For me, being ‘creative’ is an essential counterpoint to activism. In one sense – making videos – that’s a means to communicate complex ideas ideas. But we can’t always look at the world ‘in prose’ because not all of our daily reality can be reduced to rational concepts. It’s also necessary to experience the world ‘as poetry’ – such as music or images of the natural world (the other, counter-factual feature of my work) – in order to fully understand it.
I began producing videos in the mid-1980s, but around 2000 I stopped for a number of reasons. I rediscovered the ‘visual language’ of making short films in 2017 after finding that changing trends – especially the growth of social media – were making it difficult to communicate current events to a mass audience. Since then I’ve also rediscovered my musical creativity too (largely abandoned when I first started full-time work in the mid-80s) and so increasingly I’m framing my video works around my own musical compositions.
I suppose the most important thing to note about my visual work is that it depicts the world ‘as I see it’. For that reason the things shown are not ‘mainstream’, because for years I’ve striven to live a life which expresses the principles I support rather than compromise with the world ‘as it is’.
This means that sandwiched between a review of a significant historic political work, or a video on the latest data on energy and the environment, there will be a video of a walk out into the countryside near my home town. And of late, some those videos have included more of my own musical compositions.
Of course, this doesn’t always work well with the audiences’ expectations of what they want to see. According to the etiquette of YouTube, I should be running multiple channels, each featuring just one aspect of my work. I cannot do that: For me, they are all inter-related; they are all as important as each other; and, one cannot exist in isolation from the other. For that reason I seem to get a surprising number of ‘unsubscribes’ when I post radically different types of content, but such is life. To be honest, I want people to see why these different types of content represent the same thing, and if ‘unsubscribes’ are the price of that, well so-be-it.
As Jung said:
"We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Therefore, the judgement of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy."
Carl Jung, ‘Psychological Types’ (1921)
If we are to expose that, then we have to engage with people’s ‘feelings’; we have to show the world not just as a collection of abstract, valueless facts, but as a collections of perceptions and mysteries, and the doubts and uncertainties which flow from many people’s lack of expectation for ‘change’. That, in visual images, music, and words, is what I hope to convey with my video and musical works.