Tuesday, January 14, 2014


My film project "Visible/Invisible" has finally been completed, after some delays. The (independent) third part, "Tides", was no doubt the most difficult one to put together. I collected clips throughout the summer and autumn and finished it all just after the holidays. The clips were mostly ones that I just felt like staging, not entirely sure how to put together in the end. Others I collected as I saw something that I thought could be interesting material. Then I had to figure out how to use filters and when to create my own colours and effects (all colours are mixed by me).

The sounds took a while to edit. As I have explained in previous blog posts, they were based on some material I recorded on my camera while in London, as well as the sound of some carillons and church bells and my own voice expressing disturbing sensations (which left my voice damaged for six weeks!). On top of that I used a vintage copyright-free recording of Verdi's Ave Maria, which I tinkered with to give it a personal and contemporary feel. 


In "Tides", the third and concluding part of the trilogy, the contrast between objective and subjective reality come to the forefront. There is an almost unbridgeable gap between a person's subjective experiences and their objective reality. Jean-Paul Sartre stated that humans come into being in the eyes of the other. This fundamental truth is one I have carried with me all my life. Very often, the environment remains unaware of the agony of the inner self, but it is also often asked to remain hidden because of shame. Sometimes distress brings on a desire to cover up and to present a pleasing facade. Paradoxically, this facade also acts as a wall that can be hard to surmount, especially if there is no one there to assist. The film aims to raise questions to do with imprisonment inside the body and mind, identity, connection and social adaptation - issues many disadvantaged people face in today's society. How can society help its members overcome shame?

Perhaps the imagery doesn't seem to correspond with the idea of being disadvantaged, but that is actually the point. It's about invisible illness and inner distress. The issues of physical pain and not feeling comfortable within one's body regardless what it looks like, are crucial aspects of the film. It's also about trying to connect with nature, animals and other humans. The sense of connection is one of the most vital things about our existence - if not even a condition for life. Though establishing good connections isn't always very successful in the world today, it's still what helps us survive and overcome some of our fundamental loneliness. There is a looming sense of the finality and ephemeral quality of life that we can only overcome through acceptance.

Tides refer to the idea of the rhythm of life and the contrasts; imprisonment versus freedom, quaint versus dreary, beautiful versus ugly, emptiness versus fullness, connection versus lack of connection, togetherness versus loneliness, pain and illness versus health, sanity versus insanity... inner and outer, claustrophobic and open... in short, many of the fundamental dichotomies that define our dual experience of life. The repetitive music also underlines the rhythmic, cyclical quality and "eternal return" (or "eternal recurrence") of our experiences and affects.

"Whoever thou mayest be, beloved stranger, whom I meet here for the first time, avail thyself of this happy hour and of the stillness around us, and above us, and let me tell thee something of the thought which has suddenly risen before me like a star which would fain shed down its rays upon thee and every one, as befits the nature of light. - Fellow man! Your whole life, like a sandglass, will always be reversed and will ever run out again, - a long minute of time will elapse until all those conditions out of which you were evolved return in the wheel of the cosmic process. And then you will find every pain and every pleasure, every friend and every enemy, every hope and every error, every blade of grass and every ray of sunshine once more, and the whole fabric of things which make up your life. This ring in which you are but a grain will glitter afresh forever. And in every one of these cycles of human life there will be one hour where, for the first time one man, and then many, will perceive the mighty thought of the eternal recurrence of all things:- and for mankind this is always the hour of Noon". (Friedrich Nietsche, 'Thus Spoke Zarathrustra')


Before Christmas I shared this project with a young person who was unable to understand why I would want to make films. Why make films when my collages are already personal and intriguing? As this person hadn't seen the complete films and was only judging a few images, it was an especially hurtful (or thoughtless) remark. The imagery and sounds make sense only when stringed together. Even then you sometimes wonder how people in general perceive this kind of thing. Perhaps they also fail to see the point. Learning how to do films was a big challenge but it opened me up. I felt that I had more means of expression, as more dimensions (moving image and sound) helped me create something that seemed to encompass more of life. Now I quite feel like making something in 2D again.

Some people also feel prejudiced against the tools provided by software, however I (along with my photographer parents and my husband) feel that they are just as valid as tubes of acrylic paints are for a painter, and how you use them is dependant on your talent and creativity. As I have said before, less choice (i.e. simpler tools) can be a good thing as it forces you to try harder and think your project through a great deal more.

I put my heart and soul into it and would hope that the message comes across, and does touch somebody out there. It's all done with simple means that come nowhere near the kind of gear that some people have. That certainly bothers me, however I do not wish to believe that this fact would be in the way of true, heartfelt expression. What defines an artist is surely their desire to keep exploring themes and media, and the wish to expand one's expression.

All three films are now available as a DVD!
For a sound artist who uses her voice in creative ways not unlike how I have been imagining using the voice, check out Iris Garrelfs.
The distressed voices may also bear some resemblance to Wahn by Tangerine Dream (from the album Atem)

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