Let me see the sea

February 2020

(Description)


As in two previous experiments Follow The Lost Umbrella and My secret Viennese ritual, I separate the place of reading and the place of image display. In that manner I question further the relation between text and image, not only in my work, but their mutual codependency and role in forming the memory and imagination of those who listen and watch both the text and images.


I took a long walk, following the line of hotels in coastal, touristic Funchal, curious about the landscape formed on the border between the sea/land and the infrastructure built to maintain tourism. In order to get as close as possible to the sea, I needed to go through hotels and act as their guest. These situations, I film with my camcorder.


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In the case of this very experience, I finally came to understanding that my camcorder helps me see the place differently. I am capable of slowing the time, by implementing the lens and its zooming option, between me and the subject, so that I get closer to it. As this zoom is of very low quality my attempt to get closer to my subject is doomed to fail. This makes me understand better that my subject is not the 'something' I observe and zoom upon but rather my experience of it, my perception of myself observing this 'something', my position and limitations.


Therefor:


• Camcorder (and its zoom option) is a tool that makes me closer and more distant to my subject at once. It helps me differentiate two subjects, one - real 'something' which I am observing and another one - me observing this something. This way the camcorder turns me into an observer and the participant of the situation I experience.


• Filming is slowing the time in which I perceive the scene I am observing, it enables me to become aware of thoughts that the scene evokes. It is related to slow moving, namely circling around 'something', tracking the relation between two mentioned subjects - 'something' and me observing the something, and the ways this situation turns into experience. The filming turns me into a narrator of this event. Narrating about these events is possible because I film.


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The record of the situation is not a film, but a remembrance of the experience I have had while filming. – This I write down. In this way, the act of filming is mere noting. These films are not filmed for watching, and I watch them only after the text is written. Then, when text is written, I watch the videos again to now take screenshots from it.


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It seems – the act of photographing is postponed.


This I know, because (while I am there, observing something and myself observing something), next to filming, which helps me slow the time in which I experience the situation, and observe this experience, I take photographs with my analogue camera too. These images I take intuitively, fastly and without much thinking, and there is time needed to pass in order to see them at all, as they are on film, which needs to be developed. Once I see them, they do not refer much to any specific part of my experience, but to the very summary of it, all and nothing at once. They revoke the atmosphere, a vague remembrance of unnamable complexity long ago experienced. They are covered with a filter of nostalgia that the equipment itself adds. They do some tricks.


With screenshots it is similar. Instead of transporting me back to what I forgot about the place I saw, but what I am remembered about by watching the image, they move me back to the text I have just written about my experience of a place.


The only difference between these two sorts of images is the procedure that precedes them. In the case of an analogue one, the procedure passes unnoticed as it is fast, irrational. In the case of a screenshot it is a final end to a long slow self reflective process of reporting about an experience. Almost none of this is visible in the image.

 

The caption I wrote in addition to a phograph from one of my rolls from first Corona lockdown, sums it up:


first, knowing that image was taken endures the memory of an experience and brings the excitement through waiting and keeping if for later. later, when looking at image, the image becomes a poor leftover of an experience and annuls both the experience and the excitement which is now inseparable from the experience. what i hoped to keep, i lost.


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I chose a beach on the opposite side of the tourist line I explored, the one which I've never visited before, a wild, hidden one, to read the text in front of the invited audience. Afterwards, we walked to the place where a slideshow consisting of chosen screenshots was played.


None of these images refered to none of the experiences.


In discussion that followed the screening, it felt like no one needed to see them, as if text and the experience of listening to the text being read were stronger than images.


Can I be a photographer, who takes photos, not in order to show them but as an excuse to write?


(All of this deserves another chapter, a good one to start my final text with)




 



 

(The result)


Let me see the sea consisted of a live reading, at the beach that I haven't visited before, a little walk to the room in which the slide show was shown.

 

Research material.

 

Read the text here


Watch the slideshow

 

Listen to the reading


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