Window Upon The Waste Land
Subtly, Ben Mabry’s “Memory Window” pans back and forth from a timidly caged viewpoint, merging imagery of blossoming fields of yellow and industrialized waterscapes. A parading knight appears frequently adding another somewhat lighthearted level of superimposed imagery. This is a clear reference to the Arthurian table’s search for The Holy Grail as juxtaposed with words by T. S. Eliot, in reference to the legend.
Regarded as perhaps the most important poem of modern times, it proves timely to revisit T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. Although its illusions are harsh, Eliot’s words, as with Mabry’s sound and visuals, provide inspirational rhythm and beautiful reflection.
“Let me go straight to the heart of the matter, fling my poor little hand on the table, and say what I think The Waste Land is about…” Shifting between voices, cultures and intellectual statures or societal viewpoints including an apex of literary geniuses* as well as otherwise layman verbiage, Eliot speaks to us as a chorus. Initially published in 1922, voices within The Waste Land speak to us of death, despair and disillusionment including self-denial while also supplying meditational reflection. “…It is about the fertilizing waters that arrived too late. It is a poem of horror. The earth is barren, the sea salt, the fertilizing thunderstorm broke too late. And the horror is so intense that the poet has an inhibition and is unable to state it openly.” **
Not only is The Waste Land a sobering reflection on post-WWI life, but it simultaneously provides a mystical pearl in response to human response itself, i.e. aligning benefit in time with need. This concept is metaphorically reflected in the visual absence of April flowers (human expectation) accentuated visually atop an overabundance of commoditized water (production of resources) by the end of Ben Mabry’s 3-minute video; another Holy Grail yet unfound.