theory as practice


“you’re wrong if you think…”
March 19, 2011, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

“…that the joy of life comes principally from human relationships. It’s in everything. It’s in anything we can experience.”

I was thinking about this quote of Chris McCandles in ‘Into the Wild’ in regards to a google search of ‘how to let go of desires and expectations’, and I came across an article that reminded me of it.

It basically said that our ego’s are to blame for our desires and expectations and that the belief that someone else is here to make our lives better is wrong – that we are essentially alone and rely on ourselves for happiness. And now I wonder, did McCandles read something similar? When he realised happiness should be shared – was it the desperate scribblings of a dying man, grasping at redemption or was it truth? If we are ‘alone’ and the entirety of our reality is merely an illusion, then what is truth? The question, the accusation… that plagues the media, seeps into the consciousness of life itself.

If I am cold I shiver. If I fall I feel pain. If I don’t eat I am hungry. But if I fall for someone I feel… what do I feel? Chemicals in the brain? Is it as simple as going hungry? You can never be satisfied forever on one meal – just as you eventually begin to pine for more contact with someone you’re longing for. Some say that it is our desires and the illusion of our expectations that hold us back from happiness, and stop us from letting ourselves love – but is love not just another illusion then? If man is the only creature that understands misery, and harbours such complex desires, then is it not unnnatural for us to see the world through what we want from it – instead of instinctual, in action… Then there are those who say that the pain we feel when we fall in love is natural, necessary even, if we are to truly love someone – that we should let our hearts be vulnerable to destruction. I know in the past I haven’t allowed myself to get close enough to anyone to be romantically in love, but lately I’ve been feeling brave enough to allow it, if it were to come along. But what I can’t work out now… is what love really is? Because if it is instinctual then our ego’s get in the way, but if it’s more complex than that, if it mean’s desire, and getting hurt… then our ego is necessary, is it not?

I don’t think I’ve accomplished my ‘desire’ to let go of my desires and expectations – the concept we deny the very things that make us human seems a little dehumanising.

I recently let go of the ego, and in the space of a few hours what felt like love seeped inside me, and has been eating away at my spirit for the past few weeks. The thought that I trusted myself enough to just let go, and feel kind of connected with someone else – mentally, not physically, scares me now – because I don’t know if it’s something I can regain. Living in the moment seems like a dream right now. There’s so much work I have to plow through that I can’t walk to the bus stop without being far away, off in my own head.

And all this time I’ve been longing for a break – away from myself – sharing myself with someone else, so it doesn’t feel so painfully lonely. Depressed, I suppose that’s what I am. I’m searching for answers to fill the gaping hole of uncertainty that is the pit of my stomach. I talk to strangers, but they don’t understand. I feel self-important, using this blog to discuss the problems of my own ego, but alas, at least I’m confronting it.

When we start out as babies and small children, before society shapes us into the individuals we become – we speak our minds, we say whatever pops into our heads, and until someone tells us, “no, you’re not mean’t to say that out loud” we don’t know any better. There are all these rules we have, that shapes our lives and essentially shape us. And as children we’re at our most free and apparently happy. I don’t think I was happy though, because I said the wrong things out loud – I had Tourettes, and I understood I was wrong to say or do the things I did, and I was a very unhappy child. But we are not allowed to be happy. If we were allowed to say or do what we wanted the world would turn caotic, would it not? Or would we just know what was on each others minds, and maybe some of us wouldn’t get so lonely and depressed that we kills ourselves, or maybe some of us wouldn’t be ashamed of who we are, and maybe some of us who have genuinely wrong thoughts and desires would be open about them, and get help, rather than turning into serial killers and rapists? A kind of utopian idea, I suppose, that might have the opposite effect, but it’s worth thinking about I think.

