Monday, December 31, 2007

Time Lines

Last week at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, in the exhibit "Brave New Worlds" I saw a 17 minute 35mm film (playing on a loop) by Runa Islam entitled Time Lines.

The film is made up of long shots of aerial transports on the outskirts of Barcelona. The cable cars also function as the vehicle for tracking shots, of the cable lines, of the sky, which become quite abstract with the trance-like camera movements. There are actors, or more appropriately, costumed models in some of the cable cars, although the fiction is not consistent. Such an indifference to illusionism is one of the great charms of the film. If anything it amplifies the industrialized vision of such structures - such lifts, the Eiffel Tower, ferris wheels, panoramas, photography, cinema - technology is our vision & it creates our pleasures.

The particulars of Barcelona, its topography, and the proximity of the sea, pale in the enormity of the ether in which the figures traverse. With a simple economy of means so much is suggested. Industrial culture appears toy-like, and also obsolete. I am reminded of some lines from The Communist Manifesto: All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air . . .

No comments: