A celebrated figure of the international avant-garde, Stan Brakhage filmed what he termed the 'adventures' of visual perception.
From his famed Sirius Remembered (1959), Mothlight (1963) and Dog Star Man (1961-64) to the anti-narrative, visual explorations of form and structure in The Art of Vision (1965) and The Text Of Light (1974), Brakhage filmed not just the world but the act of seeing the world. Questioning the relationship between moving image representation and the world, Brakhage strove to make the viewer aware of vision as a dynamic, nerve-centered event.
Comprised entirely of autopsy footage shot in a Pittsburgh morgue, The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes is the final installment in Brakhage's Pittsburgh trilogy (including Eyes and Deus Ex). Framing the mechanics of the body within three institutions of urban control - the police, the hospital and the autopsy room - Brakhage adopts a deliberately organic approach to filming based on the physiological rhythms of his own heartbeat and eyes.
Leaving the raw immediacy of the autopsy uncontextualised, Brakhage exposes us to both the privileged 'authenticity' of sight and the fragile nature of our own mortality. Like most of Brakhage's work, the subject of The Act Of Seeing With One's Own Eyes is actually the movement of light itself - light bouncing off objects and variations in light as its reflected off of skin, creating its own fluid possibilities with the camera.