… going through that process of “untraining” was a key part of my life, and it did seem to help end the deadness …
This is from Adventures of Perception: Cinema as Exploration by Scott MacDonald (2009):
… Originally, [Clive] Holden had attempted to create something like a memorial of the murder [of a thirteen year old girl] and of his witnessing of it: he filmed “the split-levels, service stations, and the air raid siren over the old Gordon Head store” (Gordon Head is a suburb just to the north of Victoria, British Columbia), as well as his friend Andrew doing oil pastels of the crime scene; “I even lay on my side on the road where she died.” As Holden tells the story of the murder and its aftermath, and ruminates on his struggle to know how to feel about the girl’s death in a world where any young person is a “witness” to eighteen thousand television murders by age sixteen, we see the video of the original footage, presented by means of continual looping …
[ … ]
Holden: … I came out of my teens in the early eighties feeling like I was in shock. Part of this was just being a teenager, and some of it had to do with the Cold War: I was waiting for the world to end, suddenly, along with millions of other people at the time — today, it would be the war on terror or environmental catastrophe — but my biggest struggle then could be summed up by a need to wake up. When I was twenty-two, around when the girl was killed, I went cold turkey on all mass media; for years the only books I read were literary or mostly art-focused nonfiction. I never opened a mainstream magazine, didn’t watch TV; I even avoided looking at billboards. I’d internalized a collection of ludicrous ideas that I knew were ridiculous but that still had power over me, along with a lifetime of deadening and confusing images that made it harder to feel emotion when important things happened, like the girl’s death that day.
I think going through that process of “untraining” was a key part of my life, and it did seem to help end the deadness I’d been feeling, just as in “18,000 Dead” my carrying the blanket outside to the motorcycle accident victim was a turning point that “broke the spell.”
Holden: Yes, That, and looking into the dead man’s eyes, looking right at the situation.
[ … ]
MacDonald: Not very seriously.
Holden: Well, for me, part of the fun of Super-8mm is discovering the little chemical anomalies that happen whenever you pull the trigger or let the trigger go, and the happy accidents that happen in the darkroom or the semipro lab. Like that “transparent woman” who crosses the road where the girl was shot. The most interesting parts of the taped footage I used in “18,000 Dead” were these little explosions, errors, or chemical blemishes, which I looped.
Holden: Exactly. Part of what was remarkable about seeing this tape so many years after the fact is that its washed-out, watercolor-like hues and these violent flaws seemed to echo my memories of that time.