the first video work i made, i made from footage of kelsey’s funeral set to a soundtrack of billy idol.
My mom comes and brings a vhs recorded with Kelsey’s memorial service. Why do we call it hers? Ours, about Kels (’over my dead body’). None of us have ever watched it. I take it to school, turn off the monitor and dub it to DVD. Then watch it one night in my basement studio, lights off, lying on the futon, blanket on.
i didn’t know – and couldn’t be bothered to learn – how to rip right from the DVD. so i filmed it again on my (cracked) computer screen, mini dv camera balanced on a beer bottle and a stack of books – as am, often, i. an aesthetic was born: lo-fi, rascuache and hand-made-for-youtube style.
Editing. The more I clip and playback the further the distance between the white-faced 23 year old with the hollow eyes and skeletal shadows and the me that’s like, ‘hey Chris can you do me a favor? Film me dancing around and singing to billy idol? It’s kinda weird but it’s to edit over the film from the funeral… you know, ‘hey little sister, what have you done?’
i’m into all the the youtube tropes – the music videos, the narcissistic (self-conscious) metubes, the i.movie edits, the bedroom girls – and i can claim my interest’s academic (it is – somewhat – so i do) but the youtube context (which is a separate theatre from the one i set to screen these works in) also works to disable any academic reading (comments & responses).
one of the most intriguing aspects of contexts such as youtube – such as livejournal, myspace, blogspot and so on – is the publicizing of ‘the private.’
death is a private affair. aren’t most affairs private? don’t they often start and end in public, though? i upload the evidence of my romance with death to explore the connections between ‘our’ fascination with voyeurism (personal, pornographic, violent or vitriolic), ‘our’ exhibitionist, group-therapy think-out, ‘our’ cathartic acts of record and replay.
to revisit death by video, to edit loss, reflects my process of memory and memorial, and speaks to and about the process itself. it repeats and it distances. reminds and cuts out. i work with little intention (just make something, anything, from this) – rely on chance encounters with timing, tuning, imagery. there are moments when two tracks (or more) align just-so, seemingly at random, and sense is made, momentarily. that sense-making, meaning-making moment, motivates the next motion taken.how to describe a process? to play it, and/or play it out.
To refer to death as a creative process does not imply that it is attractive or even ‘artistic.’ We humans have an instinctual aversion to the sweet, sickly effusions that decomposition produces. Yet this stage is necessary before the cleansed, aesthetically comfortable ‘bare bones’ state can be attained…
Mary Bradbury writes that the split between what is real and what is theatre is patricularly hazy in the social organization of death, as certain aspects of this organization are highly ritualistic in character: the funeral, the burial, even the embalming of the body are all performative traditions…
Academic attachment became elusive – instead, we reverberated, echoing the emotions of loss and reclamation that we purported to investigate impassively, and performing exuberant grieving as playfulness infiltrated the pathos and sadness that had marked our individual mourning practices…
All we may expect of time is its reversbility. Speed and acceleration are merely the dream of making time reversible. You hope that by speeding up time, it will start to whirl like a fluid…The imagination is scarcely any better equipped to appreciate reversibility than the person who has never slept would be to appreciate dreaming. And yet we experience in it that electrocution of time we call predestination. The signs exchanged in the process are instant conductors unaffected by the resistance of time. Certain linguistic fragments run back along the path of language and collide with others in the witticism, dazzling reversibility of the terms of language. In this they fulfil an unexpected destiny, their specific destiny as words, conforming to the predestination of language.– Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories