Monday, 26 May 2014

In Pursuit of Rightness

seafoamThree years back I wrote a post called ‘Escape’. It recounted the tale of a video I made with my iPhone after a spontaneous visit to the beach. The post finished with the words ‘I'd have loved more, high-quality footage to do better justice to the piece but that's a project for another day maybe...’ That day arrived last week.
Beautiful May sunshine drew us to the beach once more, but this time I took a decent video camera. Once again I captured a random collection of footage. Movement on the beach originates from sea or wind with the occasional living creature thrown in for good measure, so that the tideline is where the action is. Collecting requires you to become a video beachcomber, to wander aimlessly, just looking ; and is deeply enjoyable. And the footage quality was indeed much better.

Then came the editing: again I planned to find a piece of music to give the imagery coherence and structure and to express a mood.  I was determined to avoid re-using John Martyn’s beautiful track ‘Beverly’ as this was A New Piece. So I set about trawling, first my music collection, then the web, looking for a piece that seemed… right. In total I probably spent five or six hours listening to snippets and whole tracks. I finally settled on two lovely pieces, Brigg Fair by Martin Simpson with The Full English and Les Bras de Mer by Katrin Finch and Sekou Keita. I played both pieces several times alongside the unedited footage. Both beautiful, both with the slightly melancoly, meandering quality I wanted, and yet…
This evening I tried again, but this time played the John Martyn too and it spoke to me saying ‘Stop wasting your time. I’m the one’.
How does this happen?
I don’t really know. I can come up with a dozen, seemingly meaningful, explanations but they come after the event. I can’t describe this event except as simply a sense of rightness. If you were choosing the music you may well have chosen something quite different, so it’s subjective. But it’s pursuit of this rightness that drives creativity.
Can you teach it?
It depends what you mean by teach... just make spaces for it to happen in, model it and talk about it whilst recognising and acknowledging when it drives learning.
Do our political masters understand this?
Would they be happy if sometimes we just allow learners to learn ?
Given the intellectual arrogance of our current crop, I somehow doubt it.

So, you may well be asking ask, ‘Where’s this new video then?’ Well, in the original video there is a brief section where music and video are exact analogues of one another. I have some fine footage but I do need to reproduce that particular connection as, for me, it was at the heart of the original piece. So I’ll just have head for the beach again and wander around in the sunshine. Pursuing rightness requires the persistence and determination to overcome hardship.
Pity me.

Footnote: The sea foam gif at the head of this blog was made with Instagiffer, a free downloadable piece of software which will make gifs from: online video, your own files or screen captures. It works well and appears to be ad and spyware-free.