Sarah. 2003. ”Motion picture impacts on destination images.” Annals of Tourism Research, 30.

Kim, Sangkyun. 2012. ”Audience involvement and film tourism experiences: emotional places, emotional experiences.” Tourism Management, 33.

Lee, Tae Hee and Yoo, Jae Kyung. 2011. ”A study on flow experience structures: enhancement or death, prospects for the Korean wave.” Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 28(4).

Månsson, Maria. 2011. ”Mediatized tourism.” Annals of Tourism Research, 38(4).

Reeves, Tony. 2003. The worldwide guide to movie locations (2nd ed.). London: Titan Books.

Rodley, Chris. 2005. Lynch on Lynch (Lynch on Lynch – revised edition). Suomeksi toimittanut Lauri Lehtinen. Helsinki: Like.

Shields, Rob. 1991. Places on the margin: Alternative geographies of modernity. London: Routledge.

Smith, Leon. 1988. Hollywood goes on location. Los Angeles: Pomegranate Press.

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

The Twin Peaks Fandom on the Net – 30 Years of Activity and Counting

fandom, Twin Peaks

Samantha Martinez Ziegler
samazi [a] utu.fi
Digital Culture
University of Turku


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Martinez Ziegler, Samantha. 2021. ”The Twin Peaks Fandom on the Net – 30 Years of Activity and Counting”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/the-twin-peaks-fandom-on-the-net-30-years-of-activity-and-counting/

Printable PDF version


The Twin Peaks fandom on the net has had a lifespan of over 30 years since the cult series began airing on U.S. television in the year 1990. Up to the present time, fandom culture has evolved, and the Twin Peaks community as well. The focus of this essay is to explore the history of the Twin Peaks fandom from its origins on the Usenet newsgroup alt.tv.twin-peak in the early 1990s all the way to its move to LiveJournal, social media, and the hybrid platform Reddit in the 21st century. In my text, I also highlight how the unsolved mysteries and recurrent riddles of the Twin Peaks television series and Twin Peaks-related media have been instrumental to the ongoing activity of the fandom. Lastly, I consider what the longevity and adaptability of the Twin Peaks fandom on the net mean in terms of fandom culture and the foreseeable future of fandom. This essay was written in the spring of 2020 for that semester’s Academic Writing and Digital Culture class but was revisited and last modified in May 2021 prior to its publication in the journal.

Introduction

“This has to have been one of the best shows ever”, a user posted on a thread on alt.tv.twin-peak, a Usenet newsgroup active in the early 1990s mainly dedicated to discussing and interpreting the American TV series Twin Peaks among its fans. “You are dealing with an obsessed group of people here”, another user commented in relation to the heavy influx of messages on the board during the show’s first two seasons. Users would log into the net and dedicate hours of their day to share their ideas and theories among other passionate fans. What we could now easily dismiss as common fan behaviour, in the early 90s, these interactions on the alt.tv.twin-peak newsgroup were one of a kind. They influenced and shaped fan culture for generations to come.

As noted by Henry Jenkins (1992), Twin Peaks posed a series of strenuous challenges and riddles open to interpretation for computer netters, like no other TV show had done before (Jenkins 1992, 55–57). The complexity of Twin Peaks gave its viewers the opportunity to spend days analysing and discussing, in particular, fragments of dialogue, camera shots, character mannerisms, and even background music. These communal analyses served as a base for users to subsequently formulate their own theories and later introduce them over several discussion threads, a behaviour that can still be observed within the online Twin Peaks fandom up to this day.

With the premiere of Twin Peaks: The Return in the year 2017, the show’s third and final season, new questions have been added to the ones that have plagued the minds of fans for decades. Though rather than drawing negative emotions, these unanswered questions are the core essence of what the Twin Peaks community is all about: a group of enthusiastic fans who want their brains to be put to test with every new episode and every piece of new media. In this essay, I will go through the virtual history of the Twin Peaks fandom, from its birth up to now, while taking a look at the way the series’ mysteries have played a role in keeping the fandom active during the show’s nearly 26 year-long hiatus.

Origins of the Twin Peaks Fandom on the Net

When the first episode of Twin Peaks was broadcasted on American television on April 8, 1990 by ABC Network, viewers were instantly mesmerised by what they saw on their television screens. Twin Peaks was like no other TV series seen before. With Mark Frost’s brilliant story writing combined alongside David Lynch’s hailed eye for filmmaking, Twin Peaks blended several television and film genres and tropes into a unique and intricate type of its own. Set in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington, the plot revolves around an FBI agent, Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), who joins the local police to investigate the murder of 17 year-old homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). However, in the two hour long pilot episode of the show, we soon discover that most of the mysteries revolving around Laura Palmer’s death go beyond what we can see. The odd, quirky personalities from the town folk make the viewers question what other secrets are hidden under plain sight. But the most important question, the one that was printed in the mind of every viewer after watching the pilot episode of the show, is unmistakable:

“Who killed Laura Palmer?”

As actor Kyle MacLachlan put it into words for a Showtime interview in 2017, this question, which computer netters amicably nicknamed WKLP early on, resonated around the world. And more importantly, it drove people with connection to the net to reach for their peers, who were interested in Twin Peaks, in order to discuss the episodes, share their theories, and spark new ideas and speculations. As a result, the alt.tv.twin-peak newsgroup on Usenet, an electronic networked discussion system, was born on April 12, 1990.

From early on, when television viewing was combined with taking part in discussion boards, “technologies of convergence enabled communal rather than individualistic modes of reception” (Duffett 2013, 388). Multiple discussion threads would start after each episode, often including the questions such as “did anyone else see…” or “am I the only one who thought…” in the title, suggesting a need to confirm one’s own produced meanings through conversation with a larger community of readers” (Jenkins 1992, 57). Users typed down their hypotheses and shared them with those “who shared their passion for breaking the code” (ibid.). Whether these theories would or would not be proven right was nonessential; it was the thrill of sharing these thoughts within a Twin Peaks obsessed community that motivated fans to keep the group active while the show aired on TV.

The first season of Twin Peaks consisted of 8 episodes, including its two hour long pilot. Rather than offering resolutions, through the course of the series, creators Mark Frost and David Lynch added intricate riddles and unexpected twists to the already multi-layered story told on TV. It was in the middle of the show’s second instalment, which was broadcasted on the same network from September 1990 to June 1991, that Frost and Lynch saw themselves forced to reveal the identity of Laura Palmer’s murderer.

The revelation shocked audiences around the world, including members of the alt.tv.twin-peak newsgroup. Interestingly enough, revealing the identity of the killer was not enough to tie any of the other loose ends of the series. Frost and Lynch had created an exceptional story that extended far beyond Laura Palmer’s murder, even though its consequences and the events that led to it were still considered to be the very core of the show. A few days after the reveal episode was broadcasted on U.S. television, a user commented “too bad we STILL don’t know what those owls are or whether or not they aren’t what they seem” on the alt.tv.twin-peaks group, the last phrase in reference to one of the most iconic and haunting lines of dialogue said in Twin Peaks: “the owls are not what they seem”. To this day, only fan-made theories surrounding the owls’ imagery is offered.

While Twin Peaks was still airing its second season, ABC cancelled the show due to low viewership in the U.S. The show’s final episode, titled “Beyond Life and Death”, was broadcasted on June 10, 1991, and for many years to come, it would become one of the most heavily analysed episodes within the expanding Twin Peaks community in message boards, online forums, blogs, among others. There are two main reasons why: the first one, a promise made by the deceased Laura Palmer: “I’ll see you again in 25 years”. This sparked interest and excitement among fans, despite knowing about the show cancellation. The second reason, by far the most evident one, was the final scene of the show. In it, FBI Agent Dale Cooper seemingly loses his sanity, repeating the same line over and over again: “Where’s Annie?”. These two scenes, among other supernatural patterns repeated through the course of the show, would mark the fate of fan discussions for years to come.

Image 1. Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the Black Lodge, Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 22.
Image 2. FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in front of a broken mirror, Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 22.

Fandom Migration and Adaptability — The Move From Usenet to LiveJournal to Reddit

The Twin Peaks fandom did not disappear after the show’s cancellation in 1991. If something, the show’s already laid down roots gained strength. A prequel film arrived in American movie theatres in 1992 by the name of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, written and directed by filmmaker David Lynch himself. The movie did not act as a way to tie the show’s loose ends since it is set before the events of the television show, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me focuses merely on the last days of Laura Palmer’s life. Once again, many fans with access to the computer net headed to the alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup right after watching the film, ready to share their theories or confirm beliefs they had during the early days of the show.

With the popularisation of the world wide web in the mid 1990s, many fans started moving from Usenet to different web pages, online forums, and fan club pages. Nowadays, this process is known as fandom migration. These web pages would essentially look like “shrines, full of pictures of celebrities” (Duffett 2013, 382). For instance, while users were already able to share images in the alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup in the early 1990s, the internet made this process considerably faster and easier than before. With these new innovations, the internet “transformed and further facilitated the whole phenomenon of fandom” (ibid.).

Following the end of the show and airing of the prequel film, the Twin Peaks fandom never ceased its activities on the net. Messaging boards would come alive with multiple posts discussing new theories “as new releases of the series arrived on VHS, then DVD, and then Blu-ray over the years” (Silver 2018). Some of these releases would include extra footage or deleted scenes, which fans would utilise to fill in the gaps in their own theories or spark entirely new ideas. After all, the show had enough unsolved mysteries and plots for viewers to generate different interpretations of the new information. Questions, theories, and opinions that were often found on alt.tv.twin-peaks were now posted elsewhere on the web. To illustrate, on thread started on a Twin Peaks LiveJournal under the title “Judy” in 2004, user greypele posted the following:

“I’m aware that Twin Peaks is not meant to make any logical sort of sense and that still, with that said, it is a great deal of fun to attempt to make sense of it, my question is: Who is Judy? […] I’m just asking for any theories or additional information. I’ve gone on another Twin Peaks a-thon and am, again, totally obsessed with trying to make connections while being very seriously terrified by the sound of a ceiling fan.”

Even a decade after the show originally aired, and with only a minimum amount of new footage released, the narrative surrounding the story of Twin Peaks kept inviting the viewer to participate in its analysis (Jenkins 1992, 55). Similarly, a decade later, in the year 2014, redditor cohle779 started a thread on the Twin Peaks subreddit (/r/TwinPeaks) after watching Fire Walk with Me, sharing their own theories and individual interpretation of the film. At the end of the post, the text reads: “what are your theories or findings? I also always wonder about who Judy is, what’s up with the monkey and what happened to Desmond”. Even with the ten year gap between the posts and the different platforms, the same questions are asked (“who is Judy?”), and no answer nor interpretation is discredited – a recurrent custom found in the fandom. On both of these occasions, fellow members of the Twin Peaks community have come forth and answered the threads by posting their own made-up theories about the subject in question, regardless of whether their hypotheses are plausible within the context of the show or not.

Fans want to dissect the source material with other fans. Following this notion, fandom allows fans to do so, and on the net, communication platforms become the virtual space to carry out these fan activities. According to Mark Duffett, even though fan text (otherwise known as fanon[1] or, particularly, meta[2]) “often creates particular details or character readings even though canon does not fully support it – or, at times, even contradicts it”, it is a vital part of fandom because ”it shows that fans can canonize their objects in a different way to the text’s official creators or guardians” (2013, 354–355). These fan-made texts, and more specifically in Twin Peaks fandom, these fan theories, have an effect on the way others perceive the original source material, often altering their perspective (ibid.). This ongoing fandom engagement creates a distinction between a “casual” viewer and a more devoted one.

The Return of Twin Peaks on Television and Reigniting of the Fandom Online

In the year 2014, after a series of cryptic tweets by Mark Frost and David Lynch referencing Twin Peaks, fans started to speculate online about a possible continuation for the TV show. However, it was not until spring 2015, when Lynch confirmed the then heavily rumoured return of Twin Peaks through his Twitter account. Although the announcement was made 25 years after the first season of Twin Peaks was broadcasted, Twin Peaks: The Return, the long awaited third season of the show, premiered on Showtime in May 2017. The Return consisted of 18 episodes that continued the plot from the first two seasons, keeping the majority of the original cast. The cliff-hangers from the original series were addressed, yet neither Lynch nor Frost ever offered straightforward explanations. Even if mysteries have been plaguing the minds of fans since the 1990s, The Return was not the creators’ way of answering age-old questions about the show, but a way to challenge the viewers with even more riddles than before.

Once the final episode of the season aired, and parallel to the fan reaction to FBI Agent Dale Cooper repeatedly repeating the famous phrase “where’s Annie?” in the closing shot of Twin Peaks in 1991, the feeling of shock took over the online Twin Peaks community with the cliff-hanger from The Return. In it, fans are presented with a new question, once again formulated by Agent Cooper: “what year is this?”. As one would expect, a new hoard of fan-made theories was created soon after episode 18 was broadcasted.

Image 3. Sheryl Lee in the closing shot of the series finale, Twin Peaks, Season 3, Episode 18.

Since the first two seasons of Twin Peaks aired on TV in the early ‘90s, “fandom, the internet, and television itself necessarily all transformed, but Twin Peaks’ originary mythos of intertwining the three cast a long shadow over all of them” (McAvoy 2019, p. 88). Yet in spite of these changes, the need to confirm and validate one’s own ideas and sentiments within a large community of fellow fans in order to have a sense of belonging still characterises the Twin Peaks fandom to this day.

As I mentioned before, back in the early 1990s, multiple threads started on the alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup would start with “did anyone else see…” and “am I the only one who thought…”, followed by the original poster’s own thoughts on a certain topic concerning the series (Jenkins 1992, 57). In a similar manner, Reddit users have exposed alike behaviour after the broadcast of The Return. For example, an entry by redditor thefrightfulfulhog posted on the Twin Peaks subreddit after episode thirteen of the show’s third instalment is titled “Did anyone else see a similarity between these two pairs of shots?”. Another case that follows the same pattern is redditor thisheatdeceit’s entry on June 5, 2017 by the title “Am I the only one who thinks the ending of the new part is really sad?”. Over 25 years later, this type of fan behaviour, and more specifically, the need to find peers who agree with the sentiment expressed, is still present in the Twin Peaks community.

The Twin Peaks subreddit, along with microblogging platform Tumblr and other social media, not only make the experience of sharing fan-text faster than it was for Usenet users in the early 1990s, but also allows new forms of fan-made material to be created. In this manner, it is not uncommon to see that the most popular posts[3] on Reddit are a collection of internet memes, or aesthetic photo edits, gifs and moodboards[4] on Tumblr. Nowadays, the sharing of these images plays “a much greater role in the fan discourse” (Cherry 2019, p. 72) than it used to in its Usenet and BBS origins, nowadays becoming an accepted essential component of vocabulary for online communities. Moreover, fan-made images often accompany fan-text, analyses, theories, and other forms of meta text in order to illustrate their ideas or express their emotional responses to the content material. The sharing of these images, especially Twin Peaks-related memes, was remarkably observed during the first run of The Return in 2017 (ibid.).

Image 4. Meme shared on the Twin Peaks subreddit about The Return.
Image 5. An exemplary aesthetic edit of Twin Peaks posted on Tumblr.

Laying the Groundwork for the Future of Online Fandom

The stable presence of Twin Peaks online communities on different forums and social media platforms resonates well with other fandoms. As outlined throughout this essay, in spite of the lack of new source material and a hiatus that lasted for nearly 27 years, the Twin Peaks fandom has kept its online activity for decades by discussing and analysing old content among its peers (Silver 2018). The extensive amount of fan-made material, meta, and projects suggests an “excessive fan consumption of cult media” (Cherry 2019, 75). Whether the source material is old or new, fans continue to consume the source material of Twin Peaks and dissect it online. And one of the most fascinating things about this fact, is that this behaviour has persisted for nearly three decades.

During the 2010s, the exponential rise and popularity of social media platforms created spaces for new and lesser known fandoms. A notable example of this is the fandom of the TV series Hannibal, created by American writer Bryan Fuller and based on the series of novels by Thomas Harris. The series aired its three seasons on the television broadcasting company NBC from 2013 to 2015 up until its cancellation, consisting of 39 episodes in total. Analogous to the birth of the Twin Peaks fandom in the early 90s, the Hannibal fandom saw its rise right after the first episode aired in April 2013. The amicably nicknamed fannibals[5] would participate in online discourse about the series’ content, often engaging in different analyses and theories, which continued following the show’s abrupt cancellation in 2015.

Nearly five years afterwards, the Hannibal fandom remains active online. For instance, by visiting the Hannibal subreddit, I was able to find lengthy discussions and blocks of meta text that keep on analysing the series finale, among other recurrent topics such as the nature of the relationship of the protagonists, and so on. While a new season of the show has not been confirmed by the show’s creator, fannibals are not giving up hope. The “Save Hannibal” campaign, a movement that was built solely on social media, has helped spark the conversation about the show’s revival (Caulfield 2019). It seems that as long as there is a passionate fanbase, there is hope. By looking at the history of the Twin Peaks fandom, which was active for over two decades with no new content before getting a new season of the show, and managed to adapt to technology advances, other fandoms could try to follow its steps.

Social media has undoubtedly changed the way we consume and experience fandom. To be precise, these platforms make fandom interaction more accessible and reachable than before. Whereas the most prominent and interactive Twin Peaks communities can be found on Reddit and the microblogging platform Tumblr, Twitter also became home to one of the most unique fandom experiences: a project by the name of Enter the Lodge. What started as a fan-made way to celebrate the story of Twin Peaks, soon became a popular production within the fandom. Started in 2012 and entirely written on Twitter, Enter the Lodge is a fictional continuation to the series’ second instalment. They also count with a website, EnterTheLodge.com, where the different conversations, plot developments, as well as images and documents have been archived.

Social media-based projects like Enter the Lodge put fan theories and meta text in practice: fans are able to develop their own hypotheses not only by writing them down and sharing them with others, but by participating in a role-play-esque project with fellow members of the community.

Conclusion

Over the course of the years, Twin Peaks and its community have left an important mark in the history of fan culture on the net. From its origins, thousands of threads started on the alt.tv.twin-peak newsgroup on Usenet in 1990 and 1991, up to now, with diverse web pages and spaces created on platforms like Reddit, Tumblr, and social media dedicated to the show. The Twin Peaks fandom has not only demonstrated fandom behaviour as its best by producing lengthy and complex analyses since the show was first broadcasted, but has in its process created a strong sense of community amongst its members. Thus, fan-made theories and assumptions are well received by the fans, and these often prompt others to participate in the conversation and continue the discussion. The Twin Peaks fandom has also set an outstanding example of what it is to adapt to new technological advances by migrating through different networked platforms. From the previously mentioned newsgroup on Usenet to shrine-like forums and social media, fans have found and created safe spaces where to share their mutual passion for Twin Peaks and all the unanswered questions the show has left behind.

The year 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of Twin Peaks, and trustingly, the fandom that was born alongside the show will keep growing and continuing to reach these life milestones for years to come.

References

All links verified 27.5.2021

Images

Image 1. KissThemGoodbye.Net. Twin Peaks Screencaps. Retrieved from http://kissthemgoodbye.net/twinpeaks/displayimage.php?album=57&pid=78436.

Image 2. KissThemGoodbye.Net. Twin Peaks Screencaps. Retrieved from http://kissthemgoodbye.net/twinpeaks/displayimage.php?album=57&pid=79235.

Image 4. KissThemGoodbye.Net. Twin Peaks Screencaps. Retrieved from https://kissthemgoodbye.net/twinpeaks/displayimage.php?album=27&pid=36262.

Image 5. Redditor SubtleOrange. /r/TwinPeaks. Reddit. Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/twinpeaks/comments/6dwaqb/no_spoilers_it_cant_be_that_complicated_right/.

Image 5. Tumblr User chloedeckr.. Tumblr. Available: https://chloedeckr.tumblr.com/post/135764472337.

Online conversations, social media, and forums

Hannibal – The NBC Tv Show subreddit. Reddit. r/HannibalTV. (13.12.2013). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/HannibalTV/.

LiveJournal user “greypele”. LiveJournal. Twinpeaks.livejournal.com. (25.11.2004). Retrieved from https://twinpeaks.livejournal.com/206368.html.

Reddit user “cohle779”. Reddit. r/TwinPeaks.(7.4.2014). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/twinpeaks/comments/22eqqd/fwwm_jeffries_scene_question/.

Reddit user “thefrightfulhog”. Reddit. r/TwinPeaks. (5.6.2017). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/twinpeaks/comments/6s574s/s3e13_did_anyone_else_see_a_similarity_between/.

Reddit user “thisheatdeceit”. Reddit. r/TwinPeaks. (7.8.2017). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/twinpeaks/comments/6ffndy/s3e5_am_i_the_only_one_who_thinks_the_ending_of//.

Twin Peaks subreddit. Reddit. r/TwinPeaks. (15.4.2010). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/twinpeaks/.

Usenet, alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup. (17.4.1990). Google Groups -archive (18.2.2020). Retrieved from https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.tv.twin-peaks/f_cUldDLjBk.

Usenet, alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup. (20.4.1990). Google Groups -archive (18.2.2020). Retrieved from https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.tv.twin-peaks/StAAR71cmTI.

Usenet, alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup. (11.11.1990). Google Groups -archive (18.2.2020). Retrieved from https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.tv.twin-peaks/gh9c10WPIEw.

Usenet, alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup. (20.1.1991). Google Groups -archive (18.2.2020). Retrieved from https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.tv.twin-peaks/DaaDDuVEF9w.

Usenet, alt.tv.twin-peaks newsgroup. (31.1.1991). Google Groups -archive (18.2.2020). Retrieved from https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.tv.twin-peaks/vp9B6XUDku0.

Web Pages

EnterTheLodge. (2014.) About | Enter The Lodge: fan-made Twin Peaks project. Retrieved from http://www.enterthelodge.com/about/.

Fandom Migration. (n.d.). In Fanlore. Retrieved from https://fanlore.org/wiki/Fandom_Migration.

WelcomeToTwinPeaks. (n.d.). Twin Peaks community. Retrieved from https://welcometotwinpeaks.com/.

Twin Peaks Usenet Archive (February 12, 2021). Retrieved from https://alttvtwinpeaks.com/.

Literature

Baker-Whitelaw, G. (June 4, 2013). “A delicious guide to ‘Hannibal’ fandom on Tumblr”. The Daily Dot. Retrieved from https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/fandom/guide-hannibal-tv-fandom-tumblr-fannibals/.

Caulfield, A.J. (November 14, 2019). Will there be a Hannibal season 4?. Looper. Retrieved from https://www.looper.com/174947/will-there-be-a-hannibal-season-4/.

Cherry, B. (2019). ‘The owls Are Not What They Meme’: Making Sense of Twin Peaks with Internet Memes. In Sanna, A. (Ed.), Critical Essays on Twin Peaks: The Return. Pp. 69-82. Springer. Switzerland.

Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture. Pp. 342-411. Bloomsbury Publishing. New York, USA.

Jenkins, H. (1992). “Do You Enjoy Making Us Feel Stupid?”: alt.tv.twinpeaks, the Trickster Author and Viewer Mastery. In Lavery, D. (Ed.), Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks. Pp. 51–69. Wayne State University Press. Detroit, USA.

