18 (+2) BLINK of an EYE
AXW- What inspired you to make 18 (+2) BLINK of an EYE?- Can you tell us more about Einstein’s Dreams?
AC- The initial impulse was the reading of this book ‘Einsteins Dreams’. It’s a book I just happened to pick up. I was wandering through some back lanes in Bombay on a summer afternoon (’97-’98) and came across a tiny book sale where I picked up this book. I think I was primarily attracted by its size and handmade paper quality specially the edges being torn rather than fine – – and the large easy to read print. On reading it – – I was charmed by the book specially its easy to read short chapters which drew poeticand very evocative images of the possibilities of time. I had never before thought about this thing ‘time’, something that is all around and affecting us all the time – – – I was drawn to seeing these images as a film. Because really the images and vignettes are very cinematic.As I was doing some films for the countrywide classroom on television in India at the time – – I started thinking – -I hoped to be able to capture an essence of some of the ideas in the book in film. Then in the middle of it I moved to the US to pursue an MFA in filmmaking. And so I guess I just picked from where I left off!
Einstein’s Dreams is a fiction book trying to capture imaginatively Eienstiens thoughts and process might have been before he came up with the ‘theory of relativity’. Given that I am not a ‘science’ person – – the book appealed to me because it made so much sense and it only used images – – and very poetic ones. The images speak more than in the context of the scientific ‘fact’ of the theory of relativity – – but much more the living of life and how we experience its passing thus- – our hopes and fears.
AXW- Your work has used “time” as its base. Please tell us about your creative process in developing this work.
AC- The process of making the film was a very open one where the film in many ways took on its own shape. It took me about two years. I started the film with actually storyboarding it. The images came from my everyday which I felt fitted into trying to create an image of ‘time’. As I worked my work process became more fluid – – where life, the world came together with my intentionality towards the making of this film. Ultimately the film from being an attempt at some objective idea of time became a very personal image of time – – influenced as it was my everyday casual experiences as well as more deeply affecting experiences. Finally, both these realms the film, the world and its effect on me – – materialized on film to create not only an image of my process of thought and material journey but through that an understanding of the construct of time – – in a wider context.
The images are marked by the moments of different kinds of touch which in turn are only results of my own frame of mind. A physicist friend of mine used to always say that setting curd always depended on one’s own frame of mind. So much of the film gets marked through such interactions – – as the film is hand-processed – – and handled by me from start to finish except for the final print when it was sent to the lab. Through such markings the images change and take on different forms – – and those were then the images that told the story and must be used at such. The process of making the film was a movement between discovery as much a progress on a planned path of intentionality. But the final film finally only retains that one keeps with full intent and no longer accidental. The film finally presents an experiential version of time but also holds within it a narrative of sorts – – perhaps for those who are ultimately able to engage with the film first through the experiential mode and only later in its aftermath draw together its narrative (I suspect!)