"!" [Hollywood Blues] July 2013 - Page 23

This is time experienced as a multiplicity of unfolding events: Not the event in time, but the multiple temporalities which embody time itself. Of course, this is not the ?rst time we have invoked a disaster, real or mythical, to tell us who we are. Indeed, such narratives may in fact be one of the oldest mechanisms of community building. Rather, I would suggest that the innovation which “!” [Hollywood Blues] introduces must instead be understood in terms of a shift in temporal register. “!” [Hollywood Blues] tells the story of the disaster, not as it is rationalized in retrospect, but as experienced in its emergence. The unitary, chronological time of the narrative, which tames the event by placing it within a coherent narrative framework, has been discarded. What is left is the fractured, dislocated time of crisis itself. Only, in “!” [Hollywood Blues], the series of statements forms a non-synthesizable totality. It simply does not add up. Rather than being drawn along by the integrative, chronological time of the narrative, we are subjected to the differential force of statements that purposefully act to disrupt and undermine the establishment of a coherent narrative. The effect is utterly disorienting. Statements ?re from the crowd in rapid succession. The sense which begins to form across one series of statements disintegrates in the chaos of divergent series. Storylines disappear as quickly as they are introduced. H eroes and victims emerge and fade within the crowd. Tension mounts and dissipates. Through it all, the audience is left to piece together a fractured event. In this respect, I couldn’t help but notice how the audience assumes the responsibilities of coordinating groups who, in an actual emergency, are tasked with making the event known. Collecting and collating information from various agencies in the form of situational reports (SIT REPS), these groups are tasked with creating a ‘common operating picture’ and disseminating it amongst the myriad responder agencies in order to create ‘shared situational awareness’. A shared understanding of what the event is, underpins the integration of activities and personnel in contemporary multi-agency responses. 23