infinity on repeat

"It is the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality. It seems, in the last analysis, to have something to do with our self-preservation; and that, no doubt, is why the expression of it, the sound of its words, helps us to live our lives.”

Tag: film

A clip from my new short film

from Throwing Glitter at the Void…. a nonfiction lyric essay film

Shot during hurricane Isaac in Jackson, MS

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Thoughts on Russian montage

Shots stacked so tall they tip over into the abyss.
Metaphysics will mess you up and inevitably
one of us will explode. Content is conflict
and so is the form.  The mind
sees with body and hears with idea being formed.

A name. A hollow thing> a thing within a thing.
What does it mean why do we repeat it
with bodies lives ideas thoughts minds picturethings?
There is no gold inside the word shell
but still we want more and more and more of it.

We have conflict on top of conflict
on top of conflict. We have a flurry of possible
molds for making order out of chaos
but we have only one method
and it is hollow. It is mimicking the cause.

The cause the cause the cause.
This is just a framed bit of everything
everywhere ever. The resolution does not come
instead we continue on, stuck to the underbelly
of an unimpressed ship. We remember it how
we remember an entire life—in a shadow
near the eye of a storm

Everyone is afraid of the next domino
falling. Everyone will die but that is not even the thing anymore.
We are desperate to become
symbols, squeezing our feet into the wrong shoe.
Let us be more than another object. We wonder
if objects die too. Then we see objects exploding.
Then we feel worse. We would rather die than watch
death fall onto object, so we decide to become
object ourselves.

Beginning middle end sounds right.
It has a shape a body can trace. Trace it backwards
call it revolution. First the sentence,
and then the evidence. No, no. First
the evidence, and then the sentence.                    Isn’t that how we occurred?

L’âge d’or

Luis Bunuel's L’âge d’or

down the documentary rabbit hole

“A post-modern ethnography is a cooperatively evolved text consisting of fragments of discourse intended to evoke in the minds of both reader and writer an emergent fantasy of a possible world of common-sense reality, and thus to provoke an aesthetic integration that will have a therapeutic effect. It is, in a word, poetry – not in its textual form, but in its return to the original context and function of poetry, which, by means of its performative break with everyday speech, evoked memories of the ethos of the community and thereby provoked hearers to act ethically.” –Stephen Tyler, from “Post Modern Ethnography: From Document of the Occult to Occult Document”

“…although the universal juridicism of modern society seems to fix limits on the exercise of power, its universally widespread panopticism enables it to operate, on the underside of the law, a machinery that is both immense and minute, which supports, reinforces, multiplies the asymmetry of power and undermines the limits that are traced around the law. The minute disciplines, the panopticisms of everyday, may well be below the level of emergence of the great apparatuses and the great political struggles.” –Michel Foucault

“every way of seeing is also a way of not seeing”

I am what I see.

I become every detail of my surroundings—looking closer constantly, obsessively searching for patterns, meditating on the curvature of peeling paint, morphing objects by changing angles.  I like how billions of people inhabit this earth and if time stopped for just one second, every single one of those people would have a different image in their visual scan. I like how no one can own the thing being looked upon.

I am hyper-aware the materials around me, and even more so when I travel. Some of the hyper-awareness comes from my unfamiliarity with the place & from paying extra attention so I don’t get lost… but mainly it is the sheer freedom to indulge in my gaze, to revel in the feeling of floating anonymously, almost invisible. It is pure ecstasy to wander alone through a strange city and feel yourself slowly disintegrate.

Loving to see also means loving the limitations of seeing. I know I will never capture the air condensing, and I know I will never capture the essence of a person in an image. I am starting to understand why some people believe taking a photograph of a person is an attempt to steal a part of their soul… photographing a stranger without asking is robbing them of their self-definition, because whatever story that photo will go on to tell will be the photographer’s story, not the subject’s. Telling a true, whole, human story is the spirit of making films, so as a filmmaker I have to take constant care to avoid voyeur. This is even more dangerous in still photography… I’ve noticed that in the past months, faces have appeared less and less in my photographs. Of course, I will take pictures of my friends and family, but we use pictures of our loved ones to celebrate our histories together, not to trap them in space and time.

But people love to take pictures of other people. A part of me wonders why that has become such a common practice, especially in tourism. Tourists take pictures of locals as if they are statues in museums. I really hate it. When I took the above photo, I had been filming the waves wash in on the shore of Puerto Morelos. The two girls approached me and started asking me questions in Spanish. I love kids so I liked talking to them even though we really couldn’t understand each other. They wanted me to take their picture… I pretty much always do whatever a kid tells me to do, but I felt vaguely guilty about the situation. I asked them what their names were, but I didn’t have anything to write with and I have already forgotten what they were. So now, like tons of other tourists, I own a picture of a face for which I have no name.

