When I first began this
work, I was reading a lot of myths. I had, and probably still have, the
possibly naive assumption that these legends and myths might function
as kind of primal stories, from which all contemporary movies, TV
sit-coms and novels emerge. It is the oldest story known to us, the
Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, and it struck a resonant chord in me. This
tale is sexy, action-packed, mysterious, gentle, brutal and spiritual.
It speaks of, among other things, relationships between nature and
culture, people and civilization versus animals and nature and about
immortality and death. The old story dealt with many of these themes
simultaneously in a way that seems very contemporary, in a way that has
a lot of relevance to a lot of things that we’re thinking about now.
Many of these concerns
came again to the surface and were widely discussed during the
Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America. It seems to me that
this was a period when most of the ideas that we live with now, most of
the concepts and feelings we think are so "modern" -- like nature being
beautiful and cities being ugly, like the assumption that God is a part
of Nature, and Man not being a part of that Nature -- once again became
common currency. Our ideas about the concept of progress, about work,
machines, sex, love and the spirit were largely generated during the
advent of machine culture. It’s strange to see that we believe most of
the same things now, even though this industrial culture is on it’s way
out. It’s even to the point of being preserved in museums.