River in the Eye
How is your Breath?
still _ River in the Eye. 2022
‘All poetry as opposed to the various paradigms of prosody is prayer’
River in the Eye or How is your Breath? is a visual poem and a filmic prayer. Taking the act of breathing as its central metaphor the piece depicts an agonized state of mind. This is the mind of any person who fears they have lost the agency to exercise their most basic human rights in an environment where dissent is crushed by so many ruling authorities around the world. Humans have evolved prayer to come to terms with frightening forces beyond their control. Anxiety and fear can turn us to prayer whether we are religious or not. In Hindu ceremonies, fruits pierced by incense are left as divine offerings. I take this fruit with its twelve burning incense sticks and place it in my mouth. The incense burns close to my face, while my mouth is blocked up by the fruit. The fruit in my mouth represents both suffocation and temporary respite in the face of impending catastrophe. The gesture is an act of prayer and simultaneously a dismantling of escapist behaviour - turning to prayers can end up as merely an act of self-blinding disguise.