Instruction Book on Self

 2019 | HD color | 18:30


My body is in the fabric of the world, and its cohesion is that of a thing. But, because it moves itself and sees, it holds things in a circle around itself.  ― Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Three divergent narrators offer notions and variations of self. Each narrator faces the camera, speaking directly to an intended audience. Juxtaposed in split-screen with each of these figures is a second person, an introvert in thrall to a screen, publicly consuming unseen information from the web. Each section of the film, therefore, has an internal dialogue between someone reaching outward and someone retreating inward.

The first narrator is L. Ron Hubbard, who is filmed delivering a lecture in 1965 to a group of adherents of Scientology. Seen next (and then later) is a housewife diarist from YouTube who exhaustively examines the minutiae of daily life through her every inner thought. Third is a young man, speaking from a mental hospital in Denmark, who addresses the camera honestly and directly in an insightful discourse about his schizophrenia and the modalities and idiosyncrasies of his mind and self.

Self-absorption and attention are the primary themes, as the individuals are each seen holding the world closely, in a circle around themselves.