I never thought about film and spirit. I was asked to do it for theatre.
I would probably start to think about it in terms of genetics. If the enormous diversity of spirit was destroyed during war, if we are living frankensteins monsters after all, patched from the remains of our ancestors, weak and easily industrialised to the cores of our beings, it is perhaps time to become the mad scientist of Jurassic Park, and try to revive the old strange spirits, to crossbreed them with the modern man, to hybridize. Film has this power, it cuts and glues the frames like you cut and glue the genetic code. After all the best post-modern art did just that. But it’s the hardest of all tasks. I don’t think anyone ever succeeded, no, sorry, Greenaway is perhaps the only exception I can think of, obviously he can not be mentioned without Sacha Vierny, those two are like a single being. The reason I don’t give you more examples is that I’m not that fluent in cinema, there are certainly a few more, I’m sure. In this metaphor of film as a spiritual genetic code, what we should not forget is the biology of that code, the epigenetics – how to make a true living code, not just a mash-up of your favourite music and image, with a bit of snobism, that will become a lifeless mutant incapable of breathing and breeding on its own. If someone was to really conjure spirits on film I’d say he should start with understanding how the machine of spiritual reproduction works. I would then notice, that as in genetics, it would be safe to introduce a single gene, a single important mutation, rather then trying to spawn into totality some ancient, or new form.
Our minds work on the basis of analogy, and therfore the art of counterpoint is the true transformative art. It is not the writing, the stupid “stram of consciousness” that evokes the spiritual. It is a constant tension, a situation between two or more streams, which can recreate the actuality of spirit. A back and forth metaphore (like in the root meaning metaphoros – to transfer something, to put from one vessel to the other and back). To do that we need at least two peaks, two focal points. The art would then be to contrast such views, perspectives, in such way that they still remain in dialogue, despite being of different origin, even matter.
So the one advice I would give to you about looking into the depth of human spirit – don’t look inside, look in between, study the baroque counterpoint, the romantic counterpoint, so eqsquisite in Chopin, the Beckettian counterpoint, Bernhardian counterpoint, this is how the spirit emerges in text and in music – in the space between lines, in the dialogue between melodies. It can not be totalised or simplified in a symbolic form. It can not be shown, only evoked, as a space, as a community of voices, objects, gestures, etc. As the tension between the actor and his mask. As the tension between a voice and the body. Think of it.
And for christ sake, grow a heart Stefanescu, you nihilist piece of shit.
(my answer comes in paragraphs but it’s a single text, the fucking facebook don’t accept large text) The direction you chose, that of experimental independent filmmaking is very dear to me, and out of this love grows the hate towards dilletantism. I wish you all the best with your projects, but above all I wish you educate yourself. I don’t know how. Greatest education comes from profound life experiences. You can not conjure them yourself. I wish you encounter your transformation along the way and grow into a strong cinematic individual, that can support a big and important project. I’m a philosopher and if there was a single speech of advice I could give you – is to tell you about the psychological interior. It is a very unfortunate term, that describes psychology (the life of soul) as a separate space to supposed externality of life. This is a ridiculous romantic division, and grave misconception. The depth of a soul is in complexity of the surface of beings. Think about holograms and the mirage of depth they produce – this is the correct metaphor. Human nature does not distinguish human behaviour from acting, from the natural perspective they are the same. The whole concept of theatre and then film is to create a mask – a representation of one self, with which you can SAFELY play as with an object. Objectification of human being in theatre must be done carefully, consciously, thoughtfully. In the independent young cinema this burden falls on the director, since the actors are usually not experienced. You can hurt people by asking them to “enter their emotional depth”. There is no such thing. Emotions are all performances. The problem is some of those performances constitute us as individuals and construct our psychology, and some are in front of us, as a mask in our hand to be controlled consciously and acted in the literal sense – as an art. If you ask a normal person to be himself in front of the camera you risk psychological desintegration of your “actor”, because you ask them to cut off their own being, their own psychology and turn it into an object of art (a mask). This destroys them as humans, cuts a vital connection between their being and their actions and creates a pathological awareness of the emptyness which is the emptyness of hologram when you remove the image. You can not do it, it is a spiritual crime. That is why a genuine director gives to their actor a line of text, a line o guidance, a form, an external thought or object to play with – so that they don’t focus on their own being. Art is an art of playing with objects. For a dancer his body becomes an instrument which he masters, for actor it is mainly his voice. I’m a great admirer of the pure voice theatre, of Beckett for example. Beckett is all about the voice driving the body. But he does not leave his actors in vacuum. You must learn to respect nature in order not to be in your experiments a pathologist who kills his object in order to examine it. This won’t reveal anything to you, but the mundane obviousness of decomposition of a dead body. There is a world around you governed by natual laws. If you don’t know those laws, don’t play with them, because the forces can hurt you, and most importantly the actor, let alone the spectator, like myself, exposed to this horrific practice.
Just because you discovered the void where you expected the spirit to be located (the interior) does not mean the spirit does not exist. It means you are looking in the wrong place, with the wrong tools, without understanding. You have the wrong idea about what the spirit is. And this false idea precisely was introduced in history to destroy the spirit, to erase it, as many terms in our culture. You must learn to see past the popular deffinitions of things. The rule is they are wrong. They may be occasionally right, but stick to the rule and you’ll see. Most definitions in our culture are created to hide the reality, not to describe it. Especially when we talk about spiritualism, the official church doctrine, the romantic panpsychism, thay are all totalitarian tools, tools of feudalism, of unificatory violence that seeks to erase the individual, and create a standard. They are tools of spiritual globalisation.
