Aaron Katz’s film Quiet City is a lesson in seeing slowly, in making silence meaningful. Watching it is like reading Bashō for the first time; it puts me in touch with how I experience and interpret the world. Afterwards I feel fine-tuned, yet slightly off-balance, as if a wind has shifted direction slightly. Quiet City reminds me that it is possible to string together a series of small moments into something more.
This is how I make art, whether photographs, poems, blogs or book projects. Each project begins as a sort of journal, a series of small moments strung together, and over time tends to synthesize into a cohesive stream of work. I find this process of producing a series of small works over an extended period of time immensely rewarding. Thus watching Quiet City is an affirming, sometimes astonishing experience. I watch it when I want to remember how to remember.
“Those who first invented and then named the constellations were storytellers. Tracing an imaginary line between a cluster of stars gave them an image and an identity. The stars threaded on that line were like events threaded on a narrative. Imagining the constellations did not of course change the stars, nor did it change the black emptiness that surrounds them. What it changed was the way people read the night sky.”
— John Berger, from And our faces, my heart, brief as photos