I was at one of my favourite galleries a few days ago, which was exhibiting some of the works by Jonas Mekas. To be honest, I’ve never heard of the man before, but since this gallery had never failed me in the past, I went along. As usual, many of the exhibits were incomprehensible but a few of them spoke a million words and I am happy that I had this spur of the moment visit. I was inspired.
The setup of this small gallery was quite clever, as by the time I walked through a few rooms, I was fully prepped and relaxed about accepting his exceptional work, which I think is about how to capture reality. Jonas Mekas, a film maker and a poet, said “I don’t believe in memories. They are all reality.”
I felt I understood many of his joys and struggles. I am not as talented as him but I too work in a relatively under-defined industry. When you work with young visionaries and passionate entrepreneurs, it is sometimes difficult to be completely sure that I have no affection for the team and their ideas. I have to be rational and yet available for new ideas, even if it may seem like a horrible idea at start. I often ask the question, why did this person think that it is a good idea to develop this idea, quit their day jobs and dare ask for investment?
By the time I reached what seemed like the main installation of this exhibition, I realised that Jonas was very interested in capturing exactly how it was, through film. Often, our recognition of the scene is blurry and hard to define, but there is one message you keep form that moment. The main room had one of his latest films. His struggle to capture reality, his craftsmanship and failure was very evident. I walked out of that room with one phrase he used that had stuck in my mind;
“The question is, how to maintain the state of readiness and openness, and do daily work”
I realised how much I struggle with this question. This struggle brings me a lot of pain from time to time but most of the time, I enjoy this struggle. It seems like, from the theme of the exhibition, Jonas is a happy man. I suppose I can be too.