A Film Series Concerning Speed on Sight

By Jennifer Lindsay

Watch Untitled 001 in it’s six part series. A full version format is available for viewing here.

Subway Image

About

You are walking down a side street an hour after the sun has gone down. Picture yourself: your eyes gaze upon the windows of neighbours and you notice that they are watching their televisions, playing with phones or working on their laptops.  You can’t see exactly what they are doing but you know because you recognize the tinted shades of blue ricocheting off their walls and out of their windows –and yours – like a strobe light.

The blue haze is familiar. I do not own a television, but I work on my computer too much and am sucked into my phone more than I care to admit. I wake up every morning and my eyes are dry. This could be because I wear contact lenses from time to time, but it could also be because every time I wake up, my eyes are unprepared for the vicious assault of images to come, electronic or otherwise. It is not the images alone, it is more so the speed in which they are coming at me.

My high school theatre teacher rhapsodizing over the acceleration of MTV program cuts in the early 2000s comes to mind. He lamented over cuts being stripped down to one and a half seconds (formerly three to five seconds). Unsurprisingly, we are currently viewing and comprehending narratives in millisecond form. 

Process

I chose to shoot six loops at six seconds each, totaling a thirty-six second film on the Toronto subway. The Toronto subway is a compressed environment, symbolic of claustrophobic sensations from image saturation.

I spliced the subway footage together with transportation imagery, inserting visual distractions including but not limited to: social media handles, text correspondence, production notes, books and more.

A friend of mine suggested that the subway tunnels look like brain pathways. I would agree. Also, in honouring Erwin Panovsky’s notions on linear perspective, the picture plain of the subway tunnel is often perfectly aligned (when sitting in the front seat). It mimics the shape of the very thing it is being seen by – the pupil.  

Untitled 001 is as much a commentary on the inundation of images as it is the amount of time it takes to create them. In creating Untitled 001, I averaged eighty cuts per six second loop. Linked together in a thirty-six second segment, that is approximately four hundred and eighty cuts. Shooting and editing sessions totalled five hours. 

Technology

Untitled 001 is a series of six stop-motion loops filmed entirely through Vine. Vine is a Smartphone application that allows users to make six second videos by lightly tapping or pressing firmly on their touch screens.  The lighter the tap the shorter the cut. And vice versa. 

Jennifer Lindsay is a multi-media, theatre and film artist based in Toronto. She is also the Assistant Digital Curator for CIE.