Unseen: The Lives of Looking (2015) 1h 30min · Documentary, Animation · 1 November 2015
Artist Dryden Goodwin's first feature-length essay film, focuses on four individuals with extraordinary relationships to looking: an international eye surgeon, a NASA planetary explorer, a leading human rights lawyer and the artist/filmmaker himself. Mixing Goodwin's closely observed drawings, live action and intricately woven soundtrack, the film explores different scales, forms and reasons for looking, in a poetic and metaphysically charged journey. Revealed through intimate access is the empathy and dexterity of the surgeon working with the fragility of the human eye; the quest of the planetary explorer to decipher the cosmos and find evidence of life on Mars; and the scrutiny of the British government, by the lawyer, in extraordinary rendition, drone attack and mass surveillance cases. Goodwin's looking and implicit presence links the lives of these probing observers, exposing a kinship between those who live by the sensory rules of observation, a desire to decode in pursuit of knowledge and insight. The film's perspectives range from the minute details of surgery to panoramic expanses of space. Vignettes of strangers and a brief focus on Goodwin's father and son, invite us to contemplate the known and the unknown, the personal and the remote. Exposing the imaginative leaps we take to reveal what might be concealed or out of sight, the film considers the physical act of looking and the tools we use to perceive the world around us and how these form our own identities.
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