Duration of Video: GONE (3 minutes, 8 seconds), 2009.
GONE began with the words from a children’s storybook by Robert Kraus entitled Where Are You Going, Little Mouse? I found myself trying to read this book to my young son only to discover that many of the words and phrases in this brief story were actually somewhat unusual and rather formal. Instinctively, I began to sing the story as a kind of lullaby. Over time I realized that this little tune without any reference to a “little mouse” was actually quite large in its emotional arc. It is about the need to leave, an epic search for one’s true family, human longing and the power of reciprocal love.
I chose to record the soundtrack for GONE first with an understanding that the moving image for this work would have to hold the space for this profound narrative. The shadow of trees oscillating on the side of a wooden clad building was just the kind of event I wanted to film, at once representational and abstract, with a pacing that echoed the tone of the singing. This watery image mirrors the story of this ungrounded journey.
Duration of Video: EMPTY (7 minutes, 37 seconds), 2010.
The making of this short video began with my long held affection for a passage of writing in As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner that begins with the compelling statement, “In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep.” Or maybe it began one evening on my back porch when I realized that the sun was creating a rather hypnotic and somewhat disorienting shadow of some bamboo blinds that raked across the concrete floor. It is hard for me to know why this compressed shadow architecture made me think yet again of Faulkner’s writing.
How is it that one determines the best meeting place between sound and image? For me, this decision, in this situation, was based on the pacing of ideas and images. The shadow image appears still and yet it is indeed moving, propelled by the ebb and flow of an evening breeze. The writing follows a straightforward and yet almost confusing series of thoughts that are working towards an enormous existential undertaking. The character is searching for a way to understand and declare his aliveness in the world. Empty’s primary image appears as sunlight falls through a solid object while the written word, here spoken, carries us through a series of images where wind and rain shape objects within the built environment. Both image and story trace a fleeting progression of moments where things are coming in and out of focus, in and out of being and in and out of consciousness.