Back when the Internet as we know it was in its adolescence, I stumbled across the Toynbee/Kubrick tiles. I was at the time a die-hard fan of conspiracy theories, and Stanley Kubrick often turns up as a communicator of esoteric ideas in the fringe discussion groups–obsessives find alchemical symbolism, Illuminati messages, alien interference in human evolution in his flicks–there’s plenty of interesting and bizarrely imaginative stuff out there. After I discovered the Toynbee tiles digitally, I saw a few of them in real life. There are tiles here in Baltimore in Mount Vernon, and I saw them at various points in Philadelphia and New York.
I owe John at The String Theory a beer for recommending Resurrect Dead. It’s a documentary about three dudes whose fascination about the tiles leads them to track down the man behind it all. The Toynbee tiles are interesting enough in themselves, but the film is actually about obsession, about losing oneself to a consuming idea. The guy behind the tiles has certainly been consumed by his notion that 2001: A Space Odyssey is a message about the eventual re-birth of all deceased humans on a scientifically prepared Jupiter. But what struck me as most interesting was the film-makers’ obsessions, and the obsessions of people with whom they interact (like a group of short-wave radio convention attendees). I wish the AVAM would put together a show of photographs of Toynbee tiles–they specialize in outsider art created by un-trained obsessives and paranoiacs whose inner reality demands communication in surprising ways. This film is all about that phenomenon.
If you like docs, particularly docs about quirky geniuses (Stone Reader, In the Realms of the Unreal, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, The Cruise, etc.), then you’d likely really dig Resurrect Dead. I was thoroughly interested and entertained. Check it out.