McAvoy, D. (2019). “Is It About the Bunny? No, It’s Not About the Bunny!”: David Lynch’s Fandom and Trolling of Peak TV Audiences. In Sanna, A. (Ed), Critical Essays on Twin Peaks: The Return. Pp. 85-103. Springer. Switzerland.

Miller, L. S. (May 18, 2017). ‘Twin Peaks’: How The Show’s Original Fans Created the Internet As We Know It Today. IndieWire. Retrieved from https://www.indiewire.com/2017/05/twin-peaks-fans-created-internet-social-media-mark-frost-henry-jenkins-1201818886/.

Paskin, W. (June 7, 2017). Diane, Remind Me to Tell You How Twin Peaks Changed TV Forever. Slate.com. Retrieved from https://slate.com/arts/2017/06/how-twin-peaks-spawned-a-whole-tv-genre-from-lost-to-mr-robot-to-westworld-that-wants-to-be-a-riddle-for-viewers-to-solve.html.

Rodriguez, A. (September 2, 2017). “Twin Peaks’” obsessed fans have been trying to solve the same mysteries online since 1990. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1067020/twin-peaks-obsessed-fans-have-been-trying-to-solve-the-same-mysteries-online-since-1990/.

Silver, S. (2018). How Twin Peaks Gives Us Hope for the Future of Fandom. Living Life Fearless. Retrieved from https://livinglifefearless.co/2018/features/how-twin-peaks-gives-us-hope-for-the-future-of-fandom/.

Notes

[1] Fanon: fan + canon. The body of widely accepted fan-created embellishments of a fictional universe, storyline, or character. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

[2] Meta or meta text refers to fan-made text discussing source material, story or character analysis, or other aspects related to fandom. (source: Fanlore)

[3] On Reddit, the popularity of a post is measured by getting upvotes from other redditors.

[4] An aesthetic edit or a moodboard is a style of image editing in fandom that refers to a set of images about an individual fandom or character, usually by adding a specific colour palette or by being desaturated. Source: fanlore.org.

[5] Fandom slang: a blend of fan + Hannibal. (source: wiktionary.org)

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

Mulholland Drive – Hollywoodin pimeä sydän

sisällönanalyysi, surrealistinen tarinankerronta, taidekritiikki

Petri Saarikoski
petri.saarikoski [a] utu.fi
Yliopistonlehtori
Digitaalinen kulttuuri
Turun yliopisto


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Saarikoski, Petri. 2021. ”Mulholland Drive – Hollywoodin pimeä sydän”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/mulholland-drive-hollywoodin-pimea-sydan/

Tulostettava PDF-versio


Mulholland Drive (2001) on kiistattomasti yksi David Lynchin uran kohokohtia. Elokuvasta on tehty lukuisia tutkimuksia ja analyysejä, mutta sitä on edelleen mahdollista tarkastella uusista näkökulmista. Tekstissä käydään läpi Lynchin mestariteoksen tuotantohistoriaa ja luodaan lähiluvun ja taidekritiikin avulla juoneen sitoutettu sisällönanalyysi. Samalla luodaan perusolettamus mistä Mulholland Drivessä oikeasti on kysymys (tai voisi olla kysymys).

Oli alkusyksy 2002 Turun keskustassa noin puolen yön aikaan. Olin matkalla Dianan elokuvateatterista kohti vuokrakämppää hieman pyörällä päästäni, ja kelasin ajatuksessani juuri valkokankaalla näkemääni unenomaista spektaakkelia. Hiljaisten katujen luoma aavemainen tunnelma hitsautui pysyväksi osaksi elokuvakokemuksen muistoa. Kysymyksessä oli David Lynchin Mulholland Drive, joka oli tullut elokuussa Suomen ensi-iltaan reilu vuosi valmistumisensa jälkeen. Elokuva oli saanut Suomessa syksyllä melko myönteisen vastaanoton kriitikoilta, vaikka teattereissa sitä kävivät katsomassa lähinnä ohjaajan fanit ja elokuvaentusiastit.[1]

Kuva 1. Tienviitta on valaistu kuin osoitekyltti aaveita kuhisevaan metsään.

Elokuvan ilmestymisajankohta 2000-luvun taitteessa oli Lynchin uran kannalta tärkeä, koska varsinkin kriitikot, mutta myös suuri yleisö vertasi häntä yhä edelleen aikaisempiin menestyksiin, kuten tuohon aikaan reilu kymmenen vuotta aikaisemmin televisiossa nähtyyn Twin Peaks -sarjaan. Valkokankaalla Blue Velvet – ja sinisempi oli yö (1986) oli aikoinaan asettanut taiteellisen riman niin korkealle, että sitä tuntui olevan vaikea enää ylittää.

Mulholland Drive on osa ”Los Angeles -trilogiana” tunnettua kokonaisuutta, jonka muut osat ovat Lost Highway (1997) ja Inland Empire (2006). Los Angelesin miljöön käytön lisäksi yhteistä trilogialle oli neo-noir -tyylin yhdistäminen rikostrilleriin, jota tehostettiin mysteeritarinan surrealistisella kerronnalla. Lost Highway on tuotantohistoriallisista syistä selkein sisällöllinen vertailukohta. Molemmissa lineaarista tarinankerrontaa hajotetaan tyylillä, jonka seurauksena katsojalle syntyy selittämättömyyden ja tulkintahorisontin katoamisen tunne. Trilogiaa voi hyvällä syyllä luonnehtia Lynchin tuotannoille tyypillisten visionääristen valveunien moniulotteisemmaksi saavutukseksi (Rutanen 2012, 18-19)

Luon tässä artikkelissa yhden, audiovisuaalisen kerronnan lähilukuun perustuvan läpiluotauksen elokuvasta. Lähden liikkeelle tarkastelemalla sen tuotantohistoriallisia taustoja, siirryn tämän jälkeen seikkaperäisempään sisältöanalyyttiseen käsittelyyn, jossa keskityn erityisesti sen tärkeimpiin avainkohtauksiin, ja teen lopuksi arvion sen yleisestä merkityksestä ja laadin yhteenvedon. Käytän aineistoviittauksissa lähteenä vuonna 2003 Suomessa julkaistua ensimmäistä dvd-painosta lisämateriaaleineen (pituus 145 minuuttia).[2]

Menetelmällisesti katsaus perustuu elokuvan lähiluvulle, jossa yksittäisten kohtausten analyysin avulla tarkastellaan elokuvan kerrontaa ja erilaisia audiovisuaalisia vihjeitä. Niiden tulkintamahdollisuuksia nivotaan samalla myös tuotantohistorialliseen kontekstiin ja ohjaajan intentioihin. Menetelmässä korostuu kirjoittajan subjektiivinen näkökulma, vaikka analyysi muuten tukeutuu saatavilla oleviin tärkeimpiin lähteisiin. Artikkeli sitookin näiltä osin käsittelyn osaksi objektiivisuuteen pyrkivää taidekritiikkiä, jossa lähteisiin sidotulla taustatyöllä me voimme kuitenkin paremmin perustella omaa näkökulmaamme, jolloin luotu teksti erottuu normaalista, retrospektiivisesti tehdystä elokuvakritiikistä. (Rosenqvist 2020)

Omaksutun menetelmällisen näkökulman osalta on tietenkin nostettava esiin, että tämän katsauksen kirjoittajalle elokuvalla on erityistä ja henkilökohtaista arvoa, mikä väistämättä vaikuttaa myös siitä tehtävään tulkintaan ja arvottamiseen. Mielestäni se on yksi tärkeimmistä 2000-luvun alussa julkaistuista elokuvista. Analyyttistä elokuva-arviota kirjoittaessa tätä subjektiivista näkökulmaa pidettäisiin täysin itsestään selvänä, mutta tutkimuksellisen tekstin kohdalla on tarpeellista korostaa lukijalle katsauksen lähtökohtaisia ja tietoisesti valittuja rajoitteita.

Lynch vastaan Hollywood – televisiosarjasta elokuvaan

Mulholland Drive kytkeytyy Lynchin uran kriisiin 1990-luvulla. Twin Peaks – Tuli kulje kanssani (Fire – Fire Walk with Me, 1992) oli ollut tyrmistyttävä takaisku ohjaajalle. Näin siitäkin huolimatta, että Twin Peaks -televisiosarjan jättimenestyksen vanavedessä tehty täyspitkä elokuva nauttii nykyisin fanien keskuudessa suurta suosiota.[3] Kriitikot olivat suhtautuneet hyvin penseästi elokuvaan, ja se oli flopannut pahasti lippuluukuilla. Lynch on myöhemmin haastattelussa myöntänyt, että varsinkin yleisö oli odottanut tuttua jatketta televisiosarjalle, ja näihin tarpeisiin elokuva ei antanut tarpeeksi vastinetta. Mahalaskun syvyys selittyykin osittain sillä, että ohjaaja oli noussut Hollywoodin kuumaksi nimeksi vuoden 1990 aikana, mutta tämä menestyksen kaari oli nyt katkennut tylysti. (David Lynch In Conversation 14.3.2015; Guardian 7.2.2007. Ks. myös Twin Peaks Wiki 14.8.2020)

Uusia projekteja Lynch joutui rakentamaan osittain toteutumattomien ideoiden pohjalta. Jo 1980-luvulla David Lynch oli erittäin kiinnostunut Marilyn Monroen mystisestä kuolemasta, mutta yhdessä Mark Frostin kanssa hän ei ollut koskaan saanut ideaa käsikirjoituspöydältä eteenpäin (Rodley 2007, 335). Tästä huolimatta Monroen kuolema vaikutti ideatasolla erityisesti Twin Peaksin tuotannon ollessa käynnissä. Televisiosarjan ykköstuotantokauden ydintarinaksi muodostuva Laura Palmerin murhamysteeri voidaan nähdä tämän kiinnostuksen allegorisena lähtökohta, joten suoraa jatkumoa Mulholland Driveen ei ole vaikea havaita (Rutanen 2012, 19).

Vuoden 1992 Twin Peaks – Tuli kulje kanssani -elokuvan floppaus johti kuitenkin ensin Lost Highway elokuvaan, jossa televisiosarjasta tuttu maalaismainen pikkukaupungin miljöö vaihtui suurkaupungin valtaisiin kulisseihin. Identiteettileikittely ja kahtia jakautuneet persoonat olivat Lynchille jo tuttua materiaalia, mutta tällä kertaa Lynch ei rakentanut toiseen ulottuvuuteen viittaavaa ”mustaa kiltaa”, vaan unimaisema nivellettiin kerronnaltaan rikotun keskustarinan osaksi. Mulholland Drive käytti hyvin pitkälti samanlaista konseptia, mutta kehitti sen vielä asteen verran pidemmälle.

Tuotantohistorialliset seikat ovat keskeinen osa elokuvan syntyhistoriaa. Alun perin Mulholland Drive piti olla televisiosarja, vaikka Lynchin oman tarinan mukaan hän suhtautui jo hyvin varauksellisesti televisiosarjojen tekemiseen. (David Lynch In Conversation 14.3.2015; Rodley 2007, 349–350) Lähdekriittisesti ajateltuna herää kysymys: miksi ohjaaja loppupeleissä sitten panosti – näennäisestä vastahakoisuudestaan huolimatta – niin vahvasti televisiotuotantoihin? Twin Peaks oli joka tapauksessa edustanut hänen urallaan selkeää kohokohtaa, joka oli nostanut ohjaajan ainakin hetkellisesti maailmanlaajuiseen suosioon. Lynch on vastahakoisesti tunnustanut, että televisiosarjoissa oli kuitenkin ”hölmöä vetovoimaa”. (Rodley 2007, 350) Hän oli siis varsin tietoinen televisiosarjojen suomasta taiteellisesta mutta myös kaupallisesta potentiaalista, jota jokainen Hollywood-ohjaaja ainakin välillisesti kaipaa.

Twin Peaksin tuotannossa ollut Tony Krantz sai joka tapauksessa suostuteltua ohjaajan mukaan hankkeeseen. Projekti etenikin siihen pisteeseen, että vuoden 1999 alussa kuvattu 90 minuuttia pitkä pilottijakso tarjottiin ABC-yhtiön nähtäväksi. Yksipuolisten lähdetietojen mukaan yhtiön edustajat pitivät kokonaisuutta liian sekavana ja he suhtautuivat erityisen kriittisesti ei-lineaariseen tarinankerrontaan, eivätkä myöntäneet projektille jatkorahoitusta. Lynch on myöntänyt, että tiukan aikataulun vuoksi alkuperäisestä filmimateriaalista leikattu pilotti-versio oli yksinkertaisesti epäonnistunut. Tuotantoyhtiön näkökulmasta Lynch liikkui epäilemättä jo valmiiksi heikoilla pohjilla, koska hänen kaksi edellistä elokuvaansa olivat menestyneet heikosti lippuluukuilla. (Woods 2000, 206–214; Rodley 2007, 352; David Lynch In Conversation 14.3.2015) Oliko yksinkertaisesti kysymys siitä, että David Lynch ei ollut Twin Peaksin jättimenestyksestä huolimatta enää myyvä brändi 1990-luvun lopulla? Oli niin tai näin, televisiosarjan ei uskottu houkuttelevan tarpeeksi yleisöä.

ABC:n perääntymisen jälkeen hieman onnekkaasti ranskalainen Canal+ -yhtiön osoitti kiinnostusta projektia kohtaan, ja pitkien neuvottelujen jälkeen elokuvalle myönnettiin rahoitus ja kuvaukset alkoivat uudelleen. David Lynch laati uuden, täysimittaiseen elokuvaan sopivan käsikirjoituksen. Suuri osa uudesta materiaalista filmattiin lokakuussa 2000. Tuotannon osalta piti ratkaista merkittäviä käytännön ongelmia, koska pilottijakson aikana käytettyjä lavasteita ja muuta materiaalia oli kadonnut tai hävitetty. Tärkeintä oli kuitenkin, että pääosan esittäjät onnistuttiin kiinnittämään uudelleen ja projekti saatiin päätökseen keväällä 2001. (Rodley 2007, 352–353; David Lynch In Conversation 14.3.2015)

Kuva 2. David Lynch ohjeistaa Naomi Wattsia elokuvan kuvausten aikana. Lähde: ”B-roll, MD”.

Tuotantohistoriallisesta kontekstista tarkasteluna Mulholland Drive osoittautui selkeäksi menestykseksi. Retrospektiivisesti nähtynä se on Lynchin uran merkkipaalu, ja yksi hänen tunnetuimmista teoksistaan. Varsinkin syksystä 2001 eteenpäin se menestyi kohtuullisesti lippuluukuilla ja esitysoikeuksien myynti jatkui vilkkaana vuoden 2002 puolelle.[4] Se sai ilmestyessään pääosin ylistävän arvostelut elokuvakriitikoilta, ja voitti lukuisia alan tunnustuksia, joista tunnetuin oli Cannesin elokuvajuhlien ohjaajapalkinto.[5] Tätäkin merkittävämpää on, että 20 vuotta valmistumisensa jälkeen Mulholland Driven kulttuurinen arvostus on säilynyt, ja nykyisin sitä pidetään yhtenä 2000-luvun merkittävimmistä elokuvista.[6]

Hollywood-mysteerin langanpätkät

Teen seuraavaksi sisältöanalyysin varsinaisesta elokuvasta, mutta käsittelen ensin sen nimen historiallista kontekstia. ”Mulholland Drive” on 34 kilometriä pitkä tienvarsiosuus Santa Monican kukkuloiden kupeessa Los Angelesissa, ja tie jatkuu länsiosassa Mulholland Highway -nimisenä valtatienä. 1920-luvulla rakennettu tie on nimetty suunnittelija ja insinööri William Mulhollandin mukaan, joka tunnetaan erityisesti Los Angelesin vesihuoltojärjestelmän rakentajana. Los Angelesin historiassa Mulholland on kontroversiaalinen hahmo, ja hänen suorasukaiset toimenpiteensä vesihuollon kehittämishankkeissa ovat kiistanalaisia. 1900-luvun mittaan Mulholland Drive kytkeytyi miljöönä osaksi Hollywoodin historiaa, ja nykyisinkin monet elokuvateollisuuden tähtinäyttelijät asuvat sen varrella. Sijaintinsa puolesta tie tunnetaan erityisesti erinomaisesta näköalastaan Los Angelesin keskusta-alueelle ja San Fernandon laaksoon. Ikoninen Hollywood-kyltti on niin ikään suoraan nähtävissä tieosuudelta. (Ks. esim. Roth 1999). Tievarsiosuuteen on toistuvasti viitattu populaarikulttuurissa. Lynchin elokuva on niistä tunnetuin, mutta muista nimikkeistä mainittakoon esimerkiksi rikoskirjailija Michael Connellyn Harry Bosch -sarjan romaanit ja novellit (Ks. esim. Connelly 2003; Connelly 2012). Näistä historiallisista ja maantieteellisistä syistä johtuen tien nimi on kansainvälisestikin hyvin tunnettu

Elokuvan rakenteelliseksi keskuspaikaksi valittu tie muodostuu näin Hollywoodin ja sen historian symboliksi. Tätä korostetaan myös visuaalisesti, kun alkuteksteissä elokuvan nimi näkyy tievarsiviittana (ks. Kuva 1). David Lynch kehitti elokuvalleen iskulauseen ”A love story in the city of dreams” (”rakkaustarina unelmien kaupungissa”), jota voidaan pitää kierona viittauksena alussa avautuvalle rikos- ja mysteeritarinalle. Lynchillä on joka tapauksessa selvästi henkilökohtainen suhde tiehen. Osittain tämä selittyy silläkin, että hän on asunut aivan tien läheisyydessä. Haastattelussa, joka tehtiin filmausten aikana, hän kuvaa sitä ”unenkaltaiseksi”, ”pimeäksi” ja ”mutkikkaaksi”. Rakentaako Lynch kuvaillussaan tuttua vertailukohtaa myös omaan uraansa taiteilija ja elokuvaohjaajana? ( ”Interview with David Lynch ”, MD, 00:00-00:30)

Kuva 3. Edestakaisin ja toistensa lomitse pyörivät tanssijat elokuvan alun jitterbug-kohtauksessa. Psykedeelinen värikkyys luo sille unenomaisen ja riehakkaan tunnelman, joka muuttuu hetken päästä painajaiseksi.

Elokuvan juonenkäänteet voidaan jakaa karkeasti kahteen osaan: ensimmäisessä nähdään alun auto-onnettomuus ja sen jälkiselvittelyt sekä nuoren naisnäyttelijän uran alkuvaiheen tapahtumat, toisessa osassa mysteeritarinaa kierretään auki ja katsojalle tarjotaan alkuun lomittuvia mysteeritarinan pätkiä, jotka kaikki päättyvät nähtävään surrealistiseen loppuratkaisuun. Jako on hyvin pinnallinen, koska elokuvan tarina etenee vain näennäisen lineaarisesti lopussa nähtävän arvoituslaatikon aukeamiseen asti (MD 108:00) Lisäksi lukuisat kohtaukset, tärkeimpänä lopun mysteeritarinan auki kiertävät takaumat, heittävät katsojaa toistuvasti takaisin jo nähtyihin kohtauksiin. Noin puolen tunnin mittainen loppuosa itse asiassa kiertää käsittelyn suoraan alkuun, joka tavallaan sulkee koko juonen ympyrän. Käsittelen seuraavassa elokuvan juonta aineistona, lähinnä keskittyen tärkeimpiin teemoihin, jolloin käytän edellä esitettyä jakoa erityisesti niiden lukemiseen tarkoitettuna työvälineenä.

Chris Rodleyn mukaan Mulholland Drive näyttää ja tuntuu yhtenäiseltä, mutta tarkemmin tarkasteltuna luisuu järjen ulottumattomiin ja läpi sormien. Tästä syystä kaikkia tulkintoja voidaan loiventaa sanoilla ”todennäköisesti”, ”mahdollisesti” ja ”ehkä”. (Rodley 2007, 331–332) Näiltä osin elokuvaa on tutkimuksissa ja taidekritiikissä verrattu Möbiuksen nauhaan eli pintaan, jolla on vain yksi puoli ja yksi reuna. Kierretyllä nauhalla ei näytä olevan alkua eikä loppua. (Hudson 2004; Rodley 2007) Geometrisenä kuviona se tarjoaa vertailukohdan samaan päätelmään: elokuvalle ei ole sen näennäisestä selkeydestä huolimatta löydettävissä selkeää loppupäätelmää vaan tulkintahorisonttia voi leikata ja kääntää loputtomiin.

Tärkeimpänä johdattelevana tekijänä näemme aivan alussa räikeän psykedeelisen ja intensiivisesti leikatun tanssikohtauksen. (MD, 00:23-01:22) Taustalla soiva, Angelo Badalamentin toteuttama musiikkikappale on nimeltään ”Jitterbug”, jolla viitataan samannimiseen ja kohtauksessa nähtävään swing-tyyppiseen, erittäin fyysiseen tanssimusiikin alalajiin, joka nousi alun perin suosituksi 1930- ja 1940-luvulla. (ks. esim. Rogers 2010). Hyperaktiivinen kohtaus päättyy Lynchin usein käyttämiin ylivalotuksiin, jotka muistuttavat palavan filmimateriaalin luomaa räjähdystä. Taustalla näkyy suosionosoituksista nauttiva nainen parin sivuhenkilön kera. (MD, 01:23-1:49) Tämän jälkeen seuraamme ensimmäisen persoonan näkökulmasta toistaiseksi tuntemattomaksi jäävän hahmon syvää vajoamista vuoteen lakanoihin. Taustalla kuuluva raskas hengitys viittaa, että henkilö on joko pahasti sairas tai jopa kuolemaisillaan. Unenomainen tanssikappale antaa kuitenkin viitteitä, että sen on kuvitellut yksi ja sama henkilö (MD, 1:49-2:15)

Jitterbug-kohtauksen jälkeen seurataan naista kuljettavaa autoa Mulholland Drivellä, joka päätyy yllättävään pysähdykseen. Naista (Laura Elena Harring) komennetaan pistoolilla uhaten ulos tienvarteen. Katsojalle ei selvitetä kohtauksen taustoja, koska se päättyy äkilliseen nokkakolariin. (MD, 4:39-5:20) Nainen selviää ainoana hengissä, mutta hän on menettänyt kokonaan muistinsa. Hän raahautuu kukkuloilta näennäisen satunnaiseen asuntoon, jonne hän jää nukkumaan. (MD, 6:03-11:13) Alkavaa mysteeriin viitataan kolaripaikalle saapuvien etsivien pohdinnoilla: ”Joku saattaa ehkä olla kadoksissa”, ”Voi olla”. Avaus on aavistuksen humoristinen ja tuo mieleen vastaavan poliisiparin, joka Lost Highway -elokuvan alussa tutkii mysteeristä asuntomurtoa. (MD, 8:51-8:55).

