The Drowning Man

Horst Sarubin |

When asked to write about ‘the drowning man’ for the inaugural episode of Deletion, I immediately started to formulate my intellectual response. My mind went back to the key ideas from the thesis in which it originated. Phrases such as “Liquid Modernity” and  “Expanded Cinema” began to trickle back into my consciousness.  The heady voices of Bauman and Deleuze started to mumble incoherently in my ears, like they had travelled across the universe to communicate with me again as atoms lost in space.

But… I had not watched ‘the drowning man’ in over a year.

So, for the first time, without pressing deadlines, or the need for critical analysis or any cosmic fanfare, I donned my headphones, surfed to Vimeo, and gently pressed play.

Distraction abounded: I was at work and probably should have been ‘productive’. My partner phoned, and the outside window glared into or rather all over the computer screen, like a nuclear wash. All of the disruptions took place that I demand viewers avoid when coming to the video – who I wanted to be pure, existentially, phenomenologically free.

Despite this, the moment the first image-ripple appeared, emotions of the past returned to haunt me. The ghost of my past self, the Horst Sarubin of THEN, had possessed my NOW body. It was a surreal experience to be so aware of a different me, in a different time and place. I was strapped into a time-machine made out of fragments of me then/here/now/tomorrow.

When the video finished I sat quietly in the chair and sank back into the present. The brief journey I had just taken gave me the realization that sometime over the past year I had changed from creator to audience member.

I was the swimming man.

I am the drowning man.

Drown with me in the future.


Drowning Man from Horst Sarubin on Vimeo.

One thought on “The Drowning Man

  1. Horst Sarubin’s short film The Drowning Man immerses us in gleaming, shimmering spaces, where bodies float and cities rise and sink unanchored to the laws of the physical world. Sarubin’s reflection on his own work echoes with the science-fictionalisation of everyday life: the feeling of strangeness and strange pleasure of moving from then to now, from creator to audience, and from swimming to drowning.nn1

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