The World in Our Hands | Essay Film

A personal essay film about the nature of artistic creation and the responsibility that comes along with it. Created for FIL 690: The Essay Film, in partial fulfillment of a Film MFA at Syracuse University. TEXT: What does it mean…

The World in Our Hands | Essay Film

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A personal essay film about the nature of artistic creation and the responsibility that comes along with it. Created for FIL 690: The Essay Film, in partial fulfillment of a Film MFA at Syracuse University.

TEXT: What does it mean to take the world in your hands and mold it like clay?

To tell a story is to glimpse a reality of one’s own construction. Editing video means crafting an experience, from the clay of experience itself. Working with senses of sight and sound arranged carefully on the canvas of time. A spiritual practice of sorts. But a manipulative one.

Filmmakers make gods of themselves, hands slipping into the gloves of a creator. We work as though meddling in someone else’s mind.

Where does the drive to do this come from? Maybe from fear. From a desire to exert control over what can’t be controlled. The minds of others, the worlds of others, the world itself?

But even as we try to wrangle reality, so much lies out of our hands. Rarely, if ever, do we control the memories we make while we’re sleeping. Dreams reveal things we don’t know about ourselves. The waking mind is not so different when it tries to make an experience.

What we can control, we must treat gently. What power it is to make experiences for other people. To play a creator. What a responsibility to touch and bend reality. And how careful we must be with the worlds we make.

It’s the easiest thing to continue culture’s cruelty, accidentally or otherwise. It’s baked into the clay we’re given, and too often, the worlds we construct with it. What’s harder is to intervene on behalf of one another. To strive for greater care.

We learn so much about how we see the world from trying to work with it. Reflecting it, reshaping it, reproducing it, again and again. If it’s true what Sagan said, that we are the tools with which the universe comes to know itself, what better way is there to find out what we know than through art?

I don’t know what it means to take the world in your hands and mold it like clay. But I know it’s something important.

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