‘Metaphysician’ is a poem by Gregory Leadbetter from his collection Maskwork.
The mask that is referred to in the title of the collection acts as a way of becoming, seeing, and knowing – granting access to other worlds hidden within and beyond ourselves. I knew that I wanted to create a Metaphysician’s cave or workshop, rich with colour and many objects. I imagined that a tree in my garden might be that other place – the entrance to the Metaphysician’s workshop.
The tree was filmed from various angles and became, on the timeline, rows of shelves for the metaphysician’s many treasured objects: a trumpet, doll-heads, jars and bottles, astrological symbols for Chiron and Venus, magical sigils and Hermetic figures – and the Metaphysician’s most favoured possession: an antique globe. These things needed to be incorporated at the right point. Something in the wrong place would break the spell of the viewers involvement, even trivialise their experience, or take them away from the place I wanted them to be. And so, in this mythical place, as the film pans the shelves, the viewer sees the objects sometimes incorporated at their mention or to subliminally refer back to earlier lines, and sometimes acting as a counterpoint to amplify the imagery in the poem. Their presence subtle at all times. At one point an ibis can just be seen emerging from the branches.