ANTHROPOFUNGUS CONCEPTION at Rich Mix, London
Photomonth, Rich mix, films by Photographers, 4th November 2012, 35-37 Bethnal Green Road, London
It all began in the most mundane of places, some deem lit bathroom, a damp murky floor, a dark corner. No one seemed to notice something growing there. I found it amazing that once again, a form of life found the insane will to emerge in a particularly hostile environment where frankly even humans were in hygienic peril. The absurdity of it and the vulnerability of this object inspired me to record it. I did this every day for several weeks. The object struck me for its resemblance to an ear and later to a foetus. I thought of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet opening scene, and as the editing work progressed, it found echoes of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001Odyssey‘s cosmic inferno and the last scene. Animations by Jan Švankmajer and the Brothers Quay also inspired the abstract visceral undertone of this project.
The mushroom took a life of its own and dictated a new identity. It spoke of primordial formations in the depth of the Earth, then, turned into an embryonic utterance in the eye of a storm in the aftermath of the Big Bang. It congealed and exploded day by day, a figment of life intertwined with a figment of imagination.
It reflects a view of the world from the perspective of the unborn or the departed; of the outsider as the observed but equally of the witness who cannot grasp the essential substance of their condition and for this reason continually seeks to possess the flux of life, an impossible solution, the cinematic product being here a closer approximation to a form of immortality since time is recaptured endlessly within the experience of the medium as it unravels a fictional truth before us via montage interlinked with footage.
From a technical perspective, the aspect ratio is inconstant and was kept this way as an asymmetrical rhythmical beat that points to the unpredictable irregularity of our psychological vision of any particular scene or object.
Although there is no linear narrative, the composition parallels our empirical knowledge and our instinctive comprehension of the cosmology we belong to. It refers certainly to the first moments of universal creation but also paradoxically to a more mythological story of human evolution. More over, the sequence develops as a sensation, evoking the internal perception of a world we cannot yet see or touch as it would be in a womb in a state of perpetual transformation. It is a glance into the primeval cave of shadows and lights, prior to our entry into the world of physis. For this reason, it resonates with chaos and the feeling of a sublime solitude. A world latent within us as much as it is inaccessible outside of us. The images are constructed, deconstructed, reconstructed, out of a vast archive of previous analogue records and various video sessions.
Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2012