Iv Amenti’s ‘silent film’ contemplates the juxtapositions of reality and dreams, foolishness and wisdom found in Ecclesiastes 5:3.
3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
Ecclesiastes is one of those books of the Bible that has lodged itself firmly into my psyche. It’s commentary about the boundaries of our humanity, within life and death, time and seasons, and what powers we possess to exist within them, resonates with me on various levels. This year it was particularly relevant because I turned 40, and not just 40, but 40 with a vengeance. If you haven’t crossed this bridge yet, let me tell you, there is something quite definitive about it. I found myself looking at the time that has passed, and the time I have left, you know? If I do the same 40 years I have already done on this earth, I will be brushing against my mortality, and that is an enlightening feeling. What have I done with my time? What will I do with what’s left? Ecclesiastes in its entirety, sobers my mind on what is possible. It takes pressure off as it eludes to the omnipotence of God’s plan and how we must simply show up, ready to work, in order to see the plan unfold. As a girl growing up I was most familiar with Ecclesiastes 3, that speaks specifically to everything having its season. All my life I have methodically gone about how to shape each of my seasons. Something in me has always desired the life of a late bloomer. I made personal choices to hold off on my career so I could grow roots with a family first. I also wanted to take time to get to discover what life looks like as a pioneer, charting my own path. Call me for coffee or tea so I can tell you about my experiences with college and jobs, and what it looks like to stand firm in my own dream to be an artist. Which brings me to my chosen Bible verse, Ecclesiastes 5:3 “ A dream comes when there are many cares, and speech marks the words of a fool.”
My project, A Silent Movie: in Poem and Stills, takes a look at a girl busy in her world of dreams, led by a poetic narrative that deconstructs her thoughts on Ecclesiastes 5:3. The project itself is a storyboard for a silent film, – “silent film” being used as a metaphor for the absence speech to communicate words. This was my play towards the reference of speech marking the words of a fool, which during this age of politics, and 24 hour access to social commentary has become our social norm. Interwoven between the images of the girl, (portrayed by me), is a poem which examines her personal relationship with her dreams, her intentions to manifest them, her desires to advocate for humanity through her work, and her words of encouragement for her fellow dreamer. Set in three parts, I sought to visually convey the dreamscape, while rooting my words firmly into the reality of our time. During the process I felt moments of a utopian writer synergized with the original author of this book. I imagined what it must have felt like to be feverishly endowed with spirit, and see a vision so wide as Ecclesiastes. I imagine that all of us that have a vision permeating our being such as the author, must share it. I appreciate the author’s wisdom in knowing that if we are fertile with a dream, so must we be in our willingness to make it happen. Often times, when we are in this place, there is very little time to brag or boast the process, there is only time to do, with brief moments of reflections and edits. This is my ode to such wisdom.
The storyboard is shot in the Bishop Arts District located in Dallas, Texas. I first saw this area in back 2015 where there was the most enchanting store with a really cool storefront that had all of these inspirational words and sayings painted on benches and mounted on its walls that beckoned any passerby to take a picture next to it. When I saw it, I knew I had to do a photoshoot there. Fast forward two years later and additional more open space art forms popped up around it, and so did this assignment! I operated as the director and co-photographer on this piece. The shots are not overly professional, but they are personal, and so is this story. As said in the film, I am a native dreamer, and now at 40, after proclaiming for myself that I have the right to be a late bloomer, I have decided that it is my time. I also accept the wisdom not only just of this passage, but of the entire book of Ecclesiastes, to know that as long as I show up, ready to work, that I will surely see the plan specifically designed for me unfold. Amen
Iv Amenti is a Creative Social Practitioner residing in the city of Dallas. As a professional dancer, storyteller, writer, actress, and vocalist, she partners with communities to create storytelling opportunities using her various artistic mediums. She prides herself in presenting the performing arts as a platform for social commentary and community engagement in a way that creates voice and identity for communities. She studied theater at the University of Texas at Arlington and is an AmeriCorps alumni who received intensive service training on how to enter into communities, administer asset mapping, and build on those assets in a way that empowers underserved neighborhoods. Through arts and service she has developed a sustainable practice in creative social engineering. Well known for thinking outside of the spectrum when it comes to designing and executing projects, her practice has extended into the likes of the TRANSLATION Project, TWU’ Lend Us Your Voice, BC Workshop’s Activating Vacancy, SMU’s Arts and Urbanism’s Complex Movements Cohort, Bricks and Bones performance Cohort, and St. Philips School and Community Center, to name a few. She is the sole creator of the annual !Felabration Dallas!, a music tribute celebrating the life of famed Nigerian Musician and Activist Fela Kuti. A 16 year veteran on the Community Arts Program roster of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs,2015 Cultural Vitality Award Recipient, and self-proclaimed master collaborator.