UDK / УДК 821.14: 791.4
BBK / ББК 83.3(0)3: 85.37
EKATERINA V. SALNIKOVA
State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow, Russia
THE PREHISTORY OF THE MAGIC OF SCREENS. MOTIVES FROM THE “ILLIAD” AND THE “ODYSSEY”
Abstract. The author examines the motives of the Homeric epic poems associated with the concept of the transition zone and the screen as a surface presenting separated, frequently changed visual imagery. The word screen has many meanings, including those of a protective surface, screen, shield, or barrier. The author considers it useful in the context of Homer’s epos, always to keep in mind the possibility of the screen as an external layer for a certain core, a certain content, independent of the screen and concealed behind it.
For Homer the earth is the meeting point of the two worlds, the human and the superhuman. The air space in Homer is regarded by the author as the territory of sacred messages (for example, in the form of the bird flight), which people should be able to read correctly. The plane of the earth, on which the battle of the Greeks and the Trojans took place, reveals features of a screen displaying its dynamic “content” whenever the gods begin to follow the battle from Olympus or mount Ida, or the Trojans view it from the top of the city wall. The wall built by the Achaeans functions as another platitude of the screen. It also presents a kind of decoration, a background against which the battle scenes unfold.
The motives of the divine polymorphism are viewed as a manifestation in the essence of the gods of the magical living screen. The option of turning the screen off, of concealment of the visual forms is shown by the ability of the gods to hide themselves and humans in clouds or in the darkness. The phenomenon of Achilles ‘ shield as a platitude with a dynamic image consisting of different, simultaneously developing scenes of action is analyzed. The image of Penelope weaving and disbanding the thread of the funeral veil becomes important as the image of management of time by means of modeling the visual form. The article outlines the line of development of the spectator-actor position in European culture – from the gods watching the world of humans and intervening in the course of events, to players of computer games. The author comes to the conclusion about the great importance of the images of permanent play and spectacle in the magical universe of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.”
Keywords: screen culture, Homer, media, transition zone, polymorphism, the shield of Achilles, the shroud, the Achaean wall.