This work is an audio-visual essay that explores the fragile balances of time and how we spend it. It was part of an exhibition where all displayed work originated in videos made in the 80’es and my essay includes clips from the film Proper Seasons, made by Justin Ascott in 1988.
Ascott’s work is a short docu-drama that follows Toby Harris, a philosopher vagabond and one of the last of a dying breed of gentleman tramps who shaved every day, dressed respectably, and traveled around the country seeking laboring jobs. I traced the concept of a philosopher vagabond to Diogenes, one of the founders of the Cynic philosophy around 300 BC. He lived on the periphery of society and used his simple lifestyle and behavior to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt or at least confused society, and he declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world.
Some of the ascetic and rhetorical ideas of Cynicism later surfaced in various forms within Christianity. Cynicism was first taught in Athens at the Cynosarges gymnasium – the place of the white dog.
The work for the video included research about the idea of family and the below Sylvian Family Portrait became part of the finished piece.
© Marianne Casmose