Pattern variation I

A PACKET FOR NEO


A middle of expression used by the Wachowskis in countless variations is the change of plane between the first film and the sequels. While déjà vus and reflections in Matrix are components of the surface and content plane, in the sequels the entire image plane becomes a reflected déjà vu: The concepts are combined and raised onto another plane.  

A reflection shows the image of a simultaneous event, reflected from another perspective.

A déjà vu appears as the identical image of a temporally shifted event.

The trilogy continuously produces images which combine the concepts of reflection and déjà vu: Something which takes place at a different time is shown from a different perspective. However, the two characteristics are interpreted in a more complex manner. The temporal shift can be with respect to a past or future event; the idea of a change of perspective is realised significantly more thoroughly than just a change in point of view.

"What is it?"
"Déjà Vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something."
Neo & Trinity

The cat as a reflection of an event which has already happened is presented quite simply to Neo: The time interval between the two events is just a few seconds. Except for a slight change in the perspective of the viewer, the two images are identical. For the viewer, however, it is significantly more difficult to recognise the surface as a temporally shifted reflection. Experience and re-experience do not usually take place immediately one after the other nor do they contain a large degree of optical similarity. The reflections are not obvious; they are only visible after a focussed search. While many things are so well hidden that I needed a small eternity to find that which I have now found, nevertheless the Wachowskis are continuously planting hints on the surface. Scenes which follow another usually have some elements with a rather high degree of optical similarity.

An example:

Neo is presented with an envelope,
he accepts it, …

… takes a look at it,
opens it, …

… and shakes the contents into his right hand.

Presented side by side, the parallels are difficult to ignore. They can be thought of as a message to the recipient: Here it is worth paying attention! And how it is worth it: That which is relatively easy to recognise always turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

The full sequence is an ideally typical realisation of the Hegelian concept of thesis and antithesis: The same object is viewed from an opposite perspective and is thus both the same and the opposite. The combination of these two properties is the constructional principle of the entire Matrix project and one of ist central characteristics. Since the Wachowskis’ means of expression is film and not philosophical discourse, they play with the possibilities to present the same thing from opposite points of view within their medium: Each element which makes ups the scene in question can turn into its negative – or remain the same. Somehow, the same thing always happens, but somehow it happens in the opposite manner.

The scene once again, this time complete and from the beginning:

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◄ Matrix (left)
► Reloaded (center)

◄ The sideways motion of a rectangular object reveals a person. The change of perspective is responsible for the motion.
► The sideways motion of a rectangular object reveals a person. The action of a character is responsible for the motion.

◄ The opening allows a view into a three-dimensional rectangular form. The person coming into view is turned away from the viewer.
► The opening allows a view onto a two-dimensional rectangular form. The person coming into view is turned towards the viewer.

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◄ In the foreground on the right, the silhouette of a second person becomes visible.
► In the foreground on the right, the silhouette of a second person is visible.

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◄ The messenger gives a rectangular object to the recipient.
► The sender gives a rectangular object to the messenger.

◄ The messenger asks for a receipt for the packet.
► The messenger takes the packet.

◄ Neo takes the packet. The packet moves towards Neo.
► Neo takes the packet. Neo moves towards the packet.

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◄ Neo examines the envelope and absent-mindedly tears off the upper end.
► Neo examines the envelope and concentratedly tears off the upper end.

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◄ Neo shakes the contents of the packet into his right hand. It contains an appliance which allows the rebels to communicate between the matrix and the outside world.
► Neo shakes the contents of the packet into his right hand. It contains an appliance which allows the agents to communicate between the matrix and the outside world in their battle against the rebels.  

◄ Neo receives a message through the device.
► Neo receives a message through the device.

◄ The device gives Neo a hint that Smith will come.
► The device is a hint that Smith has already come.

◄ The device gives a warning that agents will come.
► The device is a warning that agents will come.

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Parallels between the message with respect to contents (following the chronology of Reloaded)


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◄ Three agents appear.  A turning motion of their heads allows Neo to become visible.
► Three agents appear. A turning motion of the door allows Neo to become visible.

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◄ Neo regards the approaching agents with fear.
► Neo regards the approaching agents coolly.


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◄ Neo leaves the room in order to increase the distance to the agents.
► The agents enter the room in order to decrease the distance to Neo.

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◄ & ► Three people group up.
The middle one moves to the front ...

 … in the background, one person moves up on the left …

 … and another one on the right.

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Later on, the two sequences take their own path tuntil they come back together when each reaches its end.

◄ Neo looks fearfully down.
► Neo looks up coolly.

◄ The mobile phone moves away from the viewer. It falls down between the houses.
► Neo moves away from the veiwer. He moves up between the houses.

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The entire sequence once again from an abstract perspective:

The overarching themes are fleeing and freedom. Neo is considered in relation to a series of (groups of) people – Smith, three agents, the rebel Morpheus / the rebels – and also in relation to the dimension height. The change of his relationship to these groups can be expressed as inverting the subject-object relationship:

◄ Smith will take away Neo’s freedom.
► Neo has already given Smith his freedom.

◄ The rebels know about the danger and warn Neo.
► Neo knows about the danger and warns the rebels.

◄ The rebels suggest to Neo that he flee and they help him (unsuccessfully).
► Neo suggests to the rebels that they flee and helps them (successfully).

◄ The three agents overpower Neo.
► Neo overpowers the three agents.

◄ The height overpowers Neo.
► Neo overpowers the height.

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The example makes clear how strongly the surface of the trilogy is determined by the sublevel. And it allows the density of details and complexity of the construction to be recognised. The variation which Reloaded tells lasts less than a minute. It is clear that the viewer cannot take in all variations on the various levels during this time. The films want to be recognised in their substructure and not on their surface.

More precisely: A proper interpretation of the work results from the necessity of demonstrating that the primarily chronologically structured surface is an illusion, via a deconstruction, i.e. via a revelation of the hidden construction, the patterns of thought of which it is composed, its principles, logic and forms via dualisms which unite at transcendental dichotomies and via a structural analysis focussed on synthesised theses and antitheses.

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Matrix deconstructed - A Packet for Neo