Magnetism of Silences
a review of Suicide Note
by NaaLankai Ntonan
Using the magnetism of silences, Suicide Note imbibes the viewer into a narrative of the senses.
The velocity of shifting perspectives, the cacophony of sounds, piercing lights, and often the mundane orchestra of daily existence not only remove the boundary of spectacle and voyeur, but transform the piece into a shared lived experience as the viewers’ sensory receptors are swept and twirled through intense states of overload, isolation and association.
The organic nature of the film is such that chronology is broken. Time overlaps, interweaves itself through itself, mimicking the nature of memory, re-memory, trauma, recovery and the fractured maps of our mind – often built out of the ungraspable remnants of lived moments.
The absence of sterilization, amnesia and forced dislocation of death from life is the deeply enriching core that this film pivots on.
It circumfuses journeys and unspoken dialogues of agency, birth, rebirth, re-death, survival, acceptance, fearlessness and hope, all the while replacing archaic unbendable rigid perceptions of suicide. It seeks not classification, resolve or pathology, and exists outside of the repressive language that saturates such experiences.
The words ‘mental health’ don’t seem to summarize this breath-taking process of reclaiming lived experience, life narrative, sexuality, border-less fluidity, non-conforming mentality and self determined identity. Most predominantly felt is the filmmaker’s use of tools for recollection in a process of healing. As a psychiatric survivor still negotiating survival, it was empowering to see such reclamation of moments that are often deemed inappropriate, irreclaimable and subject to state sanctioned suppression, and reprogramming.
Through visual poetic of metaphor and associations, A K Prince orchestrates a vivid story through a manner in which images are arranged, clothes adorned, significant spaces escaped and returned to, and objects animated – from jigsaws to balloons and origami birds. Her poetics not only communicate this narrative but open a space where I too could map my historical experience of mentality through the very symmetry of process in these experiences alone.
A K Prince opens up the portal into an esoteric dimension of communication, interaction and understanding, which many of us have passed through or occupy. If anything, the silences in this piece are loud and brimming with metaphor and semantic codes.
The thread, which dances through this textured labyrinth of experience, is the poetic words sung to a fantastical bird of hope.
Throughout Suicide Note the veil of the intangible, imaginary, past and present is removed – leading to a more pluralistic encompassing understanding of this and parallel journeys.
The hushed lyrical utterances of hope remind us that it is in fact imagination, openness to the abstract and unknown, that may be our greatest asset for survival.
“You are the pure water of healing. Formless and fantastical. I dream a touch of your compassion, dear bird, with those salty droplets and soothing rain. Please gently put me to sleep.”