Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weems' Revision of Mission Impossible Message

In this photograph Carrie Mae Weems reinterprets the well known Mission Impossible message by moving the subject 'The Mission' to the second part of the sentence and the action 'if you choose to accept it' to the beginning of the sentence. Jim is at a table, his head bathed in smoke from an unknown source, he holds a tumbler of, presumably, liquor. There is a bottle of Mouton Cadet Red wine on the table, an ashtray of cigarette butts, a phone off the hook whose cord recedes out of the picture and a tape deck. Jim is focused on the tape deck. The look on his face tells me he isn't completely sold on the idea, but that he's heard the tape. He contemplates.
The most important part of the sentence has become choosing to accept. Weems asks Jim to choose to accept, and by doing so he will accomplish the mission of landing on his own two feet. The missions set forth upon in Mission Impossible don't hold a candle to what Weems is asking Jim to do.
In the American television series of the 1960's unknown sources asked secret agents known as the impossible mission task force (IMF) to combat evil, the means by which they were to do so changed with each episode. After playing the tape, the tape deck erupted. In this photograph there is surely the notion that something will erupt.
Weems hasn't missed this opportunity to reconsider what that can mean.

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