Sunday, November 21, 2010

DRIFT - snippets

Oh yay, what I'd hoped to be able to post today turns out to be do-able (doable?). . . 

I want to share three very short excerpts from the film sequence that accompanies the paper flotilla. . . The film 'proper' is now finished (it's not very long - 11 minutes or thereabouts, and silent - but it'll be looped to become a kind of visual mantra that has no beginning and no end). I haven't quite settled on the configuration for the installation part of this piece yet, but it seems to want to be a circle; ie. a mandala. 

I see this as a meditation piece, an invitation to step outside the noise and bustle of every day and into an ambiguous, dreamlike space. By stepping outside and away, we are sometimes able to re-enter our ordinary experiences more fully, returning to them refreshed or replenished? 

In my imagination, the boats sit away from the wall, packed closely, hull-side up in the lower hemisphere and gradually inverting and separating out as they rise. This is what happens under the ice - - - in order to drift, the boats have to flip themselves over, capturing an invisible cushion of air as they do. It's the air that then carries them through the water, transporting them upwards till they come to rest on the under-belly of the ice. I'm playing around with the idea of creating a circle out of the static or 'frozen' boats, with a 'still centre' that becomes the container for the film's activity - rather like an 'eye' within whose 'iris' the drifting boats come alive, journey and tell their story. Hopefully they will reveal something to us about our story, too, as they act out their small boat drama. 

Heaven knows, we're on this journey together and it's sure as nuts unpredictable. There are passages of great turbulence, heartache, ecstasy and calm - not to mention everything else in between. We must make our solo voyage within our communal one. . . and, too, the other way round. Drift (I think that's the name of this piece) alludes to these themes. If we were to liken this business of living to a piece of complex music, I think we'd all agree that playing it with both technical facility and full feeling requires years and years of practice; some bits we have to go over and over and over again in the hopes we might some day get them right. Some passages are a breeze and we can sail through without batting an eye lid; others, we might have to accede, are better played by someone else with a different skill set or instrument. One thing's for sure - no bar of it is dull. 

Kate's sad, but rich and triumphant funeral yesterday illuminated again how life is urgent, precious - and now. 

Underwater film footage captured in New Harbor, Antarctica, by Henry Kaiser and Shawn Harper; boats released under the sea ice by Sam Bowser; concept and direction by moi (as part of an ongoing collaboration; 2005 - the present) 


  1. I LOVE the fact that the boats, designed to cup things and be upright on surfaces, find their element when submerged. In fact they can only dance, express their grace when down under and truly surrendered. These images are a meditation Clarab - thank you! pmx

  2. These are beautiful, Claire! They are like ghosts or jellies, they have their own individual being.
    Thank you for sharing the videos. What a great thing to experience on my Sunday morning.
    I hope to keep the image in my mind for a while - so much peace in it.

  3. Oh God Claire this project is so beautiful it gave me shivers. My heart is a frozen boat. I grieve for Mikey and Kate and it is so good to see these boats drift in the underwater beauty of that forgotten place. To be shown the beauty of something so unique. Exquisite.

  4. I meant to write I think ethereal and delicate yet with strong purpose. A reminder of what we can be what we can embrace no matter the forces that swirl around us. I called the Surfer in to watch these. He was in awe as well he understands the sea and lives in it as a sea creature. Oh you have done my heart good you brilliant Leo artist.

  5. Oh, Claire, you've given us a breathtaking gift. You are so wonderfully attuned to the things of the earth and manage to astonish us with your imaginative feelings for how interconnected and interleaved it all is, we all are. In my heart, i know you have again captured something very profound about what it means to be human, how we survive, how we joyfully live. L, Mx

  6. Dear Claire, The profound silence has already taken over my morning, which until I saw your clips was being driven by the shrieking monkey mind. In a state of awe, I am also aware of mixed responses, a sense of how solo our journeys must be and a feeling of triumph that we do rise, at differing rates, in the not truly random groupings to which we are drawn. Only an ocean speaker could interpret the messages, in stillness show us how we are reflected and affirmed by mythic symbols. You, your work astonish me. It is a gift to be a witness here. Love and thanks, Marylinn

  7. A lovely strange inversion - the upside down floating/flying boat, Claire. Wierdly as I watched all I could think of was this music my son has just composed for electric guitar using this new foot pedal he has whch creates an amazing ambiance - the music is ethereal, floating and purposeful ... If you wanted music for your films I could get him to send you a file.

    Sorry about the death of your friend. ... X

  8. Dear friends - I'm away from home, unexpectedly 'between islands'. . . This is a just a quick note to say thank you for your rich feedback on this project and to let you know I'll be back in the next wee while with a fuller response. Love and appreciation from me to you in the meantime, Claire xo