Unforgettable (2020)

My friend Steve Brown, whose music plays such a crucial role in this piece, says that I have a Romantic sensibility and a Modernist aesthetic. In this piece, a story about love is told in ten discontinuous episodes, with the three characters each narrating at different times; from moment to moment it’s left up to the viewer to bring the words, sounds, and images together. The piece transports you to a real world space (photography), a mind-space of pure feeling (music), a mind-space of meaning (words, sounds that have identifiable referents in the world). The elements must become more than the sum of their parts; they must fuse, in the viewer’s mind, into something no one element could create on its own.

I don’t have a model for this work; I seem to be inventing a form. The words that appear onscreen are not subtitles, they’re writing as writing; I’m creating a reading experience, every bit as intentionally as if I were writing a short story or a sequence of poems. Yet this medium does something that words on paper cannot do, even leaving aside the sound and images: in the video medium, I inevitably control the pacing of the viewer’s reading experience. I give the reading a phrasing, an inflection, not only through line breaks but through the timing of when words appear onscreen, and when they disappear from view – an aspect of performance that can never exist on a page.