I like the person I’ve become so far, but it wasn’t out of progression’s sake, it was out of a need, a desire to be someone else, someone smarter, someone less socially inept, someone more respected… someone who had the rights to self importance… and I’m closer to that person, except that the reason for this desire to be someone else has faded away. I no longer want the same things that drove me to change, and now I seek knowledge over self betterment, and a part of me seeks love, but questions what reality love exists within. How do I write 10,000 words of essays with this on my mind. I’m useless.

I don’t think we should all let go of our desires – can we have desires without expectations? I mean, if we were to feel content with everything we have and did not strive for more, many of the advancements made by man would never have happened. People that would otherwise not be free, or be suffering, or lonelier, they’d still be prisoners, suffering, or lonely if everyone just stopped striving for more, driven by ideas of a better world – a better world? Is this another illusion? It may be, but for millions it isn’t an illusion, it’s plain reality, and whose to say they’re wrong? Contentment is fine for a time, but it’s like pain and happiness, they have their moments, but if we were content all the time then we would be lazy – and the world is no where near good enough to stop striving for more.



Illuminate
March 16, 2011, 2:39 pm
Filed under: poetry

The below music track correlates to the mood of this poem http://www.4shared.com/embed/541793261/9c365e48

What was the sadness in your eyes, downcast
Was it sadness at all?
What is the heaviness of the heart
That reaches up the throat, and
Drags you into the shadows of yourself
That blocks your ears,
Covers your eyes
And leaves you staring, staring, staring.

What can I say of life and love
Of simple moments of being?
Understanding or infatuation?
Acceptance or betterment?
What makes a person pure?

I bite my fingernails down,
I bite down on the hand that feeds me
I bite down on the hand that keeps me
Until it bleeds.

When the seagull cries,
I am not worried.
It is the seagull itself
That drapes wings of dust
All about me
And I choke
Heat – burning,
Burning, burning, burning
The flames – melting the face,
The eyes, sagging, falling, spreading into
A faceless creature,
Flying round and round and round and round and round
With the ghost of seagulls; lifeless, unreal
In its mouth, teeth crumbling.

What are the words that leave my mouth,
And feel so wrong,
Even when they’re right?
How can I tell the truth of you?
Maybe it was a time, and a time that has gone.
And I was a fool,
To look at my watch.

Is it just
You long to escape
Where I long to embrace?
Maybe when you listen, you’ll remember.

But that logic does not matter, when all I want is to lie beside you
Just you and I in the dark,
Away from the seagulls cries and moans,
A quiet, unspoken room, where it’s so dark that we
Illuminate



somewhere, in a ferrari.
December 17, 2010, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

*This review contains spoilers*

Somewhere (Coppola, 2010) follows Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a famed actor living in a famous LA hotel. His daily routine consists of uninspired promotional work for his latest film release, speeding round and round in his Ferrari, getting private pole dancing shows, and sleeping with various fame hungry women. That is until his daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) comes to stay with him and disrupts this otherwise meaningless lifestyle. The film is a painfully slow character study, that creates a sense of existential anxiety and in a realistic, subtle narrative, it ambiguously paints a portrait of the point in Johnny’s life where he realizes he doesn’t know who he is anymore. He doesn’t know where he’s going. He’s somewhere, but he can’t say where, and it is a relatable, moment, that depressing, mundane period, and that place in time where you start to question why you do what you do.

Johnny and Cleo at an Italian Awards Ceremony

The whole experience is significantly shadowed by the fact that Johnny’s personal relationships are next to non-existant. There is a cold sense of being lost, and alone, having all the doors closed, despite the fact that Johnny himself has access to all kinds of riches. None of these riches however, can drag him from his directionless existence. He and the screen come alive when Fanning and Dorff share it. When he is with his daughter Johnny’s life begins to have a shred of meaning. We realize he doesn’t even know Cleo properly. In a wonderfully slice of life moment Cleo figure skates as Johnny watches during one of her practice sessions. At first he is on his phone and not really paying attention. Eventually he looks up, sees how good she is, and this scene is very reminiscent of the entire mood of the film. That johnny is distracted from what is real in his life, and slowly realizes this. When asked at a party about his acting experience he doesn’t appear to care for his career. He treats it as another meaningless activity. Rather than opening his life up to the world, fame seems to have cut him off from it. Once again, Coppola’s hotel location represents a place where time and life seems to come to a slow and dully painful stop. Cleo appears to be the only personal connection Johnny has, connecting him to his past, and to real experiences and real relationships. She is growing, and living her life, and she contrasts a great deal with his bleak empty lifestyle in the hotel.

