Stay the Same

#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
Filed under: ALL, Related films | Tags: , , , , , ,

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

A little bit of blue sky
7 November 2011, 8:33 am
Filed under: ALL, Diary entries | Tags: , , , , ,

I made this little film during a rare moment of escape last week.

I jumped on a boat straight after filming, caught a train, and spent a few hours in Glenfinnan before surprising a friend there who was arriving from London. It was all good timing, a private boat  happened to be leaving that morning just after filming. I enjoyed the journey so much, and just wandering around somewhere different even more. It felt a bit like being on day release!  I stood on a little bridge looking at a river and thought about life and stuff, as you do, then I noticed what I was looking was kind of beautiful so I filmed it with my new mobile phone. It was only when I got home that I realised I had been using the phone the wrong way up – which is what happens when you abandon civilization for too long then get a new phone!

The only thing I have done to the film is flip it over and run it backwards on the right hand side (partly because it was the wrong size!). It is just leaves floating on water recorded on a mobile (you might want to put some music on while you watch it), but it captures a moment on a little bridge in Glenfinnan thinking about life and stuff.

I have started sending out letters and am really looking forward to responses (my mum has already sent me something!) and I have had some really nice unexpected conversations with people who live here as a result of writing about the project in the local newsletter.

I guess this is an example of what a potential response to this project could be, it just happens to be my own . . .

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