Friday, September 25, 2009

Parallel tracks

From Pictures from a moving van, Mendocino, September 2007.

I just finished reading a tender eulogy for Philippine environmentalist and cultural activist Odette Alcantara that was written by my friend, Anton Juan. Anton wrote his tribute to Odette while aboard a train, looking for signs of rain in the shapes of reeds and the ears of corn that he spied from his window.

"And even from this fast train," he wrote of Odette, "the shapes and colors of the field are vivid, just as how vividly the pictures of you run in parallel tracks in the distance."

Images taken from moving vehicles run on tracks that are parallel to the lens. They are akin to the cinema of motion, but are still and ghostly, vivid yet untrustworthy like memory itself. A man in a cap is frozen against a canvas of swirls that could have been painted by a delirious impressionist. The specter of a dog haunts the woods. Landscapes emerge mournful and unnatural.

These random images are meant to pass into ephemera. That they are captured and stilled give them weight they would not possess otherwise. Memory is a camera: it latches on to a moment from an infinite number of moments and preserves it like a picture.

1 comment:

  1. Kante, thanks for sharing your pics and words. Very cerebral. Now I can't go ride my motorcyle without thinking of the man in a cap picture. The faster I go, peripheral images are blurred but what is ahead of me, I have to stay focused. Just to be safe, I suppose.