I. Fontana’s Amnesia appears in the December issue. Today, he talks with Guy Brookshire about ruins, strange things, and his preferred mode of communication.
1. Are there pre-columbian ruins in Guadalajara? Â Have you ever been to the ruins of the Pyramids in Mexico City, Teotehuacan, Palenque, or other Aztec, or Mayan ruins? What was your experience?
Some of the ruins blend together but they haunted my imagination. I dreamed that I was an Aztec stonecutter’s son who had aspirations above his station and ran away to the jungle to seek the white jaguar to have it give me power through magical scars. I succeeded… but the whole thing did not end well.
2. What is the strangest thing you have experienced on a NYC subway car?
Most of my time in New York I felt rich (because of a movie deal that never resulted in a film but gave me money up front) and so I took cabs for the most part, or walked. Once in a cab with a girl I never saw again named Therese our driver was Eastern European and driving extremely fast — he tried to shoot a gap and partly hit another cab, then braked, turned to us and announced: “Your ride is over.”Â His deadpan delivery made me laugh.
3. Do you feel more inspired by music or painting? Sculpture or Photography?
I have done art at various times — but music kinetically and directly fuels my writing, as I usually listen to loud music when writing my most trance-driven passages. Then I don’t know what I have heard. I have a large dark Anselm Kiefer pyramid poster in my living room and a blown-up color photo of the red iron oxide surface of Mars in the bedroom which I stare at when I wake up.
4. Â Â Â Â Â Do send/receive Christmas Cards?
I don’t send them. I receive a few, but the holidays arouse no real sentiment in me.
5. Do you have a favorite documentary?
My favorite director is the Austrian Ulrich Seidl whose films are an uneasy, uncomfortable blend of documentary, faux-documentary and improvised fiction. IMPORT/EXPORT, DOG DAYS, and MODEL are all films I have watched many times.
6. What city you have lived in has the best food?
New York, because of the variety available. French cuisine is often too subtle for me. I like peppers and hot spice.
7. Do you prefer to speak on the phone or use texts/emails? Why?
Email more and more. I don’t like text-messaging. Often now while on the telephone I wonder if the other person is checking emails or watching television sans audio with subtitles like I am. It’s hard to pay attention.
8. When was the first time you used a computer?
I don’t remember. My sister was doing software very early so I knew they were around.
9. Is there any language you do not understand but really love to hear being spoken?
I’m not sure if it’s Czech or some Slovakian variant, but one of those.
10. Â Have you ever quit a job in anger?
I have quit or been fired many times. In anger, after having an argument or making a scene? No. I’m too polite.