Oct 28, 201312:13 PMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
At first there was nothing, and then Blaska blogged about it
(page 1 of 2)
The Smithsonian magazine arrived at the Stately Manor today. My feckless manservant, Ruben Mamoulian, had already removed the insert cards as instructed. Those cards annoy me so.
The November issue chronicles 101 objects from “the nation’s attic” deemed especially evocative of this great nation’s history. One of those items (which include the last passenger pigeon, stuffed, and a Barbie doll) is Neil Armstrong’s lunar-landing spacesuit: “21 layers of synthetics, neoprene rubber, and metalized polyester film.”
The suit could withstand extremes of plus and minus 240°F, repel deadly solar ultraviolet radiation (which is what the aurora borealis is — the deadly stuff being repelled back into space by the earth’s magnetic field), and micro-meteorites hurtling through the void at 36,000 miles per hour. A triumph of engineering, it was largely stitched by hand.
Smithsonian describes it as “a wearable spacecraft.” Which is exactly how it functioned in the Oscar magnet of 2013, Gravity. The movie has been described by better than me as an exploration of outer space and inner space, with a plucky heroine enduring the perils of Pauline. If something could go wrong, it did. (Would it have had the same emotional pull if the heroine had been a hero man?)
Gravity places the viewer, like no movie before, into that weird and deeply hostile place we call outer space. There is, of course, no air and, thus, no sound. Destruction is eerily silent. One cannot go anywhere without some means of propulsion. One cannot walk in space without something upon which to walk. Making swimming motions, frantically churning one’s feet, gains no traction. (Whereas it is said that upon one of Jupiter’s moons, the atmosphere is so thick and the gravity sufficiently light that a human could fly under his own power, were wings attached to his arms.) There is no up or down in space. If one is set in motion, one will stay in motion for all eternity.
Beyond the science lesson, Gravity suggests that the worst hell of all is eternal isolation, thus Sandra Bullock’s emotional rebirth — allegorically imagined in the closing sequences of this visually stunning and thought-provoking work of art.