Tässä vaiheessa hän kohtaa Los Angelesiin juuri saapuneen Betty Elmsin (Naomi Watts), jonka tädille asunto normaalisti kuuluu. Amnesian logiikkaa noudattaen, muistinsa menettänyt ja oman henkilöllisyytensä unohtanut nainen valitsee nopeasti asunnon seinällä roikkuvasta Rita Hayworth -elokuvajulisteesta nimekseen ”Rita”. (MD, 23:39-24:26) Tästä eteenpäin tarinan mysteeriä keritään auki, kun he yhdessä yrittävät selvittää ”Ritan” oikeaa identiteettiä. Vihjeiksi nousevat ”Ritan” käsilaukusta löytyvät setelitukot ja outo sininen avain. Alusta lähtien on selvää, että naiset tuntevat toisiaan kohti empaattista vetoa. (MD, 41:00-43:10; 46:00-46:20, Kuva 3)

Kuva 4. Ritan ja Bettyn kohtaaminen. Tunneside esitetään koukuttavana ja Ritan unohtunut identiteetti arvoituksena, jonka selittäminen on Bettylle kuin ”harjoitus elokuvista”.

Betty Elms on henkilöhahmona korostuneen naiivi ja yli-innostunut, tyypillinen heijastuma Hollywoodin viihdekoneiston ääreen työnnettävästä noviisista, joka unelmoi jo tulevasta menestyksestään. (MD, 17:10–18:20) Lynch tuo tähän uutta perspektiiviä asettamalla hänen rinnalleen kaksi tärkeää sivuhahmoa: lentokentällä nähtävä Irene (Jeanne Bates) sekä asuntolasta vastaava Coco (Ann Miller). Molemmat näyttelijättäret olivat pitkän linjan Hollywood-veteraaneja, ja heille Mulholland Drive oli myös heidän viimeinen elokuvansa. Ann Miller kuvataan ”kaikessa komeudessaan” Bettyn uran tukikohdaksi laskettavan asuntolan ”johtajaksi”. (MD, 19:50–20:09) Jeanne Bates oli puolestaan tehnyt yhteistyötä Lynchin kanssa jo 1970-luvulla Eraserhead -elokuvan tuotannon aikana. Oudon ystävällisesti käyttäytyvä Irene nähdään myöhemmin hymyilevän irvokkaasti auton takaosassa, kun Betty on poistunut asunnolleen. Hän läpsäyttää riemuissaan kädellään kumppaninsa polvea, ikään kuin he olisivat onnistuneet junailemaan onnistuneen salajuonen. (MD 18:49–19:00)

Irene on alusta lähtien epätodellinen hahmo, joka jää kummittelemaan koko elokuvan ajaksi taustalle ja ilmestyy vielä lopussa täydentämään mysteeriä. Näiltä osin Irene ja Coco ovat konkreettisella ja fiktiivisellä tasolla viitteitä Hollywoodin menneisyyteen. Betty edustaa nykyisyyttä ja Rita puolestaan näitä puolia yhdistävää, mysteeristä ja synkkää tulevaisuutta, jota ei vielä kuitenkaan katsojalle avata. Katsojalle väläytettävä, näennäisen irralliseksi jäävä kohtaus Winkey’s -pikaruokalan työpaikkahaastattelusta ja viitteestä koko tarinaa uhkaavasta painajaisesta hajottaa kerrontaa ja esittelee muutaman sekunnin ajaksi, takapihalla kummittelevan mystisen ihmishirviön, joka näyttää äärimmäisen likaiselta pummilta. (MD 11:17-15:45) Winkey’s on esimerkki David Lynchin tavasta sirotella omia kokemuksiaan elokuviin. Fiktiivisen ruokalan tyylillisenä esimerkkinä oli Lynchin oma Denny’s -ruokala Sunset Boulevardilla. Pimeän kujan arvoituksen inspiraationa oli Lynchin ruokalassa kohtaamat Saatanan kirkon edustajat. Paikan väkevän tunnelman hän kanavoi takapihan mystiseen pummiin (Rodley 2007, 345)

Tarinan lineaarisinta puolta edustaa elokuvaohjaaja Adam Kesherin (Justin Theroux) taistelu uudesta elokuvaprojektistaan. Neuvottelujen tuotantoyhtiön edustajat näytetään mafia-tyyppisinä roistoina (elokuvan säveltäjä Angelo Badalamenti nähdään Luigi Castiglianen roolissa, joka vastenmielisesti sylkee tarjotun ekspresson lautasliinaan), jotka vaativat valokuvassa esitettävää Camilla Rhodesia päärooliin. ”Valitsette [tämän] tytön [this is the girl]” -kuuluu selvä käsky. Tässä yhteydessä katsojalle viitataan, että Camilla Rhodes ja Betty Elms liittyvät toisiinsa, mutta millä tavalla? Sitä ennen on myös tehty selväksi, että roistot etsivät kadonnutta ”Ritaa”. (MD 27:10-31:40) Kesher kieltäytyy, mutta joutuu piinallisten ja surkuhupaisten vaikeuksia jälkeen alistumaan roistojen vaatimuksiin. Meneillään olevan elokuvan filmauksia jatketaan vasta, kun Kesher on tavannut mystisen ”Comboy”-hahmon (Monty Montgomery), joka on alleviivannut hänelle, että ohjaaja valitsee ”sen oikean tytön”. Comboy huomauttaa, että jos Kesher tekee väärän ratkaisun, ohjaaja näkee hänet vielä kahteen kertaan elokuvan aikana. Katsoja itse asiassa näkee Comboyn kahteen kertaan, mikä viittaa näyttelijävalinnan menneen sittenkin väärin. (MD 111:47 ja 129:05)

Mulholland Drive voidaan siis tulkita osittain Lynchin Hollywoodin tuotantokoneistoa vastaan suuntaamaksi kriittiseksi satiiriksi. Sitä on näiltä osin verrattu Billy Wilderin noir-klassikkoon Auringonlaskun katu (Sunset Boulevard, 1950), joka voidaan nähdä paitsi kuvauksena Hollywood-unelmien rikkoontumisesta myös selvänä hyökkäyksenä aikansa studiosysteemiä vastaan. (Rodley 2007, 342; Sheen 2004, 170) Mulholland Drivessä nähkäänkin muutama selkeä viittaus elokuvaan, kuten Sunset Boulevard -kyltin vilahtaminen kohdassa, jossa auto-onnettomuuteen joutunut Rita kävelee kukkuloilta kohti Los Angelesin keskustaa sekä lyhyt otos Paramount-studion portilta (MD 7:31, 70:23–70:32)

Kesherin hahmo ja käsittelytapa voidaan helposti tulkita Lynchin tulkinnaksi Hollywoodin viihdekoneiston ilkeistä ja jyräävistä menettelytavoista. Kuvailussa näkyy selkeä piikki, jossa Lynch retrospektiivisesti kommentoi elokuvan alkuperäisen pilottijakson tylyä kohtaloa. Lynch onkin myöntänyt, että epäonnistunut yhteistyö ABC:n kanssa oli merkki siitä, että yhtiö ”vihasi häntä”, ja osittain nämä tunteet siirtyivät elokuvaan, vaikka siinä pitkälti kommentoidaan noin yleisemmin useimpien Hollywood-ohjaajien tuntemaa taistelua kylmän viileää tuotantokoneistoa vastaan. (Rodley 2007, 342–343) Omat, hyvänä pidetyt ratkaisut törmäävät usein neuvotteluissa kuin seinään. Ratkaisua ei useinkaan perustella ja siksi elokuvassakin nähdään vain lasiseinän takana näkyvä pieni elokuvapomo, joka pitelee ratkaisun avaimia käsissään kuin näkymättömiä lankoja (MD 16:01–16:21, 33:14–33-54).

Vertailu elokuvan alussa nähtävään, ja mysteerin avaavaan auto-onnettomuuteen ovat melko ilmeisiä. ”Tyttö on yhä kadoksissa”, toteamus yhdessä vaatimukseen ”oikean tytön” etsinnästä ovat selvästi rinnasteisia. Lyhyenä paralleelina nähdään tähän sijoitettu yksityiskohta, kun ”kadonneen tytön” etsinnän aloittava soitto ohjautuu punaisen lampunvarjostimella varustetulle yöpöydän puhelimelle. Vihjeestä käy myöhemmin selville, että soitto ohjautuu Diana Selwyn asuntoon. (MD 17:01, 121:51) Elokuvan rakenteessa on useitakin rinnakkaisia ja aluksi hämäräksi jääviä kohtauksia, kuten auto-onnettomuuden jälkiselvittely kahden heittiön välillä, joka päättyy surkuhupaisaan ampumakohtaukseen. Ampuja ryöstää sen päätteeksi ”Edin mustan kirjan”, joka on käsikirja täynnä alan puhelinnumeroita. Katsojalle tehdään selväksi, että tappaja etsii ”Ritaa”. (MD 37:00–38:14).

Pienten vihjeiden avulla ”Rita” alkaa muistaa mahdollisia yksityiskohtia identiteetistään. Onnettomuus on tapahtunut Mulholland Drivellä ja ”Diane Selwyn” -nimi vaikuttaa hänestä tutulta. Samalla nimellä löytyy osoite, mutta Cocon vuokralainen antaa pahaenteisen ennustuksen: ”Joku on pahassa pulassa”. (MD, 52:00–53:20; 57:50-–60:27) Bettyn ensimmäinen koe-esiintyminen (MD 71:12–78:00), joka onnistuu täydellisesti, kiertää tässä vaiheessa mysteeriä entistä syvemmälle, kun seuraavaksi Kesher valitsee lavalla laulavan Camilla Rhodesin (Melissa George) elokuvaan taikasanoilla ”tämä on se oikea [this is the girl]” ja vahvistaa näin sopimuksensa roistomaisille tuottajille. (MD 80:29–83:05)

Kuva 5. Camilla Rhodes on se ”oikea” tyttö. Haavekuvan kaltainen nostalginen musiikkitrippi 1960-luvun alkuun.

Juuri ennen päätöstä Kesher on nähnyt Bettyn takanaan, ja hänen ilmeensä on hämmentynyt. Johtuuko kaikki siitä, että Camilla ja Betty muistuttavat erehdyttävästi toisiaan? Oliko valinta sittenkin oikea? Kohtaus tarjoaa jälleen kerran viitteen doppelgänger-tehokeinoon, joita nähdään toistuvasti elokuvan aikana. Katsojalle jännittynyt kohtaus jää avoimeksi, kun Betty pakenee paikalta ja hän jatkaa Ritan kanssa Diane Selwyn kohtalon selvittämistä. Diana löytyy yllättäen asunnostaan kuolleena. Ruumis makaa sängyllä, jonka lakanat ovat väritystä myöten täsmälleen samat kuin aivan alkukohtauksessa. Diane Selwyn on se henkilö, jonka sammumisen katsoja näkee alkuminuuttien aikana. (MD 90:22-92:10) Dianen ruumiin löytyminen ja tätä kautta erään juonen langanpätkän selviäminen tuo esille koko elokuvaa varjostavan kuoleman uhan. Myöhemmin selviää, että Dianen kohtalo on synkkä esimerkki Hollywoodin tuotantokoneiston uhriksi päätyvän näyttelijättären menehtymisestä, johon edellä käsitelty Marilyn Monroe -teema selvästi viittaa.

Marilyn Monroe -viite jatkuu tästä, samalla kun doppelgänger-tehokeinoa syvennetään, ja pelokas Rita tekeytyy blondiksi, joka suuresti muistuttaa Bettyä. Emotionaalisesti naiset kiertyvät yhteen, kun he tekevät rakkauden tunnuksen toisilleen ja rakastelevat Bettyn vuoteella. (MD 93:00–97:55). Naisten intensiivinen lähentyminen toimii johdatuksena uuteen käännekohtaan, kun he heräävät Ritan painajaiseen, jossa hän toistaa espanjaksi sanaa ”hiljaisuus, hiljaisuus [silencio, silencio]”. (MD 98:05–98:10) Naiset lähtevät Ritan johdattelemana Club Silencio -teatteriin seuraamaan arvoituksellista yönäytöstä. Kohtauksen ilmeisenä tarkoituksena on korostaa, että kaikki nähty on todellisuudessa katsojalle luotua illuusiota. Näytöksessä kuultava musiikilla ja laululla ”ei ole yhteyttä”, koska ”kaikki tulee nauhalta”. Tällä hän näyttäisi viittaavan laajemmin elokuvaan ja sen mysteeriin tarinana, joka on kerrottu ja joka vain näennäisesti näyttää todelliselta. ”Los Angelesin itkijänaisen” (cameoroolissa nähtävä Rebekah Del Rio) esiintyessä Betty ja Rita kyynelehtivät surumielisen tunnelman vallitessa. Laulaja romahtaa lattialle, mutta tästä huolimatta laulu kaikuu teatterissa katkeamattomana. (MD 100:40–107:16)

Kuva 6. Rita ja Betty Club Silencion sinertävässä udussa. David Lynchin aikaisempi viehätys siniseen väriin näkyy useissakin elokuvan kohtauksissa.

Laulu on Del Rion versio alun perin Roy Orbisonin vuonna 1961 julkaisemasta kappaleesta ”The Crying”. Ilmeisesti kappale päätyi Lynchin mukaan elokuvaan ”sattumalta”, vaikka ohjaaja olikin sovitellut sitä jo vuoden 1986 Blue Velvet -elokuvaan. (Rodley 2007, 361–362) Se, että esitys tapahtuu espanjankielellä ja pantomiimina tarjoaa kuitenkin selittävän taustatekijän elokuvassa nähtäviin muihin musiikkiesityksiin – esimerkiksi Camilla Rhodesin koe-esiintymisessä kuultavaan Linda Scottin versioon kappaleesta ”I’ve Told Every Little Star”. Tämäkin esitys tulee suoraan nauhalta, mikä on osoitus sen luomasta ”illuusiosta”. ”Sattumaa” lienee myös se, että Scottin kappale on niin ikään julkaistu vuonna 1961. Kappale, samoin kuin muutkin elokuvassa kuultava 1950- ja 1960-luvun musiikki on samalla Lynchin nostalginen kunnianosoitus aikansa populaarikulttuuria kohtaan. Ohjaajan tuotannossa ratkaisu on myös helposti tunnistettava tehokeino. Monet hänen elokuvistaan, kuten sen henkinen edeltäjä Lost Highway, siirtyvät saumattomasti tarinan edustamasta nykyhetkestä menneisyyteen ja takaisin. Mulholland Driven tapauksessa musiikki liittyy saumattomasti Hollywoodin 1940- ja 1960-luvun historiaan. (ks. esim. Mazullo 2005). Niin kuin yleensäkin David Lynchin tuotannoissa, musiikki ei ole kuitenkaan pelkkä nostalginen kulissi, vaan sillä tavoitellaan tässäkin yhteydessä monimutkaisempaa tunneskaalaa, jonka kehyksenä toimii Angelo Badalamentin rakentama synkänpuhuva äänimaailma.

Rebekah Del Rion romahdus lavalla kesken lauluesityksen vahvistaa myös kuultujen musiikkiesitysten funktiota tarinaa peittävänä, kauniina kulissina. Yhteinen tulkintapinta viittaa kaiken kauniina nähtävän ja kuultavan katoavaisuuteen ja lähestyvään murhenäytelmään, josta on nähty vinkkejä muun muassa Diana Selwyn kuolemassa ja ruumiin löytymisessä. Elokuvan noin puoli tuntia kestävä loppuosa tarjoaa näiltä osin toistensa kanssa päällekkäin limittyviä vastauksia alkuosassa esitettyihin arvoituksiin. Kohtauksen aloittaa teatterikohtauksen jälkeen löytyvä sininen arvoituslaatikko, johon Ritan sininen avain sopii. Laatikon avaamisen yhteydessä Betty häviää äkillisesti, sitten avautuvan laatikon sysimusta pimeys nielaisee katsojan sisäänsä. (MD 108:10-110:30) Arvoituslaatikko ja avain tuovat elävästi mieleen vastaavat esineet, joita on nähty aikaisemminkin David Lynchin tuotannoissa. Yhden tulkinnan mukaan ne ovat vain esineitä, joiden taustaa tai tarkoitusperää ei voi selittää, ne yksinkertaisesti vain vievät väkisin juonta eteenpäin. Esimerkiksi Twin Peaksin toisen tuotantokauden päätösosassa esiintyy vastaava laatikko/avain –vastinpari. Tulkintaa hieman laajennettaessa ne ovat Lynchille tyypillisiä esineitä, joiden löytyminen ja ”käynnistyminen” johdattaa katsojaa eteenpäin mysteeritarinassa.

Noin puolen mittainen loppukohtaus valottaa Ritan/Bettyn/Camillan/Dianen henkilöhahmojen yhteen kiertynyttä arvoitusta. David Lynch palaakin näiltä osin Lost Highway –elokuvassa nähtävään mustasukkaisuuden teemaan. Tätä taustoitetaan suoraan Diana Selwyn tarinalla: Diane kuvataan elämässä sivuraiteelle joutuneena, fyysisen ja/tai henkisen krapulan ja ilmeisten rahahuolien piinaamaksi näyttelijättäreksi, joka herää koputuksiin samasta vuoteesta jossa hänen ruumiinsa oli aikaisemmin löytynyt. Nukkumisasentokin on sama kuin ruumiilla. Omia tavaroitaan hieman kiukkuisena hakeva kämppäkaveri ilmoittaa, että ”poliisit kävivät etsimässä häntä”. Kohtauksen aikana sininen avain näkyy hetkellisesti pöydän päällä. (MD 112:07–115:19)

Katsojalle myös selviää, että tummahiuksinen Rita onkin Camilla Rhodes, johon Dianella on viha-rakkaus –suhde. Camilla ilmestyy Dianen kämppään kuin humalaisen haavekuva, joka onkin äkkiä päättänyt tuhota kohteensa (MD 117) Suhteen murtavaksi tekijäksi esitetään Camillan alkava suhde ohjaaja Kesheriin. Seksuaalisesti turhautunut Diane nähdään sen jälkeen masturboivan sohvalla katseen fokuksen kadotessa kuin kysymys olisi elokuvan alkuosaa jatkavasta unesta. (MD 120:30–120:55) Tämä on jälleen yksi viite identiteettien sekoittumiseen, jossa Diane/Camilla -hahmojen sulautuminen viittaa yhdessä masturbaation kanssa itseensä rakastumiseen.

Uusi käänne identiteetti-leikittelyssä kääntyy peilikuvaksi, kun tarina muuttuu hetkeksi johdattelevaksi ja vähemmän unenomaiseksi. Avainkohtauksi muodostuu Camillan pyynnöstä tapahtuva Dianan ajomatka Hollywood-ammattilaisten juhliin Mulholland Drivelle. Alussa nähtävän auto-onnettomuuden tapahtumapaikka ja juhliin vievän oikopolun pysähdyspaikka osoitetaan samoiksi, mikä entisestään selventää tai hämärtää alun ja loppukohtauksen yhteyttä. Diane jopa huomauttaa auton kuskeille äkillisestä pysähdyksestä samoin sanoin kuin mitä kuullaan juuri ennen onnettomuutta: ”mitä te teette? Emme pysähdy tässä”. (MD 123:42)

Käänteisellä tapahtumalla katsoja jää miettimään kumpi tapahtumista on ”se oikea” ja mikä mystiseksi painajaiseksi kääntyvää illuusiota. Juhlien aikana selviää miten peruuttamattomasti ja armottomasti Diane on ihastunut tai jopa rakastunut ohjaaja Kesheriin, vaikka Camilla on napannut paitsi hänelle tarkoitetun pääroolin myös vietellyt samalla ohjaajan. Elokuvan nimi myös mainitaan: The Sylvia North Story, joka oli nähty välittömästi aikaisemmin Bettyn oman koe-esiintymisen jälkeen. Vihan ja katkeruuden herättämien kyynelten valuessa Diana näkee aikaisemmin Camilla Rhodesiksi mainitun ja koe-esiintymisessä laulaneen naisen (Melissa George) suutelevan Camillaa. Nainen on kuin haavekuva, tavallaan symboli ”siitä oikeasta tytöstä”, jolla on onni suudella voittajaa. Juhlissa on ilmeisesti tarkoituksena julistaa Kesherin ja Camillan suhde viralliseksi, mutta kohtaus päättyy kesken molempien nauraessa hysteerisesti. (MD 122:00–130:20) Mustasukkaisuusdraaman kenttä on näin levinnyt auki kaikkiin nähtävissä oleviin tulkintahorisontteihin.

Kuva 7. Loppuun palanut Diane vähän ennen romahdusta ja itsemurhaa.

Juhlien aikana paikalla oleva Coco, Kesherin äiti, ymmärtää kokonaistilanteen toteamalla lakonisesti ”vai niin” ja taputtamalla myötätuntoisesti Dianan käsiä. (MD 128:30–128:35) Kohtaus voidaan tulkita moniulotteisesti, sillä Cocoa näyttelevälle Ann Millerille Dianan tarina oli varmasti tuttu hänen omasta elämästään. Ann Miller oli varmasti urallaan nähnyt lukemattomia vastaavia tapauksia, joten toteamus on paitsi yhteenveto elokuvan keskeisestä jännitteestä myös viite Hollywoodin historiaan, jossa unelmien vastapuoleksi syntyy lukematon sarja pettymyksiä, vastoinkäymisiä ja katkeruutta. Juhlien aikana katsojalle tarjotaan jälleen yksi, lähes huomaamaton vinkki alun psykedeeliseen jitterbug-tanssikohtaukseen, joka päättyy Dianen oletettuun kuolemaan. Diane mainitsee pöytäseurueelle päätyneensä elokuva-alalle voitettuaan jitterbug-kilpailun. (MD 127:10)

Mustasukkaisuuden riivaama Diane nähdään seuraavana istumassa Winkey’s –pikaruokalassa yhdessä mafiaan kuuluvan roiston kanssa. ”Betty”-niminen tarjoilija käy tarjoamassa heille kahvia, mikä viittaa nimen ja henkilön olevan oikeasti keksitty. Diane näyttää Camilla Rhodesin valokuvaa ja antaa roistolle tehtävän, jonka luonnetta ei paljasteta katsojalle, mutta kohtaus tarjoaa viitteitä tilattavaan palkkamurhaan tai järjestettävään onnettomuuteen. Aikaisemmin Ritan käsilaukusta löytyvät mystiset setelitukot vilahtavat Dianan omassa kassissa. Kaupanteon jälkeen roisto näyttää sinisen avaimen ja mainitsee tehtävän suoritetuksi, kun Diane löytää avaimen. Sama avainhan oli nähty aikaisemmin, kun kohmeloinen Diane oli herännyt oven paukutteluun kämpässään ja saanut tietää, että poliisit etsivät häntä. Elokuvan loppu on kiertynyt näiltä osin lähes täyden ympyrän (MD 130:31–132:06).

