Diaries, notes and sketches

Jonas Mekas, USA, 1969


Jonas Mekas filmed this while staying with friends in an isolated house, deep in the middle of a forest. He observed the journey from winter into spring: the melting of the snow, the greenery coming back to life. To testify to the change in season, using his little 16mm camera he captured a series of sensations, often quickly overlapping, one on top of another. Mekas used in camera editing to make this film, meaning that any editing other than starting and stopping of the film in the camera was not allowed. This means that the films that we see are those which came straight from his camera, unaffected by editing or any finessing. He had to think of each shot in relation to that which preceded and followed it in the roll of film, as he wasn’t able to alter it afterwards. This creative practice is very close to that of an impressionistic painter trying to render the physical sensation of the whole landscape before them, the season, the natural world, placing them one after the other on the canvas with thousands of tiny brush strokes. In certain shots in this sequence, Mekas evokes the sensations of children who stay in the warmth of the house, looking out on to the wintery scene beyond, through the windows.