In the times of bigness, spectaculars, one hundred million dollar movie productions, I want to speak for the small, invisible acts of human spirit: so subtle, so small, that they die when brought out under the clean lights. I want to celebrate the small forms of cinema: the lyrical form, the poem, the watercolor, etude, sketch, portrait, arabesque, and bagatelle, and little 8mm songs. In the times when everybody wants to succeed and sell, I want to celebrate those who embrace and pursue the invisible, the personal things that bring no money and no bread and make no contemporary history, art history or any other history. I am for art which we do for each other, as friends.
People, in this city, often have to shoot, in self-defense. With a real gun. I shot my film diaries also out of self-defence, to protect myself from being crushed by the bleakness of the reality around me, defending myself against the attacks on all my senses, on my whole being. Yes, I film out of self-defense. You could look at my diaries also as an attempt to correct the City, the Land, by stressing certain aspects and by suppressing others. That's why I stress Celebration, the celebrative details of life around me - because that's what's lacking here, today. I am making corrections. Artists are correctors of their societies. They try to correct what the politicians and 'social workers' mess up.--Jonas Mekas, April 8, 1971, reprinted in Le Livre de Walden (eds. Pip Chodorov & Christian Lebrat, 2009).
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.--Thoreau, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, 1854.
Diaries, Notes and Sketches (also known as Walden) - Jonas Mekas, 1969, 16mm