Petra Charvátová


Smoke and earth fighting against each other. Which one would win if they were comics  superheroes: Incredible Smoke or Wonder Earth? Stoic and Robust Earth vs. Ever-Changing, Unpredictable Smoke – An Epic Battle is about to Begin! But then Professor Decay intervenes! ...and both are destroyed! Or maybe the smoke is not really smoke, it might be a huge cloud and the dirt is the ground seen from a window of a plane, then the passenger passes out and dreams about bubbles and blobs and then he/she comes round and finally reaches his/her destination – Japan. Or a different version: smoke and stone, the Big Bang. A lot of explosions and chemical reactions and in the end a human being and a future full of brightness and possibilities. What makes me look for stories and even characters in a footage in which there aren’t any? Even the decayed film strip becomes a part of my narration, everything participates as I try to give the sequence of the images some logical meaning. It’s probably because most films are narrative as the traditional literature from which they took over. What kind of films would we have if they didn’t absorb the narrative structure from literature? Would the experimental films become the mainstream and vice versa?  Or maybe film wouldn’t become such a popular medium at all. And if film didn’t become narrative but something else, would human cognition change?

After I watch the minute several times the ridiculous over-interpretations go away. Avoiding narrative restrictions I think about opposing forces. Ancient struggle, there is always some energy fighting against some other energy. As in art, an artist tries to express a lasting commentary about a society, about the world. But nothing lasts, painted masterpieces are sold to become a rabbit hutch and priceless films are decayed beyond restoration. I feel like standing up and doing something but there’s actually nothing to be done. What is not destroyed eventually loses relevance and then it’s worthless and left to perish. But it’s not inevitably a bad thing, it’s natural, I guess, the circle of life it’s called – what a cliché. The old has to make space for the new. People and all human products are just one chapter in the history of the Earth and the Earth and this solar system is in turn just one phase in the development of the universe. Abstract blabber… I guess I am doomed to impose narrative structure on film images in order to express myself without sounding really stereotypical.

Going back and starting over again. Circular movement or running in circles? The fact that almost nothing which was originally captured on the film strip is visible, that the content is nearly gone makes me focus and think about the medium itself. What makes film a film? No technical or other definitions say what I have in mind. More important for me is when a film is a work of art. But what’s art? What happens when a sequence of shots, possibly any shots at all, even decomposed ones have a great impact on me? The impact, that’s it. It is more about emotions than thoughts. It sometimes happens that I can’t say what a film is about, but it still conveys a feeling – a feeling of awe. That’s what makes a film a work of art for me – feeling awe while watching it.