Of Joy

‘A Hundred Parts, A Hundred Faces’

A series of moving image works that draw from a personal archive of moving image and diary texts, vibrant moments from everyday life.
The titles and texts draw from the essays of Montaigne, one of the most influential writers of the 16th century, who tried to create an honest self-portrait including all the strengths, weaknesses, fears and joys of his daily life experiences.

Music by Liam Taylor-West
Sound Design by Mauricio D’Orey
Camera by Aristotelis Maragkos and Rebecca E Marshall.

Funded by New:Dots

VOICE OVER:

Of Joy

Rebecca Marshall, 38 years old.
Diarist from the age of 13 both written and filmed.

Looking backwards and looking forwards, like a detective digging for what feels like the important bits.

1993
Of Drunkeness and Joy.

I am talking about JOY here. Joy before death, joy of life, joy surging up in my throat, singing in my ears, hitting me in the face.

Dancing, drinking, shouting, grasping with friends in an addictive roaring lust for life because we all so badly want to feel the strength and vitality that this JOY brings.
Opening our hearts for each other, dressing up to give our best all out effort, not just for pulling, but towards fun, because you’re all so beautiful and fragile and terrifying and I love you.

And this IS IT, suddenly I feel REAL JOY because I’m surfing at the same speed as time, for one moment I’ve caught up, we’re all connected, and it’s truly tremendous.

Precious moments, before time speeds up again, leaving me behind and that crest of the wave glistening moonlight feeling is gone. It slides into wanting pain, slamming in bruises to stamp these alive alivo moments from the night onto my body.

The next day, blood blooms under my skin as visual memory of these dark drives. I’m lucky to even know this feeling. It shakes me up and reorders my priorities. I must look after myself. I make promises to be my best in simple ways. I try not to fall into a void. Be grateful. 3-4 days later, repeat.

And days and months and years pass.

2012
Time Passes

From the plane window I am filming and getting addicted to the small moments revealing themselves in front of me.

I was waiting at the airport for an hour because the plane was delayed and I was looking at everyone passing by. Loneliness has such a strange and desperate grip. All those strangers. A million stories so tough, searing, breathtaking.
I find it’s hard to live with people, and hard to be alone.

The more I look the more I see and I can’t even stop to eat. And I’m starving because of a hangover from partying at a student film festival where I joined in with the 20 year olds like I was again back in my student days, and forgetting how my hands are aging in front of me. Lately I keep noticing them because they are starting to look like my Mum’s, and I wonder when I’ll feel my age inside my head catch up with reality. Maybe never. My 92 year old gran says she still feels 60 even though she can hardly get off her chair now.

And I learn about the way the light is reflected along a river like a golden race, the small gleam appears like magic.

I think of my gran finding it harder to keep track of time, how today and yesterday and the day before get covered with a fog and then it’s the long distant memories that shine through at unexpected moments, and then vanish.

And when I look at landscape like this, no texture of humans, I can forget myself like falling in a dream where everything looks so vastly far away and beautiful.

2014
Gentle stages

The bath has a broken plug that I can’t fix. It just about holds the water enough to fill it up for a while.

I enjoy it hot and full, then its level perceptibly starts to sink, the surface tension starts to suck down on my skin, I have to wash in time before the water goes.

I know the water won’t last much longer; as its weight grows less it seems to slow down, I feel heavier and relax in the last of the shallow warmth.

I can’t force real happiness.
It seems to be a quiet, untouchable feeling I realise I’ve got just when it’s leaving. Recognise it in the middle and it slips towards ‘trying to maintain it’, to nostalgia, sadness or boredom.

I look other way, with careful awareness, shaping a space for it to survive like a fragile bud…. sometimes, sometimes I get a surprising out-of-the-blue wave of joy.



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