I collect my films under the name “Omphalos”.
In the making of these films I have gathered images, words, music and audio from a wide variety of sources. I find it is beyond me to remember and acknowledge each and every source and if anybody has any concerns please get in touch with me and I will do my best to rectify any omission. My films are made out of love and fascination in my own time and are generally about time past. I do not make my films for commercial reasons and make no money out of them whatsoever.
These films tend to be short and cover a range of subjects. The idea generally behind my films is that they should have no immediate separation into ‘two cultures‘: science and humanities.
As a scientist I have generally found that through naming things we may feel that we can be more ‘objective.’ This of course may not always be the case. As my medical career has demonstrated to me.
Omphalos carved by Peter into a dead tree stump
As an artist I find that I have to see beyond the scientific method to more fully value the subjective. I find as an artist that I do not always want to explain why I have named things. I also worry (perhaps too much) that in naming things we reduce the experience of being in the world.
This book is not really about death. It is about life.
Peter held in his mother's arms
Like most film-makers Peter employs symbolism in his films, and this section gives Peter an opportunity to explain some recurrent symbolism:
Elephants are used by Peter in his films to suggest what might be missed by science. Principally Peter considers this as the world of interactions that shapes us, and our social and cultural worlds which are too easily ousted from too much of scientific endeavour.
The teddy bear is called Hale Bopp, after the comet of 1997. He was bought by Peter for his son Andrew on the day of his birth. The teddy bear represents the intrinsic brightness of all children in the world. Peter’s family make his world the wonder that it is.
The multi-headed Hydra monster is used for stigma. We all face stigma in our lives: chop off one head of the Hydra monster and another grows. It is not the simple case that giving a ‘diagnosis’ reduces stigma. Research, in its beginning, supports Peter’s experience that such may be fallacy.
Wolves are used to represent medicalisation. This goes back to the doctor (of this name) who treated the older sibling of Peter.
The mortar & pestle pharmacy signs represent the pestling of our Hippocratic oath by a world that is market driven and aided and abetted by existential fear. My first memory as a toddler was from my pram: above me I could see a golden mortar & pestle. Peter wondered why a jar of sweeties should be raised so high?
The Antiquary. This is Peter’s favourite work of Walter Scott. Peter is certain that history cannot be ignored and has lessons for today. Many doctors have no interest in the past.