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This a portrait of my three friends Lou, Blake and Xavier, who also happen to be roommates.
However, instead of focusing on each individual’s portrait, in THREE BROTHERS I explore to what extent my perception of each individual is an entity that would be incomplete without reference to the others.
All three tell of adventures either true or fictitious: Holus Bolus.
T.S.Eliot’s ‘The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock’ has influenced and continues to influence my ‘days and ways’ ever since I first encountered the poem when I was thirteen. I remember hating the poem when I first read it, but I hated it only because I did not understand. After reading and re-reading it many times, reflecting and considering its winding ways, I began to understand: I began to understand that life is beyond our capacity to understand and therefore by quelling our pressing desire to make sense of the senseless, we can understand it more: as George Orwell said in his book ‘1984’, “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength” What I take from Orwell is that the minute we categorise and label something is the minute its mystery, its boundless form, its ability to surprise is quite removed.
In this film, I wanted to show man walking away from what he knows, to turn his back on the ‘one-night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants’, to remove himself from the ‘streets that follow like a tedious argument of insidious intent’. The image of the sophisticated world: the highways, the cars, the consumerism, the happy MacDonald smiles that infiltrate a increasingly dissatisfied society is overlaid with the simple image of a pair of feet that walk towards the camera; away from the flow of traffic into the city; away from our ‘civilised’ society. Why I wanted to do this was because I feel that so much of the way we think today, the way we act, is mediated and influenced by the media and governing powers. We’ve come to depend too much on the thinking of others, denying our instinct to the point where we no longer feel our instinct.
In essence I wanted this short film to be a turn on everything we are educated to do and to believe in: this idea that we must have jobs, we should marry and have a family. But what happens when the day comes where we look at ourselves in the mirror and say: ‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’, the day we realise that we kept telling ourselves ‘there will be time, there will be time’, and now all that time is gone. That our lives have been wasted on dreaming of the future and living in the past, it’s such a rare thing to meet someone who lives every day as it comes, who lives entirely in the present, but why?
“A Thousand Eyes” was created in conjunction with the Abecedarium: NYC project through the New York Public Library.
Of the 26 words I chose BIBLIOMANCY. My initial attraction to the word bibliomancy derives from my fascination with the absurd. I sometimes find that the most complex implications can be gleaned from absurdist expression in any form. Be it through performance, human interaction, film, literature, art, etc… Bibliomancy is the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers using a book, sometimes a bible or other sacred text is used. The book will be opened at a random page and while keeping your eyes closed you will point at a line or passage in the book. My passage was selected from Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Siddhartha is one of my favorite books sitting on the shelf and also one that has had a significant impact on my attitude towards existence. Thus, I deemed it significant enough in my life to warrant such a divination. The inspiration for the film was the following passage:
“Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets.”
I really wanted to represent my own view of New York through a lens. So I went out to the Brooklyn Bridge with my camera and shot this footage. “A Thousand Eyes” is essentially my own exploration of the possibilities of the apparatus of the cinema. I really wanted to exploit the camera and force it to do the opposite of what is expected. The result: Beauty.
It was edited to my own mix of hauntingly beautiful and reminiscent sounds from the Epson Stylus 600 printer, as recorded originally by melack from The Free Sound Project Organization.
Ryan P. Nethery
PLEASE WATCH IN HD at: “A THOUSAND EYES” by Ryan P. Nethery
Note: Sorry for the poor video quality! I will try to fix this later
This was inspired by Hollis Frampton’s film (nostalgia), though much simpler. When I thought about what New York means to me, I thought about all of the rooms I have inhabited over the past three years, spaces which have meant the most to me, regardless of the experiences I’ve had there. Being somewhat reclusive, I develop relationships with rooms which are often more emotionally gratifying than the superficial (or should I say “exterior”) relationships with people. I have moved many times since the age of 11, have had several rooms, all with their own personalities and energy. As you might gather from the film, I feel very ambivalent about some of them (#1), very negative about others (#2), and very comforted by the place I live now.
Like Frampton, I am, in a sense, burning all of my old memories of these rooms by revisting them, perhaps for the last time, and thus getting a kind of closure. Maybe this kind of psychological closure is the only physical way to find true comfort within a space– in retrospect once you’ve left and moved on. As far as inquiline goes, all of my rooms, especially in New York, have felt temporary because there is a constant knowledge that I will be moving on soon. I become bored and agitated with rooms, and eventually we have to break-up and I have to start fresh. There is little I like more than moving and re-nesting. In many ways, I have always felt like there is a symbiotic relationship between me and rooms: the rooms must have an occupant to become a living space, and I must have a room in order to live myself.
I wanted to film this and comment on it from a very detached place, because some of these rooms no longer belong to me. I felt rather voyeuristic filming them, capturing them like they once captured me. It’s interesting to be on the exterior side looking into places where I once existed in the ultimate interiority, looking out.I eliminated the sound of the street for two reasons: 1) the silence, or static, in between vocalizations feels more appropriate in terms of detachment; the sounds of the street felt too present and lively. 2) not only is the static/voice over combination recorded sound, the combination has a rather radiophonic quality, and effect I wanted to create, as this is representative of a kind of disembodiement, an acousmetric voice, in this case belonging to the images of the apartments rather than to a person. The static is literally a kind of “dead air”.Gregory Whitehead, a radio artist, has a fantastic quote, which I think can relate to this film:
“When I turn my radio on, I hear a whole chorus of death rattles; [...] from voices that have been severed from the body for so long that no one can remember who they belong to, or whether they belong to anybody at all”
My body has been “severed” from these rooms for so long that they no longer belong to me, and my voice’s disembodied quality inexorably belonging to the voice-over, which in this case represents a body, which once belonged to these rooms, but now only exists as a detached voice which only exists in the dead air of the static. I will end this section with a quote by Alexandra L.M. Keller on white noise (this kind of static) and how what it contains is the interminablevoices of the dead:
“When they [the dead] come back to haunt us, they are unloading all of those afterthoughts that have accumulated in the afterworld”.
I, dead to these rooms, revisited them, and now in my film I am speaking the words to them that I’ve been able to vocalize in retrospect, in the “afterworld” of moving on.
This piece was originally a text which I modified to better fit vocalization (although I really dislike the sound of my voice, as it feels alienated from me, as it should being “disembodied” and all).
It can be viewed here: http://hroivas.blogspot.com/2008/12/night-room.html
|The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.|
|NOUN:||Archaic 1. The vault of heaven; the sky. 2. The upper air.|
|ETYMOLOGY:||Middle English welken, from Old English wolcen, weolcen, cloud.|
In New York City, agriculture takes on a whole new meaning in the urban landscape. Agriculture is not found in fields, but in apartments in the form of plants and food. The roots of co-op’s and community gardens lie in the kitchens of the city’s elders, who feed us and raise us and preserve memory of simpler times past. When I think of urban agriculture, I think of my grandmother who never runs out of things to say and would never turn down a hungry mouth to feed.