Tina's Final Paper

What is history? In my point of view, history is what happened in the past and can not be changed. We can learn from history and thus change our future. So how does Cayce Pollard, “a world-renowned “coolhunter” who predicts the hottest trends” (Gibson 1), view history? She spends lots of time to look up the mysterious footage which is popular among people. How does her thinking of the past and future apply to the process of searching for footage? How does history influence her? Cayce’s view on history is absolute and original which makes her perspective different than other people. While applying her view on searching for footage, she is also able to move from her understanding of the past towards a new future.

Cayce’s view on history and future has been strongly influenced since September 11, 2001, a day that almost changed the entire world. “Cayce will watch the towers burn, and eventually fall, and though she will know she must have seen people jumping, falling, there will be no memory of it. It will be like watching one of her own dreams on television. An experience outside of culture” (140). For Cayce, it is a turning point to view the world differently as she is confused about what is happening. Since the culture and the world which is familiar with her have gone, together with her father, Wingrove Pollard, a designer for security system, the old world ends while the new world begins. She knows “the world had gone in such a different direction” and “nothing really is the same now” (203).

After September 11, Cayce believes that history is original and absolute and that everything else should be. For her, “The future is there looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now” (59). She thinks history is fixed and can not be made up. In one way, her understanding of past and the unique view of the time shapes her talent in her career. Time plays a big role in the fashion trend as fashion predicts the future through history. The original brand is more likely to become a fashion trend as people are curious about new things. Her allergy to Michelin Man and Tommy is because they are not original. “This stuff is simulacra of simulacra of simulacra. A diluted tincture of Ralph Lauren, who had himself diluted the glory days of Brooks Brothers, who themselves had steeped on the product of Jermyn Street and Savile Row, flavoring their ready-to-wear with liberal lashings of polo kit and regimental stripes” (18). The idea of designing these brands is copying from others which have already existed. Her sensitivity towards the brand is what Bigend is looking for. Although Bigend thinks that history could be made up as “History is a best-guess narrative about what happened and when” (59). Bigend truly does not care about what happened in the past as it can be the way he wants it to be. He wants to determine the history and discriminate which ideas are useful to him.

Cayce and Bigend’s unique views toward history also make their attitudes on the mysterious footage different. As Bigend said, “My passion is marketing, advertising, media strategy, and when I first discovered the footage, that is what responded in me” (67). What Bigend cares about is money and how the footage’s application in the market will attract people’s attention around the world, which can make him wealthy. That is the future investment which makes him interested in footage. It is also the reason why he lets Cayce discover the footage. For Cayce, a talented consultant in the field of logos and ads, the reason she want to find out about the footage is because of the art behind it. So she travels all around the world, from London to Tokyo to Moscow where she finally gets to know Nora is the creator. Cayce is a purist as she thinks art should be original just like history. She thinks that the footage is a trend and she is able to observe it.

Cayce and Nora both value art and when Cayce encounters Nora, she is like encountering past. Cayce is trying to find what happened to her father in the way of searching for footage. Nora expresses her sense of the past in a unique way to react to the lost of parents. As we can tell from this, “The doctors had asked [Stella Nora’s] interests and of course there was only film” (289). She makes the films to create a world where her parents still exist. “In the darkened room whose windows would have offered a view of Kremlin, had they been scraped clean of paint, Cayce had known herself to be in the presence of the splendid source, the headwaters of the digital Nile she and her friends had sought. It is here, in the languid yet precise moves of a woman’s pale hand. In the faint click of image-capture. In the eyes only truly present when focused on this screen” (316). Russia’s pressure on artists makes Nora still live in the past. September 11 has changed her life style, which is why she is so creative about the footage as she wants to express herself in the world.

Cayce lives in a modern world with a strong connection to the past. She is eager to know what happened to her father while at the same time searching for the footage. Win is always a secret figure with an important influence on Cayce. His death no wonder is a huge loss to Cayce. To Cayce, Win is always a distant figure which can not to be touched. He deals with security and also teaches Cayce a lot. His disappearance makes Cayce bravely face the new world by her own. As a consultant, she likes to wear older and unbranded cloth but has sensitivity towards fashion brand, like Prada. Like Cayce said, “What I mean is no customers, no cool. It’s about a group behavior pattern around a particular class of object. What I do is pattern recognition. I try to recognize a pattern before anyone else does” (88). Therefore, she can predict the future brand very well using her knowledge. Cayce also uses the thing which was taken place in the 20th century like the Hobbs’s antique calculator to help her find out the footage. Cayce finds out Nora sisters’ email address in the trade of antique calculator with Hobbs. It turns out we discover the future depending on the past. Here she relies on the past in order to ultimately focus on future.

One thing that makes Cayce’s view of history very original is that she recognizes patterns through the history which means that history is composed by a series of patterns. “Parkaboy says you should go to new footage as though you've seen no previous footage at all, thereby momentarily escaping the film or films you've been assembling with, consciously or unconsciously, since first exposure. Homo sapiens are about pattern recognition, he says” (22-23). The patterns are independent by their own but they have connections between each other. Cayce can use the history to make connection between each pattern. History in itself is less important but it can decide which pattern is valuable. Patterns from past affect present which Cayce works really hard to recognize them using all kinds of methods. She uses emails to connect with all kinds of people and goes to forum F:F:F to check out the film clips. She also gets information from the dreams her father send to her. All of those patterns help her to find out the footage. Her concerns about history certainly benefit her in the way of searching for the footage. On the other hand, she realizes that she also has to accept the history no matter what it is. Her father’s disappearance will probably remain as a mystery forever. She has to live in the present regardless what happened in the history.

There is still not a right or wrong answer for how we view the history. Bigend does not care about the past; Cayce relies on the past and then move forward. But it is important to recognize how the past translate into current and to the future. We build our future on the history and we use history to discover the future. Cayce has discovered the footage and did what she can to find out her father. During her searching of the footage, she figures out that the history does not mean everything. She has to live in the present and let the history be what it should be. The history has laid down in her memory and she begins a new life with Parkaboy.

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