I’m interested in what is the least you can tell the audience and still keep the story moving. The hint, the suggestion, the blank spaces that correspond precisely to a set of letters that you won’t recognize immediately but whose pattern will suddenly leap into the light.
At the same time, I’m a bit of a discloser, and I despise coyness in others. I passed a marquee for a strip club that said, “Showing Everything,” and I found myself frustrated with what wasn’t said. Does that mean total nudity? Then why not say so? Is the idea that the code is so subtle that a child couldn’t be polluted by a parent’s dodgy answer? “Oh, they’re talking about the fact that there are so many different kinds of shows in there.” Like the Valois’ Restaurant’s slogan: See Your Food.
What if it did say “Total Nudity”? I personally doubt the children — or anyone in the community — would be destroyed. Knowing there’s a place where people go to look at other people be totally nude has very little weight we don’t give it. Prurience is not inborn. Everybody carries total nudity with them, so why pretend otherwise?
The connection here between minimalism and disclosure is the difference between women dancing naked in a building so men can get off and the suggestion that there is something unspeakable going on within. And the unspeakable turns out to have a sexual freight. Which perhaps is why a strip club might want to be discreet, or my friend Marisa would have played a stupid game, when we were 8 years old, of acting like she had a secret surprise in her hands that I would be sure to want to know about, when what I really knew was that she was lying.
We hint, we tease, and we turn on. We show it all and we turn off. There is a way to suggest without stating, though, that is so clear and direct we get it without knowing why.
I want to see that in my art. Please let me know if you read anything or see a movie in which the suggestions aren’t always clear until they are, until all the dots of paint are far enough away to see a picture, in which the last image or word unites all the rest.
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