At the outset of this project I took my camera and mini projector to a car park I am familiar with. It was 6 AM, cold, and the car park was empty apart from a handful of cars, a man sweeping the floor of rubbish, and a man asleep beneath a duvet in an alcove. I chose this setting because a couple of years before I had spoken to another man, again under a duvet in the alcove, this time also under a cover of snow, that had blown in the sides of the car park and settled on his bedding.
In my projector I had some images of fabrics, quilts and family photographs. I played about projecting them onto the concrete pillars, walls and floor of the car park and photographing them, really, just experiencing the contrast of these deeply domestic fabrics and objects in this stark austere space. Film is a potent tool to bend and morph truth.
For many who are homeless though, fluidity of identity and personal narrative is not safely fettered to some academic anthropological study or to experimental artistic endeavour but rather it’s unwieldy and unconscious evolution perhaps offers a coping mechanism to survive the state of rightly or wrongly perceived invisibility that people may experience.
As time has moved on I have come to realise that the individual stories I have come to associate people with, the gymnast who can walk up stairs on his hands, the sailor who single-handedly sailed the coast of America, the relative of the famous 50s movie star, the skilled stonemason, once millionaire businessman. Some will be true, some will have a grain of truth and some will be true perhaps only for the person themselves. In many ways, it seems unnecessary to know. I think am beginning to understand to hold the concept lightly.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the philosophy of truth. Pontius Pilate famously asked: what is truth? In the twentieth century, the nature of truth became a subject of particular interest to philosophers, but they preferred to ask a slightly different question: what does it mean to say of any particular statement that it is true? What is the difference between these two questions, and how useful is the second of them?