Like most Sofia Coppola films, I didn’t know quite what to expect from ‘Somewhere’, but one of things I always love about Sofia Coppola is her ability to force the audience to think for themselves. Once I was involved in the characters lives, the emotions I felt were mine, not emotions that were merely orchestrated by the filmmakers, the music, the narrative manipulations that Hollywood generally take advantage of. She shows life how it is, however boring, mundane, or empty it may seem at a particular time, so that when something bigger is happening it really means something, and a person doesn’t just evolve into someone else over the course of a few weeks. Coppola realizes that life is a series of small realizations, and that these build up to the bigger ones – She has a real knack for visualizing and re-creating these small, but ultimately significant moments on screen, and creating moods that stick with you long after you’ve seen the film. It resonates certain moods from Lost in Translation, and explores similar themes, but it feels like a film of its own at the same time – the characters, subtly portrayed, feel real. Many may find Somewhere boring and like nothing happens. Many thought the same thing about Lost in Translation – but they may not see that the boredom they feel is intentional. It is a story about a man who feels so numb and unable to connect with reality, and real emotions that he is bored, literally bored to tears at one point, but he lacks the self understanding to help himself out of it, however at the end of the film we see him make a choice to leave his Ferrari behind, the loud, repetitive, flashy, but pointless cycle of where his life had been stuck. He walks away, and we have a sense his life will finally move forward in some way, that he is finally going ‘somewhere’.



remember me

A few months before my twenty-second birthday I saw ‘remember me’ for the second time with my family. Afterwards I wrote a sort of diary entry on a scrap of paper. I came across it this-morning and thought it should be recorded on here. Yeah, so I’ll just type it up below. I was in a heightened emotional state so I may have exaggerated in terms of ‘everything’….

Please, please, please don’t read this unless you’ve seen the film. There are huge spoilers, and it’s an experience I highly recommend…

They all forget these moments. They forget everything that means anything. And I am in no way an exception to the rule. Certainly not; but I probably judge myself a little firmer because of these observations. I know there are certain realities I am clueless about, but I have to be bold and honest and brutal about my own reality – because if I’m not I slip into the subconscious belief that nothing can or should be better.

Anneliese turned 31, forty-eight minutes ago –at-least that’s the general consensus– and Dad, 58. Mum, Dad, Anneliese and I went to see ‘remember me’ tonight. I think in some ways I was moved even more than the first time round, but I did manage to catch the opening this time. The title appeared with ‘remember’ and then the word faded away leaving only the ‘me’ letters left. Even the title is soaked in truth and beauty, for we are our memories and our memories are everyone else, that seems like what the film was really about anyway – and there was the message, right there before we even see a single scene. The power of words, huh?

I’m not going to review the film. Atleast not right now anyway. Half the time I was looking over at Mum and Dad to observe their reactions to certain scenes. Dad didn’t really enjoy the film. He didn’t laugh or smile at the jokes, or notice the details that would relate his own interests. He just wanted the drama to ‘get to the message over with’, get to the point – apparently it’s ‘predictable’ and ‘boring’ for someone to fall in love. What was most predictable though, was the distraction of his mobile phone.