Diana kysyy lopuksi mitä avain lopulta aukaisee, mutta saa vastaukseksi pelkkää naurua. Ruokalan pimentyneellä takapihalla nähdään seuraavaksi aikaisemmin vain hetkellisesti esiintynyt hirviömäinen pummi kuutio kädessään. Sininen avain ilmestyy Dianen kämpän pöydälle, ja kohtaus päättyy painajaismaiseen takaa-ajokohtaukseen, kun lentokentällä tavattu ja hirviöksi muuttunut Irene ilmestyy huoneeseen ja jahtaa kumppaninsa kanssa Dianea takaa. Omaan helvettiinsä ajautunut, kirkuva Diane pakenee vuoteelleen, kiskaisee yöpöydän laatikosta käsiaseen ja ampuu itsensä. Elokuva päättyy yökuviin Los Angelesissa ja ylivalotettuihin kohtauksiin Dianesta ja Camillasta. Viimeisissä kuvissa Club Silencion tyhjentynyt näyttämö väreilee sinisessä valossa ja kuiskaava ääni toistaa: ”hiljaisuus”. (MD 132:40–136:25)

Lopuksi: pimeys ei tarjoa selitystä

Tunnetusti Lynch on taiteilijana vältellyt tulkitsemasta elokuviaan jälkikäteen. Hänen luomassaan elokuvataiteessa alitajunta ja irrationaalisuus puhuvat ja katsoja ammentaa tästä kokemuksesta. Jos elokuvaa analysoi liikaa selitykset alkavat toistaa itseään ja kiertää väistämätöntä kehää. Kaikkia yksityiskohtia on silti käytännössä mahdotonta selittää, ja kun taidetta aletaan purkaa sitä selittäväksi tekstiksi, latistumisen vaara on hyvin lähellä. Taide on ensisijaisesti tunneperäinen kokemus, joka pakenee rationaalisia selityksiä. Tärkein tehokeino perustuu siihen, että jos vastausta etsitään, kuten katsoja tai tutkija lähes väistämättä aina tekee, sen oletettu löytäminen ei tarjoakaan tyhjentävää selvitystä. ”Lynchmäisen” tyylin mukaisesti objektiivisuuden vaatimuksesta voimme luopua − taideteoksesta ei voida koskaan löytää mitään tyhjentävää ja lopullista.

Mulholland Driven analysointi ja selittäminen yhdessä katsausartikkelissa on näistä syistä johtuen epäonnistumiseen tuomittu yritys. Toisaalta mikä tahansa klassikkoelokuva on aina avoin uusille, subjektiivisille tulkinnoille, ja tätä epäilemättä Lynch on ylipäätään ”Los Angeles” -trilogiallaan hakenut. Lähtökohtaisesti ei ole olemassa ”oikeaa” tai ”väärää” tulkintaa, ainoastaan katsojan horisontin ylittävää matkalla oloa. Tästä syystä olen halunnut tehdä elokuvan avainkohtauksiin seikkaperäisemmän läpiluotauksen. Tarkoitus ei ole ollut esitellä elokuvan juonta vaan yksinkertaisesti keskittyä yhteen, alusta loppuun vedettyyn kokemukseen. Elokuvan kokemus on aina subjektiivinen, eikä sen tarkoitus ole toimia esimerkiksi laajennettuna elokuva-arviona.

Lost Highway ja Mulholland Drive edustavat vakavasti otettuja kokeiluja elokuvakerronnalla, jossa käsittelyä voi pyörittää loputtomiin eri näkökulmista. Myöhemmin julkaistu Inland Empire (2006) vei tämän kerronnan vielä pidemmälle. Inland Empire voidaankin linkittää ohjaajan orastaviin internet-projekteihin, jotka veivät taiteilijaa yhä kauemmaksi kaupallisesta elokuvatuotannosta. Mulholland Drive nouseekin trilogian eheimmäksi kokonaisuudeksi, johon myös viittaa sen saavuttama pitkäkestoinen maine yhtenä tärkeimmistä 2000-luvun alussa julkaistuista elokuvista. Se on kiehtova, mystinen ja monitulkintainen, ja tästä huolimatta tiivisti ja taidokkaasti rakennettu paketti. Kerronnan hajottaminen ei ole täysin itsetarkoituksellista, vaikka erityisesti identiteeteillä leikittely haastaakin katsojaa jatkuvasti pohtimaan sen kätkettyjä arvoituksia. Sen vertailu unenomaiseen salapoliisitarinaan on siksi varsin onnistunut (Rutanen 2012, 18).

Kerrontekniikan osalta yhtäläisyyksiä voidaan toki löytää esimerkiksi ranskalaisen uuden aallon elokuvista, mutta täysin selkeiden vertailukohtien etsiminen on hyvin vaikeaa. Siinä on samanlaista viehätystä kuin ohjaajan surrealistisessa debyyttielokuvassa Eraserhead (1977). Oliko Lynchin tarkoitus luoda uudenlaista tulkintaa nuoruutensa taidekokeilulle? Sen epätavallinen tuotantohistoria ja onnekas sattuma tarjosivat ohjaajalle mahdollisuuden jatkaa Lost Highwayn viitoittamalla tiellä.

Yksinkertaisimmillaan Mulholland Drive voisi kuvata Diane Selwyn tarinaksi – Hollywoodin tuotantokoneiston jyräämäksi näyttelijättäreksi, joka päätyy lopulta itsemurhaan. Onko Diane vain Lynchin rakentama surrealistinen tulkinta Marilyn Monroen karusta kohtalosta? Tulkinta on vain yksi monien joukosta, mutta tuotantohistoriallisen kontekstin valossa sille löytyy uskottava tausta. Toisaalta, laajennettuna sen voi nähdä koko Hollywoodin ja sen historian kokonaissynteesiksi. Mutta mikä on Hollywoodin tarina tai miksi me haluamme sen kuvitella? Kysymys on tässäkin tapauksessa illuusiosta. Se vie matkalle Hollywoodin synkkiin kulisseihin, ja tuo hämmentyneen katsojan myös takaisin. Jos yksilö on osa systeemiä, niin systeemi on samalla yksilöiden osa, ja tarkastelun fokusta voi vaihtaa haluamallaan tavalla.

Mulholland Drive on tarina kuoleman väistämättömyydestä. Teatteri-esityksessä viitatulla hiljaisuudella” ja tyhjentyneellä näyttämöllä viitataan kaiken katoavuuteen. Kuolema ajaa sisälle tarinaan heti alun huumeisessa jitterbug-kohtauksessa ja siihen päädytään myös langan toisessa päässä – ympyrä sulkeutuu ja avautuu tarvittaessa uudelleen, mutta ainoa pysyvä elementti on kuolema. Tarinan keskusprojektina nähtävä, korostuneen 50-lukulaiseen tyyliin filmattava, fiktiivinen elokuva The Sylvia North Story on unelmiin kätkettyä, pinnallista fantasiaa. Sen kauniiden, punaisten verhojen takana avautuu Hollywoodin pimeä sydän, joka jauhaa varomattomia yksilöitä hajalle.

”Mulholland Drive” on oikea, Los Angelesissa sijaitse tieosuus, jolla on tärkeä osuus Hollywoodin historiassa, ja ohjaajalla itsellään on ollut siihen oma, henkilökohtainen suhde. Paikka on kiintopiste ja siitä voi helposti kertoa kauhistuttavia ja synkkiä tarinoita. Mulholland Drive on tähän maantieteelliseen kiintopisteeseen sidottu, moniulotteinen taideteos. Kaiken taustalla häälyy omien unelmiensa tuhoama Marilyn Monroe, kiiltokuvamaisena aaveena Hollywoodin kultaisilta vuosilta.


Video 1. Mulholland Driven virallinen traileri vuodelta 2017, jolloin yhtiö laittoi elokuvan uudelleenlevitykseen.

Lähteet

Kaikki linkit tarkistettu 25.5.2021

Elokuva

Mulholland Drive (”Mulholland Dr”) (MD). Ohjaus: David Lynch, käsikirjoitus: David Lynch ja Joyce Eliason, musiikki: Angelo Badalamenti, pääosissa: Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller. Dvd-versio (2003), pituus 145 minuuttia. Lisämateriaaleista käytetty B-Roll”-videota (kuvauksia filmauksia) sekä David Lynchin kuvausten aikana tehtyä haastattelua Interview with David Lynch”.

Videot

”David Lynch In Conversation”. Haastattelija: David Stratton. Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane, Australia. Nauhoitettu 14.3.2015, pituus 58 minuuttia, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGd6lnYTTY8.

Verkkosivustot ja -palvelut

Rotten Tomatoes, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” 21.12.2020, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/twin-peaks-fire-walk-with-me.

Rotten Tomatoes, ”Mulholland Drive” 21.12.2020, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mulholland_dr.

Twin Peaks Wiki, “Fire Walk With Me”, https://twinpeaks.fandom.com/wiki/Twin_Peaks:_Fire_Walk_with_Me.

”Mulholland Dr”. Elonet, https://elonet.finna.fi/Record/kavi.elonet_elokuva_1080431.

Awards 2001: All Awards, Festival De Cannnes. https://web.archive.org/web/20141027075218/http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en/archives/2001/allAward.html . Haettu Internet Archivesta 6.11.2020.

BBC Releases Its List of the 100 Best Movies of the 21st Century, 28.6.2016, https://collider.com/bbc-best-movies-21st-century-list/.

Lehtiartikkelit

The Guardian 7.2.2007. ”David Lynch”, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2007/feb/08/davidlynch.

Kirjallisuus

Connelly, Michael. 2012. Mulholland Dive: Three Short Stories. eBook, https://www.michaelconnelly.com/writing/mulhollanddive/.

Hudson, Jennifer (Spring 2004). ”’No Hay Banda, and yet We Hear a Band’: David Lynch’s Reversal of Coherence in Mulholland Drive”. Journal of Film and Video. 1 (56): 17–24.

Mazullo, Mark. ”Remembering Pop: David Lynch and the Sound of the’60s.” American Music 23.4 (2005): 493–513.

Rodley, Chris. 2007. Lynch on Lynch (Lynch on Lynch – revised edition). Suomeksi toimittanut Lauri Lehtinen. Kolmas täydennetty laitos. Helsinki: Like.

Rogers, Richard A. ”A dialogics of rhythm: Dance and the performance of cultural conflict.” Howard Journal of Communication 9.1 (1998): 5–27.

Roth, Matthew W. 1999. ”Mulholland Highway and the Engineering Culture of Los Angeles in the 1920s”. Technology and Culture. 40: 545–575. JSTOR 25147359.

Rutanen, Tanja. 2012. ”Universumi sisälläsi – Mulholland Drive: tupa täynnä vieraita”. Filmihullu 2/2012.

Sheen, Erica; Davison, A. (eds.) 2004. The Cinema of David Lynch: American Dreams, Nightmare Visions. Wallflower Press.

Woods, Paul (ed.) 2000. Weirdsville USA: The Obsessive Universe of David Lynch. Plexus Publishing.

Viitteet

[1] Suomessa elokuvan virallinen nimi oli lyhennettynä ”Mulholland Dr.”. Käytän tässä artikkelissa selvyyden suoksi sen käyttöön vakiintunutta täysnimeä. Suomessa ensi-iltakierroksella elokuva kiersi neljällä kopiolla. Elokuvaa nähtiin salipaikoiltaan suurissa teattereissa elokuussa, minkä jälkeen se siirtyi pienempiin saleihin ja myöhemmin sitä nähtiin lähinnä elokuvakerhoissa. Ks. esim. Elonet.

[2] Käytän aineistovertailussa jatkossa elokuvasta lyhennystä MD ja dvd-painoksessa esiintyvään minuuttilukemaan ja kaksoispisteen jälkeen sekuntilukemaan.

[3] Elokuvakritiikkiin ja yleisövastaanottoon keskittynyt Rotten Tomatoes -sivusto antaa tälle hetkellä elokuvalle 78 % luokituksen yleisöäänistä ja 64 % luokituksen kriitikkoäänistä. Lukemaa voidaan pitää melko hyvänä, varsinkin kun alkuperäinen televisiosarja saa 88 % luokituksen molemmissa kategorioissa. ”Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me”,  Rotten Tomatoes 21.12.2020, www.rottentomatoes.com.

[4] Box Office Mojon tilastojen mukaan elokuva tuotti syksyllä 2001 ja keväällä 2002 yhteensä 20 miljoonaa dollaria. Elokuvan tuotantobudjetti oli ollut 15 miljoonaa dollaria. Ks. Box Office Mojo, https://www.boxofficemojo.com/release/rl3680863745/. David Lynchin uralla elokuva oli hänen toiseksi menestynein vuonna 1980 ilmestyneen Elefanttimiehen (The Elephant Man, 1980) jälkeen, joka tuotti 26 miljoonaa dollaria.

[5] Lynch jakoi palkinnon yhdessä Joen Coenin kanssa. Ks. Awards 2001: All Awards, Festival De Cannes, www.festival-cannes.fr.

[6] Esimerkiksi yleisradioyhtiö BBC:n vuonna 2016 keräämässä arvioluokituksessa Mulholland Drive nousee vuoden 2000 jälkeen julkaistujen elokuvien kärkisijalle. Best Movies of the 21st Century, https://collider.com/. Rotten Tomatoes -sivusto mittaa elokuvalle 83 % lukeman kriitikkoäänistä ja 87 % yleisöäänistä. ”Mulholland Drive”, www.rottentomatoes.com.

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

Expanded Lynch: Synaesthetic Intermediality as Immersiveness in “Industrial Symphony No. 1”

David Lynch, expanded cinema, immersion, Industrial Symphony No. 1, intermediality, performance, sensoriality, synaesthetic

Fátima Chinita
chinita.fatima [a] gmail.com
PhD, Associate Professor
Film and Theatre School of the Lisbon Polytechnic Institute, Portugal

Viittaaminen / How to cite: Chinita, Fátima. 2021. ”Expanded Lynch: Synaesthetic Intermediality as Immersiveness in “Industrial Symphony No. 1””. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/expanded-lynch-synaesthetic-intermediality-as-immersiveness-in-industrial-symphony-no-1/

Printable PDF version


David Lynch’s cinematic work has always been intermedial, engaging other art forms. In this article I focus on a variety of performatic intermediality, which I deem responsible for Lynch’s atmospheres and his motto of entering into another world. I posit that Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted is the key to Lynch’s artistic hybridity as well as the core of the immersiveness his films impart to the viewers. However, this is done differently in the eponymous stage performance (1989) and the deriving television film (directed and edited by Lynch himself, broadcasted in 1990). The theatrical performance is one big, long mood, as Lynch observed, whereas the film version expands upon the immersive experience of the stage and creates a novel approach to audiovisual works in the line of Gene Youngblood’s concept of expanded cinema, and more specifically the “synaesthetic mode”, highly dependent on a stylization achieved in the post-production stage. This spectatorial experience stimulates the sensorium in an almost erotic manner, as Laura U. Marks contends of “haptic eroticism”, and spreads the self-reflexive properties of the film to the entire cinematic medium, as Gilles Deleuze claims of his “crystal-image”. Thus, the more the film commingles (self-)reflexivity and sensoriality, the more it reinforces the viewers’ immersiveness and allows them to enter into another world.

Introduction: Intermediality as the expansion of an artistic practice

This article explores different meanings of the word “expansion” as it produces effect in David Lynch’s oeuvre and specifically Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted, a twofold artwork with crucial significance. First, Lynch’s oeuvre should be considered full-fledged intermedial, and not just cinematic and/or painterly. Yet, its intrinsic performativity should be positioned as a specific type of intermedial relationship within media practice without exactly forming an intermedial aesthetics per se. Second, the film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1 is an artistic expansion of the stage production and not an adaptation thereof. It paradoxically induces in the viewers both a media consciousness and what I consider to be a sensorial immersion in the artwork, corresponding to Gene Youngblood’s concept of “synaesthetic cinema” and how it is perceived by the audience. Third, the opening up of the viewers’ senses corresponds to the medium’s flaunting of its properties in the form of a Deleuzian flux I call the “becoming-cinematic”.

Artistically, besides filmmaking, David Lynch is mostly associated with painting. For example, Allister Mactaggart, in The Film Paintings of David Lynch (2010), aiming to guide the readers towards the visual content of Lynch’s films and away from the story and overall narrative comprehension, misguidedly uses the expression “film paintings” in an analogy with Lynch’s activity as a painter. In reality, none of the six chapters of Mactaggart’s book, nor the introduction and conclusion, examines the art of painting per se, and the aforementioned expression is mostly a catchword.[1] Lynch himself often admitted his inclination for artistic forms other than painting. He confessed that he wished to proceed towards cinema precisely because he felt that painting lacked some properties, notably movement. In an interview with Starfix he combines this with the entrance into another world: “What I missed when I looked at paintings was the sound. I waited for a sound to be heard: a wind blowing, perhaps. I also wanted the frame borders to disappear; I wanted to get into the painting. It was a spatial impetus.” (1990, 87; quoted by Chion 2001, 19, my translation).

I argue that David Lynch’s artistic output needs to be considered differently, especially the cinematic work around which everything else revolves. To begin with, Lynch’s artistic versatility, which encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, needs to be taken into account. Indeed, his skills include painting, drawing (comic strips), photography (e.g., the old factories series), design (furniture construction), and music (he composes, writes lyrics and plays the guitar). I wish to address his work as being – and having always been − deliberately intermedial in a general but not universal sense. In this I follow Ginette Verstraete’s idea that ”[I]ntermediality refers to crossovers and interrelations taking place between the arts and the media” (2011, 7), which necessarily involve more than one medium (Rajewsky 2010, 51). In other words, I contend that Lynch’s cinematic work has always knowingly engaged other art forms. Nevertheless, the case has very seldom been made for the intermedial significance of his work. To my knowledge, only one book expresses this leaning in the title: David Lynch: mondi intermediali (edited by Cinzia Bianchi and Nicola Dusi 2019).

In approaching Lynch this way, though, I do not intend to develop an intermedial meta-theory, but only to focus on specific media aspects pertaining to the involvement of the senses and one intermedial property in particular, which I define as performativity. I align myself with Jens Schröter’s “formal discourse” on intermediality (2011, 3) in which different media can be united by a common property, or media substratum. I contend that Lynch’s intermediality is a result of the desire to combine movement (present in cinema), volume (the cornerstone of theatre), sound (the essence of music), and the obliteration of the screen as such. This combination opens up a field of what I term “performatic intermediality” which calls for further research, especially since it is largely responsible for Lynch’s immersive atmospheres.

This concept of mine is applicable to all art works where performance takes place, whether it is theatrical or not, unlike Chapple and Kattenbelt’s notion, which restricts intermediality in performance to theatre practices that become visible only through the process of (live) staging (2006, 12). Katti Röttger, who argues for a theatre performance as an event, that is, “an intermedial process that […] makes the audible and the visual phenomenon appear and become accessible to the experience” (2013,7, emphasis mine) is closer to my meaning. She does not think in terms of a theatre performance as a pre-given whole (a hyper-medium that contains other media), but as an interaction between media which makes them occasionally, and separately, perceptible to the spectators. The main property of the performance is, therefore, its ability to change within a performatic context. As an art with actors and/or shapes in motion, film also performs but in different ways. Some of these are entirely technical and pre-recorded but made interchangeably visible and audible during the film works.[2] Within the sphere of intermediality, Schröter too, considers that a medium − as technology or art form – is not a priori constituted but rather formed in action and that intermediality in a more restricted sense is the process of evincing a relationship between ”observable media forms” (2011, 16). I am particularly interested in the self-reflexivity of this process (see Paech 2000, 13).

Lynch always claimed that films are “another world to go into”, and that they “are more like fairy tales or dreams” than anything else (Lynch in Breskin 1990, 66). Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted, with music composed by Angelo Badalamenti, is the perfect example of performatic intermediality. In this article, I analyse its double existence: first as a 45-minute stage performance (1989) and then as a film made for television (1990). Although both products stemming from the same authorial vision are very different and therefore produce dissimilar experiences in their respective audiences, both of them are immersive and extremely appealing to the senses. Moreover, the film version can be considered an example of Gene Youngblood’s “synaesthetic cinema” (1970), a concept used to describe non-commercial films in which the most important is the “design” (plasticity, poetic form, sensual imagery) and not the narrative. For the most part, these are non-normative films, which act upon the viewers’ senses and subscribe to a novel and artistic cinematic language.

Before advancing any further, I must state that immersion is not to be understood here in the technological sense of virtual environments where the sensorial properties of the real world are substituted by digital properties (Mestre 2005, unpaginated), or as a simulated entrance into a three-dimensional environment (William Gibson in Packer and Jordan 2001, xxxi). Neither is it to be taken in the fictional sense of having the feeling of being mentally [or emotionally] absorbed by stories, diegetic worlds and characters (Gander 2005, 11). According to Jane H. Murray, “[I]mmersion is a metaphorical term derived from the physical experience of being submerged in water” (1997, 98, emphasis mine). It is precisely in its non-literal meaning that I use it in this article.[3] As long as there is a “diminishing critical distance” and ”an increasing involvement” on the part of the viewer, a plunge into another universe, an ensuing submersion takes place (Grau 2003, 13).

My method is entirely empirical, based on the viewing of all of Lynch’s films and the prior consideration of their characteristics. In my monograph (Chinita 2013) on Inland Empire (2006), I had the opportunity to analyse in detail how the director composes his atmospheres to generate immersion and thematically deploy his artistic motto: “We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream” (quote from the Upanishads, Lynch 2006, 139). My argument here is personal and qualitative, therefore open to criticism. The research focuses less on Lynch’s own discourse in interviews than on the intermedial analysis of the selected study case. If anything, this article aims to be a twofold contribution: to intermediality studies and to David Lynch’s. The main argument I make is that Industrial Symphony No. 1, usually considered a minor piece in Lynch’s artistic career, might, actually, be the opposite: the very key to Lynch’s artistic hybridity.

1. Performance as three-dimensional ambiance

Theatre is fundamental in Lynch’s cinematic career. It has been a crucial leitmotif from Eraserhead (1977) to Inland Empire (2006) – by way of the Victorian theatre in Elephant Man (1980), the cabaret stage in Blue Velvet (1986), the Italian theatre-like curtains of the Red Room in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), and the Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive (2001). Many of the most iconic and climactic scenes in Lynch’s films are staged in such locations.

Image 1. Eraserhead (1977) (left). Image 2. Inland Empire (2006) (right).

In addition, Michel Chion observes that more than a stage, real or metaphorical, the theatre in Lynch’s films is part of a compositional strategy wherein the sets are filmed in the manner of a physical proscenium arch. The furniture is positioned frontally in relation to the camera and the characters are centred in the frame. Within this spatial pattern, the geometrical positioning of sofas, curtains and spotlights adds to the overall theatrical effect. However, rather than keeping the audience at an emotional distance, by revealing the intradiegetic viewers’ placement and the theatrical apparatus in a Brechtian manner, Lynch accomplishes the opposite. These theatrical scenarios add to the audience’s sensorial engulfment in the world of the film, which presents viewers with an over there which is visually and aurally appealing. The large bright red curtains and the zig-zag-patterned floor in the Red Room of the Twin Peaks universe is just such an example, meant to corroborate the concept of entering another world, which the film addresses. Sound, being largely pervasive and indivisible, in these cases is made even more palpable due to the assumed three-dimensionality of space. This is, probably, one of the reasons why sound helps “to propel us into a film, to make us feel inside it”, as Chion claims (2001, 54−55).

Image 3. The Red Room in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992).

By recurrently using theatre as a leitmotif and a compositional strategy in his films, David Lynch openly affirms his allegiance to performatic intermediality. However, at the end of the 1980s a new opportunity arose to use it in a different way.

