MOTHLANDS MANIFESTO


Narratives

I believe society is at a breaking point, and change is inevitable. Mankind has reached a collective existential turning point, where we all sooner rather than later, will have to look deep into the very fabric of our culture and society, and choose what values to support. Some will desperately cling on to old structures, finding comfort in dominance and hierarchies, while others will embrace the change into a different world understanding. I call that embrace the Mind shift, and I see it as something that goes deeper than the political. It is an existential shift, a change of myths. A change in narratives.


I believe that art should not only mirror, but also take part in creating the society it is part of. I believe that we as artists and filmmakers should participate consciously in the forming of different narratives. We have a powerful tool to stir up linear thinking patterns, and make way for alternative, intuitive mindsets, through the very work that we do. However, I believe that this requires a shift in how we do the work we do. 


I believe we need to think about narratives in a different way, and that we need to have the courage to experiment with what we conceive as a film, as a story, as a piece. We need to ask ourselves as artists: Do we want our films to do something more than the numerous commercials that feeds on our stolen aesthetics, in order to sell an evermore hyper-real idea of the self? I believe that we need to reconquer our own medium, and open up for the raw exploring of ideas in a much more intuitive work form, rather than conceptualizing and presenting our films as a product for consumption, even in it's earliest stages. 




Context

The first 20 years of my life I was the stereotypical "good student". It was a role I felt ambiguous about. At one hand, I loved the recognition I got when I did "good work" and I enjoyed the rewarding pride that came with success. On the other hand, I grew to secretly loathe the role as the good student, as I began to notice the tight ribbon of normalization 

that success implied. Slowly I started to see how we all shaped ourselves after the blueprint of collective opinion, for the sake of recognition, but it wasn't until recent years, that I discovered how deeply this obedience has been programmed into all of us, throughout all of societies institutions. Our society is made up of "good students" programmed to march towards success, a game that divides us into winners and losers. Success is the way we measure our worth in this world, and those who fail are self-responsible, as modern existentialism has taught us. After all, how can it be otherwise in a world where the American dream has become our primary myth? 


On this scale of achievement points, as if it all was one big computer game, no area goes unmeasured. Even the artist herself, who ought to represent another kind of perception, is reduced to a self-conscious entrepreneur, looking to brand her name in an ever-faster competition economy. Filmmakers, painters, writers, etc, we might not be aware of it, as this collective opinion is a tasteless airborne virus that infects us unknowingly, and we might not even recognize the desire to be acknowledged as a component in our work, but for most of us - if we dare to be truly honest with ourselves - it is there. An underlying forceful current; the strive towards recognition, the willingness to do "good work". 


Lately I myself have felt paralyzed by the weight of trying to do "good work". Not only do I believe that no interesting artistic work grows from that emotion. I also believe that truly interesting work has to remove itself completely from the classic paradigm of success, and by doing so, risk failure within that paradigm. However, if we start to think outside of that 2-dimensional scale, failing becomes a meaningless word. Then there is no failing, only discoveries.


The trouble is, that the film industry, the art councils, the very structures of our society and the economic system we live in, feeds that emotion of wanting to do "good work". Staying clear of it is a difficult task, especially in a medium where some kind of funding is required. Circumstances forces you to sell your work before you start working, and the mental handling of that oxymoron, becomes a larger and larger part of the job description of the filmmaker. For me, trying to navigate in this discipline, has become a dangerous swamp of my own and other people’s expectations to what path I should take. The unflattering worry of how to brand myself. How to get my name out there. A trembling waiting-in-line to climb the latter, get the break. Forwards, upwards - go, go, go!



Liberation

No thanks. No more. I am in a place now, where I urgently need to liberate myself from that race, in order to keep my integrity and emotional health. I am not alone. I have met many other people who have similar reactions to the current situation, and who yearn for society to be liberated from the mechanisms that causes so much depression and destruction in its human beings. 


I believe that we need to liberate the playful and explorative mindsets, in order to give way for new narratives. Mothlands is my humble artistic contribution to that development; It is an attempt to liberate the creative process, and maybe, hopefully, make way for new structures, new ideas, new connections. 


Mothlands is a cinematic sketchbook. It is an artistic, political and deeply personal project. It is not a concept or an easily comprehensive brand. It is not a well-dressed gallery-window for my work, but an open backdoor into a messy workshop. It is a complex morass of energy and ideas that I have chosen to give a collective frame, for my own sake of continuity. I can only hope that Mothlands will have the possibility to inspire others, and I cheer the sharing of ideas. Let us explore the myths of tomorrow.


- Let us move into the Mothlands -


Trine Dam Ottosen, writer & filmmaker

May 2013




www.mothlands.blogspot.com