The Secret Lives of Tortillas, Part 5.

So if you’ve been following along with the tortilla posts,you might remember back in June when we got this tortilla:

All Will be Revealed at 600 Members
All Will be Revealed at 600 Members

Well, in March, we reached 600 members.  We received a message via Reddit: “The second of the fourth is the real holiday.”

So we waited almost a whole month for April second.  April second was the date set for a local event called Trailer Wars… an event in which local amateur film makers produce trailers for films that will never exist.  I had gotten the opportunity to act in one of those trailers and so I was going to be going anyway, and we figured we would stop at the Redlight afterwards.  We let the Tortilla Society know about our plans for the night in question, but otherwise didn’t make a big deal about it.

The morning of the second came, and it seemed like any other day.  No tortillas, no messages on Twitter or Reddit.  There was a tension among members of the society… Django confessed to me that he had hoped to see a whole mess of new tortillas when he woke up, and was a little disappointed.  I had several conversations in which I told people that I was sure that the Tortilla Bomber wasn’t going to let us down.  This was, of course, bluster.  I had know idea what was going to happen or not happen… I just felt like it was a part of my job to reassure people.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, and the tension built.  Then, around nine at night, we all filed into the theater and sat down to watch Trailer Wars.  There were nine trailers in all.  Ours was third, if I recall correctly.

We didn’t win, by the way, but we put in a good showing.

It was the seventh or eighth trailer when our entire row leaned forward and started to murmur.  Because it appeared to be a trailer by the Tortilla Bomber.

We looked around wide-eyed at one another and spoke in whispered voices.  I felt anxious… not the dreadful kind, but the kind that galvanizes one to action.  I was shaking with excitement and had broken out in gooseflesh.  Not a month before, when we had first received the message that the second of the fourth was the real holiday, Django had said to me that it was the same day as Trailer Wars, and I told him, “well, I bet he’s going to make us a trailer.”  And here it was; it had happened, and I was bathed in the electricity of prophecy fulfilled.  I left after voting was complete, and while we had been in the theater, this video had been uploaded to YouTube and provided to us through Reddit:

This is an approximation of the trailer we had seen in the theater. It’s flipped the other way around, and the Trailer Wars version didn’t have the female voice.  The intro and the outro on the first video show that the Trailer Wars version had been spliced into the middle of an old Trailer Wars entry.  And the Trailer Wars version has footage of the Tortilla Bomber placing a tortilla on the outside of the theater building.  I went and found the spot that had been shown in the video, and sure enough, there was a tortilla hanging there.

If I Win Turn Over
If I Win Turn Over

You see, the winner of Trailer Wars gets to choose the theme for the next batch of trailers.  I turned the tortilla over, and on the other side was written “Theme: Cults.”

The Tortilla Bomber didn’t win Trailer Wars either.  A very deserving entry did, though, and you can find it here.

We recovered the Trailer Wars version of the video on DVD from someone on staff there.  He said that the DVD had been dropped off anonymously in the middle of the night.  We will be posting the Trailer Wars version as soon as we get the time to do so.

When we got to the bar, I had several drinks in quick succession and discussed the events of the evening with other interested parties.  I was still a little numb… I had been preparing myself over the intervening weeks for the thing to come to an end… after all, once all is revealed, the game is done.  And now, I was sitting here, ready for it to be over, and it wasn’t over.

I went home early, around midnight, and lay in bed turning things over in my mind and watching sunrise grow closer and closer.  There was so much there; I wanted to figure it out, but I couldn’t do it right then, or on my own.  I think I did eventually sleep for about four hours before my alarm went off, relinquishing those worries and speculating thoughts.

I want to talk a little bit more about the video.  It seems complicated but very deliberate.  There’s a wealth of information in there, in layers, and it’s going to take a while for us to tease it apart, but we’re already working on it.  I’m certain that some of the things in the video are intended to be false positives… things that look like data but are really just noise and misdirection.

Much of the speech is composed of text from previously found tortillas, but there are a few parts that I found interesting.  First, this:

00:30 You have named me otherwise, but you have named me.
00:36 Does that make you my mother?
00:40 I created your reason to be and I instruct you in mysterious ways
00:47 Does that make me your god?
00:50 I do not believe so.

I found the word choices that were made here to be very interesting.  First, he states that we have named him, which is true enough, but then asks if we are his mother.  This inherently assigns a gender to the subject… a subject which is presumably the tortilla group.  Why feminize the group?  Why mother and not father?  Fathers can certainly name their children.  Perhaps this is a reflection of the relationship of parent to opposite-gendered child… a daddy’s girl or a mamma’s boy.

When he goes on to ask if he is our god, it speaks to me of a male presence (likely due to my having grown up in a western nation), with the feminine presence of the mother in prior lines.  This feels very sexual to me.  Not titillating or sexual in a personal sense, but in a kind of ritualistic sense.  The congress of deities was once used to explain all manner of phenomenon.

In addition, he uses “God” rather than “king” or “master” or any number of words that might refer to someone who directs subordinates, but he chose deity to describe his relationship to the group instead.  I’m curious as to why this choice was made.

A little over a minute in, he says the following:

01:06 This message will not self destruct.
01:10 Perhaps it should self deconstruct.
01:14 Unnecesary, I know as you will likely deconstruct it yourselves.

This seems to indicate that he has watched us working on these puzzles in the past, presumably on the Facebook page.  I found it a little flattering, honestly, but maybe I shouldn’t.  Perhaps it was said with derision.

I don’t know.  There’s a lot here to unpack, without even getting to the movements and gestures in the video, the unusual placement of objects in the interior shots, the woman in the video, the location of the house, or the intent in splicing the video into the middle of an old trailer.  I certainly can’t get to all of it tonight.

I have to say… watching the video makes me feel uneasy.  As though I’m anxious that I’ll see something that I don’t want to see.  I’m not sure what that thing would be, or what makes me feel like that’s a possibility.

What does it all mean?

Of course, if you’ve watched the video, you’ll already know that all was, in fact, not revealed.  Nothing was revealed, other than the suggestion that he will continue to hang tortillas.

Am I disappointed?  Not even a little.

 

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Author: adrennan

An artist and writer in Bellingham, Washington.

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