When I decided to create a documentary built around the theme of synchronicity, I had no idea what that actually meant. Most filmmakers create treatments, even for documentary films. Being a transmedia artist, I decided to go the more experimental route. I wanted to see where synchronicity would take us during the process of shooting scenes and b-roll located in NYC, San Francisco & eventually at the Synchronicity Symposium in Joshua Tree, California. So we started out with a short film which quickly grew into an epic (and at times overly ambitious) feature length film.
The subject matter is so rich and so fascinating and inspiring that we just couldn’t stop coming up with ideas for the film. That has now spilled over to a book version of the film, of the same name. I also wrote a thriller/love story screenplay that is built around one incredible synchronicity. I’m not sure if it will ever be made into a film, but its a testament to just how inspiring the subject matter truly is.
It all started on October 2012 on a flight over the Yucatan on my way to visit the sacred Mayan pyramids in Mexico. I was reading a book called the Mayan Factor by José Argüelles when something clicked. Perhaps the reason we are so lost as a civilization is because we are out of sync with nature, ‘natural time’ (and ultimately the spiritual path).
How could I convey this crucial message in a documentary film? First, I needed to research the mysterious phenomenon of synchronicity and I had no idea how popular the concept was! I also needed to EXPERIENCE synchronicity to truly understand what it felt like. I had to get out of the intellectual headspace and into the feeling heart space.
This year is the 63rd anniversary of Jung’s (1952) concept of synchronicity. “In response to the seemingly growing popularity of this concept, Princeton University Press, in 2010, decided to reissue the seminal publication Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. Although a complete formulation of synchronicity was published only in 1952, Jung had used the term in his lectures as early as 1929 (Cambray, 2009).
Carl Jung used synchronicity to refer to a meaningful coincidence of an outer event with an individual’s inner state in which there is no apparent causal relationship. The term consists of the Greek words for joined with and in time, suggesting a bond that takes place in temporal correspondence. Synchronicities are also associated with the uncommon and often consist of numinous, life-changing, and deeply spiritual experiences (Main, 2007); these synchronicities can play a critical role in an individual’s growth and personal transformation (e.g., Richo, 1998).” – Dan Hacoy
This year also marks the 32nd anniversary of the Police’s 1983 hit album “Synchronicity”. Early on in the making of our film ‘Time is Art’, I had a pretty wild synchronicity concerning the Police’s album. We were traveling back from the Berkshires in Massachusetts and had stopped at a funky looking restaurant serving questionable Mexican food. I recall the owner mentioned that she was an ex Hollywood makeup artist (or just liked to wear a ton of makeup). She literally looked as if she had come from a 1950’s hollywood set. The tiny place was packed full of a surprising amount of old magazines, art and furniture from the 50, 60’s and 70’s. In that moment I was thinking about the film, as it occupied my mind constantly, since we were still hashing it out through research, conversations and brainstorming sessions. There was a large stack of old Life Magazines and Rolling Stones from the and 70’s and 80’s. I looked through a few and by the third one I was just flipping the pages quickly and came to a page with an advertisement for The Police’s Synchronicity album!
At the time, even though I was a huge Police fan, I did not realize that their most popular album was called ‘Synchronicity’. For some reason I had not connected the dots, so for me this was confirmation that the project warranted more thought and research. (Whats unprecedented is that the album was so massively appealing that millions purchased it as well as the preceding four Police albums in numbers great enough to place all five on the 1983 sales chart simultaneously at year’s end.)
A quick survey of popular books and academic publications indicates that the idea of Synchronicity has never been more popular.
Just in the last year, several large international conferences have been held on synchronicity and related topics, including the Synchronicity: Matter & Psyche Symposium at Joshua Tree National Park where much of the film ‘Time is Art’ takes place. In August there was a held at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY features a plethora of academics and researchers such as Jon Turk, PhD, and Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, MD.
Synchronicity is clearly a fascinating topic that resonates with people into esoteric philosophy, unexplained phenomenon and those seeking a deeper meaning in their lives. There are many documentaries and films about synchronicity, too and we wanted to make something totally different. In order to make a compelling narrative documentary film, I knew I needed to find the right person. When I came across writer, Jennifer Palmer through her numerous articles about synchronicity, not only was I drawn to her prose, I was also drawn to her story and the fact that she experienced her spiritual awakening through synchronicity. She told us her incredible story which you can watch here in the first episode of the web series “Sync Stories“.
The first film shoot was a DIY trip to San Francisco in which we filmed massive street art murals at Lilac Alley in the Mission District, the famous labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, Dolores Park, Muir Woods National Forest, Oakland and even Silicon Valley. One of the most experimental scenes turned out to depict a very strange synchronicity with a UFO that was captured on our camera without the crew actually seeing it. The complete story is in this article: Synchronicity, Owls & the UFO Rabbit Hole and the montage is below.
Fast forward over three years later and the film is finally complete and ready to premiere worldwide on 11/11 (a very auspicious date for numerologists).
‘Time is Art’, a narrative documentary that explores synchronicity and the role of art as a tool for healing and expanding consciousness. The film follows writer, Jennifer Palmers’s metaphysical journey through inspiring urban and natural settings in California and New York. Guided by author, Graham Hancock, biologist, Rupert Sheldrake, Carl Jung historian Richard Tarnas, mystic, Toko-pa Turner and many other scientists, artists and activists, we track her experience with synchronicity – the concept that all beings are interconnected and that time is not so much a chronology as it is an infinite cycle. The transmedia project which also includes a book of the same name, comes at an important moment in new science, quantum physics and consciousness studies.
Besides synchronicity, the film also explores an alternative to the materialistic and exploitative money-driven society we are all expected to live in. Synchronicity shows us that there are other ways of understanding our role in the universe. When you think of someone and then 5 seconds later they call you, its not a coincidence. During our film shoot with Rupert Sheldrake he argued that synchronicity is also a bit like telepathy. In one of his books he talks about why dogs can sense that their owner is coming home. Elephants, horses and other animals flee and hide for cover hours before massive storms hit. How is this possible if all of life is not interconnected and communicating through unseen realms and dimensions of reality?
‘Time is Art’ is meant to fuel and inspire this growing movement. Says ‘Time is Art’ co-director and my husband, Joél Mejia, “We want to contribute to the awakening in global consciousness that we are witnessing right now. To contribute to the increasing number of conversations about our understanding of time, space and interconnectedness that resonate with so many people right now.”
The title, ‘Time is Art’, coined by the visionary author, José Argüelles, whose work is a major inspiration for the film, is a twist on the catch phrase “time is money”. In the world of the film, “time” is unyoked from the relentless pursuit of material and capital gain and the audience is given an alternative framework: ‘What if we lived in a world where time is linked with creative potential and art?’—hence the film’s title, “Time is Art”.
In a recent article, Aaron Kase of Reset.me says of the film, “ultimately, the film is about how to shift from being caught up in an ego and success-driven society into a state of seeking peace and community anywhere we go.”
Rob MacGregor, author of ‘The Synchronicity Highway’ after seeing the film wrote, “This film will do for synchronicity what “What the Bleep Do We Know?” did for law of attraction.
Brent Marchant via Vivid Life, also wrote “Even though many worthwhile films in this genre have been released in recent years, “Time is Art” could well prove to be one of the most important offerings in this vein.”