What happens inside our homes, in the domestic environment, is something that truly fascinates me, particularly when considering how that intimate environment can be brought into the public sphere, with integrity and respect. In the first months of Nihilsentimentalgia that was pretty obvious. I shared artwork by Esko Manniko, Holly Lynton, Tina Barney, Melissa Ann Pinney and many other authors, particularly women who are interested in questioning that screen, a window that points to the distance between the public and the private spheres. 

I’ve learned that when a reference keeps recurring is probably because I need to dig deeper, because whatever interests me in that reference is yet to be fully understood. Sometimes I ask students for help in resolving that conundrum, without them being aware of it. Somehow, by letting them discuss their perspectives on thesubject, I end up realizing what was still to be understood.

Recently I went back to that exercise because of a documentary: Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel. A lot of things intrigue me in the way I respond to such a work. For instances: why would I adore this movie if I couldn’t care less about extreme sports? And why do I always have such a sad cry about it?

I’ve now seen the documentary more than a dozen times and can say that what grabs me every time is the way love is expressed throughout the movie. One student said the movie revolved around affections and I guess the fact that the entire movie revolves around the cycle of life accentuates how much power those affections have: friendly love, familial love, romantic love, love for nature, love for extreme sensations, love for snowboard, love for pleasure, love for the feeling of being alive..

It seems easy enough to understand that what’s memorable about this movie is rooted on such relations, but there’s something else. I always felt that the punctum was located in a different place and with the student’s help I came to realize that what ties me to this movie is that Kevin’s struggle, after his traumatic injury, is very much about finding authenticity. That search is not romantic, but is full of hope. One of the things that is almost hard to watch is how this young boy, full of dreams and joy, struggles to accept that his potential needs reinventing. It needs to be relocated in order for him to have another chance at an authentic life. As he admits, at some point in his healing journey, the struggle for an authentic life is adrenaline enough.

 

Note: In June a decade will have passed since I first started Nihilsentimentalgia, so for the next few months I will be revisiting some of my early posts, which were very poorly done.

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