Past Exhibitions > Highlights from the Senior Seminar

Highlights from the Senior Seminar
Highlights from the Senior Seminar
Zane Austill

Zane Austill:

“Nothing distinguishes memories from ordinary moments. Only later do they become memorable by the scars they leave.” -Chris Marker, “La Jetée”

“The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction.” -David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram”

About a month ago I felt the need to stop speaking, originally for a day or a weekend, but, without a moment of decision, I felt the need to continue. This installation tracks and shares the beginnings of this experience.

The images of the film are taken from my trusty camcorder which (coincidentally?) arrived in the mail the day my vow began. I am currently looking to add some stickers to the camera body. I mention this because it is of much more value to me and these images than, say, a larger sensor. Surrounding the video monitor are notes, to myself and others. Some reveal scenes, others the limits of this new means of communication. Others yet reveal nothing at all. The words of the film are taken from a letter written to a dear friend.

The past few days, I should reveal, I have been thinking should I continue this? I have had so many urges to speak. I miss talking to friends. I miss my voice. I miss singing along to a great song. I miss good mornings and what's ups. I recently wrote to a friend who had taken her own weeklong vow of silence, “I have no idea what might make me feel ready to stop.” Something in me continues driving me into this despite everything else. All I can and want to do is continue documenting this: with my thoughts, my letters, and my images on the camcorder. Maybe this is all a huge mistake, but at least I’ll have recorded it. I look for help in the films of Chris Marker and Agnes Varda. I don’t know if I’m as capable of loving as Varda, but I hope to maintain, in this film, a sense of discovery, awake to the film and life itself, as she does in The Gleaners and I.

The video preview here displays what were my earnest and optimistic findings after one week. The reality of the situation (unfortunately, unsurprisingly) thankfully has become more complicated than that. I will continue to track this and in the spring we can come together as I show you what it has been like, but, more than that, I’ll gladly tell you about it.