the invisible: emo poetics

The Invisible has an interesting soundtrack. One of the songs is Snow Patrol’s “Open Your Eyes” (from the Eyes Open album) The particular emo poetics that defines the premiss of The Invisible can be deduced from the key lines of Snow Patrol’s song:

I want you so much to open your eyes,
Because I need you to look into mine.

Such a poetic may indicate new constellations of youth. When some smart little cookie figures out how to properly translate Foucault’s archeological method into a Cultural Studies context and goes looking for ‘statements’ in the archive of popular culture one such example may be of so-called teenage rebellion or as I prefer to think of it the alienation of youth. The alienation of youth is not an alienation at all, but part equal measures an ‘escape’ built into the capitalist system to capture the youthful exuberance of young people and the opposite of an escape and that is an enduring stand against the system to paradoxically produce a little piece of the world removed from the rest. Of course ‘youth’ is not a typological category or identity but a process whereby new subjects are fashioned from those assessed to be old enough to assume the ‘freedom’ of adulthood. Being an adult is hence presented as a ‘good’ thing, which is a complete joke once the current normative life trajectory is taken into account (born-child-youth-youngadult-middleadult-oldadult-retired-dead). ‘Youth’ is a singularity that expresses the demarcation of a threshold in this process and which is distributed across a family of statements pertaining to youth culture.

The Invisible has been panned by basically everyone, but from what I know about the film (which is little) it may present an attempt to rearticulate in cinema form the next iteration of youth. The plotline has the makings of a Shakespearean-scale tragedy, involving the contingencies of conspiracy, near misses, traitors, heartbreak, and love, it is a pity that the writers couldn’t have been a little more restrained with the moralizing overcoding. Everything is about the choices made by some stupid kids. Why are these kids burdened with the responsibility of a neoliberal performance-based decisionist rationality when they are immersed in the punitive reality of ungracious adults and a system that does not allow them to make their own mistakes? This is where I think the film may go wrong. Instead of framing it in terms of “real selves” as “invisible to others, one due to his untimely death and the other due to the neglect she’s endured since the death of her mother” why not frame it in terms of the utter poverty of a culture that does not have the confidence or the generosity to allow kids to problematise their own errors in their own ways?

This is what is truly invisible: technologies of visibility that allow kids to see themselves in the world in ways that do not conform to the expectations of a society for which they are being fashioned as subjects. Do adults punish kids with their own stupidity and inability to make a better world? This is to read the Snow Patrol song not as a lament about a friend or loved one, but, even though it refers to a second person ‘you’, it is a lament about one’s self. As if How to open one’s eyes to one’s self not as an autonomous being separate from the world, but as a rich and problematic fold of the world. To give one’s self a perspective on the world by giving one’s self a perspective on one’s self. I know I shall be forever grateful to my parents for allowing me to make my own mistakes and then supporting me when I inevitably did.

(Is it possible for Snow Patrol to get any cooler than they already are? The video of Open your Eyes is from Claude LeLauch’s C’était un rendez-vous the same film that inspired the Getaway in Stockholm people to make their film (as I discovered when I interviewed Mr A in Stockholm). I think the Snow Patrol people must be car dudes considering how much of their music is car related!)


Now, if only I could sleep…