The films ending really did resonate so much more the second time… God, the frustration – that someone is surrounded by love and wastes all those precious moments and then it’s too late once their gone. 9/11 happened. Tyler died. It’s ironic that he was killed in the one place that symbolised his fathers absence. The one place that robbed them both of so many memories, and yet there, he discovers that there were memories, but it’s too late. He wont survive to talk with his Dad, and it’s too late to fill in the blanks. I’m sorry, but I think anyone who believes the writer merely took advantage of the whole tragic event of 9/11 for cinematic purposes are idiots. I’ll stop now. I said I wouldn’t review, but I realised some thing just now I had to put to paper.

So on the way home Dad and I had a little argument about his phone, and mainly what it represents. All my life I’ve had an aversion to phones. The phone is what’s most important. It means business; it means money, and in our case survival, but to me, it mostly means control – one way my nasty ex-boyfriend controlled me (god it’s been almost 8 years, since I ironically fearfully broke up with him over the phone and for once the damn thing meant freedom). It means one way Dads phone controls him, and most of all it means you’re not here, even when you physically are. But Dad says “it’s just a phone”. Is it just a phone? (and I underlined ‘just’) I love my Dad. I think I understand him, painfully so, and it sometimes feels like we swap sides. I know he’s got a heap more than me on the experience calculator and maybe I’m just- like Tyler, in that I’m almost 22 and quietly think I’m right. I know Dad’s tired, he’s trying his best and I’m probably being an arsehole, but I can’t help thinking things can be better…



mad waterbaby.
July 26, 2010, 10:29 pm
Filed under: poetry

cassady fell like this.
seabed wanderer,
grasping at fragments of insanity
like the tail end of dreams bridged
between reality.
our minds
leaving us at bus stops, and
expecting us to note the times.
but they
drop us on our backs
before the figures come together.
i wonder if he
broke mirrors like me,
let dirt gather beneath fingernails,
sculpted the faces of everyone else,
like me.
those,
haunted until deathbed,
childhoods creating ripples and ripples and ripples and ripples of…
‘you can’t be trusted’,
i can’t be trusted.
a voice that
deafens all that listen.
and sex. sex and love.
the most crippling of its toys.
the driving force of something
thrust at you
before you’re old enough to even understand it.
and where did those moments,
days, hours, minutes, seconds go?
when we
played
faught
ate
picked at scabs, like children?
thinking,
the sky is just another sea above us,
like kids?
when snow fell just for us,
built iglu’s for us to hide in,
mountains for us to climb?
when monsters weren’t just metaphors, and
daddy stopped us from
eating grass?
please, please.. how long should i wait?
am i too mad to live?
and to be loved. sure. but it isn’t enough.
running up this road is not enough.
his head is fucked up! my head. our head.
it hugs our mother in the dark.
burroughs down,
where only sparks of words and notes
light up the crumbling walls.
like the sea,
he’s lost to the murky depths.
and as memories re-surface,
he walks the seabed as a newborn waterbaby.
a waterbaby,
leaving trails of
empty oyster shells behind him.

and from the deepest of waters…
our voices rise,

“will you drag me up?” we cry,

drag me up by the hand,
and let me know that her warm embrace,
that wraps around me when i dream
isn’t just some illusion when i wake?
that the hands which tie me down
are trying to save me
not break me?
that the rope burns twisting around my battered wrists
are signs that i have lived
not died.
please. please.
will you? can you? can you
bang pieces of lead against my skull,
and let the words spill forth
please.

please.

let me re-surface.
let me
crawl upon the shore
let me
lie in the sun,

to look up at the sea.



“shake the dust”
June 29, 2010, 1:16 am
Filed under: poetry

Wow.

