WHAT LUIS NIVELO AND ZALMEN ROSEN HEARD, is Weinstein's first animated film. He developed a character, a fish telemarketer, who calls people to sell them unidentifyable products. She floats in a black void. It could be water, it could be space. Her sales pitch becomes more and more abstract as she begins to channel the voices of people she has never met. This piece was first exhibited at the Sonnabend Gallery in 2004 along with a series of Weinstein's Ikebana panels. The full text for the piece is below.
Script for What Luis Nivelo and Zalmen Rosen Heard
By Matthew Weinstein, 2004
(A 3-D ANIMATED JAPANESE KOI BEGINS TO SPEAK)
It was summer.
I was walking barefoot in the back yard.
I was drinking an iced coffee.
I was inspecting a little slate path that I had installed to connect our swimming pool to the kitchen entrance of our house.
It was perfect.
My enthusiasm for it grew.
I smashed my glass against the side of the house.
The sun was so hot.
There was this squirrel, standing so still, staring right at me.
I slipped my robe off, an old silk robe.
It slipped off the way robes slip off in movies.
I squeezed my breasts for this squirrel.
I ran my hand down my stomach for this squirrel.
I touched myself between my legs for this squirrel.
While this squirrel watched, I gave myself a really sensational orgasm.
(She speaks into the headset)
Hello, is this Mrs. Nash?
How are you today?
Mrs. Nash, I'm calling to notify you about a special offer…
(she looks displeased)
She hung up.
You learn a lot in phone sales.
There was this one lady. I was calling to sell her a new phone plan.
She told me that she didn't like her dial tone.
She was wondering if we could replace it with soothing music.
Her dial tone, she told me, reminded her of alligators, half submerged in the water, their monochromatic brain waves overlaying a constant current of hunger.
(She speaks into the headset)
Hello, is this Mr. Cohan?
And how are you today Mr. Cohan?
I'm fine as well, thank you for asking.
Mr. Cohan, I'm calling you regarding a very special offer. But, before I begin, may I ask you a few questions?
What is the difference between respect and fear?
You can't think of any?
Prayer is to the void as the telephone is to what?
You can't think of anything?
Perhaps prayer is to the void as the telephone is to the ear, but the ear is a coordinate in space and the void is the opposite.
One could also say telephone line, but this is a channel to a coordinate, and again there is no potential for a coordinate in a void.
Perhaps prayer is to the void as the telephone is to the late Mrs. Cohan.
How do I know she died?
Can you hold for one moment, please?
(She addresses the viewer)
I know when the world will end.
I have seen it floating in the darkness like a baby potato that has fallen into the coals.
One day my son came home from school. He kissed me on the cheek and a picture formed in my head of his best friend chasing a Frisbee.
And this picture kept moving to his friend's lower parts; dirty ankles, nylon shorts, tan legs…
'You're a gay', I said to him.
I know what he's thinking, what my husband is thinking, what people in China are thinking.
And I remember all of it.
I no longer sleep, I just let it flow in.
It takes as much effort on my part as it takes effort for a cup to fill up with water.
I know so much that in my mind I have grown a pair of arms that encircle the entire planet.
And it will not stop screaming. I can't stop it.
I rock it slowly in my arms, but it still screams. I could make it stop screaming by squeezing it tighter and tighter until it…
(she stops herself and speaks into the headset)
Congratulations Mr. Cohan, you qualify!
(she addresses the audience, she smiles to herself, reverie)
There was this boy.
Has he swallowed the sun?
He was newly minted; hair, skin, eyes.
Red white and blue.
He wasn't full grown, he was awkward, too vital, and he shot this vitality into me.
I had stopped growing. I had all of my parts.
And his awkwardness fed off of my symmetry. Dismantled me.
This girl is letting me touch her.
But she won't kiss me.
She thinks that my dick is hysterically funny.
She smells like shampoo and chemical green apples.
She melts into fruit scented syrup beneath me.
I cum, by accident. Cum gets on her new prairie skirt.
She throws my book bag at me and runs off.
I lie in the grass.
On the cover of my science book is a photo of an infinity of stars.
I hold it over my face and pretend that I am floating under them, rising higher and higher and getting closer to nothing.
Why do people have so many cats?
I see them lurking around in the night, when everyone is asleep.
They are up to no good. Believe me.
I don't see you the way you see each other.
I see your heads.
Some of them are enormous and expanding.
They are encompassing stars and time.
They are reaching out into the emptiness.
Your tiny bodies are borne aloft by your giant heads.
Your bodies are dying skeletons.
Some of your heads are shriveling.
Your bodies are enormous, rooted and expanding.
You pop up and die in the exact same spot.
You think that you are moving through space but you are not.
My grandmother had a little porcelain statuette of a balloon seller.
Ragged pants, a mountain of a body, a mournful expression.
A bunch of colored balloons straining against gravity.
I am the balloon seller.
(a reflective pause)
Does any of this make sense?
It used to be so simple.
I knew what I was selling.
It helped pass acres of time.
But gradually the products became obscure.
What am I selling?
I no longer know.
And the information pours in.
I can see you, I can see your phone ringing, I can see your rage when you realize it's me.
How do you think that feels? How can I be a success under these conditions?
(her phone rings. She's startled)
I don't have any outstanding credit card debt.
I'm sorry, I really am.
(she looks panicked, she wants to keep the salesperson on the line)
I suppose I could use a new one, a flexible one, one that allows me to be myself, that puts me in the center of things.
That sounds empowering!
Can I ask you a question?
Can you picture the world, the ball, our world?
You can? Wonderful!
Can you picture the world rotating, but not from an axis, rather from a point at the center of the top?
More like a Christmas ornament hanging from a fragrant tree branch.
Now there's a little ball at the top of this globe.
And the string that holds the globe to the branch is held by this tiny ball.
Are you with me?
Now picture this tiny ball as a tiny head, and as this head turns, it turns the world.
Can you see this?
Do you think that the world turns the head, or does the head turn the world?
(she does not want to be hung up on)
You have no idea what it's like here for me.
Telephoning into the void.
You know the void; blowing into the wind, yelling at a passing train, running across a globe that is spinning in the opposite direction faster and longer then you can sprint.
And the stories pour in.
They lie on top of each other, transparent, they are all the same and they are all different and they all want to be heard.
Their noise is so loud it becomes your silence.
Their colors are so bright they become your darkness.
If you could only run, but you can't.
If you could roll in the grass, swim until your lungs ache.
If you could turn on music and dance until you fall into a chair.
If you could fuck until you are raw.
If you could climb into a warm bed and let the room begin to spin.
And let your thoughts veer off into space until you look down on the world from the height of dreams.
But you can't.
Can you imagine this?
Can you picture me?
(she's been hung up on. She's hurt. The puts on a brave smile, addresses the audience)
I trust you and I feel that I know you.
We have so much in common, we finish each other's sentences.
We lie in bed with our mouths open and joined, breathing each other's air.
The only thing that I can think about is love.
And I love you.
All of you wonderful people.
Out there in the dark.
FADE TO BLACK