In 2017 I had the idea of another short film that had to be shot in Budapest, where I was born. Literally. Filmed on the balcony of the apartment where I was born. Well, I wasn’t born on the balcony, but there was a small swing I used from the moment I could sit. I sold the apartment in 2017, and before handing it over I wanted to go back and hang the swing where it had been when I was a child, place the camera on it and push. Me performing as my mother, as she had done exactly the same forty years before with me. This way, I thought, when I watch the film through the VR headset, sitting on a swing in my studio in London, I could transport myself back to that early experience and would be able to connect to that phase of my childhood, this time in the role of my own mother. A little tweak of the past, a memory reconsolidation.
Memory reconsolidation is “the brain’s natural, neural process that can produce transformational change: the full, permanent elimination of an acquired behavior or emotional response. It is the brain’s innate process for fundamentally revising an existing learning and the acquired behavioral responses and/or state of mind maintained by that learning. (Ecker, 2015)” https://www.thescienceofpsychotherapy.com/glossary/memory-reconsolidation/
As I couldn’t bring Surroundvision to Budapest, I had to invest in the recording equipment and learn how to use it. I intended to record the scene in snow. I had been waiting the entire winter for the snow, but it was that rare year, maybe the first one ever in Budapest, without a single flake. I thought ok, then I will shoot it in the sunshine in the spring, shortly before the hand over. I arranged my journey for April. A week before travelling the weather forecast said ‘rainy and cloudy’… I gave up on my plans regarding the weather for the scene. The balcony is on the first floor, but the building is on a hillside, high enough to see the entire valley and a great chunk of the city below. Will my memories be reconsolidated to this gloomy weather?
I arrived in Budapest at night and went to straight the apartment. Next morning when I woke up and looked out the window, I saw a white blanket of snow covering the surrounding hills, trees and houses, still falling in large chunks. Hungary has never seen this much snow in April. It was surreal. I jumped out the bed, set up the camera and shot the scene a few times, experimenting with different ways to place myself in relation to the swing, until my bare feet got frozen to the concrete. By the end, the snow stopped falling, and it turned into rain. I thought I make another few shots, it looked quite like autumn with this sad weather, now that the snow melted. I took another few recordings over the next two hours. By the end of the day the weather had cleared up, and it started to look as it really was, April, with fluffy clouds swimming by, some sun, everything green. I made another few recordings, the last few in bright sunny weather. At the end of the day, I had the entire four season recorded on the balcony to reconsolidate. Talk about synchronicities!