Mono No Aware
Once in a while, my body decides my mind needs to take a moment
to stare into the distance – preferably through a window.
When I go out the door, I feel more at ease carrying in my pockets a tiny
wooden airplane, a coin, a ••••• •• ••••••, and a cherry pip.
Whenever I feel that tiny sadness for the beauty of things passing,
I try to make images.
Somehow, it feels like a profoundly important thing to do.
As if I want to keep those moments; in a way give them more time
than they had,
until I’m ready to let go.
Mono No Aware is an investigation into the fleeting moments in our lives, and our futile attempts to – time and again – try and hold on to them.
Like when you're driving and the sun sets over the vast fields around you and the music's just right and the warm wind in your hair and your friends next to you and conversations go quiet and the long winding road ahead and your mind goes blank and you find yourself staring into the distance and then you snap out of it, everyone knowing you've all had – but can't keep – that moment that just passed.
Based on the Japanese philosophical thought and deeply rooted tradition of "mono no aware" (もののあはれ – being sensitive to the passing of things), I have sought out and captured my own fleeting moments for 3 years... and along the way I'm confronted with the underlying, often unconscious mechanism which is so crucial to our memory: we need to give meaning to a moment to be able to commit it to memory.
The images of Mono No Aware are a representation of how this personal "giving meaning" takes the upper hand from the very beginning - even above reality itself. We think we remember a reality, but in fact that very reality has long become but a fragmented, distorted illustration to our own story.
Mono No Aware lives on borrowed time: after all, the actual moments caught on camera are over and forever part of history. They've become just another trigger for their meaning, and their broken connection to reality is visible through the voids and imperfections in the images themselves, which stand for the holes in our memories, their colouring, selectively seeing, and above all: holding on at all cost.
Maybe it's a story about learning to let go.