Friday, November 12, 2010

I'll Remember You Forever ( Part 1, 2 & 3)

In 1994, Cohen said: "If you're going to think of yourself in this game, or in this tradition, and you start getting a swelled head about it, then you've really got to think about who you're talking about. You're not just talking about Randy Newman, who's fine, or Bob Dylan, who's sublime, you're talking about King David, Homer, Dante, Milton, Wordsworth, you're talking about the embodiment of our highest possibility. So I don't think it's particularly modest or virtuous to think of oneself as a minor poet. I really do feel the enormous luck I've had in being able to make a living, and to never have had to have written one word that I didn't want to write."But I don't fool myself, I know the game I'm in. When I wrote about Hank Williams 'A hundred floors above me in the tower of song', it's not some kind of inverse modesty. I know where Hank Williams stands in the history of popular song. Your Cheatin' Heart, songs like that, are sublime, in his own tradition, and I feel myself a very minor writer. I've taken a certain territory, and I've tried to maintain it and administrate it with the very best of my capacities. And I will continue to administrate this tiny territory until I'm too weak to do it. But I understand where this territory is."

Beautifully as he puts it, I can only dream of nailing any thought so lovely and precise as the old man, making it seem effortless even. However I'll try to explain the reasons behind this work. The way I see it my working practice comprises two major interests, one: investigation of self, to put it loosely, research activity based on certain events I consider to be milestones responsible for shaping my identity to this day. And number two: digging thru lives of other, heroes of mine, these being reverence to ideas & deeds of certain people I came to admire. As entwined as these two get sometimes, it's impossible for me to tell them apart. At times the work starts from something some person did one time or another, and there's me trying to make something out of it, transform it and in a deeply personal way make some sense out of it. Thinking it thru over & over comes following. In just a little while, I can't tell which is which. Is it the deed of this certain someone or is it what I feel about it that matters for execution of work. It soon became clear that to a certain point my identity or whatever it is that forms and occupies my mind, was shaped under severe influence of other people endeavors, that by extension have made them famous. Hence my awareness of them. While reflecting upon this I started to think about the phenomenon of fame which brings us to this work. How is it that someone gets recognized and remembered. What makes us choose what we want to remember, by what merit. There have been crazy fuckers all over that've done craziest things to date, but never got to that shrine of reminiscence. I dare to propose, perhaps naively so, that the act undertaken by any individual aspiring to fame has to be conditioned by act's ability to sustain itself thru time, putting up with constant whims of changing vogue. I don't even dare to try and analyze this on any level that would be based on questioning moral values, passions & needs of our society, just the thing itself- fame. It interests me how it reflects upon the lives of its protagonists. Especially when it relates to one single event in human life in contrast of celebrating entire person for what they stand for based on their lifelong efforts. I've read about the lives of Apollo astronauts after they surfaced moon & came back, how they never gotten their lives back. Marked by their larger than life event, unable to be seen in any different light some of them gave way to alcoholism and some to solitude, oppressed by the marking of one single act. With these issues in mind I wanted to make a work depicting several stages related to this concept of fame. I took the story of a relatively known polar explorer from the beginning of 20th century, Ernest Shackleton. Unlike his widely known colleagues Amundsen and Scott, Shackletons fame isn't based on pioneering achievements in conquering unreachable parts of planet. Although he has tried to be the first to travel Antarctic from north to south via south pole, he failed, leaving him and his crew of 28 stranded in ice for over two years. Through series of good decisions he kept them alive and today he's known as an exemplary leader, keeping it together despite the odds. Even though the story appeals to me as much as it would to any five year old & onward boy in the world, it pretty much stops for me there. He wasn't the one of the heroes responsible for my shaping I mentioned earlier and this was the reason I chose him for my protagonist. I needed a, call it- a case study, someone with who I'm not sentimentally involved in any way. Based on few inseparable aspects relating to this concept, while thinking it thru I've divided the work in three chapters. First relating to the actual event, documentary fact so to say, I depicted a fragment in time, a snapshot taken from the actual event. It shows the boat, the crew used as a hut while stranded on Antarctica's Elephant Island. Part two presents second stage. It shows one of the means to send the message or an idea across. I suppose icon needed to have a proper media to back it up, otherwise all I'd be left with was an anecdote. I imagined a improvised studio, a set where some non-existing film is being made. Every item around upon closer inspection points to our protagonist. In the end, this derivate based on a rendering of an actual event will serve as reference point for the real thing as distant & fake as any story is from someone's life. The actors as handsome as they get will replace crew's crude faces without charisma. And slowly we arrive to chapter three. Although still in progress as chapter one, it will show some imaginary me, sitting at the end of this chain, at home, on-line, possibly browsing Wikipedia to back up the facts that the 'blockbuster' from chapter two has failed to include.