i am reality
reality is me
reality is nothing
nothing is reality
Music by DUET FOR THEREMIN AND LAP STEEL
I wanted to play with perception and somehow prove everyone has their own sense of reality, but that there are few who can step out of their reality and look at the world with an undefined eye.
I opened with the sunrise in order to give the video a sense of normalcy at first glance. The sunset is quite literally used as my introduction to perception. You don’t know where it is. You don’t know if it is a sunrise or sunset. If it is real time or sped up.
I used the unfocused and slowed down Christmas lights as a sort of perception cleansing. Stripping away any expectation and putting the audience into a sort of trance. You’re not sure what you’re looking at, but keep watching. Magical moment: changes in the pattern of the lights fluctuate with the instruments. I later added the poem by Molly Drake as an example of someone who actually stepped outside of human reality and saw the world for what it actually is. Molly wrote the poem’s story about her son, Nick Drake. He is known for his hauntingly gorgeous music, but also for his suicide in his early twenties (1974). There didn’t seem to be any apparent reason for his death, but if you are in the same state of realization about the world that he was, you could understand why he ended his life. He saw reality for reality, and was unable to climb back into the fabricated sense of reality so many humans cling onto.
After the perceptual cleansing, I opened up to the party scenes. I slightly slowed down the first clip to mess with perception and then added the feathered mask around the edges in order to make it feel like you are the one there, watching everything. Later I found the Vonnegut piece, which complements the effect I was going for. I’m actually forcing you to step outside of yourself and see everything for what it really is. These are not people you know; you don’t have any emotional connection to them and you have no idea what they are talking about. You are simply observing an observable situation. I’m forcing you to stand outside of your skin.
I visually furthered this explanation by giving glimpses of alcohol in order to explain how most people come out of their cultural restrictions by consuming drugs, alcohol, etc in order to break down social boundaries. Instead of practicing this “parlor trick” soberly and actually being aware of what they are doing, consuming one thing or another forces them into a different mindset. These are not drunk friends; these are people breaking down their cultural boundaries in common ways. However, I’m portraying this situation to the viewer when they are in a clear state of mind.
In the first few weeks of a baby’s life, I like to think they see the world for what it actually is. No one has told them this is how to see this or that. I masked out everything going on around the baby to symbolize a certain state of mind. One where no symbols, stereotypes, background information or personal beliefs taint what is actually there. The baby is viewing true reality, taking it all in, and in the process creating his own reality. Which backs up the point, if you’re your own reality, then you are reality. And further, reality is nothing and nothing is reality.
After the baby I decided to revisit the lights. Complete the perceptual cleansing. Bukowski’s voice reads his poem which ends in “The truth at last,” and that’s when the unfocused Christmas lights are finally revealed in their true form. By unfocusing the lights and slowing them down, I made the Christmas lights what I wanted, and the audience will too. “Are they traffic lights?” “Are they electronic lights?” “I think they are so and so.” But by bringing the lights back in focus and up to their normal speed, I have fabricated the process of realizing reality. True reality. Simply what is there. The truth at last.