Watching "Travel Songs" reminds me of a stream of memories - it manages to convey the feeling of a confusing, melancholic dream... Just like most of the other Jonas Mekas' work I've seen so far, it revolves around himself - I'm sure the images bring memories and have a meaning for Jonas, but for me - they were mostly random, erratically put together, uninspiring fragments of someone's holiday...
Mekas: the tourist. The tourist is different in his perception and his spatial categorisation of the place he visits. Travel Songs is the tourist's eye - the blurred landscapes from inside the train, the tilting down on buildings and the plants. Even such a rapid, blurry input is bound to stir emotions - fear of the foreign night - the Dantean Forest - where one needs guidance to be kept from losing the good way.
I wasn't sure about this until about halfway through and then I let the images wash over me. The sense of frenetic movement, travel and the meaning I read into the flashing images was really quite something. This was my first experience of Mekas' work and I'll certainly look out for more.
The work of Jonas Mekas touches me deeply and it is a beautiful thing to be moved by images. It is the closest thing i know of memory turned into pictures (the second closest thing being Chris Marker i guess). It works like memory with flashes, a certain light, a friend, a place we loved, and it is very much there and gone at the same time. It has to do with the brilliant editing, this special Mekas touch.
Lovely, at points, snippets of footage from various destinations, which form a tapestry of memory traces in line with a cinema of lived experience and the undifferentiated logic that supports it. There is poetry in the images and in the precious but fleeting observations of everyday-life and the surrounding objects or natural milieu that haunts memory, yet it is typically-for Mekas-marred by the erratic diary style.