“A substantial part of what lies ahead of for you is going to be claimed by boredom” in July 1989, Russian poet and essayist Joseph Brodsk started his commencement address at Dartmouth College. We cannot space the feeling, so why not try to tame it? “Intermission” is a photo essay dedicated to exploration and examination of various shapes and forms of our charming, eternal escort – boredom.
The Project draws inspiration from an experiment in which researchers asked people to sit in a room with nothing to do for 15 minutes. Results show that 67% male and 25% female participants were willing to give themselves small electric shocks instead of being isolated with one’s thoughts and feelings. On the other side of spectrum lays Edward Hopper, American realism painter, with his apathy invoking, introspective painting “Intermission” which stares boredom straight into the eyes. Hopper captures the moment of drowning inside one’s mind, that might have the ability to bring back strange and often forgotten memory of true self identity. It’s just a lonely lady stuck between limbo state and reality, between here and there. No fear. Only existence.
Project tries to let its viewers stop constant time flow and go back to a place of stilness and authenticity (hopefully) buried somewhere deep down inside every single one of us that might hold lost pieces of who we really are or were meant to be.
It’s quite impossible to predict when thrilling ideas are going to show up. This one was some sort of “milkshake” gathered from very different bits of my life – it first came to my mind as I was playing a video game (“Street Fighter V”, to be more precise) in a quirky introverted party at my friends place in the suburbia. I accidently glanced at my pal (very bussy trying to beat a buff anime guy), self though actress Augustė, and realised that I found my model for a photoshoot that was floating around in my head for a while now, but still didn’t have any real concept. At least It had a lead role now.
Genre of “intermission” was dictated by a 2015 biopic “Life”, directed by Anton Corbijn, that introduces a story behind Dennis Stock photo essay about at that time rising movie star James Dean. This way of presenting information had different feel and depth in comparison with a typical photoshoot and seemed more suitable for my way of thinking.
As any photo essay always has two essential parts – text and pictures – behind the scenes “intermission” making process was no different. First of all, there was some research going on – reading about pshychological experiments or digging into biography and art of Edward Hopper. Then (late at night in mid July) text about boredom was typed and followed by photoshoot in USSR aesthetic concrete jungle, projected by my great-grandfather as a cinema, but now a modern concert hall, named “Sun”.
A bit of Photoshop to achieve calm, undersaturated, melancholic look and my first photo essay “intermission” came to life.
Project reminded me of one crucial life lesson summed up by American writer Kurt Vonnegut in his last book “A Man Without a Country” :
“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Text and photos – Martyna Ratnikaitė
Model – Augustė Kavaliauskaitė
Thank you for your attention!