Blind Spot Survival Skills
Q: Although the theme of the film is seeing and vision the title is “blind spot.” What’s the meaning behind it?
OH: We’re in an age where the internet and everywhere else is overflowing with information and the image of society and who we are as individuals is based on what we take from that. But I don’t feel that way, personally. My ability to see, understand, and judge things is steadily declining. The reason may be that we’re rapidly becoming insensitive to of what we don’t know or isn’t visible to us. These blind spots in our everyday lives are difficult to see but conversely, film’s limited field of vision is able to convey them. What we select in situations when we have to make a choice, or when we see what we’re not supposed to see—these skills of perception we use in life are very difficult to depict visually. I want to deal with everyday perspectives in films, but it’s necessary to nurture the tension between the choices and proficiency of that perspective as well as the issue of how to deal with your own blind spots. I wanted to focus on the existence of those blind spots, including in the title itself. I think of them as something positive. The power of art is its ability to shift attitudes toward things that are usually seen as negative. The style of the film was chosen under the assumption that it would be part of an omnibus including other filmmakers’ work. I’d be pleased if the inclusion of dead-seeing VISION/CONTROL caused or was used as breathing room.
Q: Could you talk about the editing of the film?
OH: I had intended to make it ten minutes long. I instinctively chose shots from throughout the footage in the order it was filmed. For the repeated clip of found footage I didn’t use any sound. In terms of visual and aural perception, I wanted to impart only visual information initially. Although the repetition is clear, I don’t think viewers will necessarily recognize or grasp every shot. Through atypical visual stimuli I wanted viewers to experience the film in a sensory manner rather than explanatory. Up until now I’ve used all kinds of editing techniques but this is the first time I’ve the same shot more than once. I’m someone who makes each shot count, without cutting. People who had seen my other films were surprised.
Q: The shots of the line being drawn on the white column and the piano being played seemed more active than other parts of the film.
OH: Actually those are visuals that I screened at an exhibition I was part of. For me, the act of shooting itself is a kind of performance. I thought it would be a challenge to see what came out of combining these performative shots of drawing lines and playing piano with the above-mentioned, highly personal, repetitive visuals. That’s not just something I used for this film, but a basic part of who I am.
(Compiled by Hozumi Maki)
Interviewers: Hozumi Maki, Ichiyanagi Sayuri / Translator: Jason Gray
Photography: Ichiyanagi Sayuri / Video: Kato Takanobu / 2009-09-14 / in Tokyo