The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

City of the Mind, City for the Mind

The article "I walk in dreams and I can change them" by Tristan Priimägi, Estonian pop culture enthusiast as he calls himself, brought my attention to few of the recent discoveries and inspirations.

In this article he recalls that according to his friend there has always been an exception in the film production course in the audiovisual media department in the University of Tallinn - the sketch or a story can not take place either in the psychiatric clinic or in dreams, as in the above named places there is no need to seize the narrative structure. Indeed who of us does not remember that writing an essay on a free subject actually always turns out to be one of the most impossible tasks you have ever had to do in your life. As if some restrictions were always necessary...

Once Plato imagined a place where a group of people who had lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall, known as the Allegory of the Cave. The people watched shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and began to ascribe forms to these shadows. The shadows were as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality. However in Plato´s vision, once the prisoners were freed from the cave, they would come to understand that the shadows on the wall were not constitutive of reality at all, a perceived true form of the reality, but rather the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

We construct worlds daily whether we call them invisible, hidden, parallel societies, imagined landscapes or anything else. But what if there were no limits to our imaginations? How many of us would be able to construct completely unseen world not using and/or copying elements of the seen?

That´s something Christopher Nolan has pointed out, against some academics belief that narrative subject needs to be limiting, in his new film Inception. The description of the movie would seem shallow in the paper, the content incomplete and maybe even somewhat comical. But the movie has few angles that keep haunting and inspiring me : "(...) you gotta draw from stuff you know right? (...) never re-create from you memory, always imagine new places (...) it is pure creation."

Mapping a city in film has been exploring relationships between city, urban space, moving image and memory for centuries. Why am I inspired? Inception, one of the few latest blockbuster movies, does not describe cliche worlds, but rather tries to question the limits as well as ethics of our imagination and is therefore something intellectually challenging, at least for me...

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