Mitch Gould

This Beginning of Me (still image from rough animation tests)
Hybrid 3D, 2D animation
6 minutes
2010
Artists' Television Access
992 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
June 8, 2010
7pm

Video Program:

Elliot Anderson, Unsanitized
Sarolta Jane Cump, California is an Island
Bill Domonkos, Poppy
Bug Davidson, Screen Tests
Dino Dinco, El Abuelo
Mitch Gould, This Beginning of Me
Bill Hsu, Glories, performance trailer
Charissa King-O'brien, Riva and Allison
Peter Max Lawrence, Queer in Kansas
B. Steady and the Lost Bois, Reading Rainbow
ZA Martonhardjono, Five Haikus for the New York City Subway
Jules Shendelman, Bathhouse Poetics

Work in Exhibition:

This Beginning of Me, rough animation tests
Hybrid 3D, 2D animation
6 minutes
2010
(Video screening at ATA and on video loop at SOMArts)

This Beginning of Me
Polymer clay model
13 x 7 x 6”
(Gallery view; left)

This Beginning of Me
Digital Print
12 x 36”
2010(Gallery view; right)

Artist's Statement

I hope people do not wince inwardly if they hear me say that my Job Number 1 is to be a spiritual archaelogist. As a teenager in the Arkansas Delta, I was deeply influenced in 1972 by Mickey Newbury's historical anthem, "American Trilogy." My interest in Victorian science broadened into a fascination with both the Civil War and the Victorian Crisis of Faith. It was then I first developed this gift for spiritual archeology, this nagging suspicion that the 19th century still called out to us with some unappreciated testimony of immeasurable value. It wasn't until 1992, however, that I experienced a second flashover, so vivid and dazzling that it qualifies for what Quakers call "an opening." In the dying days of my camerado Dan, I felt I had been skating on thin ice for a couple of years, as I shared with him my growing passion for Leaves of Grass. His love had partially broken Whitman's code for me, but I still had Walt's other lesson to learn, in the school of death.
 
I had a waking dream one day, a kratophany. The ice shrieked and gave way, and I plunged into my opening. Then, shortly before Dan died, I was reading Whitman's biography for the first time, and I was introduced to the historical mystery of his obsessive references to Quakerism. I became a convinced Friend and assumed that my journey to untangle Walt Whitman's Quaker Paradox would be cherished by Atlanta Friends Meeting. It wasn't. Nor was it, years later, by Multnomah Friends Meeting--at least, not sufficiently cherished to nurture and inspire me.
 
I struggled for 15 years as an independent scholar to pursue this history more seriously than anyone had ever attempted, and, by the time I was finished, I provoked both Whitman scholars and Quaker historians with a startling new understanding. Meanwhile, during those long years, our world moved into its post-literate phase. Yes, people today still read, but they can only read what they can see. As an animator today, I am helping them to see Whitman. I wish to offer to others the principle that guides my own life: some things must be seen to be believed.

- Mitch Gould