Pieces of me from Christina D on Vimeo.
Pieces of me was conceived thinking about multi-dimensionality and the idea that we energetically leave pieces of ourselves everywhere. This proposition is current in both quantum science and cosmology; as physicists grapple with our concept of time and the possibilities of a multi-dimensional reality. The exploration of our relationship to time and place and the creation of our personal narratives was foundational to this piece.
Pieces of me continued to pursue George Ella Lyon’s idea of ‘Where I’m From’ and took on board the expanded criteria to look at the idea through someone else’s eyes. I asked my daughter Kya to write a poem about where she’s from. What she wrote was a list of places and events that she identifies herself through. During the filming, we went back to some of those locations; back to Bondi where we lived till she was three; back to our first house that we left due to domestic violence and back to the city streets, before returning home to Bradbury (Campbelltown). The experience of temporal confusion was described as “weird” by my eleven-year-old daughter. Everything feels so familiar and yet a lifetime away.
The whole idea was born some time ago from the memories I have embedded around the city. While sitting on a train at Central Station, I looked out the window, in my mind’s eye could see myself walking hand in hand with my Poppy—chatting happily. The relationship between place and living memory is one that may transcend the grave as spoken about in the theory of cellular memory.
Technically I wanted the film to remain simple and lively. The film was about an eleven-year-old girl’s view of the world, so the vision was for the piece to be uncomplicated and clean and to communicate Kya authentically.
The entire film was shot on a Canon DSLR with an external directional Rhodes microphone. In the opening shots, the ocean was sped up to express the subject’s temporal relationship to place. The continuity of light within this piece was not important as it was not a linier storyline within the film—as with the tonality. It was meant to be a patchwork of places and people with the elements of continuity being the narrative, the image of Kya, the beatbox track within the soundbed and the films fluid treatment of time. The few shots that are not of the subject, make use of the Kuleshov effect to bring the meanings of freedom and connectivity to theme and place, to Kya’s spoken narrative.
I decided to use the ambient sound from the shoot throughout the majority of the sequence to bring the audience into the different spaces and add another aural dimension. My daughter has this oral fixation and always is making noises with her mouth. I translated that into the piece and recorded her beatboxing, which was layered within the mix. Voiceover narration was used over the entirety of the film apart from one break where Kya spoke direct to camera, this was just the choice to speak directly to the viewer, the real-time moment creates a moment of discontinuity.
The filmmaker Bernado Bertolucci has always influenced me in the way that he allows what is, to just be. He sees the details of life and then pays attention to them with the camera’s eye, such as the way someone’s hand falls when they are sleeping or the way people look at other people when they don’t know they are being watched. This intention made its way into my film. A lot of what made the cut was the accidental cutaways, such as crossing the road, or Kya watching the dancing at a community BBQ. It is the natural laughter, smiles, intrigue or loneliness that is interesting and beautiful to watch.