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My video camera as an unconscious witness to my own near-drowning.

I hired a SCUBA instructor to take me underwater so I could see what my sister might have seen when she drowned ten years earlier. I'm not a good swimmer and can't even go under without plugging my nose but I was determined to shoot a video from the point of view of someone under the surface. SCUBA gear is incredibly cumbersome and once in the water I found I wasn't able to press the ON button of the camera through its waterproof apparatus. My instructor volunteered to drag it on its leash around his neck to free me to concentrate on diving.

I was barely able to breathe through the SCUBA hose and follow my instructor underwater for about twenty minutes before I lost sight of him in the turgid sea, when I inadvertently sucked the water that had gathered in my mask into my nose, which caused me to reactively pull the hose out of my mouth to gasp for air. But I was underwater. By the time my head broke the surface into the air I was gasping and choking. I wasn't able to raise my face above the choppy waves, so water filled my nose and mouth repeatedly. Eventually my instructor swam up behind me and lifted my head above the waves until I could restore my composure.

Once I returned home and unpacked my equipment I discovered that, in fact, the camera had been on the entire time. The whole SCUBA experience was recorded from the point of view of a directionless and bobbing lens, including the underwater sounds of burbling and gasping.

Video installation offers the opportunity for the kind of immersive viewing experience I was seeking at the inception of my desire to understand by seeing through someone else's eyes. As it turned out, the camera with its random point of view and sound-without-object (though it is in fact diegetic sound) represents the sense of the experience for me better than had I held it to my eye and composed through the viewfinder.