Tuesday, August 12, 2008
several years ago during an artists' residency at acadia national park in maine, i took a walk each day to an island that could only be accessed at low tide. at the time, i was obsessively sketching jellyfish, though i had few live specimens to work from. one afternoon as i began my walk i noticed a dead lion's mane jellyfish stranded on the rocks. just as i was contemplating how best to transport the beautiful yet slightly decaying blob of gelatinous, stinging goo, i noticed several others. the more i looked, the more appeared. i gazed out into the outgoing tide. there were twenty or more jellyfish all poised for a similar fate: planktonic creatures, unable to maneuver with directional intention, the strangely elegant, garnet-colored cnidarians were trapped. the wind was driving them onto the rocks as the water was being sucked out from under them.
i was moved by this tragic situation which, to me, seemed to be the perfect metaphor for life in general, and for my "CHOOSE DETERMINISM" philosophy: at sea, the jellyfish has the sensation of free will...it floats and drifts without awareness of the edges of the container in which it exists...until the wind and tide together create conditions which washes it ashore.
i ran back to my cabin to grab my super 8 film camera, and ran back to document this rare and bizarre phenomenon.
a few months later, i visited the texan high desert near big bend national park for the first time. the landscape reminded me of the sea floor...in fact, it IS the sea floor, several million years after the water receded. i thought of the jellyfish, and when i edited the film, i decided to create a soundtrack that evoked both water and desert earth and star-filled night sky at the same time.
haeckel's dream is available on dvd in an edition of 50. please contact me if you would like to acquire a high resolution copy.