Deirdre Logue

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My Jaw Aches

by Brenda Goldstein

Why Always Instead of Just Sometimes shows twelve meditations on a personal wheel of suffering. It could be mistaken for a Buddhist text about understanding our own natures: the complexities of our lives become apparent, and the perspective we gain means that we can see with perfect clarity the endlessly looping cycles that form our consciousness, our dreams and desires. The first two of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths are acknowledging suffering, and understanding that within us are the roots and creation of suffering. Stuck in a tire tread, pinched powerfully between the grooves, we spin round and round, getting hit once each rotation when we hit the ground.

There is both inevitability and futility about Deirdre’s film loops, they would repeat endlessly if we did not move onto the next scene of being beautifully flawed, beautifully doomed to repeat.

The titles “Make mess/Clean up mess” flash in succession onscreen as a pair of hands put together and take apart a “lump.” The scratched, double-exposed, looped image points to the possibility of another set of hands; it is difficult to tell if they are taking apart, or putting back together.

Two children on tricycles drive into each other and fall down. The image is looped. The accident happens again and again, with predictable results.

“I am 38 years old/and it occurs to me/I may never get a driver’s license…”

…The titles declare as line after line flashes onto the screen. They are steeped in resignation, they have the tone of a confession, but both loops demonstrate the prickling way two people come together or misalign perfectly after enough scarring life experience. A friend of mine wrote a song with the lyrics “…Two porcupines under a blanket.” The problem for porcupines is to find a way to embrace without wounding each other, something none of us seem to be able to avoid. Logue has no advice for us, only looping reoccurrences. The solution is absent, instead an uneasy resolution comes later in Wheelie: “Although I still make mistakes/I have found more people to blame.”

Beyond The Usual Limits, Parts One and Two
She crawls between the mattress and the box spring of a double bed. When I was a child I could pull the covers over my head, but now I have grown too big for that, and my problems have grown exponentially. Living between the mattress and box spring seems the logical progression, at least as effective as hiding as a lump under covers. She puts band-aids on her fingers, dozens of them, drawing attention to the number of times and amount of hurt. It is a shrieking stoicism, “Oh this? It’s just a band-aid…” it will do nothing to take away the pain. Even the soundtrack begins to drift apart, the right channel breaking away from the left, neither matching the image.

The fragments indicate the presence of others by making their absence obvious. One half of any interaction is all you can ever know, one consciousness, the rest is effect… Each scene in Logue’s video has an absent “second,” a referenced presence who never appears; it could be a relationship, or an idealized version of herself. The double exposure in Repair, the double bed, the two tricycles in Crash, stereo images in Blue. Each solitary performance reads like the re-enactment of a scene that involved someone else. The one-sided conversations in Per Seand Eclipse simultaneously invite the possibility of intimacy with another. Or are we just an automated confidant? It feels like the screen in my living room has become a fixture in her camera, turning it into an appliance for confession, or a surrogate for relating. Am I meant to be peering back through the pixels into her camera lens as her Confessadaire or her Surrogalator? Or am I just an interloper in a moment meant for someone else?

For each of these endless repetitions there is no explanation, in its absence there is a crushing anxiety. In Eclipse the blacks in the image begin to flow around her head, settling on her jaw, a river of negative energy that becomes a puddle, then a point. Folding in on itself, it drags every piece of light in as it collapses into darkness. The pooling of black in the image is like the little black holes that we carry around in our limbs, and our hearts, fueled by disappointment and resignation.

How much time do you spend thinking about unpleasant experiences that happened years ago? It is obvious with the traumatic, it is ostensible with banal disappointments. Why are you not the person you expected to be? How come your stomach still tightens if you walk into a bar and your ex is there? It has been over for years, but it still feels like a tiny splinter you can’t see to dig out if you are honest with yourself. Why do you remember the details of your break up with perfect clarity, but you don’t give a second thought to one pleasant moment that happened yesterday? It is so difficult to separate ourselves from the things we love, it is even harder to separate ourselves from the things we hate. We just keep coming back to them in thought, in deed, in word. We recreate the same dynamics with different people hoping against hope there will be a different outcome, disappointed when it is exactly the same. Around and around we go…

My jaw aches from writing this: I am grinding my teeth, just as I do when I think of all of the things I should have done, things I should have said…

Brenda Goldstein is a Toronto based artist and writer. She is currently working on a video called Spin.