Comfort Stations

16mm | 26 min | color & b/w | 2018

 

All this material was found. From what we can gather, it makes up some sort of psychological test. A couple, seemingly non-professionals, created the test. We don’t have their names, only their initials: B and K.

In a box we found two film cans and a folder. Inside film can A there was a roll of 16mm picture negative. Inside film can B there was a roll of 16mm sound negative. Inside the folder there was a typed text. Underneath the title, Comfort Stations, it is stated that it is the transcript of a sound recording. The original recording — if such a recording exists — was not in the box.

In a sleeve taped to the inside of film can A, there was an additional text, which appears to be a short description of the test.

Here is that text:

The technique is comprised of a set of images and sounds. They were carefully selected from a large pool drawn from very diverse sources. They depict events that, according to theory, activate the senses. They contain only sufficient detail to identify an event; all potentially biasing details are absent. 

The technique requires two participants. Each participant takes turns being the interviewer and the interviewee. Pausing the film is required (see attached questionnaire for detailed instructions).

Participants should open themselves to experience the events with all their senses. They should remain open after each event concludes and prepare for further events.

Now, your viewing manner like your body language and your handwriting tells a great deal about the kind of person you are and how you relate to others. Just as not all of us write the same way, not all of us observe the same way. Gestures often say more than words. Through these little differences our individuality reveals itself. By observing yourself carefully while you observe, you can decipher hidden communication.

While a lot depends, of course, on what is being shown, there are some typical kinds of viewing behavior. Before you begin, check the positions that apply to you most frequently:

sitting in a stiff and formal manner.

vivid movements of arms and facial expressions.

almost immersed.

hands over eyes.

hand over mouth.

Before viewing, ask yourself the following questions:

What is my image?

What is happening in my image?

Is there love in this image?

What is my desired objective?

Dreams. What do I want them to be?

Am I the person I really want to be?

Am I the way I am?

And most importantly, after your experience of the events has concluded (preferably between 24 and 72 hours after the experience), please ask yourself the following questions:

Did I do what I did?

The moment I did it, when I did what I did, didn’t I do what I thought I should do when I did what I did?

I didn’t know then what I know now, did I?

If I knew then what I know now, wouldn’t I have done something different than what I did when I did what I did?

Am I willing to forgive myself for not knowing what I didn’t know when I did what I did before I knew what I know now?

Feel free to participate, but please remember to treat these experiences with the caution they require. We assume no responsibility for psychological difficulties, traumas, or pains that may come from employing this technique.

The detailed questionnaire mentioned in the description above was not in the box. We assume that it can be surmised from the text in the recording transcript. We did create the title and credits at the end of the roll, so a correction is due: not all this material was found.

Recording transcript (PDF)

Screenings:

International Film Festival Rotterdam; Rotterdam, Netherlands 2018