Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
I am interested in film as a time document— as a method of keeping things and dragging them with you through time. The initial constraints that structured my shooting arose from a writing prompt I had recently concocted. Suppose death is an awakening, perhaps a return to the place out of which your animacy arose or a waking to a world that perhaps bears no resemblance to this one— if you could take memories with you after death, but only a limited amount, what would they be?
The film is an ark, an attempt at such a collection, which serves simultaneously as a portrait of my relationships in a single year (a document of family and friends), a self-portrait of a relationship with myself, and an attempt at a metaphoric journey— a psychodramatic myth.
My film titled Ark is shot on 16mm with black and white (Tri-x Reversal, Plus-X) and color film (Ektachrome, 250D, 50D). It is silent. Ark is an experimental film inspired, stylistically and methodologically, by various forms of the American avant-garde. It borrows from the diaristic and documentary styles of people like Jonas Mekas and Peter Hutton, the lyric styles of Marie Menken and Stan Brakhage, and the psychodramas of Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger.
In the psychodrama the events of the film take place within a psychology, within a mind. So, the pressings and events that we see unfold demonstrate and reveal tendencies of the mind that we roam within. These happenings reveal facets of that self we view out of or follow. I attempted towards this through the methods of visual metaphor and a P.O.V. bodily synecdoche (where we travel through a fluid space peering out of a body, of which we occasionally see body-parts, namely hands, come onto screen).
There are various issues the film deals with. Most primarily they are issues of memory, identity, interaction (or the illusion of which), the limits and phenomena of the image itself, and time.
One editing technique the film uses is that of ring structure or chiasmus. This is generally a metrical structure which uses alternated repetition to serve as an altering echo through time. Here is a simple example in an exchange:
Person 1 — (a) “How are you doing?” (b) “I just had lunch.” (c) “Look at that guy over there!”
Person 2 — (c) “Wow that guy is crazy!” (b) “I’m glad you had lunch.” (a) “I’m doing okay.”
There is a structure of repetitions, each section of which (here each repeated letter) forms a ring, and which doubles at the middle.
Through this we see or at least have the illusion of interaction— an interchange of intimacy and meaning that meets at a center through time. This is small-scale ring structure, but there can also be large-scale. A shot from the same space or of the same person comes again and through its repetition reveals something about change or momentariness. This idea came to me through the Odyssey – which one might say is foremost about a self in search of itself in its interaction with the world, of the self’s attempt to understand its own true nature and consummate its pursuit of the ever elusive home-coming. The center of Odysseus’ telling when he recounts his travels on the sea, which itself has been found to be a chiasmic structure, is his journey into the underworld – this at his ever elusive ever turning center.
I will leave you with a quote from the Rgveda and an inclusion of the poem I wrote which is woven throughout the film. “…the path of the bird is hidden in the midst of its fountain”.
lines himself with eyes.
Their anima minds roaming,
conceal again, from him,
a heritage of loss.
He washes filling through the streets.
tearing with him
bodies trees arousing.
The mind amidst the silence of undoing.
As he draws further,
a man in an ark
carries with him
formed like a pearl.
An array of luminous little creatures.
Each layer the consciousness of another.
Formed from the impurities of his mind.
He tries to carry this burden
even if he knows his failure to be inevitable.
The flood beast turns.
It keeps its possessions in a seam in its mother’s back.
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Sater, David Andrew, "Ark" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 369.
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