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Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Jasper Annex

It was harmless curiosity at first. Sylvia and I were bored, so we decided that instead of waiting in the foyer we'd do a little exploring. We ambled down one wood-panelled corridor after another, ignored by security, the hallway floor graded slightly downward all the way. Before long the wood gave way to gleaming walls of silver and black, while the carpeted floor transitioned to hard marble. We came to a single elevator; a bald man with a grey goatee gestured us inside, but didn't join us in the car. I leaned against the back of Sylvia's wheelchair; she looked up at me and shrugged. We were on our way with time to kill.

The elevator door opened and suddenly we were swimming through an underground river, kicking and paddling our way through floodlit stone catacombs. We breached the surface several minutes later and swam into another hallway, none the worse for wear; our clothes weren't even wet. This time the floor was carpeted again, though the walls retained their modern silver and black look. The hall was like a corkscrew driven deep into the earth; down, down and down we walked, passing many doors that led to offices and schools and laboratories.

At last we came to a large set of oak double doors, above which huge bold type declared "OBSERVATORY." But we didn't enter, because a custodian popped out of the wall and waved us over to his side. We followed, and he led us down a darkened service tunnel that ended in a horizontal arrow-slit, through which we peered and beheld a sprawling suburb beneath a cement sky.

The custodian pointed at a drain at the suburb's outskirts, a bottomless black hole.

"That's where we throw all the dirt," he explained.

"Is this a bomb shelter of some kind? A sanctuary?"

The custodian only shrugged. Our hotel room in Jasper, kilometers above our heads, waited. But we'd never return.

1 comment:

"Jeff Of The People" said...

There's a two-bit psychoanalytical theory to your dream state, if you're willing to sit still for it.

Jung was a strong believer in dream imagery, and took Freud's symbolism as a template for certain dreams. This has been exploited both in psychoanalysis as well as in popular entertainment.

Dreaming of structures like hotels and houses is very common. The various rooms refer to the compartmentalization of our lives. If we wander into a particular room, we usually end up engaged in some kind of thematic adventure.
The levels or floors are particularly telling. The main floor contains the ego and represents our most common mode of existence. Upper floors belong to the superego, where we contain our identity. Lower floors hold the id, where our base animal instincts and actions lie.

A strong popular (and flawed) example is Norman Bates' famous house in Psycho. Norman usually lives in the main floor, he goes upstairs to speak to the corpse of his mother, and in the basement is where he succumbs to his whackjob tendencies.

Hitch frequently used psychoanalytic imagery in his films. Whether or not you believe in the stuff, it works as cinematic shorthand. After you've watched enough good movies, no doubt that sort of stuff will seep into your subconscious and your dreams, and in your case, your artwork.