Featured Artist #11: Enid Baxter Blader

Enid Baxter Blader

The Secret Apocalyptic Love Diaries

 

 

Enid Baxter Blader has created a romantic and obsessive love sonnet that is equal parts beauty and terror. "The Secret Apocalyptic Love Diaries" is a landscape on the edge. Rain drenches the already saturated ground. Smoke rises mysteriously from the earth. Dark clouds fill the sky and lightening strikes somewhere just over the distant horizon. This is a place on the verge of being washed away.

We asked Enid to answer a few questions about inspiration and apocalypse.


What is your working definition of the word 'apocalypse'? And what is 'apocalyptic media', which you have written about?

Apocalyptic: Ending of the Familiar. Beginning of something new. End of time (as we know it). Holistic change, lifting of a veil, new vision. I write about the strains of apocalyptic belief distinctive to American culture. We were founded as the “City on the Hill” – an Apocalyptic society. We continue to treasure the sublime, live on the brink and long for the End.

During the Great Awakening, preacher Jonathan Edwards, scanned daily events for signs of the Apocalypse. Edward’s most obscure work is a diary in which he recorded scraps of information culled from the news, that he felt were signs that the end was near. He never explained why he chose the events he did, so it reads like a collage.

Our contemporary anxieties about apocalypse center on the weather and climate change. My film, Secret Apocalyptic Love Diaries, uses the weather as a metaphor for the apocalyptic anxieties in the relationships in the film.

You paint, play music, and have even written an experimental novel called Burning Town Down. Why create The Secret Apocalyptic Love Diaries as a video, rather than using some other medium?

For me making video is weaving music, writing, and images. This project needed to be about a temporal tension – the tension of the linear. The tension is in the medium: disintegrating analogue video.

Can you explain the origins of the contraption you call your Frankenstein camera, and talk about why this was your inscription technology of choice for SALD?

Frankenstein Camera is a fragmented camera, made from parts of old TV cameras . It is an ultimate analog device that doesn’t capture video. I use a digital device to record the ephemeral images that F.C. produces. The images are in decay, light burns trails and traces into the frame that become part of the image.

After making two films that required large production crews, I wanted to return to a completely DIY mode of production. This camera was part of a production that was completely mine: writing, score, editing, everything.

What inspired SALD? What inspires you in general? Is 'inspiration' the right word?

Wow: what does ‘inspiration’ mean? I went to Wikipedia and today they say it means: “sudden creativity in artistic production.” I hope artistic production is always creative! I guess it can also be calculated or uninspired. I have The Virus. I can’t help but be working on something and I go a little crazy when I don’t get to make stuff. I think about places, hidden histories, love and longing, connection and community, rural apocalyptic and the loss of self. SALD was inspired by grief that frames new love and a lakebed full of snow.

When you were making SALD were you laughing or crying? What would you hope to elicit from an audience?

I was sad and hopeful. I want the audience to experience being in the presence of prophecy, time isintegrating as memory clouds the present and tells the future.

A list of the 9 most important objects in your workspace.

Since my baby, Olive, was born in July, this list has changed!

1. Books case full of books (their spines are relaxing to look at
2. Baby toy that is actually a kitchen tool
3. Dog snoozing rug
4. Editing system
5. Guitar
6. highchair
7. Microphone
8. Little bits of paper with notes and images on them in piles that only make sense to me.
9. Magic markers

This project is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council

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  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.