For the final project in “Nothing” we have been prompted to choose a topic that is rooted in the cultural, sociological, or philosophical dilemmas of representation. Considering this lens there are a few broad topics I am interested in exploring:
Over time I have become more certain of my belief in pacifism; that violence, such as war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances. The “otherising” we are capable of toward our extended human family is something I find upsetting in all forms and would love to challenge. The role technology has played through mechanization, automation, and putting us into categories optimized for organization has only made things worse.
There is more to this than the piles of garbage generated by every American household. There is a system of oppression, namely capitalism, that values profit over human life. Production over environment. That encourages consumers to seek happiness as a transaction. That would bankrupt Earth of its livelihood to send billionaires into space. I would love to challenge and break some of the delusions of consumerism here.
If life is so terrible for someone to leave everything familiar to them for an unknowable future in the United States I think they deserve the opportunity. A few years back I filmed a short documentary with an Iraqi family who had immigrated to Germany as refugees. They were treated with respect. At the time I was upset to learn just how few refugees we take in the US every year, which has declined from over 220,000 in 1980 to a staggeringly low 18,000 in 2020.
Technically I would like to do something involving projection mapping. I am excited by the story telling potential of repurposing surfaces, and considering the resources available think that small surfaces may be the way to go.
Here are some ideas for surfaces.
Faces have a dual nature. Our minds are uniquely tuned to recognize one another by face, but they also relate to “nothing” because of their ephemeral nature. Our faces animate and relate emotion. They serve as a window into our thoughts. We can also change our appearance quite dramatically through our faces. There is something beautiful and jarring about manipulating faces, an uncanny valley waiting to be explored.
Garbage. I see garbage relating to “nothing” in the sense that someone has disposed of it and to them it had no further value. This could be an opportunity to explore the lifecycle of familiar objects. As Thich Nhat Hanh said “there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper.” We inter-are. Everything is made of everything else.
Mementos. Some objects have a rich history. This pocket watch I inherited from my great grandfather. This approach could pair short stories, told through audio recordings, with the objects they relate to or contrast with.