Frame by Frame --

2016 / writing

He slept like a lamb. A lamb was a young animal which was legendary for sleeping well on the planet Earth. It looked like this. - Excerpts from Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, 1973

Like a fence, a frame [] is a border that contains [a subject]; a lamb or a man sleeping like a lamb. It intervenes, to catch, to hold, and to keep the subject still, sectioned off from the rest of its surroundings. It is safe, composed, predictable, and digestible.

A frame is a container for examination. It can be any shape, sometimes it is just imagined but most often it is a square or a rectangle. It is built from the world around. A frame is separated, sectioned, and sliced away from a human’s continuous 180-degree horizontal field of view. It is a controlled view. It says, here, look at this, holding the man sleeping like a lamb in front of the viewer. Within the frame the subject appears important, worthy, interesting, and attractive. The frame compels a viewer to inspect the subject on display. It is a window into somewhere else. Somewhere the viewer is not. It offers the viewer something they cannot see and cannot be.

A frame is a constructed point-of-view. The frame wants a viewer to see the man sleeping like a lamb this way or that way, but always a specific way. A view from above, bird’s-eye view, God’s view, satellite view, unmanned aerial vehicle view, is an elevated view of a subject. It is an establishing shot used to introduce a scene or character. Used for blueprints and maps, this perspective provides a distant overview of the man sleeping. It creates a sense of calm in its simple straightforward composition, creating an opportunity to build suspense. The viewer sees his entire body stretched out, on display to observe. The man seems quiet and at peace within the frame, like a lamb. The viewer is held at a distance as to not disturb the sleeping man.

There was a sign hanging on the inside doorknob...which now hung on the outside of the doorknob.

A frame disrupts, distorts, compresses, and displaces. It is a tool of deconstruction. It can remove a subject from one context and transport it to another. It a tool of reconstruction. It can isolate a subject from it’s context by building something new around it. A frame is just a piece of a larger event, story, plan, or concept. A frame permits the manipulation of a sequence. Framed: to produce false evidence against an innocent person so that they appear guilty.

When a frame follows another frame it creates the illusion of a moving image. It is 1/24, 1/25, or 1/30 of a second. There is not just one frame of a man sleeping like a lamb, there are many, many men sleeping like lambs.

The order of frames can change the individual frame’s meaning and examine new relationships. What comes before or after the man sleeping like a lamb? The use of frame can act as a series of surprises and lies, where context is broken apart and then reassembled. The narratives implied by these composite sequences may go forward or back or sideways or up like floors of a building. Una camera > a room. Stacks of rooms. Stacks of camera views. Stacks of containers. Stacks of bodies lying within the frame.

Dwayne Hoover might be confused as to what his life was all about, or what he should do with it next. But this much he has done correctly: He had delivered himself to an irreproachable container for a human being...

Dwayne pulled open his floor-to-ceiling draperies for a moment. He saw the sign which announced the presence of the Inn to weary travelers on the Interstate...

He closed his draperies. He adjusted the heating and ventilating system. He slept like a lamb.