ARE YOU THERE?
Absence epilepsy takes place at the confines of consciousness. Is it just a disorder, or could it also be a door to an expanded consciousness?
When director Maartje Nevejan was a child she had absence epilepsy seizures, short moments of not being there.To experience other versions of reality and dimensions, at an age where you only have a limited amount of words to communicate, brings you in a very lonely place. It is scary and fascinating at the same time.When her son was also diagnosed with absence epilepsy, when he was 4 years old, they invented a game where they would find images in the outer world that would give them the “absence experience”.
This game was the base of this film. A film Nevejan was afraid of making for the medical science describes it for centuries as a condition without consciousness, a short cut in the brain, a nothingness.
Her fear disappeared when she connected with children and young people with absences today, because they all had the same fear of experiencing something very powerful, while people around them only see that’ they are not there.’
Nevejan connected the kids with artists and together in co- creation they shaped the worlds where the kids went to when they were not there. For the first time they told their secret stories ,doctors and parents were not aware of.
In the film Nevejan goes on a journey with four young adults, two boys and two girls, who were part of the art project. They encounter neurologists, scientists and artists, wild wolves, black holes, Kapoor Black and technological machines: their helpers in this phenomenological quest. How do our experience feel, taste, sound and smell like? How do these inner images occur? Are they real? can we find a language to talk about it? Could these holes in our lives turn into portals towards new knowledge?
This mysterious non-being, on the bottom of our existence can give us, just as a dark night full of stars, a feeling of belonging and also create a huge fear in us.