(Michele Fleming, 1999, 30 min)
Life/Expectancy is the final 16mm film by Michele Fleming (1954-2013) before she moved onto working in other media.
“In Life/Expectancy I would use the movies as the repository for stories in fragmented form. After all, there had been… we had been told… ‘the death of the author.’ It was up to us now as ‘scripters’ to make meaning. The contemporary story would lack completion. That lack could even be considered a ‘normalized’ state of our historic moment. Stories would have beginnings… would have ends… but no developed middle. The piece is organized around ‘chapters’ or sequences that try to represent different types of storytelling. None of the approaches to storytelling explored here are successful.” – Michele Fleming
“Commonly we are fed the cliche, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ That may have been true in the past… when images weren’t so ubiquitous. But now, any walk through life sees dozens of examples of people taking photos or information racing by in pictorial form. Pictures have taken over. It isn’t pictures that are in trouble… we are awash in them… even pushed to a point of neutrality because of their abundance. The question now is about the words… the communication… the story… the articulate underpinning of thoughts. In short, how are we processing words… images… and the combination? Are we vigilant? Do we take the time to become careful readers? Do we listen? Meaning comes in multiples… are we quick enough… open enough to comprehend? Fearless enough to ask questions?”