Here is Maggie Nelson– after describing the way that some colors– blues for instance– “fall out” of films when they are transferred to digital– quoting Mike Kelley in her book Bluets: “My removal arose not from a conscious decision, but was simply a natural fading away from film… we have become filmic language, and when we look at the screen all we see is ourselves. So what is there to fall into or be consumed by? When looking at something that purports to be you, all you can do is comment in whether you feel it is a good resemblance or not. Is it a flattering portrait? This is a conscious, clearly ego-directed, activity.”
The last sustained period of insomnia I had was now several years ago. Probably many. Before Netflix changed its website and lost me forever. I used to watch movies in the evening and then when I still couldn’t sleep I’d get drunk and spend hours “rating” every movie I could find that I’d seen. I wanted an organized list of everything I had taken in. It had something to do with tracking and logging aspects of memory, and partly to do with using a corporate devise for very personal purposes– but it was also, as Kelley suggests in another but related scenario– about building a self-portrait out of a history of consumption. I wanted to build the self-portrait and I wanted the awesome surfing feeling from the website, but I didn’t do it for an audience– I did it the way you do it when you watch a movie. I let the machine watch.
But I don’t watch movies any more either. Or get drunk or suffer insomnia.