Meanwhile, the benefit of snails.

Meanwhile, away from the madness of this rapid filmmaking malarky, another project (that has taken two years to complete) is drawing to a close. After the high drama of making ‘The Ballad of Des & Mo’ in Melbourne, I wanted to make something on a smaller scale and at a slower pace. I was inspired to papier-mâché bank overdraft letters into snails and leave them for people to discover and travel with. You can see some of the pictures here.

To accompany this art experiment I made a film which is almost finished and will be screened at Stoke Your Fires in March. I recorded music for the film’s soundtrack, which can be heard here. I also wrote my first book. It’s about the complex themes of love, life and creativity, all told through the analogy of a snail. It sounds really pretentious but in reality it is quite light. If this sounds of interest, you can get a copy here.

Crushing snails

Deciding to watch snails was a deliberate kick against the 72 Project and all the work that goes into making it happen so quickly. So to some extent it was a soul-searching experience. But it was also a chance to try new things that I had never done in filmmaking before, like working without a script and writing musical scores. I retuned my guitar so that the ten years of chord patterns that my fingers would naturally reach for meant nothing. I deliberately tried to challenge myself in lots of different ways in order to work out what things I really need to be creative, and what things I just think I need, but actually don’t.

Crushing Snails

Why did it take so long? Because I think it takes a long time to unlearn, to question the things that your brain has picked up along the way. Why do I think you even need to do this? Well, maybe you don’t. If you are sitting in a place where everything seems okay, this project is probably a waste of space for you. However, like the 72, I believe the Crushing Snails project worked as a provocation, a way of questioning how things could work if we did things differently (e.g; if we placed different values on things, and if that value wasn’t measured in money).

I won’t go into much more about it here, other than to point out that it exists and that it compliments the 72 in many ways, so it may be of interest to some of you!

James

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