…STARTING FROM SOME SHORT STORIES OF 1980,
…PASSING FROM THE 2000 “ARS MORIENDI” IMAGES,
…AND ARRIVING AT THE 2005 “PERSONAL FILM” CONCEPT
a note from now, about an insignificant work in the distant past, that, even if then had no reason to ask for a note, is winning it now for some very special reasons…
“Deja Vu” was a collection of short stories that I wrote between 1980-1982, when i was exploring different ways to express myself artistically. The text was accompanied by sketches, that were giving a fully different perspective of each story.
In the “Deja Vu” sketches, there is not prevalent only their overall surrealistic mood, the distortions of shapes and contours, the scale changes (something small becomes big, and vice versa).
Mostly, the whole visual “composition” is structured in a way to express mainly how the story is integrated in my personal reality, and not to serve it as an image. Body postures, objects and persons added, their connections, all served by decision an “inner” version of the story.
The observer affects the observed as she/he is observing.
This is classical, and it is claimed by quantum physics, as well by the phenomenological field theory of the Gestalt perspective. And I believe that this regards all of us, in different ways and with different results, no matter if these results are expressed artistically or not.
I think that in the “Deja Vu” sketches was somehow expressed the way with which something external (the story text in this case), transforms during the evolvement of the perceptional process itself.
Yet, all this happened without having at all in mind to experiment with this well known elementary function of artistic transformation. I did the first sketch just to enjoy pulling freely some lines on a paper.
However, when I saw it more carefully, I was struck by an instant flash of the memory of one of my beloved childhood games. We were moving quickly around, someone clapped the hands, and we were freezing in unusual positions.
I still have in mind how much I liked to watch the frozen postures.
They looked so different from the everyday habitual “real” figures… They seemed to belong in another world, as if pulsating in their immobility, as if telling their own stories just by standing there.
It was like usual “reality” was being dramatically “stretched”, mutating in some fascinating inner experience. So, motivated by the feelings of this powerful memory, Ι decided to go further, in order to have more pleasure out of this association.
I decided to consciously let the stories be visually transformed. To pick up any one of the details that were emerging on the spot, as I was reading the text and i was visually imagining the plot flow, no matter if these details were significant or not to the facts of the story. To freely deform the shapes, the bodies, the contours, the objects, to overpass size-scale restrictions and realistic connections.
Of course, this happens to all of us, no matter if we notice it or not. And myself, at that time, I had not the slightest theoretical reference on what i was doing. In any case, i decided to let freely myself in this “experiment”, as a “stylistic” point of view for the rest of the sketches, simply enjoying a game with my creativity.
All this, maybe is significant only on a personal level, and would be of no importance to be here mentioned. And especially, since “Deja Vu” have never had any artistic meaning for me. I never intended and attempted to become a painter. Any “artistic value” of these sketches has never been a point for me, and i never considered them a part of my “works”. Besides, since that time, i have not been again involved with something similar, as in that period, I was already stepping fully in the magic universe of the music.
Even 20 years later, when I was doing the “Ars Moriendi” images, I did not consider that i am going on with some kind of “fine arts course”. And, furthermore, during these years, i have not been interested to support theoretically that “old” experiment. Simply, in “Ars Moriendi” i let myself in a similarly free “stylistic game” challenging my imagination, always in the concrete context of the whole “Ars Moriendi” idea.
Yet, there is for me now some good reason to write this note.
Because as time went by, this “Deja Vu” experience became a very first “raw material”, that much later proved very very useful.
This happened when about 25 years later, and in the field of psychotherapy I developed in my own way some points regarding the process with which what an observer “already is”, affects what is being observed.
So, that experience, became the basis of inspiration on which i finally conceptualized the idea of the “personal film” grounded on the firm fundaments of the Gestalt therapy theory.
And this “personal film” idea means by now much to me. It is: (a) the centre of my PSP (Process- Stage-Praxis) method, (b) the foundation stone of all my PSP Playback Theatre training proposals, (c) a precious complementary tool in any aspect of my work in Gestalt therapy.
It is in a way funny and worth noting, that so many years ago, back in 1980, I was not at all aware that, from that joyful experimentation in “viewing” reality, would spring up so much later so many valuable for me ideas. And equally unsuspecting i was also with the “Ars Moriendi” images, that were made several years after “Deja Vu”, however still before the “personal film” idea appearance (an idea that did not even emerge from the art field).
However, for me, on a deeper level, it is like a line of continuity started from 1980 with “Deja Vu”.
Or even, this line started from the time of that childhood game, and reaches 2011 with the “personal film” concept. An experiential line of continuity passing through the various different canvas on which I was choosing to live my life events.
And now I know that life seems often so funny and strange… when unseen connections rise suddenly into awareness… And me, I become even more respectful for the miracle of living and experiencing.
So, “Deja Vu” of 1980, was in a way a “real” deja vu phenomenon, yet reflecting the future… Finally, believe me, back then, I gave this title to my work for completely other reasons, as I did not yet know anything about its great future importance for my course, and of course, nothing at all about all this that I am writing now…