I would like here to develop an understanding as to whether or not media constructions, which apparently wish to capture profundity, succeed on any regular basis or constitute flogging dead horses.
Much has been written about truth as seen by a camera, social change as a result of media effort, rewarding audiences with the gift of feeling something as a result of 'art film' and so on. I needn't go on here listing my personal favorites or expressing disdain for works I deem unworthy of attention. Nevertheless, I continue to encounter at least two things that dangle the issues before me: One, my ongoing interest in taking pictures of things, which whether I like it or not, enlists me in the ranks of those concerned with whether a picture warrants review by an audience, in other words, contain adequate potency. Or two, my cause to determine whether we have or will soon move to a post-profound age, one in which, like in the death of subtlety, there is really nothing of singularity left to display but be it rehash or parody. If so, the questions of the ages, the ones that people apparently keep asking, I guess without adequate response, the ones they call 'tough,' that in their reiteration supposedly explore the profound, could be set aside, at least as topics for media.
To the latter first (to work the ass-backwards), a suggestion that a 'modern pace' has diminished a human appreciation for the subtle, one that may have always been the exception rather than common, may succumb to the irrelevance of generalizations. But it still interests me know whether an audience seeking media that contains a weave of waiting and revealed singularity actually exists, or constitutes only old people who cannot stomach the hip of the moment or the young essentially 'on date' looking for a credibility associated with the obscure cultural item. But rehash or not, the seeker, albeit late in the game, is not experiencing falsehood or parody if they are moved in their hearts, if they are; I have no claim to the depth of their experience should they not lay bare contradiction in their reviews.
And what if I let down my guard, find myself alert in my chair to see a media revelation, perhaps a demonstration of a thought that I respond to, old or new, does mean that the form is not in fact dead? Or is it that I am, at least for a moment, still alive?
I fear that my twitching about this latter matter is typical: The territory of 'art film' is too crowded, everyone lays claim to it, an original or 'true' idea can no longer be distinguished, indeed the enthusiastic participants want to call it an continuum - not a cup with a final capacity, in other words, I am envious of the leaders or the boisterous personalities. This is essentially the same for all my life's interests, all with which I'm unsatisfied being a tiny spec in a continuum, if not fully drawn to the historical or antiquated fields which had run their courses before I was born. Thus is the fate of those who believe their mothers when told that they are special.
But then to the harder contention to dissect: What am I doing taking pictures? Am I still open to the profundity of the world and susceptible to the paradoxes that still riddle human life? It's not like I fancy being numb, or maybe I do, seeking comfort like a pet wandering the house in search of sun. Do I still have room in my heart for the moments that media is so poised to keenly depict, building a tension, via is complicated and manipulative tools, forcing an audience to wait and sometimes further wait for the revelation expository, the thing in the picture that is important, the climax, the point, the payoff? It would follow that I was attracted to the 'art-film' that tends to dwell in a nearly oxymoronic 'subtle tension,' since I'm not a roller-coaster enthusiast. If I am not interested in this am I just not interested in life, or have I grown tired(er) of the clever jester showman who needs so the adoration of fans, but an audience of the intellectual type, who fancies themselves part investigative journalist, part whimsical artistic explorer, part provocateur and candle burning fast but bright?
I guess those who tend to celebrate 'art-film,' advocates for the media document or something called 'an experiment,' will validate the notion of a continuum, as they want the word art to mean life's mirror and life as we might know it appears to go on. Like music, with its notes swirling around pretty much like they always have, and for most of human history musicians were instructed to keep playing (something), you are not to be an innovator or to be remembered, you are to keep up the sound in the air, to make the cafe festive, the wedding celebratory. Yes, some are still willing to enter the dark cavern to sit and 'pay proper attention' to the media on the white sheet, though media is more so wallpaper than ever before. And though a scientist might write a landmark treatise that though in future requires modification, qualification and alas falls to history, locked to the knowledge-base of an era, what matters is the process. Thus one might say Stan Brackage or Luis Bunuel 'covered it,' another film needn't be made. But this is not to hold, this does not promote ad infinitum, and to speak of the machinery of commodification, gatekeepers and content seekers for the hungry slots, is just cynical or purely envious or beside the point.
I appear not to be justifying my bad attitude about media out seeking to capture life's profundities, or at least I feel I'm not quite getting at the core of it. Maybe there really are new events needing a waiting camera, or at least reoccurring events that need a different angle or different 'color space.' Maybe every increment of time does hold singular occurrence, and the tipping point wherein something becomes worthy of document is crossed frequently, by the way, it's of no particular concern if an audience wishes to see the familiar or a twist upon old themes. Perhaps I should wake up to the fact that there's no such thing as a new theme, in other words, a singularity for which one should wait a long time. Should you be of nature photo leaning, there is no ant as handsome as the ant that made you pull out and set the camera, but you wait wondering when to record, hoping you get something that illustrates the pure ant experience. I should not ask the sky that media makers be more pessimistic on asking themselves at the editing station: 'Is there a movie here?' I should let them achieve distribution and be happy for them.
But so they go on, with their cameras, aiming them at the people in the world with problems that no one can ever seem to solve, continuing to come in and 'help.' Looking close to home, they find ever deeper ways to access lives, as the son or daughter of the parents who have lived with issues, or the white woman who has birthed the asian baby to gain real insight into asia, internally and thoroughly, to show us and tell us of the depth of human experience, to make us rounder persons. To travel through the world for ourselves couldn't possibly accumulate nor rapidly enough, the experiences to make us deep people, and it would be too expensive and we have busy lives and jobs and families and gone are the days of lengthy wandering. And tempting are our internets, where all the singularities worth viewing are at our fingertips anyway. And if we taste nature without driving for hours to the nature location, we are merely crazy, nearly homeless, doing something truly strange like looking at peeling paint or counting gopher holes in the park.
I will say that one of benefits of having a child, while they are small, is that I have been able to wander my environs looking at nothing without being arrested, because after further scrutiny I am found not to be a homeless opportunist, but to be parenting. I will miss this.