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October 30th, 2012 / 4:24 pm
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Empire

On July 25, 1964 between 8:06 p.m. and 2:42 a.m., Andy Warhol filmed the Empire State building from the 41st floor of the Time-Life building. The 6 hour and 36 minute footage was then played at 2/3rds the speed, totaling 8:05 hours, with specific somewhat antagonistic parameters to be shown without abridgement. One imagines Warhol’s habitual shades as his own private darkened viewing of the slowness of time. In 2000, the Andy Warhol Museum created a 60 minute more watchable DVD of the film. Impatience is the best target audience. As the summer night descends in the first hour with pixelated humidity, the film enters its main inert narrative of exterior floodlights flickering in complete darkness. In 1993, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would meet atop the same building, hashing out some nuptial narrative about serendipity, and more DVDs would be sold, Don Delillo now hunched over a computer typing sparse prose about his city unplugged from the square constellations of office windows arranged in the same grid by which the streets and avenues are marked. The “unwatchability” of the film supposedly gave it meaning, like a sun so apparent by its target you trust is there without actually looking. Insecty specs from the film’s graininess betray its mimesis, and one is reminded of frames traversing over a lens with Platonic cave-like allegory. The kooks waiting for the Mayan 12-21-12 are giddy about the environment, proposing a premature end to our days. Of course, when the house lights come back on, you may consider the passed boredom a kind of performance art. Our hurricane is most unique, her chronic connectivity and swift dissemination unable to communicate the end of the world. If only we could end this world by stop counting. The deprivation of an online moment, after the battery dies, may be so fecund with actual moments — the hourglass time of a dripping faucet; the cracking jaw of a yawning cat; a fly whose mind knows not what a windowpane is — there won’t be enough film to film it. I fantasize about the end, the last text I send. Four years later, Warhol will be shot. He had misplaced a crazy person’s script, as life itself doesn’t have any lines.