In 1989, the Brooklyn Academy of Music invited David Lynch and his long-time collaborator Angelo Badalamenti to produce a 45-minute stage performance for the New Wave Music Festival. Despite the notoriety generated by the event at the time, having to do with Lynch recently acquired indie-crossover status in the film industry,[4] relatively few people could attend the presentation, which had only two sessions, both performed on November 10. The following year (1990) the stage performance was released on VHS and laserdisc, in a version edited by Lynch himself and intended for television only. Both versions of Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted are extremely important for an analysis of intermediality in Lynch’s artistic work.

In order to unravel the connection between art and ambiance and their ability to transpose the spectators into another world filled with stimuli, which immerse their reason and senses, I need to consider each product (or version) separately, as well as some aspects of the medial transposition from one to the other.

The performance Industrial Symphony No. 1 was presented on a large stage whose stage design remained unchanged from beginning to end. However, the manipulation of lights, sound and smoke completely transfigured the scenery from one moment to the next. The stage was generally very dark, crossed by searchlights and filled with vapour produced by smoke machines; abrupt and loud noises, such as a siren or wind blowing, filled the space, enhancing visual and audio textures and producing an immersive feeling in the viewers. The only protagonist was the singer Julee Cruise, dressed as an ingénue in a white prom night attire and featuring a blonde wig. This was presumably a hinting at the character of Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks, whose television pilot Lynch had already shot. The stage was visited at times by a topless woman writhing herself in a seductive pose like Lula in Wild at Heart (played by Laura Dern), and a man suspended from cables emulating her paramour Sailor (played by Nicolas Cage) in the same film, which was under production at the time.

The spectacle contained other bizarre characters, such as a dwarf (played by Michael J. Anderson, a Lynch regular), a tall clarinet player, industrial workers, female dancers, naked toy dolls descending from above on cables like rappelling parachutists, and a gigantic deer-like figure. All of them evolved around and literally on an industrial landscape, featuring a high voltage tower, pipes, cables and a large derelict automobile. Leitmotifs from the Twin Peaks universe − both the television series and the cinematic prequel − were all around: a log of wood being sawed, evoking lumberjacks; a visceral deer seemingly skinned, calling to mind the woods and violence; the car, evoking joyrides; and so on. The whole experience was just overwhelming and all-encompassing, triggering the spectators’ senses and enveloping them in a non-stop flux of images and sounds. This is important for two reasons: one of them intermedial, the other ontological.

Firstly, the performance was a musical event. It was composed of ten segments − they cannot really be considered musical numbers as the show flowed from one to the other in one big musical continuum. The great majority of them were sung in playback (only Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart was sung live [Video 1.]); one of them was essentially spoken (with Michael J. Anderson verbalising two different roles) and three others were instrumental. The avant-garde Italian intellectual Ricciotto Canudo claimed that music and film evoked grandiose feelings, were magically suggestive, and conveyed the most profound sensuality (Morel 1995, 72).[5] For Jacques Aumont, music is plastic (”plastique”), poetic and has emotional properties (2003). The performance Industrial Symphony No. 1 tried to highlight these features, but combining them with eminently theatrical ones.

On the one hand, it seems to me that Lynch and Badalamenti chose to use the oxymoron Industrial Symphony, not to deprecate the nature of their work in an ironic fashion, but rather to enhance their very serious purpose of putting on an important musical work, which could expand the audience’s awareness of the musical theatre medium. Industrial Symphony No. 1 was not a symphony by any account, as it was centred on a pop singer and contained electronic music. It was not a stage musical either since it had no story, only a state of mind and the feeling of sadness pertaining to a supposedly heartbroken girl who was left by her lover. This situation is actually seen in a filmed prologue shot by Lynch with the actors Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage, who were under contract to him at the time for Wild at Heart. Nor was Industrial Symphony No. 1 an opera, notwithstanding its mixture of music and text, because these are both rather abstract, operating at a symbolic level. In sum, the whole show was about ambiance. Lynch himself states that Industrial Symphony No. 1 is “one big, long mood” (quoted by Zyber 2012), following his recurrent statement about cinema: “A sense of space is so critical in cinema, because you want to go into another world. Every story has its own world, and its own feel, and its own mood” (Lynch 2006, 117).

Images 4−5. Two wide shot images from the stage, resembling the audience’s experience.

On the other hand, Industrial Symphony No. 1 was presented live to an audience. It was a hybrid performance operating in consonance with a Baconian raw logic of sensations. Its aim was “[N]ot to represent but to present… [a] genuine creation, which unfolds in a realm that can only be understood via sensation – viscerally” (Meier 2012, 126). Its sheer presence, its theatrical immediacy, was used for sensorial impact and perceived by the spectators in the auditorium, enveloped as they were by the smoke, the darkness, the filtered lights, the clangourous soundscapes, as well as struck by the performers’ gestures and bodies (sometimes perceived floating in space). This was an experience, not an object − as Ivana Brozić claims of theatre in general (2012) − here further heightened by specific performative circumstances. Indeed, the spectators were not only co-present in the overall space of the performance (the auditorium, if not the stage), but they were made a more integral part of it than they would be in a film theatre in front of a finished, immutable product.

However, Brozić’s insistence on corporeality as being eminently theatrical and her comment that “[T]he imaginary worlds, the sensations and the significations theatre is said to create, are ultimately located in the spectator. They are a result of perception” (2012, 144) are problematic when applied to Lynch’s work Industrial Symphony No. 1, because the exact same conditions pertain to the film version. Ultimately, they are a result of the performative intermediality as I conceive of it.

Secondly, the aforementioned ontological problem is the performatic nature of Industrial Symphony No. 1 itself. Brozić’s condition for theatrical intermediality resides in mediation (i.e., “the material process of media realization”, Elleström 2014, 11). For her, this mediation occurs live on stage without any subsequent technology of communication, a specific technical apparatus for reception, which is the primary condition of existence for cinema. However, she does not consider one single modality of mediation, but several operating together: “[Theatre] is multimedial, an environment created by a multiplicity of mediations (of which the performer is only one) and full of internal allegiances and conflicts”. Put this way, both artistic versions entitled Industrial Symphony No. 1 are multimedial and both combine live action with technology, because they unite several media, which can always be told apart from each other, within one single art form (Clüver 2007, 25; Verstraete 2011, 9).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmJzy0WrSXY

Video 1. Julee Cruise / Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart.

The theatrical performance contained one instance − the song Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart − in which three TV sets were brought in and placed at the front of the stage in order to show a video live feed of Julee Cruise in the trunk of a car singing directly to a handheld onstage camera. Although the whole performance took place live on stage, this particular moment is occurring live on video as well with the help of technology, being, therefore, twice mediated.[6] The film version, on the other hand, contains the audio-visual material recorded during the live performance in which the actors’ bodies were serving as mediators, but mixes it with subsequent use of technology in the process of editing and requires yet further technology for reception. Nonetheless, since it is a film made for television, the reception also took place live in that medium. Brozić’s idea, which is based on the here and now of theatre, does not take into account the hybridity factor to which both theatre and cinema are increasingly prone. Therefore, although her adjective “subsequent” is still central to her idea, I prefer to focus on the multimediality involved and pay equal attention to the production and the reception apparatuses.

According to this rationale, neither version of Industrial Symphony No. 1 is entirely theatrical nor cinematic; rather both of them are performatic. Their intrinsic hybridity, as a combination of both art forms and inherent mediations, invalidate neat categorizations.[7] Although I designate the two instances of the artwork as, respectively, theatre performance and film version, I do so for the sake of clarity, since neither of them corresponds to the traditional output of either artistic form.

For example, both instances of Industrial Symphony No. 1 are self-reflexive and meta-medial in that they force the spectator to be aware of the conditions of technological reproduction, usually embedding other technical media in the overall performance. What is most particular about them, however, is that they reinvent the relationship between the body and the voice of the performer by resorting to the use of technology. The result is a type of ”ventriloquism” which Jelena Novak calls ”dissociated voice” (2012, 107). Since Julee Cruise sings in playback for most of both art works − although she has a microphone in her hand in the opening song Up in Flames − she is “problematizing and redefining” the musical genre conventions, as Jelena Novak claims that post-opera does for opera (Meurer 2014, 41). By separating the actual voice of the singer from the song that she seems to be vocalising, Lynch anticipates his discourse on illusion and unreality contained in the “No hay banda!” skit staged in the Club Silencio scene of Mulholland Drive (2001). Even in Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart, the actual voice is physically disassociated from the (reproduced) body.

Image 6. Live video feed in Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart (left). Image 7. The dissociated voice in Club Silencio (right).

Entering into another world is an overall concern of Lynch, and mediation as the realization of medial properties attracts the viewers’ attention to the spatial meaning of medium as something which is in a middle position (therefore, possibly in transit to something else). The narrative immersion implied in the penetration of another spatial and/or cognitive reality by the characters (e.g. the Red Room in Twin Peaks) equates with the affective immersion experienced by the spectators upon coming into contact with a unique artistic reality (the famous “Lynch world”) itself filled with specific atmospheres. In films, it is not the immediacy and the liveness of the performance that create and sustain this feeling, but rather a different use of the affects, as a mixture of emotions and senses. Thus, as I will argue next, the film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1 artistically expands upon the stage performance.

2 Sensorial expansion and synaesthetic cinema

The video prologue, a telephone conversation between the character of the Heartbroken Woman (Laura Dern) and the Heartbreaker (Nicolas Cage), provides the contextual framework for understanding Julee Cruise’s performance as someone else’s dream, as suggested by the film’s subtitle. She is referred to in the end credits of the film version as the Dreamself of the Heartbroken Woman; her universe, which is the filmic Industrial Symphony No. 1, is a world in its own right, cognitively entered into by a character. However, I am not particularly interested in this expansion, which is merely narrative. Lynch has always posited that his main interest in narrative resides in the possibility of building worlds filled with mystery and not in the transmission of a clear story. Lynch’s acknowledgement that he wants to be engulfed in his own atmospheres is much broader than that and has transcendental overtones.

In the very beginning of the book Catching the Big Fish, which serves as an abridged version of his personal aesthetics, Lynch states: “The more your consciousness – your awareness – is expanded, the deeper you go towards this source [The Unified Field], and the bigger the fish you can catch” (2006, 1). This is his formula for obtaining inspiration and, consequently, for directing inventive films. In Expanded Cinema, Gene Youngblood declares: “Thus, by creating a new kind of vision, synaesthetic cinema creates a new kind of consciousness: oceanic consciousness” (1970, 92). The two statements seem to echo one another, although in interviews Lynch never once refers to Youngblood’s philosophy, nor do I claim that he had any knowledge of it. I only intend to stress the artistic and sensorial interconnection in terms of how films are perceived by both men.

Gene Youngblood advocated an “expanded cinema” predicated on a creative, artistic and innovative approach to art, perceived as a catalyst of change (in a social sense as well) (1970). As I already mentioned here, the real core of this expanded cinema was its “design”, that is, its plastic and poetic form and its sensual imagery. The then newly-available image-making technologies allowed for an expanded communication, where art became an “environment” (43). This was made possible by different venues for art consumption, including films and installations in museums and art galleries. In addition, the filmic experimental trend of the 1960s benefited greatly from the existence of specialised arthouse movie theatres. This rather mild, because incipient, immersive conception of art coexisted with a self-reflexive quality.

Such seeming paradox was due to the “synaesthetic mode” (42), which together with “an expanded consciousness” on the part of the audience (41), unafraid of physical stimuli and conceptual work, formed a new type of vision. The film artists committed to the synaesthetic mode had the declared aim of rejecting linear plots (and traditional drama altogether) and professed a new synaesthetic reality instead of a merely representative realism. Form overpowered narrative content in a purposely chaotic fashion. In synaesthetic cinema, according to Youngblood, the “artist shoots and manipulates [the] unstylized reality in such a way that the result has style” (107). This process, achieved entirely in the post-production stage, is described by Youngblood as “post-stylization” (107) and often consists of a juxtaposition of incongruities, deliberate alterations or distortions, and a record of the process of its own making. All of this was integral to the result and the viewers’ experience of the films. According to Youngblood, the works made in compliance with the synaesthetic mode evince a “structural relation between the parts and the whole” (85). Thus, the films are fusions of disparate and unusual materialities. For example, incongruous juxtapositions are obtained through overlapping superimposition, which is a form of syncretism, a combination of several forms into one single unified form in perpetual flux. Images fuse constantly with others to the point of indiscernibility. “In synaesthetic cinema they are one total image in metamorphosis” (87); “Synaesthetic cinema is a space-time continuum” (81).

In the film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1, the audio-visual shots are really indiscernible from one another, better falling under Gilles Deleuze’s general category of “images” (1985), as I have posited elsewhere concerning Inland Empire (Chinita 2013). Since for Deleuze the notion of “image” is abstract and not reducible to pictorial representation alone (e.g., it also includes sound), the term seems completely appropriate in this case. In Industrial Symphony No. 1 images and sounds are in permanent mutation, metamorphosing into something else, usually via the technique of superimposition and/or long dissolves; they exemplify Youngblood’s synaesthetic film as “one continuous perceptual experience” (86), albeit composed of discrete elements. Shots are truly fused together.

Image 8. Deleuze’s “image”: discrete elements fusing into one another via superimposition.

Deliberate distortions occur whenever there is an interaction of proportions. Since, according to Youngblood, “[T]he fundamental subject of synaesthetic cinema – forces and energies – cannot be photographed” (1970, 87), the result is a seeming visual magma made to be experienced by the viewer rather than watched. Overexposures, flashes, conflicts of volume and scale, macro close-ups, and strobing lights, all mentioned by Youngblood as synaesthetic cinema resources, are featured throughout the film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1. The contrasts are nearly made palpable, generating an “almost visceral, tactile impact” (100).

Images 9–10. Visceral, tactile impact generated by the use of close-up.

In Image 10, a close-up of Julee Cruise’s face, the viewer perceives something like an indented facies. Although Cruise’s face is not physically carved, the projection of images over her figure generates that impression. This extremely visceral outcome is a direct result of the cinematic technique of superimposition and would not be perceivable as such from afar in the stage version of Industrial Symphony No. 1. In CBF, Lynch observes: “While many sets are good enough for a wide shot, in my mind they should be good enough for close scrutiny, for little details to show” (2006, 117). In the film version, the director has managed to blend together very dissimilar shot scales in one single Deleuzian image, thereby conjoining the wide shot of the stage with the detailed close scrutiny possible in film. In Image 11 the singer on stage seems to be replicated, not on a screen as is usual with live video feeds, but in the foreground of the self-same image. It is an illusion, a faux raccord, but one that plays with the simultaneity of different perspectives provided in different shot scales. “Synaesthesis is the harmony of different or opposing impulses produced by a work of art. It means the simultaneous perception of harmonic opposites” (Youngblood 1970, 81).

Image 11. Harmonic scale opposites in one single “image”.

In Touch, Laura U. Marks writes about “haptic eroticism”, a fluctuation between the proximal and the distant: “In the sliding relationship between haptic and optical, distant vision gives way to touch, and touch reconceives the object to be seen from a distance” (2002, xvi). It is the dialectic between the surface (of the body) and the depth of field of the image (seen from afar) that is erotic. “Haptic images are erotic regardless of their content, because they construct a particular kind of intersubjective relationship between the beholder and image” (13), Marks claims. In extreme close-ups, which in many cases prevent the correct apprehension of the object/person being filmed, the viewer is so close to the image that, in a sense, there is no barrier between him/her and the film matter. Among the pro-haptic properties mentioned by Marks, one finds videos on film, over- or underexposure, blots of light, silhouettes of human bodies, layered images. [8] Texture is so enhanced that the viewers are immersed through their sensorium. Lynch’s technique in the film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1 can be said to approximate Marks’s theory, accomplishing haptic eroticism and the consequent immersion. However, there is one significant difference between Marks’s theory and Lynch’s practice. Indeed, the film director does not accomplish this result through a dialectic in which one image substitutes another sequentially; rather he does it in the same image, at the same time, as is demonstrated by Image 11.

By using superimposition as an editing device (i.e., a form of post-stylization according to Youngblood) to simultaneously highlight detail and the general space in the film Industrial Symphony No. 1, Lynch does not envelop the viewers/auditors in an atmosphere in the same way that he does the performers of the eponymous stage production. In the film version, the audience is not engulfed by another world; their immersion works in a different way. The film viewers are literally drawn towards the Deleuzian image in its very flux. They appropriate the said image in its haptic eroticism, its intrinsic movement between distance and proximity. The superimpositions are conceived of as a velvety textural skin, that the viewers/auditors want to touch with their whole bodies as much as they want the film to touch their sensorium. For the duration of the film, the audience lives in a state of amazement, of cognitive suspension, which is why Brechtian effects are neutralised. Thus, the haptic eroticism experienced is twofold: two types of material are opposed inside one single image (which is never steady but prolongs itself into another one) and this dual effect is reproduced in the viewers in connection with the reception of the entire work as a whole (they feel very close to the work, while simultaneously perceiving it well). They do not identify with characters, they engage with forms and materials instead. Thus, Marks’s haptic eroticism becomes more than a modality of viewing; it is a mode of experiencing. As a synaesthetic film, Industrial Symphony No. 1 is magnetically immersive and is reminiscent of the lyrics of a song very dear to David Lynch: “Bluer than velvet was the night / Softer than satin was the light” (Blue Velvet, by Bobby Vinton, 1963).

Image 12. A feeling of blueness.

As explained by Youngblood (1970), some experimental films of the 1960s, such as Michael Snow’s, overtly address the self-reflexive nature of cinema as a medium. They are formal experiences meant to break the illusion and reveal the cinematic technique to the viewers. The film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1 achieves exactly the same without endangering the sensorial seductive power of Lynch’s overall universe. This amounts to a perfect combination of immersive and self-reflexive properties. Examples of the latter are the disclosure of the apparatus during Rockin’ Back Inside my Heart and the paraphernalia of cables for the suspension of characters in mid-air. Thus Lynch anticipates here what he will accomplish later in full fictional form in the metacinematic Mulholland Drive (2001), arguably the most seductive of Lynch’s features to date.

This seeming paradox is once more easily resolved with the help of Gilles Deleuze. In his book Cinema 2 – The Time-Image (originally published in French in 1985), the philosopher distinguishes the style of modern cinema from that of its classic predecessor by claiming that it consists of “images” which are intrinsically double. This bifacial image is endowed with an internal reflection, made up of the constant permutation of its two opposing sides. While one side has actuality, the other remains virtual, and vice versa. An image is considered “actual” (or real) by Deleuze when it has screen presence, and “virtual” when it is relegated to the background (in other words, it is not the main focus of the film, but lingers somewhere else). In Lynch’s film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1 the same permutation takes place, but because the film evolves as a fast-paced flux in which superimpositions are always taking place, real and virtual coalesce to a larger extent than they do in other films. The blown-up doubles of the singer Julee Cruise superimposed over her flesh-and-bone likeness may be considered the virtual part of the image, whereas the more clearly in focus and corporeal singer is the actual side.

Katerina Krtilova, in her philosophical approach of the concept of intermediality, considers that a medium is not a fixed ideal entity, but rather a “reflective structure” in permanent mutation (2012, 39). In Deleuzian terms, although he does not focus on intermediality, this corresponds to the notion of “circuit”. Bifacial images are constantly transitioning to something larger than themselves. Individually, they are an embryo (”germe”) that propagates the reflex to the whole environment (”milieu”), and thereby reveals the latter as an institutional construct. Therefore, by using superimpositions and all the other aforementioned cinematic (and synaesthetic) techniques in the film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1, Lynch manages to transform each and all of his “images” in this work in a spark that generates the crystallization of the whole film as such and of its medium as that of cinema. Therefore, I claim that this becoming-cinematic is the ultimate expansion of Industrial Symphony No. 1. This assertion obviously denies all claims that consider this film a mere remediation of the stage performance made for the secondary medium of television. Philosophically and artistically, this work is no mere recording. Rather, it prepares the viewers for the more complex practices evinced in later Lynch films, namely Inland Empire, which is the sum total of the director’s techniques and themes. Furthermore, by anchoring the entire crystallized universe on the senses, Lynch creates an ode to synaesthetic film and contributes in no small measure to the cinematic path of immersion.

Image 13. The Deleuzian crystal-image, or the synaesthetic film at its best.

To conclude: Immersion in the other world of art

My purpose in this article was not to analyse how the stage performance of Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted is transposed to the screen, which would be a case of transmediation (“the translation of one medium into another”, according to Verstraete 2011, 9). Although, strictly speaking, the transposition of a number of core features (musical form, oneiric content, female protagonist, setting) from the stage to the screen makes the film a complex transmediation of media products (Elleström 2014, 24), my focus was not on the media products themselves but on the effects they generate on the viewers. Therefore, I disregard the fact that, in this case, the film (“the target medium”, according to Lars Elleström) “triggers representations of multifaceted media traits similar to those of a source medium” (2014, 22). For me, the two versions of Industrial Symphony No. 1 are two completely different outputs, although they were made from the same original visual and sonic materials. What interests me is the transposition of an atmosphere from one medium to another, which takes place in the interactions between media but is not media-dependent. This means it is not dependent on the specificity of either qualified media or art form involved, but works around them to achieve a similar result through different processes.

According to Daniel Yacavone, each film is a singular holistic entity (a “film world”), possessing “pronounced sensory, symbolic, and affective dimensions. It provides ‘virtual’ and actual experiences that are at once cognitive and immersive and sensuous” (2015, xiv). Although he is thinking of fictional cinema endowed with a story (a diegetic world or “world-in”), he claims that what really characterises a film as a world, from a philosophical perspective, is the way the materials are used by the filmmakers (“world-of”). Rephrasing this closer to my purposes here, a film is a world whenever there is a medial presentation of the very possibilities of cinema. According to Yacavone, film worlds are immersive experiences for the viewers because, “unlike paintings, films as aesthetic objects have an actual temporal dimension and an event character” (2008, 93). Although Industrial Symphony No. 1 is a string of performances more than anything else and has no story to which the viewers’ may adhere, like other films it too conveys “a unique world-feeling, recognized by the viewer as such” (98) pertaining to the single artistic style of its creator, David Lynch.

If this apparently unassuming work for television, unjustly discarded by many as of no real artistic import, is to be deemed the key to Lynch’s overall cinematic practice, that is due to its performatic intermediality, which also exists in other subsequent Lynch films, but in an attenuated form. Ultimately, by expanding the viewers’ consciousness through an artistic and specifically cinematic modality which Gene Youngblood calls “synaesthetic cinema”, Lynch’s film version of this work reaches the pinnacle of his intermedial art. The sensorial and artistic expansion produced by Lynch in the film version of Industrial Symphony No. 1 itself equates the sensations and the resultant immersion generated in the film viewers, and their full adhesion to the auteur’s universe. Lynch’s peroration of entering another world is an invitation for immersion and expanded consciousness.

References

All links verified 25.5.2021

Research material

Lynch, David (dir). 2010. Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Brokenhearted. 1990; Italy: Raro vídeo – arte, cinema, visione. DVD.

Literature

Aumont, Jacques. 2003. ”Les Fantômes de l’opéra.” In Le Septième art: Le cinéma parmi les arts, edited by Jacques Aumont, 151–169. Paris: Éditions Leo Scheer.

Bolter, Jay David and Richard Grusin. 1999. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA, and London, UK: The MIT Press.

Breskin, David. 1992. Inner Views: Filmmakers in Conversation. Faber and Faber: Boston and London.

