Sunday, November 8, 2009
sun November 8th 2009
Sun Nov 8th
The Indian films Thursday night convinced me once again that form is politic. A “TV style” frames reality in a particular way that governs, freezes, your response. A Dutch artist Roma Pas (great name) at the Academy said to me she doesn’t believe art is political. It strikes me (again) how small a definition of the political we have–our very denial a kind of politic and definitely an ideology—i.e. that art has no public relevance, that politics is government, that art is private space. So many assumptions here whereas it seems to me art is about the bringing of life to the overlooked, restoring energy and attention to all parts of existence, making it come alive.
I read in a wonderful book that Catherine Payling director of the Keats-Shelley house loans me: “while the names of the dead are carved on gravestones and gradually wear away, the names of loved ones are also carved in living materials and slowly bite deeper into our lives.” It is Richard Holmes talking about Nerval in FOOTSTEPS, his memoir of writing biographies of writers. Wonderful and especially relevant to me when he discusses Mary Wollstonecraft who experienced Paris during the Revolution and the Terror. It was there she has her first lover and gives birth—wonderful detail and poignant sleuthing on Holmes’ part. My characters become not only richer and denser to me, but their lives begin to entwine with mine, their obsessions and mysteries reaching into hauntings, below fallen leaves, into the bark—
It is fall now, the rains have come shot with sun. Many mornings I find my familiar sun-shade staccato on the wall above me, and then it disappears into the day’s clouds. Saturday the sun is strong, full, present. We shoot at the carousel opposite Castel. S Angelo in the morning. It is glorious: the carousel an early 19th c. copy, gilded with half-clothed nymphs on painted ceilings, horses going up and down, spinning tea cups for lovers and hopefully hid from view: cars! Nick (who plays Shelley) brought his daughter who will be (perhaps) a stand-in for William or “Will-mouse”, the son of Shelley. I called to “Mary” with no response since I was addressing Eileen who plays Mary S–so, the real and the hauntings entwine in the present—as well.
On the way back we pass a Punch and Judy show that I hope to film upcoming. One of the wonders of this project is whatever delights I see, I can record. Re –cord from the heart, a re-reading of heart. At its most satisfying that is what the camera can do—re –member, re-embody if not replace nor replant. All these repetitions in language and in my films. The students last Tuesday grew either confused by the fact that things repeat with different conjunctions or delighted in it. Of course I mean both, or rather find pleasure in the messes, in the messy, in the conjunctions, ever shifting, shifty shafts of emotional and physical embodiments that change and swirl and resonate. How to be calm midst instability, or rather how to embody instability to its fullest ration? Complications and ambiguities, intricacies---the mess. The way chance and fortuity provoke happy conclusions.
On that—I too conclude for today.