Whether it be in consumption or production, as a director, screenwriter and actor, the pleasure in any kind of creative endeavour is, for me, experiential and its deconstruction can be devastating. To distil the characteristics of something that shakes us to our foundation or moves us to our core is to pick away at any emotional response we had to it. In those moments when a voice that carries an intangibly delicate tone, warms the soul or I stand transfixed by the colour pallet of an oil painting, I am truly living, truly myself, truly being. It is a curious thing then that I am poised to fight that inner urge and deconstruct notions of ‘being’.
I have ventured into strange territory here – the ‘self’. In the wild, few animals have ever seen a clear picture of themselves. Perhaps they have seen a distorted image of themselves reflected on the surface of a rocky stream, but this is not their true likeness. In a similar way, the images we see of ourselves reflected in mirrors or in photos, however crisp and high in definition, are an illusion. I think it is an odd thing that we will never truly see our own faces in our lifetimes because our eyes do not stretch that far. We may see our limbs and our torsos, but never our faces. Our faces therefore, are not ‘engineered’ for the inward transfer of expression, and yet they belong to us. And so, in a way, the face is not for us, it’s for them.
Whenever I have pointed the lens at myself, I have never been sure of what to make of what I see. With time, I have grown used to what I see but I don’t think I am able to truly process or understand it in any meaningful way. This disconnect between what we feel internally and what we see externally is of great interest to me, not in the sense that I am fascinated by my ‘self’ but I am fascinated by that dichotomy. There is a gap between what we perceive and what we feel. We rarely take time to consider these liminal human states which are so abundant in their manifestation. I wonder if in those moments that we aren’t aware of ourselves, we are truly being ourselves and when we do become aware we are no longer our true selves, dipping into and out of a state of ‘being’ and an ‘altered state of being’?
Can a person’s state of awareness become so heightened that they truly discover who they are? I think of the engineered devices through which we communicate as being buffers, adding layers and distorting our image. The thinking behind my praxis therefore, in terms of the deconstruction of expression, lies in discovering how close we can get to our true selves through this buffer in my exploration of my ‘self’ and other ‘selves’.