This special programme opens with an audio letter to Tate’s audience that Baillie recorded in late October 2016. Recounting his time in London in the mid-1950s, Baillie describes the friends that he met during his studies at the London Film School and their weekend outings, intermittently pausing to sing the melodies coming through the radio.
The audio letter is followed by a screening of Baillie’s three-part work-in-progress Memoirs of an Angel (Remembering Life), the artist’s final film. Weaving together footage from World War II films and newsreels and shots filmed inside Baillie’s home, aboard a ship, inside a fighter plane and in the Cavite province of the Philippines, the film is a very personal collage of Baillie’s lifetime memories, ranging from childhood summer vacations, to college and his time in the US Navy, and moving toward the present in the film’s last chapter.
Bruce Baillie, ‘London Film School ‘56/57’, USA 2016, audio cassette recording transferred to digital, 30 min
‘[N]otes re my London exper., the London Film School, Brixton, later 50s.’
Bruce Baillie, Memoirs of an Angel (Remembering Life), USA 1999–present, digital, colour, sound, work-in-progress, 31 min
Part I: Salute
Part III: Light, excerpt
‘And the remnants of the world were renewed by children, and it was called Paradise’
Ezra Pound, Cantos III
‘In the night, with none but the Light that burns in my heart … ’
St John of The Cross
Introduction of the element of illusion (masquerade). Imagery of war – documentary, the movies, and the author recording himself, self-consciously in uniform! One cannot here avoid an implicit reference to the Bhagavadgita; the warrior, Arjuna and Lord Krishna in Dharma combat on the battle field, as metaphor for the human dilemma in confrontation with the world of time/space, illusion of opposites, attachment to the merely transcient, etc … Memory and memoir commes toutes les choses, Gautama Buddha’s ‘ten-thousand things’. Angel of the mind, essential memory, Mind of mind prior to all sentiency, Truth abiding in fiction, the necessity of language, The Word, and so on.
Bruce Baillie/M. Joyeux