This was inspired by Hollis Frampton’s film (nostalgia), though much simpler. When I thought about what New York means to me, I thought about all of the rooms I have inhabited over the past three years, spaces which have meant the most to me, regardless of the experiences I’ve had there. Being somewhat reclusive, I develop relationships with rooms which are often more emotionally gratifying than the superficial (or should I say “exterior”) relationships with people. I have moved many times since the age of 11, have had several rooms, all with their own personalities and energy. As you might gather from the film, I feel very ambivalent about some of them (#1), very negative about others (#2), and very comforted by the place I live now.
Like Frampton, I am, in a sense, burning all of my old memories of these rooms by revisting them, perhaps for the last time, and thus getting a kind of closure. Maybe this kind of psychological closure is the only physical way to find true comfort within a space– in retrospect once you’ve left and moved on. As far as inquiline goes, all of my rooms, especially in New York, have felt temporary because there is a constant knowledge that I will be moving on soon. I become bored and agitated with rooms, and eventually we have to break-up and I have to start fresh. There is little I like more than moving and re-nesting. In many ways, I have always felt like there is a symbiotic relationship between me and rooms: the rooms must have an occupant to become a living space, and I must have a room in order to live myself.
I wanted to film this and comment on it from a very detached place, because some of these rooms no longer belong to me. I felt rather voyeuristic filming them, capturing them like they once captured me. It’s interesting to be on the exterior side looking into places where I once existed in the ultimate interiority, looking out.I eliminated the sound of the street for two reasons: 1) the silence, or static, in between vocalizations feels more appropriate in terms of detachment; the sounds of the street felt too present and lively. 2) not only is the static/voice over combination recorded sound, the combination has a rather radiophonic quality, and effect I wanted to create, as this is representative of a kind of disembodiement, an acousmetric voice, in this case belonging to the images of the apartments rather than to a person. The static is literally a kind of “dead air”.Gregory Whitehead, a radio artist, has a fantastic quote, which I think can relate to this film:
“When I turn my radio on, I hear a whole chorus of death rattles; […] from voices that have been severed from the body for so long that no one can remember who they belong to, or whether they belong to anybody at all”
My body has been “severed” from these rooms for so long that they no longer belong to me, and my voice’s disembodied quality inexorably belonging to the voice-over, which in this case represents a body, which once belonged to these rooms, but now only exists as a detached voice which only exists in the dead air of the static. I will end this section with a quote by Alexandra L.M. Keller on white noise (this kind of static) and how what it contains is the interminablevoices of the dead:
“When they [the dead] come back to haunt us, they are unloading all of those afterthoughts that have accumulated in the afterworld”.
I, dead to these rooms, revisited them, and now in my film I am speaking the words to them that I’ve been able to vocalize in retrospect, in the “afterworld” of moving on.
This piece was originally a text which I modified to better fit vocalization (although I really dislike the sound of my voice, as it feels alienated from me, as it should being “disembodied” and all).
It can be viewed here: http://hroivas.blogspot.com/2008/12/night-room.html