Lohengrin by Richard Wagner (1850). The following scene is the climax of Act 1. "Durch Gottes Sieg ist jetzt dein Leben mein" are the words Lohengrin sings after defeating the villainous von Telramund in personal combat in defense of the saintly Elsa von Brabant, who has fallen in love with the mysterious and unnamed swan knight. In the annals of opera, indeed in the history of music, few measures achieve the thrilling agitation and collective ecstacy of this music, it's practically orgasmic. But for all its brilliance there is darkness to give the light clarity. Following Lohengrin's pronouncement, the chorus sings the infamous "Sieg Heil!" (hail victory) that the Third Reich so effectively coopted and made their own so that to this day, Lohengrin cannot be performed in certain locations in our benighted world. I attempted to capture this cyclonic agitation in my short story Vourdalak, in which my protagonist Nicolai awakens from a long undead torpor, to the strains of this very music. The first link is to the traditional view of this work, with Lohengrin performed by Placido Domingo (no, it's not the best, but it is the clearest and most traditional). First video This second link is to the same music set to film by Polish auteur Woyjech Jerzy Has called "Szyfry". It is an ironic juxtaposition of music and film, illustrating the degenerate darkness implicit in Wagner's music, which Hitler found so easy to exploit. Second video Freud theorized in "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" that there was something called a "death drive" that was the equal in power and influence to the sex drive in the human psychology. Here we see the death drive given free reign. This is Wagner's shadow exposed and it is terrifying and unequalled in pure power.
Welcome to Blank Space. In art, blank space is negative space. In writing, blank space exists between the lines of printed text (the black space). It is the unique perspective that a reader brings to the work; what the reader experiences in a work of fiction that may not be set down explicitly on the page. A work containing blank space has no overlong exposition, backstory or explanation. It is simple, direct and active.
Michael Hacker writes fiction, is a former stage actor and director, is interested in all forms of storytelling both character and plot-driven, loves to discuss philosophy, ethics and psychology, and criminal psychopathology. He is interested in crime and the legal system. He loves computers, but as an end-user. Mike's overall philosphy is stoic acceptance that mixes Christianity with the philosophy of Epictetus.