This interview is scheduled to appear in a special issue on screens, so let’s start by contemplating the current fascination with the small screen.
That’s a terrible subject. There’s nothing like the big screen. The cinema is really built for the big screen and big sound, so that a person can go into another world and have an experience. As an example, there’s Stanley Kubrick’s “2001:A Space Odyssey” — this would be kind of a pathetic joke on a little screen.
How do you feel about someone watching your films — “Eraserhead,” “Blue Velvet,” “Mulholland Drive” — on a laptop?
More and more people are seeing the films on computers — lousy sound, lousy picture — and they think they’ve seen the film, but they really haven’t.
Because the small screen emphasizes plot over visuals?
It’s a pathetic horror story.
On the other hand, you do appear on countless computer screens every day, giving a weather report from your home in Los Angeles, on your Web site.
People are kind of interested in weather. It’s not artistic. It’s just me sitting there in my painting studio.
Who films you?
It’s a camera that comes down out of the ceiling.
I hear you’re starting an online series on transcendental meditation, based on your book “Catching the Big Fish.” Is the small screen a good format for discussing meditation?
Any format is a good format for meditation. Every single person has within an ocean of pure vibrant consciousness. Every single human being can experience that — infinite intelligence, infinite creativity, infinite happiness, infinite energy, infinite dynamic peace.
Tell us about your foundation.
The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace — we raise money to give meditation to any student or school. There is a huge waiting list.
As a devotee of cultivated bliss, how do you explain the proclivity for twisted eroticism and dismembered body parts in your films?
A filmmaker doesn’t have to suffer to show suffering. You just have to understand it. You don’t have to die to shoot a death scene.
Do you see yourself as an American Surrealist?
Dennis Hopper called me that, and that is the way he sees it. It’s more than just Surrealism to me.
I think of you as someone who transported the noir sensibility from the city into a Norman Rockwell setting. What do you think of his paintings?
I love his work. It’s like Edward Hopper. They see a certain thing, and they catch it.
What is that clock you’re holding in this photograph?
I just didn’t want to stand there like an idiot. It’s an old clock, but I am building this plastic bubble around it.
Is it a sculpture?
In a way it is. You mentioned Surrealism, and time was very important to the Surrealists.
But Dali painted melting clocks, and yours isn’t melting, is it?
It’s not melting, no. But part of it is made of polyester resin, which at one time was liquid.
I hear you’re getting married again.
In February. I’m marrying a girl named Emily Stofle.
Is she an actress? Was she in any of your films?
She was just in one, “Inland Empire.”
You’ve been married three times before?
Yeah, it’s real great.
Why would someone who feels so generally blissed out marry so many times?
Well, we live in the field of relativity. Things change.
Do you plan to film your wedding?
No. It’s a hassle. So many things these days are made to look at later. Why not just have the experience and remember it?
Because most people have the experience and forget it.
Some things we forget. But many things we remember on the mental screen, which is the biggest screen of all.