The Emperor of The Moon

Lisa Stansbie

This film is the result of a series of connections created as part of my ongoing digital archive. The archive builds on seemingly random connections between objects, text, imagery and places.

'The emperor of the moon' is the final sentence from Norman Mailer's book 'The Fight' (1975) It is also the name of a cruise ship that is listed as an entry in the ever expanding digital archive. This particular archive entry (the film) was created as a method of linking 'Norman Mailer' to the following entry 'ships'.

Through using search engines a list was compiled of Norman Mailers best selling books:

  1. The Executioners Song
  2. The Fight
  3. The Naked and The Dead
  4. Why Are We At War?
  5. An American Dream
  6. Ancient Evenings
  7. Oswalds Tale
  8. Unholy Alliance
  9. The Castle in The Forest
  10. Harlots Ghost
  11. The Spooky Art
  12. The Deer Park
  13. The Gospel According to The Son
  14. Why Are We in Vietnam

Using these titles in this order, a narrative was created.

The Emperor of the Moon

The executioner's song was playing on the radio as we left. It was too stuffy to concentrate on the book and in my mind I replayed the fight scenes from the previous night. The men had all lain there breathless, chests steadily rising until no more, surrounded by the naked and the dead I decided it was time to leave.

Why are we at war? A feeling of hopelessness washed over me along with a sense of distance. My father had told me it was once referred to as an American dream.

In the ancient evenings it was different. I remember times when Oswald's tale wagged so frantically that it shook his body and we would walk for hours through dimly lit streets in the meat-packing district.

This of course was before the unholy alliance of the two states. Things were never quiet after. One place was left untouched and it became a shrine to nostalgia. They called it the castle in the forest, yet it was no more than a stone house, decorated with greenery.

As a child I was told never to come to the castle as it was rumored there was a harlots ghost that walked down the corridors past the spooky art that had been hung and forgotten. The castle now stood alone except for the company of the deer park.

I went back to the book 'The gospel according to the son' was the first section, but my heart was not in it. We began to pull away and as the tilting rocked me, I drifted off.

I was awoken suddenly by a commotion. Passengers were looking around, straining to see from the small windows. The young girl next to me, with a concerned look, asked 'why are we in Vietnam?'