Above: an excerpt from ‘The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes’
(WARNING: not for the squeamish – seriously)
Leg of Lamb recently attended the IMA’s screening of ‘The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes’. Made by Stan Brakhage in 1971, the half hour experimental film is comprised entirely of autopsy footage recorded in a Pittsburgh morgue. To say it’s not for the faint hearted is an understatement, so be careful watching this – you have been warned.
Despite the subtly toned film stock and oblique camera angles – in part utilised to protect the identities of the cadavers – the film is confronting. One scene involves the removal of a corpse’s brain. In so doing, romantic notions of imagination, memory, intellect – things we conceive of as infinite – are grounded in an inanimate mound of white flesh. To witness this is humbling. Brakhage’s film is a potent examination of mortality that, in all its gore, is curiously life affirming. We’re all meat, we’re all going to die – so enjoy it while it lasts.