Of Epistles and Violence

Tim Haydock and Will Frei to those on the margins of belief, to those who doubt like their faith depends on it, to those who have no epistle. We write to you who have one foot within a community of faith and one foot outside, and so, have nowhere to stand; we write to you as people who find themselves in the same nowhere.

Yet, we know that we are not without our prophets, our wise men and women, those who can give shape to the liminal spaces we inhabit. Whether they know it or not, they open up for us new possible futures.

We write to remind you of Zizek’s words on violence. Zizek exhorts us to remember the systemic violence within every structure. Violence is not just bloody murders, military brutality or clerical abuses of the powerless. We have been called to explore the ways that anonymous systems enact violence. We have been called to rupture this faceless violence. 

So, we offer you our response to this call in visual form, in the hope that it will spark further experiments in violence. Violence done to the violent systems of late capitalism, the very systems that have made us exiles instead of pilgrims.

Water, flowing from Northern California, bypassing farms in the Central Valley, to make its way into Southern Californian sinks, swimming pools and golf courses. Fire, that decimated a local community just blocks away. In both cases, capturing images was strictly prohibited by official mandate. Our film represents a violent breaking of this locally established order that asks us to forget. The music from Eternal Sunshine represents the double violence of (un)memory.

People, funneled from their cars into the trams that will deliver them to the gates of Disneyland. Christ, perpetually crucified in the midst of the world’s largest Evangelical Seminary, largely forgotten. What does it mean when people stop to take pictures with Mickey Mouse, but ignore a statue idolizing torture?

More than wanting to provide answers, we want to provoke furthers questions and creative responses. As Rollins would say, “let’s see God not as the bandage, but as the wound.”

Peace be with you.


Submitted by: Tim Haydock and willwindow


3 responses to “Of Epistles and Violence

  1. Tim and Will,
    These are two strong, playful and disturbing pieces. I thought that your first shot of the viaduct made it look like a scar ripped down the mountainside. And your subsequents shot reinforced that. Great juxtapositions.
    Even the white water had a certain violent upheaval, rather than healing promise.

    The Disneyland piece….from the description, I was looking for tourists taking photos of Mickey. And expecting to see people walking past the statue without noticing. I still want to see that film….:)

  2. Thanks Craig. So glad you checked this out. I always appreciate your eye and thoughts.

    It was important for us to walk the line between playful and disturbing. Wow, the viaduct as a scar… Nice!

    Disneyland was less forgiving on footage, getting in would have been tough. Now I know what my next film project is…

    The idea of juxtaposition was (obviously) incredibly important to us. It seems so clear that paradox abounds. I think the best response might be living within the necessary gap that arises, and not trying to explain away or fix the paradox.

  3. Thanks for the response Craig. I second Tim’s reply.

    One thing that fascinated us about the idea of juxtaposition/dialectic was its simultaneous exclusion of other options (e.g. something besides fire and water) and its already being haunted by other options (what we imagine outside of the two terms; or what arises in the gap separating the terms). This was especially provocative for me in the second piece. What arises in the gap between little children and a cruci-fixed image of torture?

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