David Lynch (Justin Stephens for the New York Times)

Deborah Solomon: Let’s start by contemplating the current fascination with the small screen.

David Lynch: 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.

DS: How do you feel about someone watching your films — “Eraserhead,” “Blue Velvet,” “Mulholland Drive” — on a laptop?

DL: 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.

DS: Because the small screen emphasizes plot over visuals?

DL: It’s a pathetic horror story.

DS: 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.

DL: People are kind of interested in weather. It’s not artistic. It’s just me sitting there in my painting studio.

DS: Who films you?

DL: It’s a camera that comes down out of the ceiling.

DS: 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?

DL: 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.

DS: Tell us about your foundation.

DL: 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.

DS: As a devotee of cultivated bliss, how do you explain the proclivity for twisted eroticism and dismembered body parts in your films?

DL: 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.

DS: Do you see yourself as an American Surrealist?

DL: Dennis Hopper called me that, and that is the way he sees it. It’s more than just Surrealism to me.

DS: 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?

DL: I love his work. It’s like Edward Hopper. They see a certain thing, and they catch it.

DS: What is that clock you’re holding in this photograph?

DL: 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.

DS: Is it a sculpture?

DL: In a way it is. You mentioned Surrealism, and time was very important to the Surrealists.

DS: But Dali painted melting clocks, and yours isn’t melting, is it?

DL: It’s not melting, no. But part of it is made of polyester resin, which at one time was liquid.

Deborah Solomon
New York Times