Penance began as an exploration of my childhood “sins” but it ultimately became a creative process through which I substantially reduced my fear of conflict.
The Penance creative process was instinctual and organic. It took many forms, starting with an exploration of Irish family traits which led to sin and confession then onto penance and then onto to self-flagellation. Along the way the creative process intersected with the work of Charlie Chaplin, improvisation, self-portraiture and the conflicts of my childhood household.
Upon the completion of Penance, I instinctively knew I had been changed in some fundamental way. My internal motor seemed to be running at a slower pace. I was more at peace. The reason for this change escaped me for several weeks. I then found myself in a situation which put me right in the middle of a conflict. In the past, I would have been very anxious. I would be eager to resolve the situation by appeasing everyone involved at the expense of my own needs. Instead, I was calm, confident, and focused on what I needed out of the situation. I resolved the conflict and got what was right for me. The next morning I woke with the realization of what of had changed while creating Penance. I had faced conflict over and over in the conception, shooting, and editing of Penance and in the end I found there could be a different ending. I had faced it head-on. I had taken control. I had found there could be a different ending to a conflict; an ending where I came out whole, unscarred, and with a new vision of how to deal with conflict.