Brozić, Ivana. 2012. “Theatre and Music: Intermedial Negotiations.” In Travels in Intermedia[lity]: Reblurring the Boundaries, edited by Bernd Herzogenrath, 137–151. New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press Hanover.

Chapple, Fred and Chiel Kattenbelt (eds). 2006. Intermediality in Theatre and Performance. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.

Chinita, Fátima. 2013. O Espectador (In)visível: Reflexividade na Óptica do Espectador em Inland Empire, de David Lynch. Covilhã: Livros Labcom.

Chion, Michel. 2001. David Lynch (nouvelle édition mise à jour). Paris: Cahiers du cinéma.

Clüver, Claus. 2016 [2007]. ”Intermediality and Interarts Studies.” In Changing Borders: Contemporary Positions in Intermediality, edited by Jens Arvidson, Mikael Askander, Jørgen Bruhn, and Heidrun Führer: 19–37. Lund: Intermedia Studies Press.

Deleuze, Gilles. 1985. Cinéma 2 – L’image-temps. Paris: Éditions de Minuit.

Dusi, Nicola and Cinzia Bianchi (eds.) 2019. David Lynch: Mondi intermediali. Milano: FrancoAngeli.

Elleström, Lars. 2010. “The Modalirities of Media: A Model for Understanding Intermedial Relations.” In Media Borders, Multimodality and Intermediality, edited by Lars Elleström, 11-48. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Elleström, Lars. 2014. Media Transformation: The Transfer of Media Characteristics Among Media. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gander, Pierre. 2005. “Two Myths about Immersion in New Storytelling Media” (1999) In Lund University Cognitive Studies, 80.

Grau, Oliver. 2003. Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion. Cambridge, MA, and London, UK: The MIT Press.

Krtilova, Katerina. 2012. “Intermediality in Media Philosophy.” In Travels in Intermedia[lity]: Reblurring the Boundaries, edited by Bernd Herzogenrath, 37–45. New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press Hanover.

Liptay, Fabienne and Burcu Dogramaci, eds. 2015. Immersion and the Visual Arts and Media. Amsterdam: Brill/Rodopi.

Lynch, David. 2006. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. London, New York et al: Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin.

Mactaggart, Allister. 2010. The Film Paintings of David Lynch: Challenging Film Theory. Bristol and Chicago: Intellect.

Marks, Laura U. 2002. Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Meier, Julia. 2012. “Genuine Thought is Inter(medial).” In Travels in Intermedia[lity]: Reblurring the Boundaries, edited by Bernd Herzogenrath, 125–136. New Hampshire: Dartmouth College Press Hanover.

Mestre, Daniel R. 2005. “Immersion and Presence”. http://www.ism.univmed.fr/mestre/projects/virtual%20reality/Pres_2005.pdf.

Meurer, Ulrich. 2014. “Horse in Motion: On the ‘Rationalities’ of Cinema and Opera.” Kinetophone: Journal of Music, Sound and Moving Image, no. 1 (2014): 35–58. https://www.academia.edu/7756338/Horse_in_Motion_On_the_Rationalities_of_Cinema_and_Opera.

Morel, Jean-Paul, ed. 1995. L’usine aux images: Ricciotto Canudo. Paris: Éditions Séguier /ARTE

Müller, Jürgen E. 2010. “Intermediality Revisited: Some Reflections about Basic Principles of this Axe de pertinence.” In Media Borders, Multimodality and Intermediality, edited by Lars Elleström, 237–252. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Murray, Janet H. 1997. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in the Cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Nagib, Lúcia and Anne Jerslev (eds). 2014. Impure Cinema: Intermedial and Intercultural Approaches to Film. London and New York: I.B. Tauris.

Novak, Jelena. 2012. “Singing Corporeality: Reinventing the Vocalic Body in Postopera.” UvA- DARE: Digital Academic Repository of the University of Amsterdam, 90–107.

Paker, Randall and Ken Jordan (eds). 2001. Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.

Paech, Joachim. 2000. “Artwork – Text – Medium. Steps en route to Intermediality”. Translated by Thomas La Presti. Keynote speech delivered at ESF Changing Media in Changing Europe, Paris May 2000. http://www.joachim-paech.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ArtWorkMedia-1.pdf.

Rajewsky, Irina O. 2010. “Border Talks: The Problematic Status of Media Borders in the Current Debate about Intermediality”. In Media Borders, Multimodality and Intermediality, edited by Lars Elleström, 51–68. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Röttger, Katti. 2013. “The Mystery of the In-Between: A Methodological Approach to ‘Intermedial Performance Analysis’.” Forum Modernes Theater, no. 2, 105–116. https://dare.uva.nl/search?identifier=257dc177-23a9-4499-acb7-42ead6cc84a1.

Schröter, Jens. 2011. “Discourses and Models of Intermediality.” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 13, no. 3, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.1790.

Verstraete, Ginette. 2011. “Intermedialities: A Brief Survey of Conceptual Issues.” Kunstlicht 32, no. 3. https://tijdschriftkunstlicht.nl/wp-content/uploads/kunstlicht.medialiteit.ginette-verstraete.intermedialities.pdf.

Yacavone, Daniel. 2008. “Towards a Theory of Film Worlds.” Film-Philosophy 12, no. 2, 83–108. http://www.film-philosophy.com/2008v12n2/yacavone.pdf.

Yacavone, Daniel. 2015. Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press.

Youngblood, Gene. 1970. Expanded Cinema. London: Studio Vista.

Zyber, Josh. 2012. “Auteur Theory: ‘Industrial Symphony No. 1’,” Bonus View (blog). Posted on August 20, 2012. https://www.highdefdigest.com/blog /industrial-symphony-david-lynch/.

Notes

[1] Oddly, Lynch’s unparalleled cinematic style, which is loosely considered surrealist, is very often compared with those of his favourite painters Francis Bacon and Edward Hopper, neither of whom is Surrealist in the strictest pictorial sense.

[2] I extend the concept of performance to a metaphorical agency and/or context that surpasses the field of Performance Studies, although institutional performances are, indeed, privileged by Lynch, as I will refer shortly.

[3] Cf. Immersion and the Visual Arts and Media (Fabienne Liptay and Burcu Dogramaci, eds. Brill/Rodopi, 2015), in which immersion is applied to painting and architecture, photography and cinema, as well as installation art.

[4] With Blue Velvet, released in 1986, Lynch had been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director at the 1987 edition of the Oscars.

[5] Ricciotto Canudo, ”Musique et cinéma, langages universels”. Originally published in Comoedia, No. 3176 (August 1921) and reprinted in L’usine aux images (Morel 1995).

[6] I do not call this remediation because it is not an instance of a qualified media being re-inscribed in a different technical media (Ellleström 2010, 31). This representation of the media of video and television occurs within the performance and as an integral part of it, and not as a conscious borrowing of media by an altogether different media (see Bolter and Grusin 1999, 44−50).

[7] In Intermedial Studies the word “hybridity”, is usually taken as a synonym of intermediality. Paech mentions it, cursorily, as a form which is a mixture of media (2011, 2). Nagib and Jerslev (2014, xviii−xxiii), in following André Bazin’s defence of impurity in cinema, try to override the limitations of media specificity, therefore calling attention to the ideological overtone contained in the term “hybridity”, and which multimedia, that is also a mixture of media, does not possess. As a feature of intermediality at large, hybridity is employed here as a highly positive term. See also Müller 2010, 345−346.

[8] Richard B. Woodward, in an interview with Lynch in 1990 (“A Dark Lens on America”), mentions the components of David Lynch “consistent film style”: slow dissolves, spotlighting, extreme close-ups, figures who emerge out of darkness, the enhancement of textures, (facial) deformities, exaggerated noise, banal dialogue, ridiculously specific and eccentric characters, among other aspects (Breskin, 1992, 57).

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2)

In Dreams: David Lynch ja 1950-luku

1950-luku, David Lynch, fiftarimusiikki, nostalgia, Yhdysvallat

Rami Mähkä
rarema [a] utu.fi
FT, dosentti
Yliopisto-opettaja
Digitaalinen kulttuuri
Turun yliopisto


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Mähkä, Rami. 2021. ”In Dreams: David Lynch ja 1950-luku”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/in-dreams-david-lynch-ja-1950-luku/

Tulostettava PDF-versio


David Lynchin tuotannossa viittaillaan eri tavoin 1950-lukuun. Huomattavaa on se, että suurin osa tuotannoista ei sijoitu 1950-luvulle, eikä käsittele sitä eksplisiittisesti. Tarkastelen katsausartikkelissa tapoja, joilla 1950-lukuun viitataan. Vuosikymmen esiintyy tarkalleen jäsentymättömänä teemana eri tavoin, kuitenkin musiikin toimiessa kiinnepisteenä. Lynchin suhde 1950-lukuun on ambivalentti, jopa ristiriitainen, jossa nostalgia ja idyllisen julkisivun taakse kätkeytynyt pimeä puoli ovat läsnä samanaikaisesti.


David Lynchin elokuva Blue Velvet – ja sinisempi oli yö (Blue Velvet, 1986) alkaa sarjalla esikaupunkiotoksia valkoisten lauta-aitojen vieressä kasvavista ruusuista, kaduilla temmeltävistä lapsista sekä ohiajavasta paloautosta, jonka miehistö huiskuttaa idyllisen esikaupungin asukkaille (Kuva 1). Filmi etenee lähes hidastetusti, kuin muistikuvana menneestä. Jakson aikana soi Bobby Vintonin kappale ”Blue Velvet” (1963), joka on haikeanromanttinen iskelmä kerran kohdatusta ja menetetystä rakkaudesta.

Kuvaston sävy alkaa kuitenkin muuttua vain muutaman minuutin kestoisen jakson edetessä, ja idylli särkyy hyvin groteskilla tavalla. Omakotitalon nurmikkoa kiireettömästi kastelevan miehen puutarhaletku menee solmuun. Hän saa sairaskohtauksen ja kaatuu kouristuksissaan vesilätäkköön. Koira säntää paikalle ja alkaa juoda vesiletkusta, isännästään tuon taivaallista välittämättä. Taustalla leikkii autuaan tietämätön taapero kotirouvan katsellessa mustavalkotelevisiosta rikosjännäriä. Vintonin kappale loppuu nopeaan feidaukseen. Kamera-ajo etenee pitkin ruohikkoa. Se pysähtyy tallentamaan hyönteisjoukkoa kuhisemassa saaliinsa kimpussa. Saalis osoittautuu irti leikatuksi ihmisen korvaksi. Pittoreskin julkisivun takana kummittelee selvästi painajainen. (Ks. myös Hughes 2001, 78–81; Rodley 2007, 28.)

Kuva 1. Blue Velvetin alkujaksoa. 1950-luvun yhdysvaltalaiseen symboliikkaan kuuluva valkoinen lauta-aita elokuvan pian rikkoutuvassa lähiöidyllissä. Kuva: kuvakaappaus DVD:ltä.

Tarkastelen tässä tutkimuskatsauksessa tiettyjen valikoitujen ja tunnettujen esimerkkien valossa, miten 1950-luku esiintyy temaattisesti Lynchin tuotannossa. Se näyttäytyy tyypillisesti visuaalisina tai audiovisuaalisina elementteinä, joilla ei pääsääntöisesti ole suoraa merkitystä elokuvien ja televisiosarjojen tarinoille tai juonille. Pikemminkin ne tulevat ja menevät, tai ovat hahmoja tai miljöitä jollain hyvin tulkinnallisella tavalla rakentavia yksityiskohtia.

David Lynchin tuotannossa musiikki on kaikkein tärkein 1950-lukuun viittaavista elementeistä. Roy Orbisonin balladi ”In Dreams” (1963), johon palaan myöhemmin, toimii yhtenä avainviitepisteenä Lynchin 1950-lukusuhteelle. Kysymys on unenomaisesta maailmasta, joka kuitenkin hänen käyttämänään muuttui usein painajaiseksi silmänräpäyksessä. Tälle on historiallinen taustansa, jossa kansallinen ja henkilökohtainen sekoittuvat toisiinsa.

David Lynch (s. 1946) eli lapsuutensa ja teini-ikänsä 1950-luvulla, tai ”pitkällä 1950-luvulla”, jonka voi katsoa jatkuneen Yhdysvalloissa 1960-luvun alkupuolelle, päättyen Kennedyn murhaan ja Vietnamin sodan alkamiseen. Hänen tuotannossaan aikakausi esiintyy erilaisin viitteenomaisin keinoin. Niille on tyypillistä tietyn idyllisyyden, naiiviuden, kommentointi, missä keskeistä on ylläkuvatun Blue Velvetin alkuotoksen kaltainen salatun, pimeän puolen ilkikurinen esiin nostaminen. Sama teema on televisiosarja Twin Peaksin (1990–1991) ydinteema, vaikkei sekään sijoitu 1950-luvulle. Itse asiassa Lynchin tuotannossa vain paljolti unohdettu sitcom On the Air (1992) (ks. Hughes 2001, 183–188) sijoittuu kyseiselle vuosikymmenelle. Silti vuosikymmen on läsnä konseptuaalisena elementtinä eri tavoin. Menneisyyden kokemukset ja muistot ovat selvästi jättäneet häneen syvän jäljen.

Lynch on itse todennut, että 1950-luku oli ”monessa suhteessa fantastista aikaa”, jonka aikana esiintyneet ongelmat ”jotenkin osattiin lakaista maton alle” (sit. Rodley 2007, 21; ks. myös ibid. 20, 24–25, 28–31, 34.). Tähän koettuun – ja sittemmin tutkimuksessakin esitettyyn (ks. esim. Wright 2017, 109–114) – dualismiin hänen tuotantonsa 1950-lukuviitteet perustuvat. Ne viittaavat unelmiin, mutta ovat samalla kyynistä, groteskia itsetarkastelua vuosikymmenien aikajanalla, kaiken sekoittuessa postmodernistisesti yhteen.

”Lynchtown” ja viisikymmenlukulaisen idyllin pimeä puoli

Kansallisen, ”virallisen” eetoksen alla 1950-luvun Yhdysvalloissa oltiin huolestuneita yhteiskunnan konformismista. Siinä yhdistyivät kasvavan taloudellisen ja aineellisen hyvinvoinnin ilmentymä, materialistisuus, sekä käsitys jaetusta ”amerikkalaisesta” elämäntavasta. Pikkukaupunkien ja lähiöiden keskeiseksi piirteeksi nousi lisäksi yhteisöllisyys, joka väistämättä merkitsi samuutta (yhteisö) verrattuna erilaisuuteen (yksilö), eli konformismia. (Ahonen 2013, 365–397, passim.; ks. myös Levine 2008.) Tässä on selkeä ristiriita ”amerikkalaisuuden” yksilölähtöisyydelle perustuvassa diskurssissa.

Elokuvateoreetikko ja säveltäjä Michel Chion (1995, 83–84, passim.) kirjoittaa ”Lynchtownista”, viitaten Lynchin elokuvien ja Twin Peaksin miljöihin, eli siisteihin pikkukaupunkeihin ja lähiöiden idylleihin, joissa ”kaikki on lähellä ja läheistä sekä kaikki tuntevat toisensa”. Mutta kun pimeys laskeutuu, puiden reunustamille kaduille alkaa kantautua ”susien ulvontaa”, eikä se edes kantaudu ”kovin kaukaa”. Chion tarkoittaa juuri sitä, mistä Blue Velvetissä (1986) ja Twin Peaksissa (1990–1991) on pohjimmiltaan kyse: läheisten, konformististen yhteisöjen kulissien takaisista pimeistä asioista, tukahdutetuista haluista ja väkivallasta. (Ks. myös Mähkä 2019, 12.) Samalla kyse on paljon pimeämmistä teemoista, sillä murhatun teinitytön, Laura Palmerin (Sheryl Lee), jonka tapauksen ympärille sarja rakentuu, seksuaalinen hyväksikäyttäjä ja murhaaja, myyttinen Bob (Frank Silva), ”asuu” tämän isän (Ray Wise) mielessä (Kuva 2). Paljon pessimistisempää konseptia on vaikea kuvitella. Ja tälle pessimismille Lynchin 1950-luku -taustainen yhteiskuntakuva pitkälti rakentuu.

Kuva 2. Murhatun teinitytön sureva isä kornin iloisena hotellinaulacroonerina televisiosarjassa Twin Peaks. Kuva: kuvakaappaus DVD:ltä.

Chion (ibid.) esittää lisäksi kaksi erityisen mielenkiintoista huomiota ”Lynchtowniin” liittyen. Ensinnäkin sen high school on täynnä ”kikattavia, leikkisiä kolmen hengen tyttöporukoita, joita suoraan Onnenpäivistä (Happy Days, 1974–1984) repäistyt teinipojat silmäilevät”. Toiseksi Blue Velvetin päähenkilö Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan), on Lynchin itsensä mukaan ”idealistinen poika, joka käyttäytyy kuin 1950-luvun nuoret” ja koko kaupunki on heijastuma aikakauden (siis 1950-luvun) ”naiivista ilmapiiristä” (sit. ibid.; ks. myös Hughes 2001, 72–74). Toisin sanoen 1950-luku on joko ”suorana” tai välillisenä (Onnenpäivät) viittauskohteena keskeinen näille Lynchin teoksille. (Ks. myös Mähkä 2019, 13.)

Lynchin töissä on usein ikään kuin kaksi aikatasoa, ”pitkä” 1950-luku ja nykyisyys (Blue Velvetin ja Twin Peaksin tapauksessa 1980-luvun jälkipuolisko, 1990-luvun alku), mutta on epäselvää, missä milloinkin viitteellisesti ollaan. (Mähkä 2019, 12–13; ks. myös Chion 1995.) Lynch on itse luonnehtinut 1950- ja 1990-lukujen kohtaamista Twin Peaksin yhdeksi ydinteemaksi,[1] ja mainittuun esitykseen liittyen kommentoinut ”50-luvun tunnelmaa” ”tavallaan banaaliksi, mutta samalla vieraantuneeksi” (sit. Rodley 2007, 170–171).

On huomattava, että 1970- ja 1980-luvuilla ilmestyi paljon 1950-lukua nostalgisoivia elokuvia ja televisiosarjoja, edellä mainitun Onnenpäivien lisäksi muun muassa Svengijengi ’62:sta (American Graffiti, George Lucas, 1973), Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978), Paluu tulevaisuuteen (Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis, 1985) ja Peggy Sue meni naimisiin (Peggy Sue Got Married, Francis Ford Coppola, 1986). Lynchin tuotanto toimii osin kuin kommentaarina tai antiteesinä näille nostalgiaelokuville. (Ks. myös Mähkä 2019.) 1950-luku oli, pitkälti Ronald Reaganiin implisiittisesti kytkeytyen, ajankohtainen 1980-luvulla. Reagan oli presidenttinä vuosina 1981–1989, eli sen ajanjakson, jolloin Lynchin temaattinen ja tyylillinen kehitys tapahtui.

1950-luvun musiikki Lynchin tuotannossa

Selkeimmin 1950-lukuun liittyvät viitteet tulevat esiin musiikissa. Edellä mainitun ”Blue Velvetin” ohella on syytä nostaa esiin kolme musiikkiesitystä, jotka eri tavoin kiinnittyvät fiftariteemaan. Elokuvassa Villi sydän (Wild at Heart, 1990) Nicholas Cagen esittämä Sailor ja Laura Dernin esittämä Lula ”moshaavat” muiden mukana ultranopeaa metallia esittävän bändin keikalla. Toinen mies yrittää iskeä Lulan ja loukkaa Sailoria haukkumalla tämän käärmenahkatakkia. Machomies Sailor rökittää miehen helposti. Soiton keskeyttänyt bändi heittää Sailorille mikrofonin ja tämä vain aloittaa Elviksen balladin ”Love Me” (1956). Metallibändi tulee välittömästi oikealla iskulla sisään. Soundi on nyt pehmeä äskeisen meluvallin sijaan ja nuoret metallimiehet osaavat heti kaikki taustalaulut. (Kuva 3) Lisäksi aikuisikäinen metalliyleisö kirkuu kappaleen huippukohdissa kuin 1950–1960-lukujen hysteeriset teiniyleisöt. Kaikki tämä on silmäniskua katsojan historiatietoisuudelle. Sen vastineena elokuvassa toimii neo-fiftarityylinen Chris Isaakin hitti ”Wicked Game” (1989).

Video 1. Nicholas Cagen Elvis-tulkintaa kesken speedmetal-keikan elokuvassa Villi sydän.

Intohimoiseksi Elvis-faniksi tunnustautuvan Sailorin hahmo kommentoi yhtä osaa siitä tyylien ja merkitysten kirjosta, mitä Elvis, 1950-luvun luultavasti suurin yksittäinen symboli, edustaa. Hän oli kauniskasvoinen ”rasvis”, rockabilly-jätkä, seksisymboli, Yhdysvaltojen armeijan kersantti ja myöhemmällä urallaan pyssyä heilutteleva konservatiivi ja Nixonin kannattaja, mutta myös ”äidin poika”, crooner[2] ja Las Vegasin camp-viihdyttäjä (ks. Kallioniemi 1995, 45–47). Jarman-Ivens (2007, 161–167, passim.) kirjoittaa Elvis Presleyn ”musiikillisen maskuliinisuuden degeneraatiosta”, jossa on kyse siitä, että Presleyn 1950-luvun ”uhkaavan viriili nuoruus” taittui myöhemmin (edelliseen verrattuna) ”impotentiksi crooner-keski-ikäisyydeksi”. Tässä on Jarman-Ivensin mukaan paradoksi, sillä nimenomaan 1950-luvun Elvis leikitteli gender-identiteeteillä ajan oloon pitkine, näyttävästi kammattuine hiuksineen, silmämeikkeineen ja ruumiinkielineen. Kuitenkin juuri tästä imagosta ja tyylistä tuli myöhemmin rajoittamattoman maskuliinisuuden ruumiillistuma, jota vasten ”keski-ikäinen crooneri” näytti maskuliinisesti degeneroituneelta. (Ks. myös Mähkä 2019, 13–14; Kallioniemi 2020.)

Kuva 3. 1980-luvun lopun teinit 1950-lukutunnelmissa televisiosarjassa Twin Peaks. Kuva: kuvakaappaus DVD:ltä.

Villin sydämen kohtauksessa on ironisella tavalla viitattu Elviksen ja fiftarimaskuliinisuuden ”kovanaama”/”kapinallinen”-puoleen. Kahdessa muussa Lynchin tuotannossa viittaus kohdistuu muihin puoliin. Twin Peaksissa pohjimmiltaan herkkä nahkarotsiin pukeutuva prätkäkundi James (James Marshall) laulaa fiftariballadin näppäilemänsä kitaran säestyksellä (Kuva 3). Hänellä on vintage-tyylinen laulumikrofoni, samanlainen, jota croonerit käyttivät 1950-luvulla. Hänen lauluäänensä on todella korkea ja ohut, luoden näennäistahattoman androgyynisen vaikutelman. Tämä eroaa oleellisesti esimerkiksi David Bowien kaltaisista mieslaulajista, joiden tyyliin kuului itsetarkoituksellinen androgyynisyys tai queer-sensibiliteetti, jonka huomattavin piirre on nimenomaan mieslaulajan korkea ääni (ks. esim. Hawkins 2007, 208; Mähkä 2019, 13.)

