What's Inside of You
What’s Inside of You is a video installation consisting of two videos, Gazebo (Carver) and Gazebo (Lish). Gazebo (Carver) is a traditional film adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story, Gazebo. The narrative follows a single 24-hour period in which a couple—who manage a building of motel suites—argue over a continuous affair that the male protagonist, Duane, had with one of the hotel maids. Throughout the 13-minute film, there exists a clear desire to mask the reality of the actors as performers. However, the language that exists within the characters’ dialogue is so clearly a constructed prose that the viewers are continually reminded of the failed illusion. Gazebo (Lish) is titled after Raymond Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish, a man who has recently been referred to as Carver’s ventriloquist.  (Lish) contains many harsh edits, juxtaposing scenes from (Carver) with historical footage that refers to the equally deceptive, though not sexual, relationship between Carver and Lish– What’s the matter, don’t you love me anymore? Like Carver’s editor, (Lish) takes a post-structuralist look at language and film, focusing more on the tools of production (words and visual relationships) than real, feeling characters. In its acknowledgement of the failures in its partnered video, (Lish) further brings awareness to the repeated theme of infindelity, a theme that is also seen in relationships such as: the betrayal of the writer’s vision by his editor and then his adapter, the betrayal of the audience by identification with fictional characters and the betrayal of words by visual images. The juxtaposition of these two films illustrates a concrete example of the complex relationship that can exists between an artist (writer) and the limitations caused by existing systems (editor) including language—as a pre-determined form of communication and understanding of ones self—and economic dependency.   In the New York Times article The Carver Chronicles, D.T. Max states that in the case of Carver’s 1981 collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (the collection of stories in which Gazebo originally appeared), Lish cut about half the original words and rewrote 10 of the 13 endings.  In an earlier correspondence to LIsh, Carver wrote : “You know, I feel closer to you than I do to my own brother. . . You’re my hero.” My inclusion of this second quote is meant to further exemplify the type of familial love Carver was referring to. Letter from Raymond Carver to Gordon Lish. The New Yorker, Dec. 24, 2007.  “I’ll say it again, if I have any standing or reputation or credibility in the world, I owe it to you. I owe you this more-or-less pretty interesting life I have.” Letter from Raymond Carver to Gordon Lish. The New Yorker, Dec. 24, 2007.