Through the Looking Glass

Selected for CRANK juried video screening at Southern Exposure, SF -  December 10, 2015.

"Through the Looking Glass" is both a visual and audio response to my 4 month long visit to Poland in 2015. The time when I was in constant motion and between destinations. When travelling for hours by planes, cars, buses or trains I had numerous opportunities to be an observer of the life I was a part of, and yet often separated from by a window pane.

Landscapes would change in front of my eyes frequently, which in consequence often induced contemplation and reflection. On some occasions it even challenged my old beliefs and judgements. Additionally, I often caught my personal glances into the looking glass, as I started referring to plane, car, bus, or train windows, or even glass museum displays.

Sometimes, I would catch glimpses of myself overlapped with the landscapes outside the windows. Sometimes my reflection would become a part of museum installations that were often devoted to the subject of war, struggle, hope and survival. I would often find myself transported in time and space.

For example, I could see my reflection in the old photographs of war prisoners, distressed families, terrified children or armies of soldiers marching through destroyed cities. With no exception I was there, once as the one that suffered and seconds later as the one that caused the pain and death.

Those moments were always charged with strong emotions and at the end, also with a relief that the whole experience was only of a temporary nature and there was a possibility to “return” to my current environment. Reflecting or questioning the choices and decisions we make and the impact they can have on years to come, was the inevitable consequence of those experiences.

“Through the Looking Glass” contains my childhood images and recordings I took at train stations when traveling in Poland. As usual, a great blue heron serves here as a metaphor for mindful stillness and a symbol for surviving, adapting and thriving in an environment that is undergoing constant change. It is also a metaphor of NOW looking back in time and space and reflecting on the PAST that is never exhausted and merely waits to be revived in the FUTURE.

Poem by Robert Frost, "A Question"
Poem read by William Newton