Twin Peaks ja Villi Sydän -kohtausten viittaussuhde crooner- ja 1950-luku -tyyleihin on liioitteleva ja parodinen, mutta samalla selvä. Myös Blue Velvet sisältää erikoisen otoksen, jossa psykopaattitappaja itkee vuolaasti väkivaltaisen, huumediileri-camp -miehen (Dean Stockwell) esitykselle. Esityksessä viimeksi mainittu on (vain) laulavinaan nauhalta toistettavaa Roy Orbisonin balladiklassikkoa ”In Dreams” (1963) työmaalampun toimiessa ”mikrofonina” (Kuva 4). Alun perin Stockwellin piti laulaa kappale, mutta sattuman kautta päädyttiin varsin erilaiseen ratkaisuun, jossa soikin alkuperäinen Orbisonin[3] esitys. (Ks. Hughes 2001, 78; Rodley 2007, 161–166; Lynch 2008, 82–83; Mähkä 2019, 13.) Yhtäältä kyyneleet, joiden lähde lienee menetetty viattomuus, toisaalta esityksen keinotekoisuus ja kolmanneksi hahmojen psykopaattisuus luovat vahvan ambivalenssin kohtaukseen.[4] Lynch näyttääkin kommentoivan 1950-lukua moniselitteisenä ja jopa ristiriitaisena ajanjaksona. Lauluesityksen mimiikka alleviivaa tätä moniselitteisyyttä, keinotekoisuutta.

Kuva 4. ”In Dreams”: Dean Stockwellin esittämä väkivaltainen camp-crooner elokuvassa Blue Velvet. Kuva: kuvakaappaus DVD:ltä.

Lopuksi

Kuten alussa totesin, Lynchin viittaukset 1950-lukuun ovat tulkinnanvaraisia eivätkä ne muodosta mitään koherenttia kokonaisuutta. Samalla ne ovat kuitenkin monilukuisempia kuin tämä tutkimuskatsauksen puitteissa oli mahdollista käsitellä – mainittakoon vaikkapa Blue Velvetissä taustalla soiva Bill Doggettin instrumentaali ”Honky Tonk” (1956), joka ei välttämättä ollut tuttu elokuvan nuoremmille katsojille silloin, saati nyt. Joka tapauksessa on selvää, että vuosikymmen ristiriitaisuuksineen – ydinsodan pelko, tietty konformismi ja toisaalta teknologian kehitys ja yltäkylläisyys verrattuna aikaisempiin sukupolviin – on inspiroinut häntä merkittävästi. Sen tausta on epäilemättä silloin eletyssä omassa lapsuudessa.

Kuva 5. David Lynch toi viisikymmenlukulaisuutta esiin myös kampaustyylissään. Kuva on Emmy Awards -juhlaseremoniasta vuodelta 1990. Kuva: Wikimedia Commons.

Lähteet

Kaikki linkit tarkistettu 27.5.2021

Ahonen, Kimmo. 2013. Kylmän sodan pelkoja ja fantasioita: muukalaisten invaasio 1950-luvun yhdysvaltalaisessa tieteiselokuvassa. Väitöskirja. Turku: Turun yliopisto.

Chion, Michel. 1995. David Lynch. Lontoo: British Film Institute.

Dwyer, Michael D. 2015. Back to the Fifties: Nostalgia, Hollywood Film, and Popular Music of the Seventies and Eighties. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hughes, David. 2001. The Complete Lynch. London: Virgin.

Jarman-Ivens, Freya. 2007. “Don’t Cry, Daddy”: The Degeneration of Elvis Presley’s Musical Masculinity. Teoksessa Oh Boy! Masculinities and Popular Music. Toimittanut Freya Jarman-Ivens, 161–180. New York ja Lontoo: Routledge.

Kallioniemi, Kari. 1995. Dandyfied Image of Elvis Presley and Cultural Polyphony of Popular Music. Teoksessa Monta tietä menneisyyteen. Toimittaneet Leena Rossi ja Hanne Koivisto, 39–48. Turku: Turun yliopisto.

Kallioniemi, Noora. 2020. Maskuliinisuuden karnevalisointi Lapinlahden lintujen televisio-ohjelmissa 1988–1995. WiderScreen 30.9.2020. http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/ajankohtaista/maskuliinisuuden-karnevalisointi-lapinlahden-lintujen-televisio-ohjelmissa-1988-1995/.

Levine, Alan J. 2008. ”Bad Old Days”: The Myth of the 1950s. New Brunswick ja Lontoo: Transaction.

Lynch, David. 2008. Catching the Big Fish: Meditaatio, tietoisuus ja luovuus. Englanninkielinen alkuteos Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (2006). Suomentanut Laura Beck. Helsinki: Otava.

Mähkä, Rami. 2019. Matkalla ei minnekään: Kathryn Bigelown ja Monty Montgomeryn The Loveless (USA 1981) 1950-luvun populaarikulttuurisena kuvauksena. Ennen ja nyt: Historian tietosanomat 3/2019 ”Historiallinen elokuva”. https://journal.fi/ennenjanyt/article/view/108941

Rodley, Chris. 2007. Lynch on Lynch. Englanninkielisestä alkuteoksesta suomentanut Lauri Lehtinen. Helsinki: Like.

Todd, Anthony. 2012. Authorship and the Films of David Lynch. New York: I. B. Tauris.

Wright, James. 2017. Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Viitteet

[1] Todd (2012, 68, 70–71) näkee vastaavan asetelman Blue Velvetissä, tosin 1950- ja 1980-lukujen välillä. Hughes (2001, 147–148) puolestaan näkee Cagen Sailor-hahmon Elvis-faniuden viittauksena Martin Sheenin ilmeiseen James Dean -tribuuttiin elokuvassa Julma maa (Badlands, Terence Malick 1973).

[2] Toim. huom. Crooner”-termillä viitataan alun alkaen 1920-luvulla Yhdysvalloissa syntyneeseen mieslaulajien pehmeään ja tunteelliseen laulutyyliin. 1950-luvulla crooner-tyyli alkoi vähitellen antaa tilaa uudelle rock-musiikin lanseeraamalle voimakkaan maskuliiniselle laulutyylille.

[3] Orbisonista Lynchin tuotannossa ks. myös Petri Saarikosken artikkeli tässä numerossa.

[4] 1950-luvun musiikkia ja kauhutieteiselokuvakuvastoa 1970-luvulta 1990-luvulle kierrättänyt ”psychobilly”-yhtye The Cramps on mielestäni monessa mielessä musiikillinen vastine Lynchin 1950-lukuviittauksille. Kummassakaan tapauksessa ei voi olla varma, miten aikatasot (1950-luku ja sen 1970-luvulla alkaneet uudelleentulkinnat) suhteutuvat toisiinsa: onko kyse ’viattoman’ jälkikäteisestä ’likaamisesta’ vai tahdosta pyrkiä repimään kulissit alas? (ks. myös Dwyer 2015, 98–103) Tähän vastaaminen on puhtaasti näkökulmakysymys. Ks. myös Mähkä 2019, 14–15, passim.

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Kurkistusikkuna David Lynchin mieleen

Tuomo Marttila
tuomo.a.marttila [a] utu.fi
FM, elokuvakriitikko
Kulttuurihistoria
Turun yliopisto


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Marttila, Tuomo. 2021. ”Kurkistusikkuna David Lynchin mieleen”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/kurkistusikkuna-david-lynchin-mieleen/

Kirja-arvio David Lynchin ja Kristine McKennanin teoksesta Tilaa unelmoida (Room to Dream). Suom. Elina Koskelin ja Ari Väänänen (2018). Like Kustannus Oy, Helsinki, 572 sivua.

David Lynchin yhdessä journalisti Kristine McKennanin kanssa kirjoittama, elämäkertaa ja muistelmateosta yhdistävä kirja Tilaa unelmoida (Room to Dream, 2018) sukeltaa elokuvaohjaajana parhaiten tunnetun avantgarde-taiteilijan elämään ja töihin hänen perheenjäsentensä, läheisten ystäviensä sekä kollegoidensa risteävien haastattelujen kautta.

McKennanin haastatteluiden pohjalta kirjoittamien lukujen jälkeen Lynch pääsee itse kertomaan samoista tapahtumista omasta näkökulmastaan ja nykypäivän muisteluiden kautta. Teos kattaa Lynchin elämän keskeisimmät vaiheet lapsuudesta aina Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) -sarjan valmistumiseen asti. Usean kertojan kautta avautuvat ja polveilevat tarinat tarjoavat kurkistusikkunoita ”lynchiläisen” mielen hämäriin syvyyksiin.

Taiteilijan elämä

Vuonna 1946 Montanan metsäisellä maaseudulla syntynyt David Lynch sai kokea lapsuudessaan keskiluokkaisen amerikkalaisen esikaupunkiyhteisön elämän ja nuoruudessaan itärannikon pimeiden suurkaupunkien sosiaalisen kuohunnan, joiden synkät pohjavirtaukset vaikuttivat suuresti hänen taiteeseen.

Tilaa unelmoida pääsee vauhtiin, kun tarkasteluun nousevat Lynchin vaiheet köyhänä taiteenopiskelijana 1960-luvun Philadelphiassa yhdessä ensimmäisen vaimonsa Peggy Reaveyn ja parhaimpiin kuuluvan ystävänsä Jack Fiskin kanssa. Maalaamiseen keskittynyt ja omalaatuisen habituksen omaksunut Lynch vietti seesteistä taiteilijaelämää kunnes sai idean elävästä maalauksesta, mikä veti hänet mukaan elokuvanteon maailmaan.

Synkkäsävyisiä maalauksiaan muistuttavien lyhytelokuvien menestyksen myötä Lynch pääsi opiskelemaan American Film Instituten (AFI) -elokuvakouluun Los Angelesiin, mikä tarjosi hänelle kontakteja alan ihmisiin sekä puitteet, joissa aloittaa ensimmäisen pitkän elokuvansa Eraserheadin (1977) vaiherikkaan tuotannon. Elokuva nousi vähitellen keskiyönäytösten suosikiksi, ja se määritteli Lynchin tunnelmaan ja kokemuksellisuuteen vetoavan omaperäisen tyylin sekä mahdollisti hänen elokuvauransa jatkon.

Nuoren ohjaajan seuraavan elokuvan Elefanttimiehen (The Elephant Man, 1980) saavuttamaa menestystä seurasi käänteentekeväksi epäonnistumiseksi osoittautunut Dyyni (Dune, 1984), mikä muutti hänen tapaansa suhtautua elokuvien tekoon. Sen jälkeen Lynch on halunnut pysyä visioilleen uskollisena. Hän ei tehnyt enää kompromisseja, vaan halusi säilyttää täydellinen kontrollin elokuvissaan niiden rajatuista budjeteista tai kaupallisesta menestyksestä huolimatta. Perfektionistisesti kaikkia elokuvanteon osa-alueita hallitsemaan pyrkinyt Lynch vastasi usein itse elokuviensa tekstuurin luovista lavasteista, äänisuunnittelusta sekä efekteistä, joita hän rakenteli autotallissaan.

Lynchmäiseen taiteeseen sisältyvät arkielämän surrealistiset ainekset sekä ihmisluonnon kaksijakoisuus synkän ja sydämellisen välillä ovat olleet valtavirtayleisölle ja vain tuottoa tavoitteleville elokuvatuottajille vaikeasti saavutettavissa. Oikeat yhteistyökumppanit Lynch sai Mel Brooksista sekä Dino De Laurentiista, jotka antoivat hänelle mahdollisuuden tehdä juuri sellaisia elokuvia kuin hän halusi. Tämä johti Blue Velvet – ja sinisempi oli yö (1986) -elokuvan kaltaisiin taiteellisiin ja palkittuihin menestyksiin.

Rakkaus ihmisiin ja ideoihin

Lähes kaikki McKennanin haastattelemat Lynchin kanssa työskennelleet tunnetut kollegat kuin yksittäiset yhteistyökumppanitkin piirtävät kuvan positiivista energiaa ympärilleen säteilevästä karismaattisesta auteurista. Toisten ihmisten kunnioituksen kautta hyvän ilmapiirin kuvauspaikalle luova ohjaaja on saanut monet heistä palaamaan yhteistyöhön hänen kanssaan. Lynchin vetoavan persoonan taustalla sanotaan vaikuttavan hänen harrastamansa transsendenttisen meditaation luoma vahvan positiivisen läsnäolon ja rauhan ilmapiiri.

Menestysten ja pettymysten kanssa pärjääminen on luonut haasteita taiteilijaan kohdistuville odotuksille, vaikka muuten töihinsä uppoutuva Lynch ei suhtaudu itsetarkoituksellisesti asemaansa. Taiteilijantyö on kuitenkin vienyt paljon aikaa hänen perhe-elämältään, jota kuljetetaan kirjassa eniten tilaa vievän uran taustalla. Lynchin useat suhteet ja avioliitot ovat olleet hänen mukaansa kuin elokuvia, joissa ihmiset tulevat ja menevät. Lynchin rooli poissaolevana, mutta läheisenä isänä lapsilleen, erityisesti Jennifer-tyttärelle, tuodaan pinnalle.

Parhaan osan kirjaa muodostavat Lynchin persoonan sävyttämät spontaanit kertomukset hänen elämänkokemuksistaan ja ajatustensa synnystä, mitkä luovat kuvaa eksentrisestä, mutta myös syvästä ajattelijasta ja tinkimättömästä taiteilijasta, joka tekee sitä, mitä rakastaa. Omaa tietään kulkenut Lynch liittää lahjakkuutensa mielikuvituksen vapaaseen virtaamiseen, jossa hänen saamansa ideat yhdistyvät monikerroksiseksi arkea ja mielikuvitusta yhdistäviksi taideteoksiksi, jotka voivat saada elokuvallisen tai jonkin muun muodon.

Los Angelesiin asettunut ja sinne kotistudionsa luonut Lynch on työskennellyt samanaikaisesti kymmenissä taideprojekteissa muun muassa kuvataiteen, musiikin ja internet-sisältöjen luomisen parissa. Yhteistyön lisäksi hän on vaikutusvaltansa lisääntyessä myös auttanut aloittelevia taiteilijoita etenemään alalla. Lynchin intohimo taiteentekemiseen mahdollisuuksiin tilanteessa kuin tilanteessa tulee voimakkaasti esiin. Häntä on kuvattu monialaiseksi taiteilijaksi, ja vaikka se ei ole enää nykytaiteen kentällä erityistä, Lynch on osaltaan ollut yksi sen edelläkävijöistä.

Tilaa unelmoida pyrkii haastatteluiden ja kulissien takaisten valokuvien kautta maalaaman kokonaiskuvan Lynchin tähänastisesta urasta, mutta laajan yhteenvedon sijaan se on, kohteensa tavoin, parhaimmillaan yksittäisten surrealistissävytteisten hetkien kuvauksessa. Teosta voi suositella kaikille Lynchin persoonasta tai urasta kiinnostuneille: se auttaa ymmärtämään keskeisimpiä tekijöitä ja ideoita, jotka ovat vaikuttaneet hänen teostensa synnyn taustalla. Täydellistä selitystä ei kuitenkaan saada eikä Lynch sitä kenties edes halua lukijalle antaa.

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Dale Cooper – liian hyvä ollakseen todellinen?

Pasi Heininen
pajuhe [a] utu.fi
FM, Tohtorikoulutettava
Kulttuurihistoria, Turun yliopisto


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Heininen, Pasi. 2021. ”Dale Cooper – liian hyvä ollakseen todellinen?”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/dale-cooper-liian-hyva-ollakseen-todellinen/

Kirja-arvio Scott Frostin teoksesta Twin Peaks: Dale Cooperin omaelämäkerta (The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes, 1991). Suomentanut Anja Meripirtti (vuoden 2016 painos). Otava, Helsinki 206 sivua.

FBI-agentti Dale Cooperin tulo Twin Peaksnimiseen pikkukaupunkiin tv-sarjan Twin Peaks (1990) alussa teki välittömän vaikutuksen moniin katsojiin, ja näyttelijä Kyle MacLachlanin roolisuoritusta voisi hyvällä syyllä pitää täydellisenä onnistumisena. Sarja saavutti valtaisan suosion myös Suomessa, ja kaikkialla pohdittiin kuka murhasi Laura Palmerin.

Sarjan suosion vanavedessä, varsin tuoreeltaan, heti 90-luvun alussa julkaistiin kaksi kirjaa. Laura Palmerin päiväkirjaa käsiteltiin jo tv-sarjassa, ja se julkaistiin David Lynchin tyttären Jenniferin kirjoittamana kirjana Twin Peaks: Laura Palmerin salainen päiväkirja (Twin Peaks: The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, 1990). Seuraavana vuonna Twin Peaksin faneja ilahdutettiin Scott Frostin kirjoittamalla Twin Peaks: Dale Cooperin omaelämäkerta (The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes, 1991).

Scott Frost on sarjan David Lynchin kanssa luoneen ja tuottaneen Mark Frostin veli ja sarjassa tohtori Haywardia näytelleen Warren Frostin poika. Hän on toiminut myös käsikirjoittajana, ja on kirjoittanut jaksoja Twin Peaksiin ja muihin tv-sarjoihin. 2000-luvulla hän on kirjoittanut myös viisiosaisen romaanisarjan. Dale Cooperin omaelämäkerta onkin hänen esikoisromaaninsa, ja se vaikuttaisi ainakin Suomessa jääneen jostain syystä Laura Palmerin päiväkirjaa vähemmälle huomiolle, joskin monet ovat pitäneet Frostin kirjaa näistä kahdesta parempana.

Twin Peaks -televisiosarjasta tuli tutuksi FBI:n erikoisagentti Dale Cooperin tapa puhua nauhurille. Näin ollen onkin varsin hyvä ratkaisu, että Cooperin omaelämäkertakin pohjautuu ääninauhoihin. Cooper sai ensimmäisen nauhurinsa 13-vuotiaana joululahjaksi vuonna 1967, ja on siitä lähtien tallentanut ajatuksiaan ja kokemuksiaan nauhurille. Eikä nauhuri suinkaan ollut heti se tv-sarjasta tuttu taskunauhuri, vaan ensimmäinen oli kelanauhuri, joka kulki mukana repussa ja teknologian kehityksen myötä nauhurin koko pieneni ja muuttui kasettinauhuriksi.

Kirjassa seurataan päiväysten mukaan lineaarisesti Dale Cooperin kasvua koululaisesta FBI:n agentiksi. Mukaan mahtuu monia jännittäviä ja traagisiakin kokemuksia, mutta myös hauskoja hetkiä. Dale Cooper oli jo hyvin varhain kiinnostunut FBI:sta, jonka hän katsoi parhaaksi väyläksi taistella pahuutta vastaan. Hyvän ja pahan välinen ikuinen kamppailu olikin kantava voima hänen elämän tiellä. Mukana on nauhoitteiden lisäksi joitakin hänen lapsuuden ystäviensä, kollegoidensa ja muiden elämänpolulla vastaan tulleiden välihuomautuksia, sekä muutama kirje.

Kirjan loppupuolella agentti Cooper käyttää tv:stä tuttua taskukokoista nauhuria, ja alkaa kohdistaa puheet sarjasta tuttuun tapaan sihteerilleen Dianelle, joka pääsee tämän kirjan myötä itsekin ensi kertaa ääneen. Lisäksi kirjassa kuvataan jonkin verran aikakauden politiikkaa ja tapahtumia, kuten kuuhun laskeutumista ja Watergate-skandaalia. Kirja päättyy siihen mistä Twin Peaks -televisiosarjan ensimmäinen kausi alkaa.

Dale Cooperin hahmo on hyvin omintakeinen persoona ja kirjan avulla pääsee jonkin verran syvemmälle tämän mielenliikkeisiin, mutta kaikkea tämäkään teos ei paljasta. Siitä pitävät osittain huolen harmittavat maininnat tuhoutuneista tai FBI:n arkistoissa säilytettävistä nauhoista, sekä pitkät ajanjaksot joilta ei nauhoituksia ole. Joitakin lisäselvyyksiä, vastauksia ja vahvistuksia saadaan toki, kuten hänen mieltymyksensä kahviin, tai miksi hän on niin taitava pelaamaan blackjackia. Tv-sarjan toisella kaudella mukaan tulleen Windom Earlen taustoja kirja avaa myös mukavasti.

Kyle MacLachlan näytteli David Lynchin elokuvassa Blue Velvet – Ja sinisempi oli yö (Blue Velvet, 1986) pikkukaupungin nuorukaista Jeffrey Beaumontia. Tätä hahmoa on pidetty myös Dale Cooperin nuorempana versiona. Lukukokemuksesta voi hyvinkin löytää tätä ajatusta vahvistavia piirteitä.

Kirja on helppolukuinen ja toisaalta harmittavan lyhyt, mutta sisältää joitakin erittäin hienoja oivalluksia, joista erityisen mielenkiintoisia olivat Dale Cooperin tekemät toimintakykyihin vaikuttavat kokeet ja itsetutkiskelut. Kirjaa olisi ehkä kannattanut kypsyttää hieman pidempään, niin siinä olisi ollut aineksia varmasti vielä mielenkiintoisempaan lopputulokseen. Kirjassa piilee yksi harmittava piirre, jota esiintyy myös muussa Twin Peaks -kirjallisuudessa: ne eivät aina ole kaikilta osin synkassa Twin Peaks -tv-sarjan tai Twin Peaks – Tuli kulje kanssani (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, 1992) -elokuvan kanssa.

Kirja tuskin toimisi itsenäisenä teoksena, vaan se on hyvin vahvasti kytkettynä Twin Peaksiin ja suunnattu sarjan ja Dale Cooperin hahmon tunteville. Äänitemuotoinen ilmaisutapa toimii hyvin, ja on helppoa kuvitella agentti Cooperin ääni kertomaan asioita. Nuhteettomuuden perikuvanakin tunnettu Dale Cooper on inhimillinen hahmo omine heikkouksineen ja kaikesta hyvyydestään huolimatta varsin todellisen tuntuinen.

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David Lynch ja Valkoinen peura

Kimmo Ahonen
kimmo.ahonen [a] tuni.fi
FT
Tampereen yliopisto, Porin yliopistokeskus


Viittaaminen / How to cite: Ahonen, Kimmo. 2021. ”David Lynch ja Valkoinen peura”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/2021-1-2/david-lynch-ja-valkoinen-peura/

Kirja-arvio Niko Jutilan teoksesta Poikki! – Toteutumattomat kotimaiset elokuvat. Aviador Kustannus, Helsinki 2020, 480 s.

Kariutuneisiin elokuvahankkeisiin pureutuva Niko Jutilan teos tarjoaa kiehtovia, surullisia ja surkuhupaisia tarinoita suomalaisen elokuvan historiasta. Valkoisen peuran (1952) 1980-lukuinen uudelleenfilmatisointi on niistä herkullisimpia.

Peter von Bagh totesi aikanaan, että elokuva tarjoaa vaihtoehtoisen näkymän toteutuneeseen historiaan. Elokuva näyttää maailman sellaisena kuin se olisi voinut olla. Elokuvan historialla on myös oma sisäinen vaihtoehtohistoriansa, johon kuuluvat tärkeänä osana toteutumattomat elokuvat eli tarinat elokuvahankkeista, jotka eivät koskaan päässeet maalin asti.

