First Aid to the Injured
1999, 20:00 minutes, B&W, English
Shot entirely with a Fisher-Price PXL2000 (a long since discontinued children’s toy) First Aid to the Injured is, at its core, a demonstration of the essential structural elements of the conventional cinema: the balanced pattern of stress and release that leads the viewer over a terrain of visual and aural information, and synthetic occurrences — judgments of one sort or the other, generally designed for eventual acceptance by the viewer, which will in turn work towards the emotional and intellectual effect upon that viewer at the end of his or her experience of a given motion picture. This complex patterning of cinematic material is commonly understood to be a film’s narrative plot or its documentary thesis.
The assertion of First Aid to the Injured is that plot or thesis are in fact subservient to another, higher form of cinematic arrangement — an arrangement precipitated by its most important physical characteristic: the organized movement through time. The extraction of lasting meaning from a motion picture, the experience of which spins from an initial temporal point, develops, and comes finally to a close, mirrors our desire to wrestle meaning from our own temporally confined existence. Cinema does not mimic life by what it shows us. It mimics life by how it is — by how it occupies time.
In First Aid to the Injured, with its ghostly images of the quotidian and its moaning soundtrack of live feedback between the camera’s microphone and the monitor’s speaker, the melancholy relationship between us and our as of yet most perfect art form is realized.
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