Marcel Craven > Flights
LETTER FROM AN ARTIST – A SILENT REBELLION – LOUDER THAN BOMBS 4
JULY 2016 –
‘Human beings are the only creatures on the earth that are not happy with whom they are’.
The words above are from Albert Camus, from his 1951 essay ‘The Rebel’; the essay suggests that ‘rebellion’ is an intrinsic essence in all human beings, the essence for protestation, for change, for escape, for need and want, and for flight-moreover the essay explores how this essence manifests itself and what are the possible outcomes, historically, and, at its time of going to print, contemporarily.
Over six decades on the relevance of these questions and possible outcomes is quite apparent; the cyclical movement of the human process brings us back to ‘moments’ that were heralded as ‘lessons to be learnt’ and ‘never again’. Yet camps of death and cleansing took a foothold again in Europe, global conflicts are heard and seen daily, the enemy within has become a common threat, and mass migration and displacement across continents brings rise to nationalistic tendencies.
And within the frameworks that gestate and nurture these ‘moments’ there is real rebellion, the frameworks are obviously corrupt-for they have been formed by human interactive endeavour and thus carry within them a striate complex mesh of rebellious essences-this is state space and state time, and what exists here is far from natural-or is it?
How do we escape or take flight nowadays from frameworks so complex and intertwined? How do we recapture that essence of rebellion within frameworks of rebellion? Is it perhaps time for linear movement back, not cyclical/revolutions that bring reoccurrences and ‘never again moments’? These frameworks are not new, they are simply more densely interwoven and complex and new ‘so called progressive mechanics and technologies’ have made the world a far smaller and attainable space-the frameworks are now global.
I recently submitted-‘FLIGHTS’- an entry to a short film festival, the festival celebrated the life and endeavour of Amy Johnson; there was an open call for entries that in some way highlighted the pioneering endeavour of this ‘iconic figure’, and there were three submission categories for entries-Hull and East Yorkshire, United Kingdom and International Award. My entry won the Hull and East Yorkshire Award and was close runner up for the best in show.
All the films that were chosen-shortlisted-held true to the theme of Amy, whether this was in ‘personality’, in ‘aero-mechanical endeavour’, in play with the ‘gypsy moth’ connection or in ‘female pioneering endeavour’, so I was a little surprised to win an award with a piece of work that in many ways conflated all the above except for the latter-although this to many may be seen as a retro and dubious connection.
The film I produced mentioned ‘Amy’ only once, and this was a slight remembrance; a remembrance of a young girl, bed bound through illness-asthmatic, ‘fighting for air’, ‘I remember Amy from her photo in the picture post, she had pure white teeth, brushed by air as our photographs are now’. This young girl’s story followed her journey in stark contrast to that of the pioneer aviator; her bed-bound endeavours were music and imagination, when reaching womanhood her endeavour became her children and their journeys.
Her birth had been a ‘compliance’ of the Edwardian age, her parents who were middle class soon bestowed their gift of parenthood into another realm; there was a tendency for parenting to be allotted out, the working class grandmother and extended family became and fulfilled the acceptable ‘class state role’, leaving the parents free to explore their own endeavours and conquer new boundaries. As a child she had no say in this course of events and consequently her growing years were spent not only imagining the world outside the confines of her room, but also imagining who and what her parents were.
On reaching womanhood and becoming a mother, her willing acceptance, even happiness, was her rebellion against the conventions she had been brought up with; where Amy fought for the right to be equal and progress the role of women around the world the young girl had vowed on reaching adulthood to promote the ‘naturalness’ of motherhood, embracing the role and avoiding the ‘fashion’ of so called progression. Today we have reached a point were more women are fighting for the role of naturalness, the right to be able to be a mother, unrestricted and unfettered by the economics of state space and state time; the pendulum seems to have swung back to a time were natural roles are not deemed unequal, true the shift was needed in the first instance but equally this shift back seems more progressive.
The short film ends with a stoic and yet reserved triumphal utterance– ‘I did it!’