Identity & divided introspection

As a Postgraduate student in the arts (the extended definition of art, including film, photography, and literature), I often find that I have to reconcile two sides of myself when it comes to my blog and digital footprint, both of these sides being complex and assertive to the point that I can call them two selves:

One of them is my artistic identity, which has been shaped over the years by several factors, hopefully progressing in style, concept, aesthetic, and presentation. This self prefers to express an inner world indirectly, through symbols and conceptual images. Within this context, there are concerns about projection and representation: the conception of the self, the reconciliation between truth and appearance, the gaps in between, inner and outer perceptions, and questions regarding aesthetic. I explore my self through different forms of art, the result being a reflection of something within. This is why I tend to eliminate previous work, once I feel like I surpassed it in some way, like I have become someone else since then, and I no longer identify with the selves I presented prior to some particular life-turning knowledge. This self thinks creating art is the aim; this self is raw, unapologetic about its at times elusive symbolic nature in which there is depth and sincerity to be found, but which is often too preoccupied with finding the right way of expression. Through this perception, less is more when it comes to conveying what is within, in that explanations are unnecessary, as creative endeavours are self-sufficient. Creative language is essential and absolute to how I perceive myself. Thus I don’t like talking about myself directly, for it seems any description would not comprise all the depths.

However, objectively, you cannot always tell that much about someone’s personality through their artwork, of whatever nature, and I am saying this despite the fact that I feel like I pour myself entirely into it, sometimes. In fact, perhaps, being on the outside, looking in, you can only see a fraction, which is open to interpretation. When you take a photograph of a place you experienced with rapture, or a portrait, you remember those moments, and you associate the photograph with them, feeling that it conveys so much because it is charged with your feelings. But those emotions remain within you, and the photograph is an extension of you, thereby others will not perceive it as you do. They will perceive it based on how it resonates with their own being.

To return to the suggested dichotomy, the other self involves the social and analytical nature. The one allowing me to write this sincere post in a public space, going against the privacy and representation concerns of the first. Because of this other inclination, I started my blog, rather than simply going for a portfolio website. Because of this, I did not use a pen name for it. In this case, the social use of language is essential, while promoting or exploring the poetic and photographic language. Sincerity means exposure; exposure means sincerity. Reaching others through this sincerity and through more unequivocal forms of expression is important. This self mediates my relationship with the outside world. It also means I try to let go, allow myself to make progress in various areas of life without having to get rid of previous versions of myself forever. This self is raw and unapologetic about its direct stream-of-consciousness confessions.

In other words, there is a constant battle between revealing too much and not revealing enough when it comes to life, social media persona, just as when you take a photograph. Should there be a curation of thoughts? Yes. Should it be based on what makes sense at the time, or what seems to represent a more long-lasting belief? Most websites, and most artworks imply careful curation of content. Sometimes it feels that you can more easily convey something, your artistic awareness, and an awareness of what is within, an inner permanence and at the same time touch an audience through selected conceptual artwork rather than distract with random thoughts and perhaps temporary beliefs, whilst other times it feels like these perhaps not-so-random thoughts and temporary beliefs are a significant part of you, as they represent your thought process at a particular time, even if you later realise it was not perfect. Being able to balance these two comes with experience.

There are many branches in this tree, and this post extended on many, but hopefully they can all be grasped without leaves falling.

Reflections in puddles

On a rainy day in late July, I went for a stroll in Hyde Park to capture moving images of nature. I was particularly on a quest of finding moments and details that would otherwise perhaps pass without being noticed or fully admired – abstract elements inducing reverie. My favourite bits were the beautiful reflections of the trees, with wind-blown branches, the skies, and the clouds into the puddles disturbed by occasional raindrops.

The scenery was a bit gloomy, yet calm and breathtaking nonetheless. These clips were part of my final project, Requiem for the Awakening.

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Pleasures in life

My happiness is sometimes derived from:

The scents of acacia flowers, honeysuckle and snowdrops; the taste of greengages.

Moments when I feel I love what I am doing: when I get excited while reading research or creative writing – and, consequently, when I feel like I can contribute to the research or I can create stories – either through words or photographs. When I am inspired – to create and to live fully.

