I recently watched Between The Folds, a documentary about origami (available for instant play on netflix).
This film is well worth watching since origami has the potential of being very useful across various populations. I can imagine a client with Asperger’s, for example, or someone who enjoys working with 3D media, taking a strong interest in paper folding as a form of self expression. Coupled with the idea of damp paper folding and paper making, with all of its looseness and tactility, this media seems like an interesting way to play with structured versus unstructured, and spontaneous play versus preciseness.
And why don’t they teach math using origami, as the film suggests?
This video, by Rita Loyd, was submitted to an online film festival on culture unplugged. In Search of Self Love explored the creative process, and how it helped Rita in her introspective and spiritual journey towards discovering her meaning of self-love.
Johanna Heldebro’s graduate thesis for New York City’s School of Visual Arts were photographs of her father, helping her to process his sudden divorce from her mom. The photographs were taken without her father knowing, during visits Johanna took from NY to Stockholm. Read more about her work here.
A few months ago I watched the Oscar winning movie called Born Into Brothels and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since. Its a documentary on a photographer from NYC, Zana Briski, who goes to Calcutta to photograph the red light district, when she discovers that the children of the prostitutes are interested in learning how to photograph pictures. She sets up a photography workshop for a number of these children, gives them cameras, and in turn these children photograph their everyday lives.
I wont get into much more detail so that I don’t spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it…but the line between being a photographer/teacher begins to blur for the NYC photographer, and the film began bringing up similar feelings for me as working within a therapeutic/social-work context. That is to say, the photographer seemed to learn from her experience that although we may want to save others from a life that we may view as tragic or that we would not want for ourselves, we must recognize this wish and our limitations where we can do no more than offer support and opportunity (to learn, to explore, to grow). I also have to give Zana credit for going above and beyond what many would have done or thought they were capable of doing for these children. At the very least, the children discovered a part of themselves that allowed them to be creative, explore themselves and their environment, as well as become empowered through the use of creative expression.
I was back in Montreal for a few days the other week. I stopped into a documentary screening at the POP Montreal Festival where I saw an amazing film by Marc Israel called A Balancing Act. During the Q&A period, Marc happened to mention that he had also created another film by the name of Nearer My God To Thee, which explores his struggle with mental illness, physical illness and loss. This piqued my interest and I asked Marc how I could get my hands on a copy.
Approximately one week later I opened my mailbox and to my surprise there was the film! Excitedly I opened the package and settled myself in for what promised to be an honest and open look inside the psyche and life experiences of the filmmaker. As I watched, I realized the amount of ego strength Marc must possess to open himself to his audience in such a direct and sincere way. Nearer My God To Thee was like witnessing the healing process of one man as he coped with the loss of a breakup, the loss of mental/inner stability and the loss of mobility and dexterity in his hands.
I marveled at how candid Marc was able to be, and how using a video camera to record one’s thoughts and life events in the moment, partially allowed for this candidness. It seemed that for Marc, the process of filming one’s life in the moment, editing the hours of video footage and creating a narrative, requiring both introspection and self-confrontation, allowed for the development of healing and change.
Indeed, some of the advantages of creating art are that it can be reviewed at a later date, and that artwork is flexible — it is changeable and new solutions can always to found. I am used to this process with fine art and craft materials, such as paint, clay and collage materials, where a piece of artwork or a series of pieces can be worked on and worked through so that what you started with is not what you end with. It seemed that Marc used the film making process in a similar fashion. He took snippets of his life experience, in the moment, and edited them together with a narration that seemed to mimic his inner dialogue. This transformed what could have been a personal video diary into a documentary; a way to communicate with the world he at times felt so shut out from.