The idea of fragmenting reality down into a hundreds of analysed fragments really appeals to me. Essentially the Zapruder film (the famous film of Kennedy’s assassination) sums up the Twentieth Century for me: mediated politicised conspiracy theory. I wish resources like this existed for moments in South African history. Once in a presentation I made the analogy between postmodernism and the Zapruder film, in which Kennedy was a symbol of Western progress, happy and waving, until the skull is shattered by a violent rupture revealing the bloody mess on the inside. Jackie O is us, desperately scrabbling for the fragments of the skull to put together. A tragic image. Here are all 486 frames of the film.

The Warren Commission Report is another fascinating document of minutiae. It’s like a cloak of little fragments.

I like to think of these two items as the birth of conspiratorial thought (although this is probably in no accurate sense true). Metaphors, then. Its the thought that knowledge is suspect and must be studied, and that the fragments of knowledge don’t make a complete map, irrational connections must be made to fill the gaps.

Lee Harvey Oswald, the outsider, the loser, the violent rupture or the witless patsy. This is my favourite photograph ever. It’s both domestic and violent, posed, faked but revealing, empirical and suspect. And the soft tonal gradation and lens abberations making the medium so visible but so exquisite.

Zapruder | 2009 | Conspiracy, True History | Tags: , , | Comments (0)

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