Before and Immense Sky is a deeply personal experimental film about marriage, sight, sound, and the boundless distance between people. There will be an audio description of the film made and distributed to blind and visually impaired audience members, while sighted audience members will experience the film without sound. Meg Jamieson wants to cultivate the visually impaired community in the art world, highlight the work of Audio Reader, and underscore the tenuous relationship between image and sound, as a parallel to the near/distance of marriage.
When Meg married, it was to a quote by Rilke from the prophetically named On Love and Other Difficulties:
“A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”
Meg finds this to be a beautiful and wind-blown idea, one that skates through her mind in conflict, or in loneliness. She says:
‘Before an Immense Sky will be made from images on 16mm film, already filmed over the course of a decade, in place after place, before and after children, sometimes looking at my husband, sometimes him walking away. The beautiful and difficult reality of the immense sky between us and around us, feels perfectly reflected in the connection and disjunction of audio description, where the words touch and float to the image, are entirely subjective and perfectly accurate.’
Meg intends this film to engage with the blind and visually impaired community in Lawrence, in Kansas City, and beyond, through festivals and installations.
The initial screening will be held at Audio Reader, and the sighted community will be able to see but not hear the film. The visually impaired audience will be able to hear the audio description, but will not see the film (except as they are partially sighted). The visually impaired audience members will have an audio playback—though their own device or one they are given.
As Meg edits her footage she will work with the audio descriptor in a collaborative manner to capture an interpretation that is at once completely subjective and completely accurate.
Meg is delighted to work with Audio Reader, feeling that the services they provide are incredibly impactful in the local community, and is excited about the way the film fits her vision of the complexity and beauty of marriage, of adjoining solitudes; one person sees while another one hears, right next to one another, all unknowing.
Meg Jamieson has been a filmmaker, writer and professor for a decade. Her personal films – a poetic blend of document and experiment – have played at museums and festivals around the world, and her film work with community groups as disparate as the Ada tribe in Ghana to the Haudenosaunee of the Northeast United States, have been used to give voice to histories that run parallel to the dominate narrative. She is interested in the intersection of experience and memory, and finds the film medium perfect for this exploration.