Throughout life we see our environment and use this to follow our path. However, it is rare that we choose to pause and really see the world around us. Notice the small things. The detail. We presume to know a thing or feel that we have already grasped its entirety rather than spending the time to properly study its detail.
The eye can only see a tenth of the image it thinks it can see as it fills in the gaps. This is also the case with what we think we feel about a thing. We experience 10% in real time. The rest is all supposed from what we assume we feel.
“Have you ever looked at something and stopped yourself and walked back to it to examine it more closely? I remember seeing butterflies. I walked on a little but then returned. I returned to look at the detail. The cabinet that they were in with the glass hinge and ornate latch. The pins that were pushed through their torso and then into the dry card underneath. The pinned butterfly intrigues me as both beautiful and repulsive”.
James’s work draws the viewer in to examine the world from different points of view. Look at the mundane as if it were exotic. Look for the pedestrian in the wonderous. When in reality it suggests that everything is as unique and important as anything else. It just depends on whether the audience is receptive. Perhaps the act of creating a space where viewers are comfortable to stop and examine will engender the ability for people to allow this to happen more in their everyday life.
In Existence/Experience James looks at his immediate surroundings and by drawing out the process of experience and re-examining the subject matter from a differing angle, time or proximity he asks his audience to be engaged by their emotional reaction, enjoy the humour of the process of looking at the detail and finally to come away with a sense of having discovered something more about the way they feel about a particular aspect of the world.
It always has a connection to the emotional and the sensory. The detail is examined. Time is slowed down. Whether we like it or not we come away with a new feeling about a subject we thought held no new surprises. “Stepping into a bus is the same as playing the piano. You move. It moves. And vice versa. You do it in a certain way. You style your approach. It is not just any piano. It is not just any bus.”
The videography of James Drust Haslem combines a pedestrian viewpoint of human existence with a message regarding our shared emotional experience.
“Have you ever looked at something and stopped yourself and walked back to it to examine it more closely?”