“All things are always changing,
But nothing dies. The spirit comes and goes,
Is housed wherever it wills, shifts residence
From beasts to men, from men to beasts, but always
It keeps on living. As the pliant wax
Is stamped with new designs, and is no longer
What once it was, but changes forms, and still
Is pliant wax, so do I teach that spirit
Is evermore the same, though passing always
To ever-changing bodies.”
The spirit is the epitome of ephemerality, of the constant fluctuation of the self. It changes forms, is stamped with new designs, but it is evermore the same, like the pliant wax. This constant fluctuation of the self causes it to be hard to truly understand. The experience of the self is one of alterity; it is the negation of the self constructed through the selves of others, of otherness. In other words, the experience of the self is constructed through the perception of the others around you. It is because the experience of the self is multiple that it can only be understood through others. Therefore, the embodiment of the other allows the self to return with more clarity concerning the nature of the spirit.
My work concerns the experience and understanding of the spirit through otherness. The schizophrenics delusions of grandeur epitomise the experience of otherness; it is because of this that the schizophrenic understands the nature of the spirit with greater clarity. From this, I have delved back into the past; into the delusions of grandeur of a man, a friend – Stevie – who’s spirit lives on, ever-changing, but always it keeps on living. Stevie believed strongly in the ephemeral nature of the spirit, and who documented his experience of his life, through otherness, via musical delusions of grandeur. His life was surrounded by the experience of otherness, and it is because of this that I have transformed his experience and documentation of his life into a work which encompasses everyone.
This experience is immersive and lays between walls of silence and tranquility, surrounding the viewer with the selves of others. Juxtaposing the known and the unknown, Stevie allows for the total experience of otherness. Within an installation environment, the media of digital film has been utilised, focussing the visual element upon the ephemeral elements of smoke and water. These elements resemble the pliant wax and portray the nature of the spirit. Further juxtaposing the beautiful with the sublime, Stevie aims for a realisation of the beauty of the spirit, and of the accompanying realisation of its somewhat disturbing and subliminal nature. Vital to this work is the foundation for the birth of cinema: the magic lantern. This optical device was invented in the 1600’s and takes the form of one of the first projectors. At first the magic lantern was surrounded by the feelings of both wonder and fear; of the beautiful and the sublime; the known and the unknown. It therefore encapsulates the very essence of the spirit, and of the somewhat phantasmagorical experience of otherness within Stevie.
Below is a link to the video file: