Reality and Projections

© (Still from the movie ‘Under The Skin’)

Where was my mind? An absent friend, like the words you believe you have written but are not there. You walked into the cinema, entered the screening room, popcorn in hand, you sat down. Turned around, and the guy you had previously brushed past stares at you. You perceive that he was angry because you had walked past him. You sat down and saw the face of Donald Rumsfeld on the screen. Your mind deduced that this was a trailer. Then, you saw the credits rolling, and you imagined this to be an abstract short movie, one, just composed of the credits. Nowadays, before the main performance, they do have these shorts. Hence your assumption, you believed that this was a smart idea for a film.

The light comes on in the theatre, and the audience stands up and leave. Suddenly, it dawns on you that this was the end of a performance. The attendant enters the room with a broom in his hand. He approaches you and asks to see your ticket. You think to yourself that he looks Eastern European. Assumptions, based on the rather kind but sad furlong expression on his face. He looks like someone doing something out of need rather than desire or love. I have seen that expression many times before; the foreigner in London, away from home, out of necessity but not wanting to be here. Unhappy, because the reality of London is more complicated than they had perceived — my projections. He then proceeds to tell me in a very stern voice, you are invisible tone, that you should not do this again, and walks away. His accent validates my assumptions of his regional origins. I now feel like the invisible gorilla in the room.

After this, you sit in the theatre believing that there was a delay to the start of the film. Time goes by, and no one enters the room. It then dawns on you that something is not right. You decide to investigate and look at the electronic ticket on your mobile phone, which states, performance starts at 15:50. Why before this did I see 15:15? Still questioning what I had seen, I got up and began to walk out of the auditorium.

Moving along the corridor connecting the various screens, I come across two cinema attendants at the entrance/exit. I sheepishly approach them and apologise. I explained that I had made an error about the start time of the film. I am confronted with blank doubting expressions on their faces. There is no response from them: the, I could not give a fuck look, frozen on their faces. They make me feel that I have committed a criminal offence. I get the impression that they are unforgiving of my actions and believe that I had ulterior motives. (I later had to alter my interpretation of their behaviour, weeks later, the staff were on strike protesting at their low wages).

Subsequently, analysing events before and after the movie, I started to reflect on my actions. Did I just see the film through the perceived eyes of another? Were my interpretations based on how I imagined Matthew would have viewed the film? In my eagerness to validate his experiences did this blind me to the start-time of the performance? He was the one who had recommended the movie to me. F**k, I think to myself, I barely know the man. Am I trying to fill in the blanks based on how I believe that he would interpret the movie? It then dawns on me that during the film, I thought about the similarity between it and the exhibition we had seen together at the Barbican? The reasons for this conjecture was the hollow echoing coughing ambient sounds broadcast during the film was similar to those produced by the pendulums at the exhibition. The subject of the performance was the senses (sight, sound, ambient temperature, colour and scent). The film and the show both projected a cold sensation. They both had the same hypnotic effect on me.

In my review and synopsis of the film, I communicated to Matthew that this is an excellent film for someone interested in observing people. Later, it dawned on me that he had, during the exhibition, stated that he likes watching people: which I interpreted as him having an anthropological mind. Also, during the film, I was making abstract analogies between him and the film, his mind and body as an alien landscape to explore, unknown contours and unknown responses to experienced stimuli.

I ask myself, can one see with new eyes? Presented with an unfamiliar environment, one which is unknown to the mind. (Movie: Under the Skin)

Be a star, red in the sky, will colours have the same significance. What colours will connote safety and danger, if the landscape and vegetation I see before me are coloured purple?

Imagining vision, seeing in the ultraviolet, will my mind be overwhelmed. How will it adapt? Will it erase the real by projecting the known? My coloured vision, will the blind brain learn and adapt? I should be more objective and experience things for myself or let them be or evolve. Is it even possible for objects to be objectively observed? Objects, to exist outside the realms of perception.

Do I see Matthew through filtered vision? Am I creating this person rather than allowing them to develop in my mind? It is a delicate balancing act between brief observations and desires. To be honest, my image of him has yet to crystallise. Do I see a commonality in coincidences? Do I rely too much on the validation of others in defining myself? Should I be more spontaneous in my actions? Is reality what we seek to create? Like the (people) who do not listen. They come in with an expected answer and will not deviate from having this validated.

Life is complicated, so many possibilities and realities, infinite universes to inhabit. Is there a preordained reality, or does it blindly evolve? To learn from one’s mistakes, a path one should possibly avoid or adapt too. Even then, the outcomes can be unpredictable; there are so many unknowns and variables.

Do I think that he might find me a bore? Why do I desire to show him this text? What expectations do I hold, that from reading this text that he may like me? In the end, does it matter? It is, after all, a journey, one with no preordained path.

Interested in people, nature, science and technology, and history. MSc in Research Methods (Birkbeck), MA Industrial Design (UAL)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store