Full Version of Decorum

Concept and Direction: Nathaniel Wojtalik
including original score.

Decorum is a abstract reflection of routine through a series of still lifes.

The series makes a tongue in cheek reference to the 17th century Dutch and Flemish Vanitas still life paintings which portrayed the typical fruit and flowers mixed with musical instruments, science paraphernalia and vessels that acted as symbols of life’s impermanence.

Often times they would use iconography such as a skull, hour glass or turning pages of a book to send a moralizing message on ephemerality of sensory pleasures.

Throughout the narrative, the video has micro references to the individual elements of the Vanitas paintings while replacing the inherent darkness and morbidity of the original works with saturated color and puerile humor.

At the same time, the overarching resolution to the series denies the certainty of death (as portrayed by the original paintings) and implies that maybe we just need little nap before we wake up and do it all again… which might in fact be more depressing than a death itself.


Ben-day toast, constructivist coffee and dancing eggs, Decorum Breakfast takes a playful look at morning ritual. The precept of social decorum, the preservation of external decency, is often circumnavigated by those of us that dine alone. The still life maintains the precarious equilibrium of a well balanced breakfast. Little slips, and spills often hidden behind closed doors are liberated and embraced allowing the petit dejeuner to take on a life of its own.


At the office:
The next phase passes us into the rigors and monotony of the work week. As if time could die, we do our best to kill it. Spending the minutes to hours with pencil hands ticking away relentlessly on paper pads, revisiting juvenile classroom antics. Waiting for the moment when our hope explodes into a paroxysm of joy and the next phase of the day begins: going out.


Going Out:
As day turns to night, we release the ennui of the day by donning our best outfit and hitting the town. A vigorous search of that euphoric moment of release. A mercurial buildup of expectation ends in a somewhat anemic climax, dragging at least one of the participants into a slumber.


The dragging continues as our antihero incoherently meanders through the listless world, bearing the ghosts of the day. Hoisting all of those things onto the pillow where they are allowed to fade. Until they cycle starts again tomorrow.

The story continues.