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COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS ON INTERACTONS

These comments are from four friends who, I am so happy to be able to say, have been friends for 15, 42, 56, and 64 years. They were all offered to me unsolicited, one friend to another, not in the expectation that they would be public (though they later gave permission for me to post them here). Knowing that our friends can be biased in favor of our work, I do not post these as evidence of my work's value, but because they offer what I feel to be valuable insights that seem true to me and that other viewers might find helpful. Indeed, reading through all of them together, I was really moved to feel that much of what I have been striving for in these has been deeply understood.

1. Brian Hischier, artist and writer

[Viewing the films and the Grids together] forces the viewer to use the artist's eyes and their own eyes to view the subject and the medium itself.

2. Harvey Nosowitz

You have undertaken an impossible project, with motivations that seem to me irreconcilably conflicting, and a focus that is both monumental and quotidian. These tensions are what speak to me.

The films I think of as home-less movies. They remind me that in order to see a landscape, you cannot be in it.

I think it is a myth of lost wholeness. I think that, in the effort to reconcile the irreconcilable, we sometimes get a glimpse of something bigger and more coherent than our everyday chaos, and are astonished by its beauty.

3. Peter Coonradt, filmmaker

I watched all of your Interactions videos and they resonated within me a lot. They continue resonating after I finish watching. There's so much to look at and so many thoughts are evoked. I wish I had the right words to describe the look of your frames. Order in disorder? Geometry emerging from the tangled mess of reality? You capture the fragmentary perceptions that everybody sees in a particular location before the brain has a chance to form a composite sense of place from what the eye scans.

. . .In your notes you mention the shaky hand held quality without saying the jitteriness is intentional, but for me it's an important element. It's a constant reminder that there's a person holding the camera, it's not the impersonal eye, and the jitters add an intensity to the viewing experience.

4. Robert Edelstein

I love how deeply you draw viewers into the imagery and camera movements while also, for me, evoking throughout something greater, something beyond the immediate experience of the film. And so many of the shots are so sensuous, even rapturous. So many amazing last shots. "Amsterdam" [Interactions 6: Amsterdam (2023)] is still my favorite after 3 viewings, but I suspect each time I'll look at another of the films, I'll feel that one is second best.

#9 [Interactions 9: Stone Circle, Avebury] is my new favorite. Just saw it once but love at first sight. From the first shot, I felt as if each image was 'reading' the nature of things, and this seemed especially so in the close shots of the rocks, reinforcing that attentive observation of grasses and plants. I loved the delay in seeing the rocks as part of the stones and then as parts of the circles of stones and the delay in seeing people. I found individual shots — a solitary figure, the little girls touching the rocks especially moving. So too the long penultimate framed by the birds flying in opposite directions (did you have to pay an animal wrangler?). I found even the first shot moving for some reason, and so too then the last. I don't know where this fits in your pantheon but thank you for making it. Despair surely can't carry the day in the face of such work.

. . .on my third viewing. I continue to love it, feeling this time that the unsteadiness of the camera was never before so perfectly integrated into the film, and with the grasses, plants etc. blowing in the wind. And I felt even more this time the impact of the cars (so to speak) whizzing by in the background of the last shot, the shift in direction panning over the rocks in a shot, and the continuity of pans from one shot to another seemed especially delicate and moving here. And now back to reality (or a lesser reality).

For some reason I thought I had seen #10 [Interactions 10: Paolo Uccello's Hunt] since I'd seen 11 and 12, though the title was unfamiliar. But I hadn't. So beautiful.... Good choice to show. Only saw it once but the ripples in the last shot keep rippling.

#11 [Interactions 11: Jardins des Plantes] may be my favorite so far. I don't know if I could ever write intelligent words about these films, but I loved how this one felt so much like a world in itself, an idealized world of nature, art and humanity, beautifully interconnected. The lengthy opening shot of the woman looking offscreen as people walk by drew me in and focused attention (I smiled at the pigeon going by in the foreground at the end of the next or second-to-next shot), and it felt right that the closing shot was of flowers, with people going by in the background out of focus. The single dolly shot (walking shot?) going past the people sitting on benches followed by the statue's foot had me smiling too). Loved the shot of the little girls swinging the boy around, followed by the mother's going over to them, and then the smiling head of the statue, before panning down. The horizontal pans of flowers, vertical pans of statues and steady static shots of passers-by had a hypnotic and somehow unifying effect.


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