Jorge Furtado photographed by Carine Wallauer for Revista Serafina
A highly developed telencephalon
Every time I enter the Möbius strip in this GIF, I give it, I am not sure whether conscious or unconsciously, a soundtrack. As soon as I see it, Too Much On My Mind by The Kinks starts playing in my head. The connection between the GIF’s animation and the lyrics of the song is quite clear, of course: both describe stream of consciousness in a very clear way. The difference being, nevertheless, that Ray Davies’ lyrics try to explain, from the outside, the impossibility of stopping our interior monologue, whereas the endless movement of this GIF not only explains it, but reproduces it too. When I stop looking at this GIF and start doing something else, I’d swear it keeps on moving. Like brain activity itself (at least for me, as I’ve never been able to make my mind blank), this GIF never stops. Possibly, what links it in my head to The Kinks is its graphic style. Somehow, the record cover for the album Face to Face (whose author is unknown as it was an imposition from their label, Pye, Davies was never happy about), uses a very similar idea: an open head from which butterflies emerge.
Very psychedelic. Very sixties. Too much, even. It’s almost a generic brand pop imaginary. Still, this somewhat childish illustration reminds me both of Terry Gilliam’s animations and also of those George Dunning made from the drawings of Heinz Edelmann (actually, it’s quite similar to this part of Yellow Submarine). In fact, this GIF also reminds me of the illustrations in some primary school textbooks. “Discover the human body”, that kind of thing.
And as I research the origin of the GIF, I see that my idea is not that farfetched. This loop is an extract from a short film/essay by Jorge Furtado made in 1989: Isle of Flowers. 13 minutes that talk about how reality is constructed (and also about how audiovisual language is constructed) with free rhyme images.
“Their highly developed telencephalon enables human beings to store, process and understand informations,” says the voice-over accompanying the images from where this GIF was taken. It’s kind of educational, as it links the animated content to an idea. But when this idea is repeated ad infinitum in the GIF, we store it, we process it and we understand it in a different way. That’s precisely when it becomes a representation of the merry-go-round nature of our thoughts, of our repetitive obsessions, of our interior meandering, of our bashing our heads up, and of our stream of consciousness. If written language has traditionally rendered it buy using continuous paragraphs with no full stops (sometimes combined with other almost unintelligible syntactic audacities), when it comes to visual language, the best and definitive way of representing it is, without a doubt, as a GIF.