Niko Jutila haukkaa teoksessaan ison palan suomalaista elokuvahistoriaa. Tarkastelun kohteena on joukko toteutumattomia elokuvahankkeita suomalaisen elokuvan alkuvuosikymmeniltä aina 1990-luvun loppuun asti. Vanhan Suomi-Filmin toteutumattomia hankkeita on tosin esitelty vain muutamia. Teoksen ajallinen painopiste on erityisesti studiokauden jälkeisessä 1960‒1990 -luvun elokuvassa.

Kyse ei ole systemaattisesta kokonaisesityksestä, eikä sellaista voi odottaakaan. Toteutumattomien elokuvien lista on vähintään yhtä pitkä kuin toteutuneiden, joten kaikki ei mahdu yhteen teokseen. Teksti rakentuu yksittäisten elokuvahankkeiden esittelyjen varaan ja toimii nimenomaan ansiokkaana tietokirjana. Lähdetyönsä Jutila on tehnyt perusteellisesti hyödyntämällä KAVIn arkistoja, joten teoksella on myös tutkimuksellista arvoa. Elokuvahankkeiden käsikirjoitusversiot ja tuotantopäätökset käydään seikkaperäisesti läpi, paikoin jo uuvuttavallakin täsmällisyydellä.

Ulkoasultaan ja väljältä rivivälitykseltään teos näyttää painetulta opinnäytetyöltä, mutta sen ei pidä antaa hämätä. Miellyttävän selväsanaisesti kirjoitettu teos tarjoaa erittäin mielenkiintoista uutta tai vähän tunnettua tietoa sekä anekdootteja kaikille suomalaisen elokuvan ystäville. Millainen olisi ollut Jörn Donnerin ja Matti Kassilan versio Tuntemattomasta sotilaasta 1970-luvulla? Entä Rauni Mollbergin versio Kivenpyörittäjän kylästä? Moni kirjassa kuvatuista hankkeista on tosin niin erikoisia, ettei niiden kariutumista voi juuri ihmetellä. Vai miltä kuulostaisi elokuva aiheesta Pekka ja Pätkä homoina? Ehkä suomalainen elokuva on myös selvinnyt ilman sellaista hengentuotetta kuin Kauppaneuvos Paukku ja murhamakkara.

Valkoisen peuran tuotantofantasia

Jutilan kuvausta toteutumattomista tai muotoaan muuttaneista elokuvahankkeista voi lukea myös elokuvapiirien verkostohistoriana. Piirit olivat (ja ovat) pienet, ja elokuvatekijät kilpailivat rahoituksesta, välillä toisiaan tukien ja usein myös kampittaen.

Suomalainen elokuva on kiinnostanut myös kansainvälisiä rahoittajia. Kiinnostus on yleensä ollut ihan eri asia kuin toteutunut rahoitus. Teoksen masentavimpia lukuja onkin kuvaus Päivi Hartzellin kiehtovan Don Quijoten paluu -elokuvahankkeen kaatumisesta 1990-luvun alussa.

Tähän kv-aspektiin liittyy myös teoksen eräs kutkuttavimmista episodeista, pyrkimys Valkoisen peuran (1952) uudelleenfilmatisointiin 1980‒1990 -luvulla. Tarina itsessään on jo kuin elokuva, ja vieläpä sellainen, jossa myös David Lynch seikkailee mukana. Kiitos Niko Jutilan, tämäkin elokuvahaave on nyt taltioitu kirjan kansien väliin lukijoiden ihmeteltäväksi.

Erik Blombergin ohjaama ‒ ja yhdessä Mirjami Kuosmasen kanssa käsikirjoittama ‒ Valkoinen peura sai jo ilmestyessään kansainvälistä huomiota. Elokuva palkittiin vuonna 1953 Cannesissa parhaana taruaiheisena elokuvana ja vuonna 1956 se voitti Golden Globen parhaana vieraskielisenä elokuvana.

Yhdysvalloissa asunut Eila Ketola oli palavasti kiinnostunut Valkoisesta peurasta, ja hän sai jo 1970-luvun lopulla Erik Blombergilta luvan hakea rahoitusta uudelleenfilmatisoinnille. Vaasassa syntynyt Eila Ketola oli lähtenyt nuorena rapakon taakse opiskelemaan. Hänen intialaistaustainen aviomiehensä johti Indo-American Film Corporationia, joka oli aikanaan ostanut oikeudet Noita palaa elämään -elokuvan (1952) USA:n levitysoikeuksiin.

Ketola sai 1980-luvulla houkuteltua MTV Oy:n filmipäällikkö Jaakko Tervasmäen mukaan Valkoisen peuran uudelleenfilmatisoinnin suunnitteluun. Sen myötä Mäkelän suvun johtama Finnkino Oy kiinnostui myös hankkeen rahoittamisesta. Mäkelöillä, toisin kuin Ketolalla, oli oikeita Hollywood-kontakteja. Mäkelöiden johdolla hanketta esiteltiinkin 20th Century Foxin kansainvälisen levitysosaston johtajalle helmikuussa 1988. Vastaanotto oli innostunutta. Vaikka rahoituskuvio oli yhä epäselvä, elokuvalle kaavailtiin jo ohjaajaa ja pääosanesittäjää.

Mäkelät esittivät rahoituksensa ehdoksi, että pääosaan (alkuperäisversion Mirjami Kuosmasen rooliin) tulisi Isabella Rossellini. Tämä idea ei miellyttänyt Erik Blombergia, joka omisti yhä oikeudet käsikirjoitukseen ja joka olisi halunnut pääosaan Nastassja Kinskin. Mäkelöiden kanta voitti ja Rossellini ilmaisi kiinnostuksensa roolitarjousta kohtaan. Miespääosaan (Kalervo Nissilän rooliin) haaveiltiin Richard Gereä. Seuraavaksi haarukoitiin sitten sopivaa ohjaajaa.

Ohjaajiksi eri vaiheissa kaavailtujen nimien lista on huikeaa luettavaa: Peter Weir, Terrence Malick, John Boorman, Nicholas Roeg, Andrei Konchalowski, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Hector Babenco, Paul Morrissey, Milos Forman, David Lynch ‒ ja Akira Kurosawa! Siinä on melkoinen kattaus elokuvahistoriaa. Osa näistä (mm. Malick) oli toki vain nimiä paperilla, mutta osa oli saanut käsikirjoituksen luettavakseen (ainakin Weir, Konchalowski ja Boorman), hankkeesta kuitenkaan innostumatta.

Ken Russellin Valkoinen Peura

Isabella Rossellinin mukanaolo nosti ohjaajakeskusteluihin yhdeksi vaihtoehdoksi David Lynchin. Olihan Rossellinin vangitseva roolisuoritus Lynchin elokuvassa Blue Velvet – ja sinisempi oli yö (Blue Velvet, 1986) vielä tuoreessa muistissa, ja Rossellini oli tuolloin Lynchin naisystävä. Neuvottelut Lynchin kanssa kaatuivat kuitenkin rahaan.

Voimme siis vain kuvitella Lynchin filmografian, jossa elokuvien Blue Velvet – ja sinisempi oli yö ja Villi sydän (Wild at Hart, 1990) välissä olisi Suomessa kuvattu, Rossellinin ja Geren tähdittämä Valkoinen peura. Kuvitelmista on tosin pitkä matka todellisuuteen. Valkoista peuraa ei ole mainittu Lynchin toteutumattomien elokuvien listoilla, joten kyse on ollut vain alustavista tunnusteluista.

Mäkelöiden ja Ketolan ohjaajametsästys tuotti silti lopulta erinomaisen kiinnostavaa tulosta. Kulttimainetta nauttinut brittiohjaaja Ken Russell, jonka persoonalliseen tuotantoon kuului niin rock-oopperoita (Tommy, 1975) kuin tieteiskauhua (Muutostiloja, 1980), vieraili syksyllä 1988 Helsingissä Rakkautta ja anarkiaa -festivaalilla. Russellin kanssa samaan ravintolaan sattunut Jussi Mäkelä keksi ehdottaa tälle Valkoisen peuran ohjaamista.

Käsikirjoituksen luettuaan Russell oli aidosti kiinnostunut hankkeesta ja suostui ohjaajaksi. Niinpä National-Filmin toimitusjohtaja Marko Röhr lensi Lontooseen käymään hänen kanssaan neuvotteluja budjetista. Valkoisen peuran kauhufantasian toteuttamisessa Russell olisi epäilemättä ollut mies paikallaan, tai ainakin lopputulos olisi voinut olla varsin eksentrinen. Erik Blomberg ei tosin Russellin ohjaajataidoista ollut vakuuttunut, vaan piti tätä ”karkeiden kauhu- ja vampyyrielokuvien” ohjaajana

Tämäkin jäi vain jossitteluksi, sillä rahoituspohjassa oli yhä ammottavia aukkoja, eikä Ketolan ja Mäkelöiden kiistely provisioistaan edesauttanut asiaa. Lopulta talousvaikeuksiin ajautunut Finnkino vetäytyi hankkeesta vuonna 1990, ja sen myötä kuviosta poistuivat myös Ken Russell ja 20th Century Fox.

Eila Ketola ei luovuttanut, vaan jatkoi rahoituksen hakemista suorastaan pakkomielteenomaisesti yrittäen saada mm. pääomasijoittaja Pentti Kourilta apua. Ketola tarjosi elokuvaa Renny Harlinin ohjattavaksi ja tiedusteli Uma Thurmania pääosaan. Thurman oli suostuvainen, mutta olisi vaatinut palkkioksi miljoona dollaria. Lopulta Erik Blomberg väsyi päättymättömiin tuotantoneuvotteluihin ja ilmoitti, että hänen osaltaan asia oli loppuun käsitelty. Ketola jatkoi tästäkin huolimatta, mutta valmista ei tullut – eikä ole sen jälkeen tullut muiltakaan yrittäjiltä.

Valkoisen Peuran uudelleenfilmatisointi odottaa yhä tekijäänsä.

Kategoriat
1–2/2021 WiderScreen 24 (1–2) Ajankohtaista

Kuppi kahvia ja donitsilaatikko – Twin Peaksin uudelleenheräämisen äärellä

Twin Peaks, David Lynch

Petri Saarikoski
petsaari [a] utu.fi
Päätoimittaja
Yliopistonlehtori
Digitaalinen kulttuuri
Turun yliopisto

Viittaaminen / How to cite: Saarikoski, Petri. 2021. ”Kuppi kahvia ja donitsilaatikko – Twin Peaksin uudelleenheräämisen äärellä”. WiderScreen 24 (1-2). http://widerscreen.fi/numerot/ajankohtaista/kuppi-kahvia-ja-donitsilaatikko-twin-peaksin-uudelleenheraamisen-aarella/


Kesällä tajusin järkytyksekseni, että Twin Peaksin kaksi ensimmäistä tuotantokautta olivat hävinneet sitä tarjonneen suoratoistopalvelun valikoimista. Olin varannut loma-ajan tuoreuttaakseni nuoruuden ajan merkkisarjaa todella pitkän tauon jälkeen, mutta edessä olikin ensin pakollinen vierailu verkkokauppaan, josta hankin kaikki kolme tuotantokautta kokoelmiini. Vastoinkäymiseni on varsin tyypillinen kuluttajakokemus viime vuosilta. Tekniikka kehittyy ja vanhojen formaattien uudistuminen on pelkästään myönteistä, mutta suoratoistopalveluiden vahvistuminen on avannut eteemme kiinnostavia kysymyksiä kuluttajan asemasta muutoksen keskellä. Nykyisin vallitsevana tendenssinä on, että et omista tuotetta tai voi tallentaa (ainakaan kovin helposti) sitä itsellesi myöhempää käyttöä varten. Kuluttajana olet pelkkä vuokraaja. Suurimmalle osalle tämä ei tuota isompaa ongelmaa, koska keskinkertaista roskaa tulee joka kanavalta vastaan niin paljon, että tarvetta sen omistamiseen tai tallentamiseen ei ole. Tilanne mutkistuu, kun johonkin elokuvaan tai sarjaan haluaa tutustua uudelleen ja mahdollisesti halu omistaa se nousee uudelleen esiin. Twin Peaks on hyvä esimerkki tällaisesta halusta, joten itseni kannalta oli jopa hyödyllistä, että sain näin vahvistettua suhteeni siihen materiaaliselta pohjalta. Hankintaa ei ole tosiaan tarvinnut katua.

Kiinnostukseni Twin Peaksiin heräsi, kun aloimme yhdessä kanssatoimittajien kanssa suunnitella WiderScreen-journaalille David Lynch -erikoisnumeroa tämän vuoden keväällä. Näin sarjan alun perin suorana televisiolähetyksenä. Oli vuodenvaihde 1990–1991, ja olin kirjoittamassa itseäni ylioppilaaksi. Intouduin niin paljon sarjasta, että kirjoitin siitä jopa katselupäiväkirjaa. Kaivoin tekstit uudelleen esiin, ja jouduin hautaamaan ne vaivihkaa takaisin kotiarkiston pohjalle. Joitain asioita ei vain kannata nostaa enää esiin, koska ensivaikutelmat ja niiden kirjaukset voivat olla suorastaan nolon lapsellisia.

Onko Twin Peaks edelleen kuitenkin mestariteos? Ainakin televisiosarjojen historiaa tarkastellessa tähän voidaan vastata myönteisesti. On kuitenkin täysin toinen asia, kuinka syvällisestä ja tähän päivään istuvasta katselukokemusta voidaan puhua. Omalta kohdaltani katselukokemuksessa oli nostalginen suhde, mutta varsinkin klassiseen asemaan nostetun 14. jakson jälkeen huomasin selkeitä epätasaisuuksia juonen kulussa, huonosti rakennettua ja vaivaannuttavaa huumoria sekä juonta väkisin eteenpäin lykkiviä henkilöhahmoja. David Lynch -fanithan vannovat edelleen sarjan nimeen, ja pitävät sitä ohjaajan uran ylivoimaisena merkkipaaluna – näin siitäkin huolimatta, että sarja on luotu Mark Frostin kanssa yhteistyönä ja valtaosa sen sisällöstä on vierailevien tekijöiden käsialaa. David Lynchillähän oli melko ristiriitainen suhde televisiosarjoihin, ja hän suosi taiteilijana 1990-luvulla vielä täyspitkiä elokuva, joita tuotti vaihtelevalla menestyksellä: milloin vain hänellä sattui olemaan ylimääräistä aikaa maalaushommilta ja milloin sai ylipuhuttua rahoittajat riskialttiiden projektien taakse. Lynch on vastahakoisesti tunnustanut, että televisiosarjoissa oli kuitenkin “hölmöä vetovoimaa“.

Samanlainen suhde Lynchillä on ollut myös tekniikan kehittymiseen. 2000-luvun puolella internetiin aikaisemmin hieman vastahakoisesti suhtautunut ohjaaja alkoi yhä enemmän toteuttaa pienempiä projekteja omilla verkkosivuillaan, ja toistaiseksi viimeiseksi täyspitkäksi elokuvaksi jäänyt jopa Lynchin mittakaavalla hyvin epäselväksi ja ylipitkäksi osoittautunut Inland Empire (2006) on hyvä esimerkki tästä muutoksesta. Taiteilija haluaa aina toteuttaa visioitaan tietyllä tavalla, ja minimoida viihdeteollisuuden kädenjäljen tuotannoissa.

Ehkä parhaiten Lynchin omat visiot ja toteutustavat tulevatkin esille 2017 julkaistussa Twin Peaksin kolmannessa tuotantokaudessa (tunnetaan “lynchmäisen“ koukeroisesti joko nimellä Twin Peaks: The Return tai Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series), jossa alkuperäisen ennusteen mukaisesti agentti Dale Cooper jatkaa siihen mihin kaksikymmentä viisi sitten jäätiin. Kolmas tuotantokausi, joka alun perin julkaistiin vain rajoitetulla levityksellä, sai kriitikoilta ansaitsemaansa ylistystä ja sitä on pidetty yhtenä parhaimmista 2010-luvulla julkaistuista televisiosarjoista.

Tätä kirjoittaessani olen katsonut vasta hieman yli puolet sarjasta, ja katselutahti on hidastanut sitä mukaan, kun poikkeusvuosi on vain pidentynyt. Toteutustapa on niin monisyinen ja laukkaava, että katsojan keskittymiskykyä piinataan oikein kunnolla. Juoni on parhaimmillaan yhtä surrealistinen kuin Lynchin esikoisohjaus Eraserhead (1977). Näennäisestä nostalgisesta pohjavireestä huolimatta tuotantokaudella on oikeastaan melko vähän tekemistä alkuperäisen sarjan kanssa. Kysymys on kuitenkin enemmän yleisen tunnelman luomasta kontrastista. Vinksahtanut huumorikin on väännetty sellaiselle mutkalle, että niissä on samaa tehoa kuin mustan kirjavissa vitseissä hautajaistilaisuudessa, jossa osanottajamäärä on rajoitettu kymmeneen. Katsellessa kyllä kahvia kuluu, ja donitsilaatikko on jatkuvasti auki, mutta pause-näppäintä on pakko painaa melkein kymmenen minuutin välein, ja pohdiskella mitä ihmettä juuri kuvaruudulla tapahtui. Agentti Cooperin monikerronnallisten persoonallisuuksien seikkailut kun saattavat välillä katketa räjähtävän atomipommin psykedeelisiin kamera-ajoihin.

David Lynch on aina jakanut mielipiteitä, mutta ainakin Twin Peaksin kolmas tuotantokausi osoittaa, millaiselle tasolle hän audiovisuaalisena taiteilijana pystyy. Keskeneräisenä katselukokemuskin paljastaa, että se tulee puhuttelemaan katselijoita vielä pitkään. WiderScreenin ensi vuoden David Lynch -numerossa tulemme näkemään lisää analyysiä sarjasta, ja jo nyt palautettujen käsikirjoitusten perusteella sarja on osoittautunut tutkijoille huomattavan haastavaksi mutta puhuttelevaksi kohteeksi. Alkuperäisiin tuotantosarjoihin verrattuna se ei kuitenkaan ole missään tapauksessa vanhan uudelleenlämmittelyä vaan ammattimaisella asenteella tehty tinkimätön taideteos. Jää myös nähtäväksi onko kysymys 74 vuotta täyttäneen David Lynchin “pääteoksesta“, joka on synteesi monista hänen tärkeimmistä visioistaan.

David Lynch on tunnetusti ollut aika haluton avaamaan tuotantojensa syvempiä merkityksiä ja jättänyt tulkinnat katsojan harkinnan varaan. Olen jäänyt myös miettimään, olisiko sarja edes syntynyt ilman uuden teknologian, tässä tapauksessa suoratoistopalveluiden suomaa vapautta. Sen monimutkainen tuotantohistoria joka tapauksessa viittaa siihen, että sarjan synty oli hyvin kivulias prosessi. Twin Peaksin kolmas tuleminen tuo näiltä osin mieleeni hänen toisen mestariteoksensa, Mulholland Driven (2001). Elokuvanhan tausta – hämäräperäisesti kuolleen Marilyn Monroen henkilöhahmo – oli kummitellut Lyncin visioissa jo 1980-luvulta lähtien, ja toimi vähintäänkin innoittajana Twin Peaksin Laura Palmerin murhamysteerille. Alun perin Mulholland Driven piti olla televisiosarja, mutta tuotantoyhtiö ei myöntänyt rääpien kasaan vedetyn pilottijakson perusteella sille rahoitusta. Hieman onnekkaasti ranskalainen Canal+ -yhtiön osoitti kiinnostusta projektia kohtaan, ja pitkien neuvottelujen jälkeen elokuvalle myönnettiin rahoitus ja kuvaukset alkoivat uudelleen. Lopputuloksena syntyi metariteos, jota edelleenkin pidetään yhtenä tärkeimmistä 2000-luvun ensimmäisellä vuosikymmenellä julkaistusta täyspitkästä elokuvasta.

Mulholland Drive on hyvä esimerkki siitä, miten David Lynchin tuotannot kietoutuvat toisiinsa ja esittelevät teemoittain jotain tuttu ja vanhaa, mutta kiehtovuus tulee aina siitä ainutkertaisesta tavasta, jolla audiovisuaalinen taide rakennetaan. Itselleni Mulholland Drive oli myös yksi tärkeimmistä 2000-luvun alun elokuvakokemuksista. Twin Peaksin kohdalla sen näkeminen ylioppilaskirjoitusten aikaan jätti minuun oman lähtemättömän vaikutuksensa. Vahvin suhde elokuvaan tai televisiosarjaan syntyykin ensimmäisellä katselukokemuksella, myöhempinä vuosina tuota suhdetta voi vaalia ja jopa hylätä hetkeksi. Välttämättä kysymys ei ole minkään erityisen fanisuhteen rakentumisesta, mutta yhtä lailla kokemuksesta joka on hyvin tärkeä ja osa kunkin yksilön elämäntarinaa.

Jälkisanat

Näiden tunnelmien pohjana alkaa WiderScreenin 24. julkaisuvuosi, joka epäilemättä tuo taas uusia haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia kotimaisen tiedetoimittamisen kentällä. Monimediaalisena tuottajana tunnettu David Lynch on mitä sopivin teema, joka puhuttelee laajaa-alaista kuluttajien ja tutkijoiden kohdeyleisöä. Emme koskaan tiedä mihin päädymme, mikä onkin “lynchmäisestä“ perspektiivistä katsottuna sopivan jännittävä tapa tehdä matkaa.

Päätoimittajana haluan vielä erikseen toivottaa toimituskunnan puolesta lukijoillemme hyvää ja turvallista vuodenvaihdetta! Isoin kiitos menee jälleen kaikille teille, jotka olette tavalla tai toisella osallistuneet journaalin toimintaan. Keväällä ilmestynyt “Taidekritiikki“ -numero syntyi tarpeesta koota alan tutkimuksia ja käytännönläheisempiä tekstejä saman teeman alle. Pohjana oli erityisesti molempien toimittajien monivuotinen kokemus yliopistotasoisten kritiikki- ja kirjoituskurssien vetäjinä. Kiitokset Rosenqvistin Juhalle inspiraatiosta ja vuosien ajan jatkuneesta sujuvasta yhteistyöstä! Kesällä ilmestynyt ja pitkään työstössä ollut “Home Computer Cultures and Society Before the Internet Age“ oli kotitietokonekulttuurin tutkijoiden voimannäytös. Taputukset kansainvälisille yhteistyökumppaneille Gleb J. Albertille ja Julia Erdoganille sekä tietenkin toimituskunnan Markku Reunaselle!

Olen myös iloinen, että pystyimme tänäkin vuonna tarjoamaan ammattitutkijoille sopivan julkaisufoorumin teemanumeroiden ulkopuolelta Ajankohtaista-palstalla. Saamamme myönteinen palaute on kovasti ilahduttanut ja nostanut mielialaa tämän synkän vuoden aikana. Niiden pohjalta on helpompi jatkaa ja luoda uskoa tulevaan.

Porin yliopistokeskuksessa

Perjantaina 21. joulukuuta 2020