2006, 11 MINS, UK/THAILAND b/w
Arranged by Rupert James and Simon Brewer
Music by DJ Shadow
Beckett bleakly comments that ‘we are born astride the grave', punk rock outfit The Godfathers expand a little with their brutal reduction of existence in Birth, school, work, death while Islamic scholar Hamza Yusuf stoically remarks that ‘Life is mundane. All this glory some aspire to is just an abstract in the mind.’ With such little hope in the world is it any wonder that instant, external relief is the new ‘way of all flesh’?
Through manipulation and juxtaposition of non-key cult-flick frames – and with more than a polite nod to the simple truth of Vertov’s The Man with a Movie Camera both in terms of both content and technique – Spent, a found footage piece, reconstructs the reality of the mind-numbingly banal, the empty promises and the ever-present desires that form a cycle the Buddha points out will always lead to suffering. In doing so, this syncopated montage ultimately discloses the ‘neon’ distraction for what it is – illusory nourishment that ironically throws the protagonist into a bleaker void than the routine existence he sought initially to escape.
Not all have the fortune to enjoy life as Samuel Butler hoped. ‘He has spent his life best who has enjoyed it most.’
Special thanks to Darren Aronofsky, Danny Boyle, Roman Coppola, Mary Harron, Russ Meyer, Pen-ek Ratanarueng, Mark Romanek, Martin Scorsese, DJ Shadow and Oliver Stone.