Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Architecture of Inception: Combat Archaeologies

Combat Archaeology

In a discussion of the methods he laid out in his book, The Archaeology of Knowledge, the French philosopher Michel Foucault admitted:

A nightmare has haunted me me since my childhood: I am looking at a text that I can't read, or only a tiny part of it is decipherable. I pretend to read it, aware that I am inventing; then suddenly the text is completely scrambled, I can no longer read anything or even invent it, my throat tightens and I wake up. 
I can't read in my dreams, words are always garbled, but I don't experience the confusion as a nightmare - it is always a fun discovery that makes me aware that I am sleeping. But then, Foucault was a writer, and I'm a sculptor. Tellingly my most crushing childhood nightmare was nothing more than disassociated shapes and colors. The horror came because there was something monstrous about the scale of things - as if you were to look down at your fingernail and suddenly realize it was a mile thick. Christopher Nolan's Inception seems to occupy the territory that precedes the horror (both mine and Foucault's). Nolan is using the logic of dreams to build his narrative, more than their expressions. In the film dreams are deeply constructed spaces - they are architecture. The architecture of the film is stacked and collapsed layers of logic.