While I was looking at your work I thought about a phrase – spiritual snuff movies. The problem I have with you is that you are so uncivilised and debased that probably you will love the term and roll with it – you are probably a criminal. Why? I know growing in Romania (I come from catholic Poland) can turn a man into a vcious destructive being. The horrors of war, the pogroms, nazi occupation, they are all around us. The buildings were raised back, but the human souls, our cultures, were ruined. We live in ruined nations, ruined spirits. That was after all the nazi plan, above all, to destroy the individual culture of each nation. You must understand IIWW was a first major act of globalisation. Modern european human spirit has a destroyed genetic code, everything that was specific, local, was erased, first by the nazis, then by Stalinism. We are left with the more-less universal aspects of our spirituality. But the true life of spirit in its individual and local, in it’s particular is destroyed.
I’m a devoted communist, but I believe it should be focused on the economy, of resource management, and shoud stay away from culture. There is no need to introduce the same species of apple to the entire europe to make it easier to manage the apple economy. This is a basic lie of EU, which pretends to be socialist, but really it’s a feudalism in disguise, big companies, banks, etc. impose their power – the power of capitalism. Money is just a means of civilising political violence, and accumulation of force. And those who have most money are the true governers in EU.
Realise now that in your thinking about human spirit you are like a totalitarian regime. Obviously you will find no spirit if the method of searching for it is to kill everything in the line of your sight. That’s the problem I have with you. It’s not a discovery to kill someone and discover he is not alive. This is what you did in #beings. You killed the spirit and observed the void that’s left. Ok, there are no visible signs of afterlife – what a surprise. Do you get the absurdity of that situation? You are like a little child that does not understand what it observes is the direct consequence of the actions it performed, not the nature of the thing it took in its hands. You are trapped in your own vicious circle of destruction. It’s a cinema of greed and hunger. You eat and decompose meanings, but there is no energy out of it apart maybe that which supplies your egotism, certainly it’s not present on screen, it’s not transferred to the spectator. You suck life out of the people in front of your camera and that’s it. Grat mistery of vampirism. No, it’s not a mystery, it’s the most trivial act of mindless consumption. So you consumed your actors, your spaces, why do you ask me to look at it? It is spiritual snuff, as I said before.
To experience spirit, to evoke it in film, you have to understand it’s nature. As mentioned before, spirit is the life of natural mask, the natural surface. You can not detach that mask from the human, you can not expose it, reflect upon it, because it kills it. You can only observe it with your human senses in real life (i suppose you have few of those left) and then re-create it in art, as an object, as a mask. This is not a caprice, not a baseless dogmatism, that the theatrical tradition insists on “development of the role”, on putting on the mask, the costume, in creating an artifice. This is the only way to move those spiritual forms in the space of theatre, and film. I imagine film to be infinitly harder art form, when it comes to conjuring spirits, or in other words – the destructive aspect of film, the killing instinct of the cinematic machine is thousand times greater then the thatrical machine. To really show life on screen, to really reflect on spirit is to my mind almost impossible.
Why? because precisely film is a stream, not a situation, not a totality. It is closer to writing, then to theatre. It is linear. You even used this in your explanatory video to Linear A, which I understood in 70% percent (because of the language barrier, not the logic). A stream of consciousness is an oxymoron, created by postmodernism, as the ultimate textual artifice. Mind is in no way a stream, a text, a chain. It is a situation – orientation in space, movement in space (in relation to each aspect at once), but it’s also not an interior, unless by interior you mean the entire cosmos that surrounds us. Consciousness is like gravity – the constitutive force of the world of “I”. It glues everything from the furthest stars to the grains of sand on your shoe. It works constantly in parallel totality of the single moment and the entire world, entire cosmos contributes to that moment. It is upon this moment we take a pen and compose the score, but the score, the melody, it is a text, it is artificial, it is the movement of a hand, an object out of consciousness, it is this consciousness moving that object, that mask, drawing a line. This line is not consciousness, it was drawn by consciousness. That’s the fundamnetal difference. So by saying we have stream of consciousness we mistake the writing for the writer, and suddenly all the stupidity that arises from this mistakes, all the nihilistic misconceptions become obvious
Culture is full of those mistakes, because culture, as Thomas Bernhard reminds us in his brilliant “Old masters” is a culture sponsored by state, a totalitarian project. Even counter-culture, which positions itself as a reaction to this totalitarian culture is still forced by the official narrative. The true act of freedom is to approach culture as a mistake, and counter culture as reactionary inversion of those mistakes (and therfore still mistake). The sooner you begin to see that the sooner you will be able to understand the paradoxes, the idiocy of pop-nihilism, and that beyond it still there is a space of natural positivity. Obviously, because this behemoth of official culture must drink some real blood after all. There is life. Grow some eyes and look at it.
The basic idiocy is that absence of the true causality allows introduction of the fake reversed causality. For example there are directors who will break the rules of decency, and yet their actors will give a performance. Then the general understanding is that BECAUSE they broke the rule, there was a performence. But usually it is DESPITE they broke the rules, the actor gave performence, and the true work was done by the invisible force of culture that supported the actor while he was viciously attacked. The director likes to feed his ego with those claims about being the orchestrator of his movies, but sometimes all it takes is a good actor, text, and editing, and the director is just a symbolic binder. Those are however rare occasions. You can not say that a man who takes an apple from a tree produced that apple and took part in it’s development. He was just at the right place at the right time, and he took something from someone. But the fact he is celebrated as an creator, maybe even inventor, of that apple, is just the specifique of our feudalist culture, which mistakes stealing for creating. You come across as one who would not only see nothing wrong with it, but quite contrary embrace it. All I’m saying is there is a choice here, and that choice defines you as a human being.
I never thought about film and spirit. I was asked to do it for theatre.