Monday, July 28, 2008
"We're gonna need a bigger boat..."
“Among the earliest forms of human self-awareness was the awareness of being meat.”
- David Quammen, Monster of God
Next week opens the first annual Alumni show at Watkins College of Art & Design in Nashville, where I received a BFA in 2003. I am represented in the exhibition by a new video that I finished up last week, "Testing the Waters" - the first spur video from my tending-towards-sprawling "Wilderness" project. "Testing" is my attempt to get a grip on what, exactly, I'm trying to do with "Wilderness" - and indeed whether I can actually do what I think I can with this idea. My videos are typically simple and performative, evidence of an action. This project represents something new for me, and as it is with any new creative thrust I'm not entirely comfortable with it. Maybe a big reason for this is also the most obvious: all of my source material for this project is other people's work. Add to that the general violence of the footage (animals attacking people and/or people attacking animals) and things start to get complicated. I'm enjoying the process, though, and I'm operating with the outlook that if these projects don't quite live up to the thesis they will at least make interesting YouTube fodder.
I post the first version of this video (in low-res, compressed form) in the hopes of getting some feedback as I continue with the project as a whole. Please share your thoughts! Comment on this blog, or email me personally.
Unfortunately I won't be able to make it down to Watkins to see the exhibit - I mailed in the DVD yesterday. It's the first alumni show they've put on and I'm sure it'll look great.
And speaking of annual surveys, coincidentally enough this week happens to be Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. The video montage of sharks leaping out of the water to the tune of "Flight of the Valkyries" on their homepage may already have my video beat...
"While some informed people may have decided that sharks are really not so bad, they yet may find reasons for not swimming in the ocean. Traditional island peoples widely regard the shark as a spiritual being whose analogous aspect in the human self is an embryo. That sharks rip open the body of their victims has a double horror of an unborn monster ravaging the self. Sharks are neither intrinsically terrible nor sacred, but they are utterly fascinating and therefore a perfect candidate for encoding extreme feelings and concepts."
- Paul Shepard, The Others