Trash on the sidewalk

 

photo essay of me travelz in yucatan, mexico.

aliens are artists

Life in a Day~ Kevin Macdonald’s film composed entirely of Youtube video submissions

Macdonald worked through over 4500 hours of footage to document what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010. It premiered at Sundance and is now available on YouTube. I haven’t watched the entire thing yet, but it looks beautiful. 3 cheerz 4 techKnowLedgY! ❤

Letters of Note: Greetings Worm

Greetings Worm, 

We have enough rehearsal time, but not as much as in L.A. Still, I think Love and Death will be easier than Sleeper as there is not a lot of…falls and spills and water stunts…Our dialogue exchanges should be brisk and lively…but we’ll get into that …so snookums…speak with you soon. 

Also finished 1st draft of 2 New Yorker pieces. Hey! My book—Getting even—is a hit in France. Go figure. You remain a flower—too, too delicate for this harsh world & Dorrie is a flower & your mother is a flower & your father is a vegetable & Randy is a flower in his way & Robin is a cat. And I remain a weed.

Will call. 

Woody

from this lovely collection of letters from Woody Allen to Diane Keaton Letters of Note: Greetings Worm.

toward documenting multifacetedness

Blogging out my thoughts on my documentary to help me conceptualize it…

So last week in class I was going back & forth between two ideas for my documentary: 1. The movement for sexual equality in Jackson 2. Sights and people I encountered in Canterbury/Paris. Things about culture, assumptions, different ways of looking, etc. Someone suggested, quite brilliantly, that I combine the two… It sounded really difficult so of course I set myself out to do it, ha. I’ve been editing smaller bits of footage and thinking a lot about how I am going to tell this story; and honestly, what story am I trying to tell?

As I read through my travel journals, I found this Anais Nin quote: “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives other souls.” I guess that’s the heart of it. All of the places I travel to in the documentary– both physical and metaphorical– are ones in which I am, in a sense, a foreigner. But they are places I love. I am not gay, but this gay rights movement in Jackson means very much to me. These men & women are standing up for those who have been wronged for so long. They have an enormous capacity for forgiveness & love, made evident by the fact that they have not left Mississippi; they care enough to stay and make things better. They refuse to be oblivious to, or paralyzed by, the harshness of reality. Instead, they have the courage to change it. We are responsible for each other; if people are hurting, humanity is hurting… and the movement is necessary but very few straight people have joined it. That is what infuriates me. No societal structures will change if we ourselves do not change. We need to feel the experiences of others as if they were our own. These gay/lesbian/trans-gendered men and women are only foreigners in our culture because the majority has been told time and time again that their sexual orientation is the norm. But there is no norm to human existence, really. We experience each other in small flashes of shared feeling–and that’s the parallel I am trying to make with traveling. In a foreign country, you are keenly aware of difference. Language, music, religion, social dynamics, fashion, food, money… The differences are on the forefront of our consciousness. We immediately become accustomed to not knowing how to act, how to be, how to speak, etc., and have to trust people to get by. We become free to explore similarities and connections that otherwise go under our radars. Our eyes are peeled.

We quit the bullshit.

So… piecing together footage from three different countries to illustrate the rant above is the challenge. I really admire Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ability to weave separate but complete stories into a larger, more complete story… I took all my footage and pared it down into one story for each of four cities– Jackson, London, Paris, and Canterbury. I think I’ll use a map image to show the different physical locations in the beginning, but I am going to show the stories thematically rather than chronologically… I.e. an image from one place that responds or connects to an image from another. Right now I am putting it together with all the audio silenced so I can focus on cohesive visual storytelling. It won’t be a completely silent film, but it won’t have a traditional narrator/ interview style either. I’m thinking there will be parts with voice-overs from my footage, and parts with just music and ambient noise. I want the images to speak for themselves as much as possible, both for the documentary’s purposes and for the sake of practicing technique.

So yeah, hopefully I will be able to make it turn out the way I see it in my mind.

~

This article on multi-linear plot from Open Magazine does a pretty good job describing how multi-linear films lend themselves to a more comprehensive story…
“The world in these films is poetic and spiritual, and the director moulds the films to transcend the natural linear logic of human narrative. He achieves a state of existence in his films that is dreamlike. He tells you what it means to be human by giving you a world where time and space do not matter any longer, only joy or suffering does. This style of multidimensional narrative is best described by English novelist Virgina Woolf when she talks of her own ‘stream of consciousness’ approach. ‘Life,’ she says, ‘is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.’”


How to be a dreamer~

Experimental short.
“Just because something happens in your mind doesn’t mean it is any less real”