“As a filmmaker, a photographer and writer – indeed, as a person – I am riddled with doubt. On the one hand, doubt often leads to, at times, a paralysing lack of confidence and scepticism; on the other, it is the foundation of my faith and creativity. An inner drive, an inner calling, moves me uncertainly forward”.
In 2016, it was 25 years since Erik Knudsen’s first feature length film was publicly screened: One Day Tafo, Channel Four Television, 1991, UK. Doubt was always a big part of his creative and spiritual development and continues to play a big part in his his creative and spiritual search. Over the years he has learned to see it, recognise it, and embrace it.
Now seems an appropriate moment to pause and reflect on his creative journey. With this in mind, the Doubt Project – which in due course will also include a book – has been constructed out of recent photographs, his entire body of films and some reflexive writing related to this theme of doubt from the past 25 years of writing notebooks. He has created a new reflexive film out of his previous films. Some of the poems in the book have found their way into the narration of the film, as have some of the photographs. The structure of the film mirrors that of the narrative of the book. Out of this integrated recreation, Erik Knudsen has sought to create a new experiential narrative that seeks to evoke a transcendent relationship to the theme of doubt.
The history of philosophical and mystical thought is riddled with expressions of doubt. In the Judaeo Christian tradition, of course, the Bible is full of examples of expressions of doubt, from Job to Jeremiah to the Psalms. Such laments calling into the wilderness for signs and proof of God, for meaning and purpose in the midst of a cruel and unfair world are common in such laments, poetry and songs, but there are very few examples of audio visual works being used in this way. Doubt has been inspired by these laments; in particular Psalm 22 from the Bible, which has helped provide a tradition and structural bedrock from which to explore.
The Doubt Project – book and film – has paradoxical aims. First, by taking you through his own personal journey of doubt, Erik Knudsen aims to create a universally accessible mirror in which he hopes the viewer may see reflections of themselves and their own journey. Second, as he wrote in one of his notebooks:
‘To hell with them. To hell with them all. This work is a prayer to my God.”
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