A Delirium Productions Film www.delirium-productions.co.uk
Artifice is a simple story. The narrative is one that doesn’t press any boundaries into unfamiliar territory. The struggles of the two characters could be considered somewhat common (at least in that bad shit happens to people; the particularities of course being unique). It’s the conceptual epicenter of Artifice where the film finds it unique placing. Framed around the nature/culture divide, Artifice explores the ways in which these often-touted disparate realms of life cross-contaminate each other. As the characters deal with the transformative event around which the story circles, they find themselves situated in locations that could fit nicely into either the category of the natural or the cultural.
Through the years of study that I’ve undertaken, I’ve begun to grow increasingly suspicious of such a divide. This is not to claim that speaking of nature or culture is in fact useless; on the contrary I think these terms do have practicality. Rather, my suspicions center around the idea that the world is divided so neatly into these two compartments… in fact, that the world is divided into any sort of dual compartmentalization (nature/culture, real/fake, material/immaterial, fact/fiction, etc.). This type of pre-fabricated packaging is often assumed to be the case by many in the West today. For instance, the natural is often thought to be a place of solace, of peace, of serenity; a place to connect with the divine; a way to escape the business of culture and all the stresses, dangers, and anxieties that inherently dwell there; nature is assumed to be that place where humans can re-connect with their origins, their foundational being; nature is that place of purity that exists untainted in-itself. Culture on the other hand is a profoundly human project; one that is created through will-power, inventiveness, intent, and manipulation of the material resources of nature. Pop psychology often warn of the dangers of allowing cultural pressures to wipe away our true being, our natural essence. We are encouraged to go camping, to drive through the hillside, to picnic, to take walks through natural reserves – all for the purpose of getting us back to right.
It is this notion of getting us back to the natural that I rebel against. There is an ethical intimation in such a decree, one that seeks justice for the human by freeing us from that which is ‘artificial.’ It is this moral campaign that I eschew. For there is no war between nature and culture, except for the one that has been fabricated by the historical development of Modern thought. This war is a diversion. It takes our attentions away from the potential power of Life that insists in all spaces and planes.
Artifice is a project that refuses to accept this war as necessary. The bright lights of the city, the endless supply of commercial retail options, the advanced technology that makes economic consumption easier/faster, the toys that entertain us – they are no more constructs than the waters of the rivers that separate the mountains; than the flora that provides nourishment for its fauna; or the wind that disrupts a film shoot. An ant hill and a skyscraper are both tremendous feats of construction, one no more natural than the other.
But this is merely subtext, inspiration for the film. There are no long academic treatises. There is no brow-beating of intense, deep philosophical ideals. The script steers clear from any and all pedantry. What is left is a very simple story:
One Couple. One Event. Two Reactions. Endless Possibilities.