Human: a Composition
A note from the director, Jay Scantling, on this series
I am fortunate as an artist to have the ability to dream lucidly, or be conscious of the fact that I am dreaming while it is happening. This allows me to actively create while I am dreaming, consciously directing characters and storyline. When I awaken I translate these stories into episodic videos that play out as a continuous dream, where the dreamer shifts between characters on a journey toward self-knowledge and the struggle for a whole, autonomous and integrated “self.”
Drawing on a variety of influences from collage and animation to superhero comics, my videos show you a dream world that is dark, yet silly and whimsical. A child’s toy castle becomes a psychological labyrinth of rooms symbolic of the inner defenses of the mind, overseen on surveillance monitors by one of the characters, a playfully maniacal Grand Director with a quirky sense of humor, who narrates and controls the actions of the dreamworld’s inhabitants. These inhabitants, are in fact, all pieces of me, some created by myself as guardians to protect me (like the patchwork Frankenstein Knifewing), others created to interact with the world outside my head (like the extraverted, perfect Princess), and still others for entertainment when I cannot interact with that world (like the raven-clad trickster, Silas). In my videos I inhabit their characters as they inhabit me.
Because I play all of the characters, except those who wear masks, the costumes and props I create for each character become like a mask, just like the social masks that we all wear when dealing with the world. In waking life, sometimes we forget that these are masks, just as in sleep, the dreamer sometimes forgets they are dreaming.