Odo – When you return to The Link, what will become of the entity I’m talking to right now?
Changeling – The drop becomes the ocean.
Odo – And if you choose to take solid form again?
Changeling – The ocean becomes a drop.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “Behind the Lines”
I fell asleep while watching TV, but woke just before dawn to see this scene lighting up my room. Through the dreamy haze, I jumped up to film it with my phone, realizing that it was too beautiful to pass up. The clip is a detail from the opening credits of the late 1960s Lassie TV series.
The Lassie shows always intrigued me with their melancholy theme songs providing an underlying sense of longing and despair.
Each episode usually featured a formulaic conflict, followed by an unrealistic resolution. Lassie personified the dream that even though circumstances might look grim, any obstacle could be overcome through perseverance – and the assistance of a brilliant dog. Sitting in front of the TV during my summer mornings, Lassie’s super-heroic actions provided me with a daily lesson that alpha canine is superior to homo sapiens. This dream was juxtaposed with the lie hiding underneath – hard work and prayer don’t provide any genuine resolution. No god will intervene at the last minute, the way the god-dog Lassie miraculously appears to always save the day.
During several times in my life, I have experienced moments of pure relaxation, which I equate to the serenity of a peaceful death. In those moments I’ve been able to let go of everything – thoughts, emotions, surroundings – and float in a pure, ego-less bliss. Occasionally, I have experienced a work of art which gives me the same tranquil feeling. It seldom occurs anymore with paintings, but I can still occasionally attain it with abstract music and film.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine depicted its own version of this serenity through the troubled shapeshifter Odo. As the series began, he was an outcast with no knowledge of his past, nor did he know if any other Changelings existed. He took the daily form of a humanoid – troubled by years of abuse from being mistreated – but his cynicism guarded sensitive romantic emotions barely hidden below his smooth features. Eventually, he discovers other Changelings living on a planet in which they maintain their natural fluidic state, merging in a serene sea of thoughts and sensations known as the Great Link.
One of the last pieces of art I made in New York was a video installation that attempted to capture the feeling of slipping into death. Falling consisted of an enclosed white box in which imagery of “snow” was falling on twisting “plants,” which slowly became encased and smothered. This piece was also my attempt to deal with the loss of my lifelong friend David Gregg, who had tragically died a few months prior.
I have always been attracted to videos which are repetitive and serene, struggling to trigger something sublime while remaining elusive. I’d heard rumors of a David Sylvian music video comprised of slow motion footage of tornados gliding across the horizon – an example of nature at its most terrifying and deadly, but reimagined as graceful and forlorn to accompany Sylvian’s pensive croons. In the pre-internet days, I was always searching for this footage – a holy grail of music videos. Once YouTube emerged, I gave up my quest when I realized that my imagination had created a better work of art than one that could ever exist.
This video is my attempt to create something similar, a music video that is repetitive and hypnotic, like a hazy half-memory seducing you towards death.