Last night, I was waiting at the edge of a jetway for an unusually long moment, before finally stepping on to the plane and getting to my seat. But this isn't me complaining, because in that moment I had an unobstructed view of the cockpit.
And I love that gearhead aesthetic of wires and gauges and complicated not-for-the-layman buttons. Colors...functional colors! Blue for something, red for something else, dark purple and light purple, and yellow, and green. It reminds me of how much I loved touring CERN several years ago, not just because I got to see, uh, the Large Hadron Collider, but that it is a deeply aesthetic experience with the colors, lights, danger(!) signs with old school graphics, and the clang of footsteps on mesh steel staircases.
Perhaps I like it all because my father is an aircraft mechanic, and I have very specific memories of Take Our Daughters to Work Day at the hangar. But it is surprising to me that there has been no real cockpitpunk, no intentional embrace of the chaos of wires and buttons, at least in recent years. Nothing like say, the Casio-punk of Netflix' Maniac, for example. (Tho, I guess _anything_punk is mostly played out now.)
The closest thing to it is space movies. (I still have got to see Apollo 11, which I hope makes use of this. First Man did not.) But the allure of a control room is a little bit different. More controlled, obviously. Granted, to some extent, that was the joy of Thomas Sachs' Space Program: Mars at the Park Armory in 2012.
I can't believe I'm recommending Chapo Trap House here but this interview with Kim Stanley Robinson is amazing.
Another thing I loved this week was the Documentary Now episode "Waiting for the Artist," with Cate Blanchett as Marina Abramovich. It's such a loving and well-researched parody of the artist and the MoMA show, right down to her old soviet gymnast haircuts in documentation of her performances in the 70s. Looking back on it, that MoMA show was one of the best I've seen — unabashedly over-the-top, both disinterested in and craving of public approval, so vulnerable that even the most maudlin acts seemed revelatory — I regret that I was too shy and blase to sit with her at the time. This episode is a satire, but somehow it brought out everything I love about her work. She has that effect, i guess.
In other travels, Leave No Trace was playing on a long bus ride I took earlier this week. Holds up even with no headphones. Even on the tiny televisions on the bus. Just a perfect movie.
Thanks for reading.