S E N S E S O F L I F E
digital video, 22 minutes, 2002
Homeless Woman, Artist, Marek Prchal, Little Joe Washington, Ray St. John,
Artist, Man in the Subway, Marta Richterova, Michaela Srbova and others
translation: Anna Bryson, sound: Marketa Bankova and Milan Gustar,
music, camera, editing, direction: Marketa Bankova
Senses of Life is a digital video documenting several people from various backgrounds.
We glance into their lives and find out about their desires, while listening to their
endless monologues. The initial documentary flavour of the video gradually changes. The
shots become shorter and the statements coming from this small group of individuals start
to follow each other in quick succession. The sequences are reduced to short sentences,
of which finally only fragments remain. Put next to each other, the contrasting fragments
invite us to make comparisons. Although the video is without commentary, the alternating
statements are a commentary in itself.
What are these people talking about? A homeless women sitting on a park bench has a great
worry. The two dogs who are her companions refuse to eat from their porringer in the way she expects
them to: “If I give the young one more and the old one less, still the old one will eat the young
one’s food,” she complains. A young intellectual opens James Joyce´s Odyssey. “I am spending the
whole day at my work and when I come home, I try to read,” he explains in front of the camera.
Most statements are filmed with the intention to make certain viewers laugh at some of the
displayed banalities. These people eventually
are all striving for the same thing - happiness (even though they all try to attain it in different manners).
The similarity between the individual sentences and their continuous chorus-like repetition leads the viewer to
experience their rhythm rather than their content. The tenor of the video shifts from a classic documentary to
something that much more resembles a musical piece.