Airstrip

A review by Joey Madia

At the core of this hour-long visual–aural post-postmodern mind-jazz journey is John Gartland reading selected poems from his Five Books of Inundations, supported by a high-speed, trance-inducing barrage of techno beats and a far-ranging, superbly subliminal eye-feast of images.

The whole thing opens with white letters on a black screen:

Airstrip
Featuring John Gartland

overlaid with the sound of an airplane taking off.

Other title cards appear along the way, tracking the trip, Phnom Penh to Bangkok, with changes in music and vertigo and vibe to sometimes support and sometimes glean additional meaning by working counter to Gartland’s text.

Gartland, an ex-pat poet and teacher living in Thailand whose novels and books of poetry I’ve enjoyed and reviewed many times over the past decade, begins to speak, his voice at first electronically altered. As the early words implant in our ears we hear underlaid techno-dance boom-boom beats and see in a small square field a series of subtly psychedelic geometric patterns like glimpses into a computer download generating a semi-formed virtual reality dreamspace, wherein lies and rises and deftly dances:

A Marilyn Monroe–esque hourglass blonde in a black cocktail dress (or perhaps Norma Jean herself in her MM facsimile state [pre-echoing 1980s brand-aping by Madonna, Belinda Carlisle, and Melanie Griffith, all in better days and frames]) and the timeless Betty Boop. Continue reading