Poetic and philosophical vision in real, remembered and imaginary spaces of a nomad in London through an indeterminate length of time . The title refers to the ontological question of presence in a world now based on a kind of absenteeism, i.e., where the mind becomes divided from the personal, absorbed by virtual collectivism intrinsic to the mega-urban context, in this case London.
Although there is no obvious cinematic narrative, a progression exists in the unravelling of the visuals emphasised by the music score and superimposed contextual sounds. it is based on two main perspectives. One, the personal journey in time and space of the maker, concentrating the focus therefore mainly on areas of London encountered in his life and containing the remnants of abstracted memories directly linked to the idea of the Mnemonic City insofar as it is translating signs into a deep emotion attached to each of these places.
Two, a perspective relating to archetypal complexes residing in those memories and containing universal mythology, the elements of which are played out throughout the animation by way of various alterations and transformations but also through specific symbols such as ‘the tower’, ‘the moon’, the shadow’, ‘the hand’,'the throne’, or the elements such as water and fire.
The vision presented is a flowing composition and a symbiotic composite that could have been extracted from a dream.
“Wormhole” points to the possibility of entering a parallel dimension while remaining lucid of what the maker considers his own' land'.“Labri” is the root of labyrinth, a reference to the underlying esoteric structure of the city. “Peripatetic” refers to the act of wandering by foot, linked to the idea of the flâneur who, by exploring the context directly travels inwards, analysing and re-evaluating his own internal constructs. “Ballad” refers to the nature of loss and poetry constituting the two foundational aspects of the piece. “London” is the name of the location in question, known to the maker since his childhood and as equally important to him as his native city. He is the “Nomad” , for despite having lived in this metropolis for over twenty years, no feeling of belonging has ever truly developed. Instead, the maker has gained a kind of philosophical detached discernment out of an impersonal environment he had once half believed, long ago, to be his home.
The work is divided into interlocking scenes suggesting a psychological in-evolution, perhaps equivalent to the passing images in the mind of a sleep walker as they migrate from one room to another inside a large mansion.
One could dare affirm there is beauty in the destruction of beauty since the emotions stirred
are summoned from the expanse ‘de profundis’, of the psyche. One could also dare affirm the increasing level of hideousness of London is so extreme it has become ‘awesome’. a monstrous edifice challenging the borders of paradise with ever higher peaks, each more violent than the one preceding it, but more so, it is down below at street level, in the shadow of these blank feats of engineering that real ugliness lingers, banal and monotonous, enveloping the crowd within a suffocating smog of relentless repetition. This cine-animation brings these facets of the city into view while retaining a poetic filter, not to embellish but to do justice to the complexity and depth of the situation in which humanity finds itself at this juncture of post history.
In response to an amicable comment regarding
Wormhole Labriperipatetic Ballad of a London Nomad
I thought of introducing a narrator who would leak out a long poem while losing himself in the entrails of the city. But on reflection, I let the voice of this character emerge only towards the end.
It is a voice issued from a very imperfect moment within a very imperfect life. A physical intrusion inside a dream state. It spurts and shakes. It is almost as if breath attempts to spell words and fails.
It is not necessarily to be understood but to be guessed at. It arrives and disappears unexpectedly. It is filled with melancholy and anger, but also with a sense of astonishment, and these emotions are reflected in the inconsistency of the pitch, the roughness of the consonants, the irregularity of the amplitude. There is no question of embellishing smoothing or softening this intervention. A human being speaks suddenly. It mumbles to itself or seems to direct his exclamations to a mute interlocutor. It comes from afar and returns to the void as if we in fact apprehend it as we approach it enough to overhear a private conversation, sometimes dangerously near, we become the victims of a brief uncomfortable feedback. We get accidentally close, passing by this entity that stands there alone, talking to no one, alone, remembering things we are given a glimpse of through the unravelling scenes that precede and accompany it.
The conditions of the recording of the voice, and its subsequent modulations are an integral part of the meaning of the work. It also relates to the last song in the piece, the opera, a slow litany reverberated in the image of the solitary eye that is also a mouth singing the last crepuscule of the world before vanishing from it, a wormhole in itself. It is a reference perhaps to the voice in the wilderness. But rather an internal wilderness, that of the unconscious coming into consciousness. It cannot be reproduced or used in any other context or works because it is of now, a now that will never happen again in the sense that no replica can even artificially revive it. Its significance is only relevant in relation to the realm that in a way gave birth to it.
Further more, it is a continuation of the two impromptu melodies after the opening of the animation. These were extracted from the ruins of a piano left to breathe its last in an East London courtyard. The cabaret clavier warped by wind, rain and solar blasts had long gone out of tune, some of the pegs remaining dumb, insensitive to touch, others, exhaling a muted gasp. One night, as all had fallen in deep slumber, before leaving, I walked to the piano to bid farewell but it implored me, a musical ignorant, to cease a final phrase from a life that somehow reflected our own in this instant of utter solitude. For even among the ebullient multitudes whirling around it , the piano seemed suspended in some quiet vortex awaiting a hazardous departure, object of misery and misericord all at once.
The general theme has grown out of a feeling, a leitmotiv emulated in earlier works such as Il Sogno di Petrarca. It is a sense of dissolution in the restless waters of nostalgia in its original meaning, the surface of which always gives an impression of calm resignation. There is a temperance and a febrility to the underlying character whose journey is hinted at, yet never fully revealed.The epilogue suggests a passage rather than an immutable condition. Yet a core exists, only capable of expression through the 'thinking hand', a meta-philosophical metaphor physically present in this film, of the anonymous traveler.
Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2015