The Airplane Treatment - thoughts on Dislocate

dislocate - on my way to my brother
dislocate - on my way to my brother

I like to write on planes. Well, not on planes of course, rather: when I'm on flights. Being forced not to be able to do anything but have your hand luggage with you, nothing else to do but sit and stare out the window, takes me into a contemplative mood almost immediately. It's always been a good way to think about things that need a goodthinking about. Helps me to focus, to have an uninterrupted chain of thought, and synthesize what a project is about. Now that I think about it, every one of my projects has had this airplane treatment so to speak, being forced offline, no-one to talk to, no internet, only a pen and notebook nearby. And hopefully a window seat.

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I've been trying to think Dislocate through for years now. It seems like the project is taking extraordinarily long to settle in my head, to define itself for me, and thus, for me to define it. Maybe because it's one of the most overtly inner projects that I'm engaged in, where I try to talk about very personal things like feeling lost, uprooted, looking for a home, looking for meaning, a place. Not that this undertone isn't present in projects like Yakuza and Heavens, but that's exactly the difference: it's an undertone, underneath a recognizable and real world subject. In Dislocate it becomes the main thing, almost without a recognizable real world counterpart.

The question racking my brain is, do I need to create this real world counterbalance for this project? Can I have a project that is completely about the meaning of photographs rather than the actual scene depicted? I've always felt that a good story needs the outer and the inner part to be able to stand by themselves, and work together. Otherwise it seems so one-dimensional, no? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I should just try. Or maybe I'm just overthinking. Overthinking is a danger too, I guess :-)

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A project usually seems to start out very fuzzy, a vague feeling of sorts, and takes a long time to crystallize into something real, something understandable for the viewer and myself. It was with Yakuza that I first came to realize that the long term aspect that creeps into every project that I'm involved in, is not only a reflection of the rhythm of my life, but also because of my need for some deeper explanation to creep in. That counterbalance. My need to find that undertone. And in my case, it seems I'm not able to find that deeper meaning without letting things grow on me for an extended period of time, think hard and talk about it to friends a lot. Yes, I'm a little slow that way.

What if Dislocate were the other side of the spectrum: I found the undertone, that deeper meaning, but haven't found the real world counterpart yet. Geez, am I even still making sense here?

Then yesterday I realized the blatantly obvious thing: Dislocate simply hasn't had the airplane treatment yet.

Now I'm on a plane, ready to leave for my brother Malik in Tokyo to photograph more of Dislocate. It seems now's a time as good as ever... Signing off the internet, signing on the notebook. Wish me luck, safe travels... and talk soon.

cheers, a