in focus: Emily Jacir, letter to a friend
i was going to write, about this film, i had made notes recalling features of it and of the context in which i watched it and the confluences between these things and current events in my own life and in the life of the wider world, the notes contained characteristics akin to those i usually inhabit in my writing, a scattered mapping of details and tangential relations that were entirely subjective but held some light to the film, maybe, but I am struggling to bring them together now, because time has passed since my watching and my note writing and events have occurred and now my thoughts are differently occupied, my thoughts have been invaded, i am having invasive thoughts almost constantly,
it does not help that at the time of watching i did not make any notes, and at that time i took this to be a good thing because my attention was so attuned to the film itself that i did not write, you see it was the last day of the film festival and i had been busy and did not even realise the festival was on until it was too late at which point i watched some of the films at work giving neither my work nor the films my full attention, and my work is freelance and i am too honest so i docked two hours off my invoice for that week then went home and watched films all night, up until midnight, where Emily Jacir’s ‘letter to a friend’ was the last film i watched before the festival was over, and while matters of attention usually diminish over time, become strained or fatigued, i managed to give this film more of my attention than i had given anything else,
in an accompanying conversation between the artist and a writer, Yasmine Seale, this film is described as ‘forensic’, which we could take to mean, having qualities akin to the meticulous and rigorous attentions applied to criminal matters and investigations, and she, Jacir, does say this is a document for an investigation, one not yet instigated as the crime is ongoing, and we see it in the film, and i see it on my phone on social media and in news updates i am receiving this week more than any other, and yet i am so occupied that i can’t give these crimes my attention, and while at one point i thought i could write something urgent and political now i think i can barely write at all, and when she says that this is a letter to a friend my response is that i have too many friends that i have not reached out to for far too long,
rigorously she combs through the fields of her life, not wanting to miss a crack in the stone or a dip in the paving that bears the accumulated footsteps of her family, neighbors, and friends, meticulously she weaves in maps and images highlighted in red as to focus our attention on particular zones, that red that is always drawn across maps, precision wounds in the grey cartography, maps like the ones i fixated on as a student, so cooly occupied with the spatial qualities of thought, topologies of being, while now i am only occupied with the hard limits of space and the blunt end of capacity, how land can conceal and thought can be full, and how appearing ‘unfocused’ is most likely a marker of its opposite,
in-fortuitously I wanted to write about focus while struck by the inability to focus, I wanted to write about how it is an irregular state, an alien in the innately diffuse, multiple and spooling texture of the world, a deliniatory mode called upon in times of need, i wanted to speak its contradictions, its luxuriousness amid a clamouring everything else, to write about precious images, home, memory, and the desperate forensics of loss, but my mind is stuck elsewhere, trapped in its own cycle of details, I should have written, I am sorry,


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