September 22, 2009

King of the Jungle

The Jungle Room, The Overlook Hotel Maze and Elvis.

The 5" shag-pile of the Jungle Room is unnatural. Furnishing the Jungle Room with a lavish and undeniable opulence, it is a covering - between the architecture of the house and the body of the inhabitant - that is utterly useless, obsolete, absurd, and fatally anaesthetised. The luxuriant shag-pile is sublimely artificial - even more so than the faux-Hawaiian furnishings of the room - and is splendidly formless (rather than form-giving). In actuality, the essential element of of the carpet of the Jungle Room - rather than defining space - is that it is de-forming rather than forming. Elvis covered not only the floor of the jungle room with shag, but the ceiling as well.

The Jungle Room, despite its opulence, is emptied out - of not only any tangible content, but of space itself. 'Space itself doesn't enter the interior, it is only a boundary.'

The final moment's of Elvis's recording career took place in the Jungle Room. From its inauspicious beginnings in the bleak hardness of the acoustically tiled walls and stained linoleum floors of Suns Studio's cramped recording room, the recording career of the King - who had sold enough records to stretch around the globe twice - disolved into the formlessness of the den's carpet: a dissolute forlessness apparent in the in the album recorded there. In February, 1976, his final studio album was recorded at Graceland, as a result of his refusal to leave the house. 'The musician's equipment had to be lowered in through the windows of the Jungle Room den. But after everyone had assembled, Elvis refused to come downstairs. He said he was sick.'

-Excerpts from Campbell, Mark, Green Carpet Ceilings: The Textile Art of Elvis Presley, The Pander, March 1999, p8-15.

The Overlook Hotel's hedge maze: a jungle labyrinth of leafy shag-pile. Kubrick originally wanted to grow his own maze, this however, proved quite impractical, due to time it would take the hedges to grow, the cost of the endeavour, and that it would be impossible to maneuvour the cameras through the narrow hedge-rows. Instead a portion of the maze was contructed on a soundstage. The Overlook Maze exists in purely fictitious, fabricated states, residing somewhere between the silver screen and in the minds of the Torrance family, and the small portion of it constructed to to convince us of its reality.
"If Jack did indeed freeze to death in the labyrinth, of course his body was found -- and sooner rather than later, since Dick Hallorann alerted the forest rangers to serious trouble at the hotel. If Jack's body was not found, what happened to it? Was it never there? Was it absorbed into the past, and does that explain Jack's presence in that final photograph of a group of hotel party-goers in 1921? Did Jack's violent pursuit of his wife and child exist entirely in Wendy's imagination, or Danny's, or theirs?... " - Roger Ebert

1 comment:

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