Morphic Resonance and Kindred Spirits
Due to woeful time-management and some awful health and safety negligence I have run out of time in delivering a ‘proper essay’ and therefore offer you this by way of compensation;
Taking two films by Jon Bang Carlsen; the companion pieces “How to invent reality” and “It’s now or never” I am keen to look at the way in which improvisation, collaboration and manipulation have led to other ways of both story telling and ‘being’.
We’re not we are and we’re not and I want to know why.
Film-makers as disparate as Harmony Korine, Chris Marker, Roy Anderson, Werner Herzog and Ben Rivers might all be seen as kindred spirits within the context of my own work and thus Jon Bang Carlsens. It is this morphic resonance that I am interested in.
Morphic Resonance is a term coined by Rupert Sheldrake in his 1981 book A New Science of Life. He uses the expression to refer to what he thinks is "the basis of memory in nature .... the idea of mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms (artists) and of collective memories within species (the audience).
All of this resonates. I am not interested in any singular truth but moreover other ways of telling. My outbursts have been gleaned from a disparate set of contexts and practices. They are not bound by any prescriptive means of making or reading, but instead exist on the edges of various disciplines. Imbibing from a plethora of inspirations and invariably a little out of control the work acts as a breeding ground for yet more ideas. There is never closure. One thing is always leading to another. Things ebb and flow and there is a lot of spillage.
The post modern has enabled a change. There has been an undermining of the perimeter fence that separated the gulags of artistic discipline. The nissan huts are alive with the sound of inter breeding. Anything is possible.
So Bang Carlsen ‘stages’ documentaries. He cajoles his performers
but there is a truth and honesty to his working. People, through being
themselves are transformed into another. Dialogue evolves in
collaboration with the ‘actors’ speaking the lines, so that their words
come across as natural and unrehearsed. An expression of their own
existence within a particular time and place. And at the same time, this
re-invention of a reality is an act in which Bang Carlsen also
"My films are not the truth. They are how I sense the world. Nothing more….
Whether you work with fiction or documentaries, you're telling stories because that is the only way we can approach the world: to fantasise about this mutual stage of ours as it reinvents itself in the sphere between the actual physical world and the way your soul reflects it back onto the world. For me documentaries are no more real than fiction films and fiction films no more invented than documentaries.”
Herzog’s ecstatic truth rubbing shoulders with the Mike Leigh methodology? This is what impresses me.
As does Matthew Barney.
Add to this mix the juxtaposition of sound and image and I am barking up a similar tree. Through trial and error, I strive for some strange and pathetic alchemy. If it works it brings me joy.
Bang Carlsen's work is a testament to the subjective experience of the artist. He is the very fabric of his films. It is also his voice that we are listening to. His doubts and insecurities are vital.
Things are never simple.
Which is where I was hoping to expand but the time-consuming responsibilities of parenthood meant that this last week was spent in collaboration with my daughter Eden and an exhibition that we had promised for F-ISH gallery down here in Hastings.
My head is elsewhere. So instead as a conclusion I offer you a series of prose poems made in conjunction with a series of Eden’s drawings;
I’m dragging things out my nose again
And not even the highest
Flying birds of meaning can reach me
But the sun filtering through the rotten beams certainly shed some light
What can be said is that
Seeing the unseen carries with it the importance of the insignificance
People will extract new words from your silence
They will breathe new life into your absence
Now when I think back
Now that it’s all over
Now that the sun is behind the house
I realise that your feet never did touch the ground
Votre beau discourse
Fascinated by mortality
Contemplation as a means of navigation
Into the undulating sea
And all because I’m nearly fifty and you still can’t talk.
Now that I’m overwhelmed by sadness
Now that I’m looking at her justbegun drawings
Now that she is not here
Now that she is happy over there
Now that Jon is dead
Now that I’m overwhelmed by sadness
Now that I can let all of this out of my head
Mystical thematic threads?
(Knitting is the right answer)
A walk to the Old Pump House for coca cola and crisps
For keeping the insanity at bay
Her invalidity and my inability one and the same
She repeats herself incessantly and I have nothing to say, save;
Don’t keep saying the same fucking thing
Stop swearing Daddy.
Trivial amongst the elements
I am trivial amongst the elements
We are trivial amongst ourselves
The mountains plunge us into a perspective that I can ill afford
At this end of life.
How much do you drink?
All of it.
Back to the chores I’ve adored
Always coming back for more.
Me and the Great-out-of-doors.
Brambles reclaiming, then reclaimed
Today a new history,
A new beginning.
With this new machine my fingers are ringing,
But this process is far more brutal
Leaves you torn and battered.
“Long years must pass before the truths we have made for ourselves become our very flesh”.
Response and the ability
Not a changing-the-world-thingy.
Just a reflection.
A trip down these, the memory lanes.
Looking back; an attempt to catch up with the present,
Which is always shooting ahead,
Here we see the present projected into the future.
The present is me collating the past.
The future are those things that have to be done on the way home.
Quite often the future has been planned meticulously in the past;
The acquisition of tickets, life insurance, mortgage, membership.
So, back to the family and my life story which involves all of them.