Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Intro to MIAP Class Field Trip to Alan Berliner's TriBeCa Studio

Alan Berliner archives his life. A piece of rusty metal on the ground finds its home in the "rusty things" drawer. Yesterday's obituaries are tucked neatly into the "death" box. Interested in seeing every photo from the last 30 years of the NY Times, categorized by subject matter? Check his shelves of black boxes, not to be confused with indigo, which hold their own treasures.

The most shocking part of the evening, for me, was how much Alan Berliner and I have in common, the difference being that he is not afraid to announce it to the world and has the money and time to act on it. We both knew from a young age that we like collages and enjoyed organizing our lives as such. We are both OCD and maybe a little out there at times. I envied his ability to find a drawer, a book with archival paper, a box on a shelf or some other neatly organized, safe place to store mementos of his life, his family's lives and the world around him.

It got me thinking about death and senility (the latter is the subject of the film he's currently working on), and what happens to our things once they have lost cognitive meaning to us. Does it matter? Maybe only to people like Alan and I immediately, but what about 100 years from now? What about 500 years from now? Will society then look back on the little bits of pop culture that will inevitably linger on from our day and see that as a representation of the whole? Worse yet, will the world become a dumbed down, reality tv version of that because that's what we leave behind, or will we pass along our personal lives that are full of ideas, art, poetry, our writing of thoughts and feelings? These are the things that keep me up at night.

I know I will one day become a more minimal version of Alan. Rusty metal doesn't interest me so much as thoughts, ideas and images, and, more so, holding on to and passing on the goodness that exists in the world. I am in the MIAP program for this reason. Because of the civil rights footage that I watched in the library in third grade, because of the words of Shakespeare that made it through 400 years to get to me, because of the all the lost films that I will never see.

That's also, in part, why I keep this blog. I don't feel dumb anymore snapping photos of everything around me on a daily basis because I know it's important to share the way that I see the world. One day my son will have hours of video of himself learning to ollie and play guitar. Maybe he wont care but maybe his kids or grandkids or a random relative down the line will. So, yeah, there you go. Just like the white boxes that line my shelves, this is me preserving in some way the little insignificant happenings of my life.

On an unrelated note, TriBeCa is difficult to navigate but lovely, full of film and in close proximity to Brooklyn. All good things.

1 comment:

  1. wow. what an amazing picture. and what an amazing man. holy moly. i think its great that you collect and organize and preserve for the future. i'm seriously, seriously hoping the pendulum will soon swing away from reality tv and back to the important stuff. and i agree, tribeca is lovely!