10,000 years

10,000 years 1998 – clip – live artwork for video.
Can be screened as a single channel festival or installation piece

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  • 10,000 years 1998

    Performed at the studio of
    Stephen Rife, St. Paul, MN
    11 min

    10,000 years is a video self-portrait of the artist engaged in three simple acts; repeatedly tossing of thousands of small pieces of paper, singing of a song, and hand drumming.

    The creation of this piece involved two synchronistic discoveries, one literal and one visual, which were then entwined with the pervasive heartbeat of the drum.

    The video’s imagery was discovered almost accidentally, when I was watching rushes from another video, (also a self-portrait), in slow-motion. I was already intent on using extended periods of slow-mo imagery to both symbolically and literally transform time and even reality. There were enticing parallels in this ‘disruption’ of everyday reality and those that are achieved through ritual and ceremony. The action of throwing the paper lent itself to this end with more poetry than I had been able to achieve with intentionally devised images.

    At about the same time, I had experienced a small but poignant rediscovery of the song ‘Amazing Grace’. The song had popped into my mind while walking down the street one day, and lodged itself there, even though I’d never paid it any attention before that time.
    I could only remember the first two lines, and began wishing I knew the rest, and wondering about their content. A couple of days later I came to a chapter in the book I was reading in which the author uses ‘Amazing Grace’ as a vehicle for discussing concepts of its namesake – grace. The chapter opened with the complete words of the song and a line by line investigation. The author is a Christian, and yet I found his spiritual concepts compatible with my own, despite the cultural disparity, and my own rather negative associations with the Christian religion.

    Singing and using ‘Amazing Grace’ in this piece became, in part, my way of making peace with Christianity. By focussing on the ‘accidental’, and its entwinement with moments and acts of grace, as well as on the fundamental connections within all spiritual traditions, a symbolic movement is made toward a place where the limits of physical reality and the boundaries between different belief systems are transcended.

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