French philosopher Henri Bergson argued that we must allow space for free will to unfold in an autonomous and unpredictable fashion. Bergson’s theory was in direct opposition to Kant who saw free will as something beyond time and space and therefore ultimately a matter of faith. Criticizing Kant’s theory of knowledge exposed in the Critique of Pure Reason and his conception of truth — which he compares to Plato’s conception of truth as its symmetrical inversion (order of nature/order of thought) — Bergson attempted to redefine the relations between science and metaphysics, intelligence and intuition, and insisted on the necessity of increasing thought’s possibility through the use of intuition, which, according to him, alone approached a knowledge of the absolute and of real life, understood as pure Duration. Throughout his life, Bergson attempted to redefine the modern conceptions of time, space, and causality in his concept of Duration, making room for a tangible marriage of free will with causality. Seeing Duration as a fluid concept, Bergson argued that one cannot understand Duration through “immobile” analysis, but maintained that this can only take place through experiential, first-person intuition. Bergson argued, Duration is unextended yet heterogeneous, and so its parts cannot be juxtaposed as a succession of distinct parts, with one causing the other. Based on this he concluded that determinism is an impossibility and free will pure mobility, which is what Bergson identified as being the Duration.
Inspired by Bergsonianism, my visual work has always embraced this coincidental space between desire and happenstance. “Drive-by shootings” is a term I made up years ago while filming in Mexico throughout the night in various red-districts with my students from the university as the automobile served a safe venue for shooting subjects whose identities we were obliged to protect and whose movements were nonetheless recorded. Drive-by shootings is term I like to re-appropriate because it captures much of the type of shooting I do in cinema and more recently this has passed on to my laten photographic practices–both of the 6×6 camera and my iPhone. Much of what I shoot comes from coincidences and often I am only pulling out my camera or iPhone when the object of my inquiry has left or I have zipped past it. Time and matter are constructions that reveal in the present some of our individual and cultural desires to repeat the past. Or as Bergson writes, “The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.”