Meeting people I truly connect with. Everything is genuine and pure, everything flows, the masks are left aside, and no one questions another’s words or feelings. You just know what is happening, share the same smile, and are able to live, truly live in each other’s company without performing. The feeling of belonging.

Peace of mind, in general, or moments of blissful lightheartedness. When every veil of worry, gloom or heaviness is lifted up and I feel unconditional love and self-love within. This is also when I can appreciate every simple aspect of being. It even feels like my body is lighter, like I float, just as my thoughts do.

Wandering in fantasy worlds reminiscent of my childhood.

Running. Setting goals and accomplishing them.

Finding a film I am profoundly touched by. If you know me, you know how intensely I can immerse into films. I become the character, I live the films when I watch them. The pleasure consists in the experience itself, in losing and finding yourself in a concept or a story. It can be revealing, too.

Adventures. waterfalls. explorations in nature; admiring its grandeur, but also the grandeur of an old temple or a rich urban or futuristic noir-looking area.

Those rare moments my writing always eventually comes back to; the ones I try to grasp through words, but fail. Those surreal moments.

Living in a place decorated by me, where I can have my own space, a secret garden where my pet would dwell, and arch-shaped windows. The decor would be elegantly dark in some rooms, fantasy-like in others, and there will be at least one room with everything in it white and light (see Valerie’s room from “Valerie and her Week of Wonders”). There would be Gothic art, paintings spanning different cultures, motifs, and ages – with a preference for Pre-Raphaelite depictions of mythological scenes, candlelit rooms at night, and classical and dark atmospheric music filling the hallway. Ideally, I’d have this variety of design styles to suit my whims.

To mention a one-off: Hearing Sharon den Adel’s angelic voice for the first time, and seeing her on stage at Artmania Festival.

What makes you happy?

Hebden Bridge ruins

We arrived at the Hebden Bridge train station: On our side – flowers and yellow bricks, on the other side- a wall of trees. Overall, there was an aura of dreamlike atemporality.
Remember “Life on a train platform” by Octavian Paler. Remember that Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath graced the valleys of this town with their presence. Sylvia Plath: enrapturing writer, with a devouring lyricism wrapped around her being. I still have to finish her Unabridged Journals, having started reading them at Essex.
They buried her in the small village of Heptonstall, not far away from Hebden Bridge. As expected, Heptonstall is my future destination, together with The Brontës’ moors. Yorkshire nature, with its trails of whispers, is full of literary references, and exploring it is a wonderful experience, bleak at times, but wonderful nonetheless.

Sitting at the Stubbing Wharf, a pub from Hebden Bridge with Plath, Hughes writes his reflections in the eponymous poem from Birthday Letters:

“This gloomy memorial of a valley,
The fallen-in grave of its history,
A gorge of ruined mills and abandoned chapels,
The fouled nest of the Industrial Revolution
That had flown.” – Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters

Plath writes about the Bronte Moors:

“There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction.[…]
The sheep know where they are,
Browsing in their dirty wool-clouds,
Grey as the weather.[…]
I come to wheel ruts, and water
Limpid as the solitudes
That flee through my fingers.
Hollow doorsteps go from grass to grass;
Lintel and sill have unhinged themselves.
Of people the air only
Remembers a few odd syllables.
It rehearses them moaningly:
Black stone, black stone.
The sky leans on me, me, the one upright
Among the horizontals.
The grass is beating its head distractedly.
It is too delicate
For a life in such company;
Darkness terrifies it.
Now, in valleys narrow
And black as purses, the house lights
Gleam like small change.” – Sylvia Plath, Wuthering Heights

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Diary entry: library

The pleasure of feeling beams of light piercing through tired, stained windows and caressing the air impregnated by particles of dust. The pleasure of being inside, away from the unbearable, threatening sunlight. Expressionistic shapes are formed on old grey walls holding Pre-Raphaelite portraits of mythical women. A shuttering of a window, a shuttering of a book, a shuttering of a mouth after a hasty yawn. Steps – some confident, some shy, some confused or determined, intermittently disrupting an enchanting silence. Wings cleaving the warm air surrounding a five storey building populated by anxious or dreamy souls. A crow gazing straight into the eyes of a figure that returns the gaze, seemingly bewildered. The sound of the wind shouting at buildings. The sound of nature against architecture. The sound of destruction, the sound of collapse.