can be said of all artists, but it's particularly true of this one: new
Island resident and filmmaker Robert Bornn sees beauty and connections
With just a bachelor's in psychology, Bornn has created a diverse, circuitous
career path in sculpture, music, medical inventions, photography, and,
most recently, film. His combination of chosen fields may seem odd,
but Bornn himself has no problem perceiving the links that tie his fields
"Art is like the solution to a problem -- how do you make a heart shape
without the wires touching themselves?" he asks, pointing to a heart-shaped
wire sculpture that he created. "I get excited by problem solving."
Bornn addresses the problems that capture his imagination with astounding
creative energy. Among other things, Bornn has invented a hands-free
mouse that is clicked through facial motions. He holds a half dozen
patents on various medical devices, despite his lack of a medical degree.
But none of his patents relies on medical knowledge -- he hired doctors
to do that part. Instead, they are based on thinking outside the
Though he began creating films in his native Brooklyn in the late 1960s,
he set aside that particular love for several years to pursue other projects:
sculpture, photography, music, and inventing. Lately, the accessibility
of film has captured Bornn's restless spirit, but he's making movies with
goals that diverge wildly from the traditional Hollywood song-and-dance,
action-and-sex prescriptions. Specifically, Bornn strives to capture
the sort of nature images that inspire him. There are no representations
of the kill-or-be-killed aspects of nature in his work.
"Why present just the ugly parts of the world?" says Bornn of his films,
which he characterizes as "enchanted naturalism."
"Finding beauty in nature helps you find the beauty in people, which helps
you find the commonality between people," says Bornn, tracing yet another
connection that inspires him.
His first film in a planned trilogy, Ocean's Edge: Spirit's Journey, is
"crafted to be peaceful, minimalist, and lyrical," says Bornn. Indeed,
sweet recorder and xylimba sounds accompany the 18-minute film, which
is composed of shots of coastline at sunset, with camera work that closely
follows seabirds that fly into and throughout the camera's wide field.
The film is a team effort by Bornn and his long-time partner, Laura Worth.
"Their observation of gratuitous violence in typical 'savage nature' documentaries
has led them to develop (this) alternative, nonviolent, nature film series,"
reads the back of the DVD.
Bornn hopes his work, which can be viewed with or without music and ambient
sound, will foster meditation, yoga and children's minds.
"My films really are fantasy. I think it's OK to give people that
sense of (wonder) -- like fairy tales."
"Nature has been commodified," says Bornn, and it's clear his film, with
its simple images and unprocessed look, is designed to address that problem.