Date of Submission
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
My project, Bardo, is the mental culmination of two forced semesters off. Throughout my time off, I began to fear and revere graduation. But the normal space of a summer in which that frightening realization might don on a student became an entire year for me. The idea of graduation became both death and life.
I was stuck at home, watching my friends online getting closer to realizing their academic destinies. The Class that I came in with would soon be dead to me, as I was dead to them. When you are not a college campus, you don’t exist. You are not missed. People move into new dorms, make new friends, take new classes, and new routines are established. It’s hard to yearn for the steak you just had when your palate has already been cleansed by lemon sorbet.
When I came back to visit my friends, they were all about to move on. They were going to enter the fire of graduation and come out on the other side, another side I could not recognize because I was stuck in limbo. In the realm of academia, I was neither dead nor alive. I was stuck in limbo, waiting to die.
The title of Bardo is a simple two-fold proposition. First, it is name of the Tibetan principle of Bardo that is a state of existence between death and rebirth; a transitional indeterminate state. Second, it obviously invokes the name of this very campus, as the film is a love letter to it in many ways. I often tried to show the disgusting parts of Bard, but they are all oddly fascinating to me. In its ugliness, I found beauty.
To remove myself from the story, however much of a science-fiction edge it has is impossible. The kids in the story are all lost and wondering why they have been left behind. In a world where everyone is literally moving on into the next chapter in their existence, the characters are left wonder: “Why not me?” More importantly, they are left to wonder: “Why?”
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James, Nelson, "Bardo" (2012). Senior Projects Spring 2012. 392.