'What do you want from me? (i asked you a thousand times)' Savage 2011
I saw this piece projected huge (and i mean huge!) at Spike island in Bristol a few years ago. I remember loving it then for both its simplicity and the clear dedication it must’ve taken to complete. With each clip, the power of the question, and its various meanings and implications changes.
I’m currently boarded indoors trying to put together a sound piece for my video and i can see more and more how many hours this must’ve taken. The film industry is a symbol in itself for oversaturation of content, with (and don’t quote me on this) around 2000 films made just in the west in a year.
"The collaged film I Asked You a Thousand Times presents a barrage of clips cut from Hollywood movies in which the same clichéd question ‘What do you want from me?’ is repeatedly posed. This demand is typically used in film to create a crescendo preceding a shift in action and pace; here we are held in a frenzied state of continual anticipation that for Savage is symptomatic of the culture in which we live."
My work revolves around anxieties brought on by our rapid development technologically, and how these anxieties manifest themselves in our subconscious minds. The brain wanders around, unable to hold attention, unable to concentrate in an era of 24hr amusement, communication, and gratification. It desperately tries to piece together meaning from a bombardment of image and sensation but can find no clarity. This makes the brains thought patterns loose and slow and scattered, and floods our subconscious minds with image pollution. Now that we are moving from the ‘age of the discovery’ into the ‘age of mastery’ where science can start to sculpt worlds of dreams and immersion from an atomic scale; where will this lead our fragile, oversized and overworked minds? ..from what dreams shall we model our new world?
The brains has a natural remit for studying its various inputs and making judgements based upon them (for instance, i see one thing, i see another, how do these two images relate, how do they effect me?) The saturation of images, super fast and easy access to answers (while always present a mistrust of the validity of these answers) causes anxiety, indecision and confusion. The brain cannot say how all of these things are related, and so cannot decide what action to take. And this generates a feeling of wariness; that something is always about to happen. Perhaps this is the stem from which grows the cultural phenomenon of Apocalypse. We actually long for a world changing event to put an end to our wariness. In Apocalyptic films, once the dust has settled and life has been reset to its basic needs (food, water, company) it is invariably a positive thing, and the cult culture around these tales of survival could be because of our longing for this.
We also struggle to feel present in time (leaping from screen to screen, at all ages at once, sensation to sensation, clip to clip), and this feeling of broken up time makes us anxious that it will pass, or end, and leads to a feeling of ultimate un-reality, and the worry that our lives will pass us by. The work environment for most since the mechanical age has not involved seeing a project through from beginning to end. Working on supermarket tills, in call centres and in factories, we have a single repetitive task, and so, where there is no marker for beginning and end, we go on and on, rolling our boulder up the hill.
— Draft of personal statement mAY 2014
History has abandoned time, we have lost our souls.
This world lacks a clear concept of time; we live in emptiness. Right and wrong are confounded! There are no laws, no rules. Lies dominate! Here there are only the cheaters and the cheated. I am a formerly great prognosticator. These days, I practice as a magician, wearing a top hat and tails, a profession of lies! I depend on deceit for survival; people are more than happy to pay me for my lies! Lies are spiritual drugs. When promises fall through, as they always do, lies can keep up appearances, can make everything gorgeous. People wallow in boundless illusion… smiling… Lying, no matter under what circumstances, is doomed to the condemnation of morality, but I am the lone exception. Lies are this world’s only effective ordering principle, because truth never existed. No one knows what is real, knows the standards by which we discern truth. When uncertain, all they can do is pawn their souls, send us their hope! We give them lies in exchange, because lies look so much better than truths… Yes, magicians are authorities! Lies are truths! And so much cheaper! Truth is harsh, but lies in their essence can make the great, the metaphysical, the sublime that much easier. We have boundless power, we dominate the world, we can turn it upside down! Dominate! Kidnapped souls, magicians are the real revolutionaries! Magicians are the most hysterical! Magicians are the ruling class! Anything, everything, no matter its physical properties, can be changed! Must be changed! Lies spread to every corner of the world… until belief or refusal to doubt becomes a form of inertia.
In a world not what it seems, the object of our gaze is empty, without limits. At the end, cliffs and precipices, national movie-theatrism! A row of neat “numbers” lined up on a machine of lies, whether expression or movement, all emit incomparable sincerity and emotion, drunk with affect. This machine spews cold light, fluctuating with the sound of an amnesia-inducing motor… the light and shadows tremble at the edge of the world… full of forgotten happiness, everything is addictive. Behind the shadows, light, colorful and resplendent. Spinning, elegant, blurry… a sleek cane, a suffocating top hat, a noble shadow, a flashy bow tie, perhaps for a celebration, perhaps for a disaster, everything is so overwhelmingly large… a magicians’ ball! This is an empty movie theater, no people. Telephones, microscopes, globes and biology… the holes in our grand system, a parallel order, nothing more than props in the prop case of a magician, archaeology, anatomy, and violins… And— Motley museums, patched monuments, barren galleries, laughing plazas, a theater hung with blood-red curtains, towering T-shaped churches ravaged by time… we mock without dread, this useless edifice no better than a prison!
History is a ring, not quite regular, but more or less round, full of regret. π is no longer a formula for truth: a revolution is but a shoddy compass, turning furiously, revolving in futility, dying without any discernible illness.
LONDON FILES: Benedict Drew, Heads will Roll.
Went a few stops out of central london across a leafy park, with the first smells of cut spring grass unexpectedly finding us in london of all places, to an unassuming door with a buzzer (apparently this is how the hip galleries do it)
We put on headphones and entered a smart white room with a television screen, showing images mashed together. Photographs, computer generated graphics, what i imagined was strawberry angel delight. Very trendy, very slick lookin’. Next to a silver spaceship crackly speakers led lighted pathway. Through to a main room. Verious bits make up the whole. Theres a video of an astronaught playing in zero g, pooling his tears on his face.. the briney eye watery image makes me a bit queasy. A wobbly blobby pink creature under the stage which i like, a clever oh so simple red acetate window hewn from the walls. Outside is as alien as inside.