Stay the Same


Cesar Kuriyama – One second every day
26 March 2012, 10:33 am
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Cesar Kuriyama is making a film using one second of film from each day of his life from. He started on his 30th birthday which, coincidentally, was the same week I started filming Stay the Same.  His is a fascinating and incredibly ambitious project also about time, memory and the desire to capture all of lifes experience somehow. Here is what he has recorded so far.

Kuriyama’s project makes my painfully slow film making process seem like a breeze. His film, if he continues, will only truly be finished when he dies. In the TED blog he says he believes that the film will be how he remembers his entire life. The act of documenting and creating of images definitely changes the way in which we remember and construct our own narratives. But I am not sure if we can know in advance how we will remember things. It is a really interesting question. It is going to be equally interesting to follow Kuriyama’s project and see.  It makes me think that it would be great if Cesar Kuriyama and Jonas Mekas could meet.

Thanks again to Simon Lynch (see previous blog) for sending me the link to Kuriyama’s work.



#24 Simon Lynch who I haven’t seen in ten years

Simon saw this project in the papers and got in touch through facebook last month. I went to university with Simon. We also worked together as interns in the Labour party media unit in ’97  helping make short films about how great the new Labour government was going to be (we were young!). As a result of this all we spoke on the phone for the first time in at least ten years last week. Afterwards he wrote me an email (which he agreed I could quote here!). He said “Often, ‘life’ seems to get in the way of keeping in touch with anyone – don’t even think this is a pre/post Internet thing – there just is no time… Which is exactly what I may or may not have been able to say to you about your project [on the phone]. When I look at what you are doing, I feel an extreme jealousy of your choice. Yesterday, we were busy. Today, we have no time. For anything. Maybe the story of what you are doing is about both ‘recording’, but also ‘re-calibrating’ time? Placing a stop on the constant flow of stuff and finding another way of dealing with it. Perhaps I am just projecting my own personal desires.  Anyway, I still think the angle of other people doing the same thing could produce a great piece of work.

I like the phrase “re-calibrating time”.

Simon sent me some links. One to Noah Kalina‘s everyday project, one to Cesar Kuriyama who is editing together a second of film from each day of his life and and one to the work of Jamie Livingston.  Livingston documented his life with a polaroid photo every day between March 31st 1979 and October 25th 1997 when he died of a brain tumor. He was an artist, filmmaker and circus performer. The pictures are publishe here. They are incredibly rich and moving.

These peices also relate to Jeff Harris’ 4784 Self Portraits and Jonas Mekas As I Was Moving Ahead I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty. They are all about our relationship with time, memory, personal narrative, representation and the visual image.

Simon is convinced I should create a peice of work about people who are documenting their lives in this way. In many ways this is exactly what this website is an attempt to do.  I have always seen the site as a peice of work in itself.  Alongside documenting the process of making the film, the website documents the research and development of ideas behind the film. A film which in itself is about the desire to document.

New work will almost certainly come out of this process. But it’s good to be reminded of this as sometimes I forget.



The Story of Self
10 March 2012, 12:26 pm
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I read this article in the guardian by Charles Fernyhough which connets with a lot the research I have been doing recently in to memory and self, as our perceptions of time and narrative are very much related to memory. I’m really looking forward to reading his book.

Our ability to remember forms the basis of who we are and is a psychological trick that fascinates cognitive scientists. But how reliable are our memories?

Memory is our past and future. To know who you are as a person, you need to have some idea of who you have been. And, for better or worse, your remembered life story is a pretty good guide to what you will do tomorrow. “Our memory is our coherence,” wrote the surrealist Spanish-born film-maker, Luis Buñuel, “our reason, our feeling, even our action.” Lose your memory and you lose a basic connection with who you are.

It’s no surprise, then, that there is fascination with this quintessentially human ability. When I cast back to an event from my past – let’s say the first time I ever swam backstroke unaided in the sea – I don’t just conjure up dates and times and places (what psychologists call “semantic memory”). I do much more than that. I am somehow able to reconstruct the moment in some of its sensory detail, and relive it, as it were, from the inside. I am back there, amid the sights and sounds and seaside smells. I become a time traveller who can return to the present as soon as the demands of “now” intervene.

To read the rest of this article follow this link

Charles Fernyhough is a writer and psychologist. His book on autobiographical memory, Pieces of Light: How we Imagine the Past and Remember the Future, is published by Profile Books in July. He is the author of The Baby in the Mirror (Granta), a reader in psychology at Durham University and a faculty member of the School of Life. You can follow him on Twitter at @cfernyhough



Noah Kalina every day for six years
1 February 2012, 6:19 pm
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I’ve now been filming myself every day at exactly the same time in exactly the same place every day for over seven months. Today the sun rose at the same time I turned on my camera, and it is now light when I get up in the mornings (usually about twenty minutes before filming). As my dad says, each month I’ve done somehow counts as double, it’s one month done and one month less to go. I am really aware though that I don’t want to count my life away and even though I have realised that maybe I am just the kind of person who needs to go away now and then, and it is January and pretty grey, I am still trying to enjoy the here and now.

Here is Noah’s six year picture every day project which started a bit of an internet phenomena. A lot of people will have already seen it (22 million in fact). Before I started this film I had no idea that there were people all over the world taking pictures of themselves every day. Noah even created an every day i-phone app to make it easier for you. I think the trend says a lot about our relationship with cameras and modern technology particularly in regard to our experience of time and mortality. It’s like we can’t ever quite see ourselves (or each other) fully enough.

And an ad for his i-phone app which seems slightly tongue in cheek to me or at least aware at some level of it’s own ridiculousness . .



Jeff Harris: 4,748 Self-Portraits
6 January 2012, 5:58 pm
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Clocks for the New Year
4 January 2012, 11:36 pm
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Standard Time is a performance project by Mark Formanek which he has built in different cities. Carefully choreographed builders change a huge wooden digital clock in real time. For more films and information click here.

There is also The Human Clock which shows photos people have submitted of the time, in real time. It is worth a visit as some of the pictures are great (it becomes a little addictive waiting for them to change).

And I posted about Christian Marclay’s peice The Clock back in July when Jamie Kenyon from the Glasgow Centre of Contemporary Art told me about it



Agnes Varda
29 November 2011, 6:05 pm
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Eighty year old Agnes Varda walks backwards through her incredible life revisiting places and people.




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