This is for the fat girls.
This is for the little brothers.
This is for the school-yard wimps, this is for the childhood bullies who tormented them.
This is for the former prom queen, this is for the milk-crate ball players.
This is for the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired, elderly Wal-Mart store front door greeters. Shake the dust.
This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them,
for the bus drivers driving a million broken hymns,
for the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children,
for the nighttime schoolers and the midnight bike riders who are trying to fly. Shake the dust.
This is for the two-year-olds who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-god. Shake the dust.
For the girls with the brothers who are going crazy,
for those gym class wall flowers and the twelve-year-olds afraid of taking public showers,
for the kid who’s always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers,
for the girl who loves somebody else. Shake the dust.
This is for the hard men, the hard men who want to love but know that is won’t come.
For the ones who are forgotten, the ones the amendments do not stand up for.
For the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to and then are never spoken to. Speak every time you stand so you do not forget yourself.
Do not let a moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats 900 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.
Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins.
This is for the celibate pedophile who keeps on struggling,
for the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacations alone.
For the sweat that drips off of Mick Jaggers’ singing lips and for the shaking skirt on Tina Turner’s shaking hips, for the heavens and for the hells through which Tina has lived.
This is for the tired and for the dreamers and for those families who’ll never be like the Cleavers with perfectly made dinners and sons like Wally and the Beaver.
This is for the biggots,
this is for the sexists,
this is for the killers.
This is for the big house, pen-sentenced cats becoming redeemers and for the springtime that always shows up after the winters.
This? This is for you.
Make sure that by the time fisherman returns you are gone.
Because just like the days, I burn both ends and every time I write, every time I open my eyes I am cutting out a part of myself to give to you.
So shake the dust and take me with you when you do for none of this has never been for me.
All that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls for you.
So grab this world by its clothespins and shake it out again and again and jump on top and take it for a spin and when you hop off shake it again for this is yours.
Make my words worth it, make this not just another poem that I write, not just another poem like just another night that sits heavy above us all.
Walk into it, breathe it in, let is crash through the halls of your arms at the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood pumping and pushing making you live, shaking the dust.
So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.

-anis mojgani



Aesthetics?
March 29, 2010, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I understand form in screen & media practices to be the content and style of those practices. The content and style produce a work of art or product through the arrangement of those forms. I’m  not completely sure if this is right, but it’s my interpretation either way.

Expressive fallacy means expressionism as a misconception of sorts -another way of representing something as false. I agree that there is no way of using media to express genuine truth. Expressionism however is often about creating a mood, an emotion and if it creates this emotion – no one can deny the truth in that. I guess this is why it is argued as a more honest form of cinema by some and had such an impact on those seeking ‘truth’.

Semantic categories are groups of words that symbolize / mean the same thing in different ways. In surreal art we may create semantic categories as the artist. For when I paint a picture of a doll, and I paint this doll as weathered and tattered. What I am really painting is myself, symbolic, the weathered tattiness is my own mental scars. This makes the doll and human part of the same semantic category. It is very close to being metaphorical, except that metaphorical is all manner of things that symbolise other things and semantic categories give each metaphor a place.

I recently watched Harmony Korine’s Gummo (1997) and I felt a sort of visceral overload. It is a combination of expressionist art, documentary style footage, and realist cinema. It’s content, style and aesthetics really just, blew my mind. I then proceeded to watch interviews of Harmony Korine and found it sort of comforting when he came across as a nervous, rambling young man with an almost autistic approach to conversation. I don’t mean this in an insulting way – what I really mean is that seeing this brilliant young director as very human and relatable (to me anyway) fills me with more hope and confidence as a practitioner. Moments like these – the big and small realizations in life are what I find beautiful. Directors like Korine focus on the details of life and don’t focus on one particular story. Aesthetically, I enjoy something that challenges me and forces me to examine the meaning behind it. At the same time, cinematically I enjoy the aesthetic beauties of nature within documentaries, films and photography.

My favourite film Into the Wild, engages both the documentary style with beautifully shot landscape photography and a character profile, along with the ‘road journey’, an educational story of a young man coming of age – rather realising that “happiness is only real when shared”. I don’t think I’ve quite reached this feeling yet – I still much prefer to be alone, and perhaps I’m not truly happy, but that’s just where I am right now and you can’t take any short cuts.




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