Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts


Peter Hutton

Abstract/Artist's Statement

For a number of years before I started my education at Bard, I had been documenting friends, family, and places, but had no intentions of editing the material. My approach to filming was identical to my journal writing, and the same problems arose; my documentation lacked expression, and though I wrote about and filmed personal subjects, there was no catharsis to my efforts. This wasn’t an issue of introspection, it was a limitation I faced in my comprehension of the language of both mediums. It was when I began my film studies at Bard and saw the diary films of Jonas Mekas that I realized the potential in my footage for personal reflection. Mekas’ “Walden” in particular taught me that the implications of an image are determined by the editing, which he views as a means of reflection. The structuring of his segments—which are akin to diary entries, with poetic text that explains what is happening—creates a collection of memories that explore periods of his life. To distance myself from documentation, I approach the editing process as a way to reflect through the reinterpretation of what I’ve lensed. Looking through my footage, I distance myself from my initial attachment to the material and use the people and places as symbols of the sentiment I want to explore. In this way, my films become more lyrical than diaristic. Each film reflects upon a single idea, through the use of reconsidered material.

“Portiragnes” is a portrait of a small working-class town in the south of France where I spent a month every summer for fifteen years. It was shot over the summer and winter, 2010-11.

“North South” is a travel log of a two-month cross-country trip I took in the summer of 2009.

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