"A Thousand Eyes" was created in conjunction with the Abecedarium: NYC project through the New York Public Library. "Abecedarium:NYC is an interactive online exhibition that reflects on the history, geography, and culture - both above and below ground - of New York City through 26 unusual words. Using original video, animation, photography and sound, Abecedarium:NYC constructs visual relationships between these select words and specific locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn , Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island." (Abecedarium: NYC Blog)
Of the 26 words I chose BIBLIOMANCY. My initial attraction to the word bibliomancy derives from my fascination with the absurd. I sometimes find that the most complex implications can be gleaned from absurdist expression in any form. Be it through performance, human interaction, film, literature, art, etc... Bibliomancy is the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers using a book, sometimes a bible or other sacred text is used. The book will be opened at a random page and while keeping your eyes closed you will point at a line or passage in the book. My passage was selected from Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Siddhartha is one of my favorite books sitting on the shelf and also one that has had a significant impact on my attitude towards existence. Thus, I deemed it significant enough in my life to warrant such a divination. The inspiration for the film was the following passage:
“Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets.”
I really wanted to represent my own view of New York through a lens. So I went out to the Brooklyn Bridge with my camera and shot this footage. "A Thousand Eyes" is essentially my own exploration of the possibilities of the apparatus of the cinema. I really wanted to exploit the camera and force it to do the opposite of what is expected. The result: Beauty.
It was edited to my own mix of hauntingly beautiful and reminiscent sounds from the Epson Stylus 600 printer, as recorded originally by melack from The Free Sound Project Organization.
©Ryan P. Nethery 2009