Late Fragment - An Interactive Film

01 Global Festival of Art on the Edge Part 2

Okay so it’s a bit later than I thought. But here is the promised Part 2 post for the 01 Global Festival of Art on the Edge. I wanted to do another post about this festival because I saw so many interesting works there and I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts about them (good), but more importantly some pictures (better) and links (best) so you can see them for yourself. The whole point overall is actually to encourage you to go to San Jose and check out the show (most of which will still be mounted in the San Jose Museum of Art.) But first things first. Here’s my not so visually stunning intro to Late Fragment at one of our 01 performances. I think the content is important to share because it kinda sets the context about how Late Fragment situates itself amongst the other works on exhibit.

[vimeo 1226141]

So, as I spoke about in my intro, Late Fragment was just one of a number of different interpretations of interactive cinema at 01. I’d like to talk a little about what the others were. First up, Spectropia.

Spectropia is described as “an immersive date movie for two players and an audience.” It is “a cinema-scale interactive film/performance event, a scratchable movie performed by video DJs as improvising performers who are playing a movie instrument. This sci-fi hybrid features time travel, telepathy, and elements of film noir.”

The story is about a young woman who invents a machine that allows her to travel through time in an attempt to solve a mystery surrounding her past. The past we experience is a beautifully rendered recreation of the 1930s just after the stock market has crashed. The noir aesthetic makes itself felt in a completely different way than what we may have been used to in older films. Instead of the moody chiaroscuro of black and white cinema, Spectropia feels decidedly digital which creates a simultaneous distancing and visceral effect. This feeling of being drawn in (either by explicitly being talked *at* by the avatars, as well as being drawn in by the “hand-crafted” polished layers of the image, think alabaster deco hallways) and pulled away (as our attention moves between screens), is further reinforced by the nature of the experience itself as we negotiate between the plot’s present and past as well as our understanding of the real (i.e. the VJs) and the imaginary (i.e. the film itself).

Spectropia is well worth seeing and experiencing. And I for one, would like to see about borrowing the “instrument” Toni Dove and R. Luke Dubois created to see what other “interactive films” could be made with it. Here’s their tech set up using MAX MSP.

Next up is R. Luke Dubois and Lian Amaris Sifuentes’ Fashionably Late For A Relationship. here’s a photograph from the blog Overlap.

From the site:

Fashionably Late For The Relationship is a three-day long public performance by Lián Amaris Sifuentes, filmed and digitally compressed into a feature-length video work by R. Luke DuBois. As a woman prepares for a night on the town, three days pass by in the city around her. In the live performance on the Southeast corner of Union Square, her slow, nuanced actions become a counterpoint to and critique of the unnaturally rapid and unyielding pace of the public environment which she redefines as the private, feminine ritual space of a boudoir. Her actions will be captured by a combination of three HD video cameras (wide, medium, and closeup) and a number of small surveillance cameras embedded in her set. The cameras will be shooting the entire time, with the result digitally time-compressed to a 72-minute multi-channel video installation. Accelerated to sixty-times speed in the final video, the barely perceptible acts of her intimate narrative unfold in a radically condensed time frame, making her actions the punctuation within the ephemeral blur of the transformed urban landscape.

A trailer is also available at BitForms gallery.

Okay so this project is “technically” not an “interactive film.” Though it is installed in the San Jose Museum of Art and was shown in the Camera 12 theatre, I think it really ought to be experienced only as a feature length film. I have to admit that my tolerance for video art is about 15 minutes and, for the most part, most galleries accommodate my schedule by allowing me to dip in and out of darkened rooms without penalty. But I’m really glad I saw the entirety of this film. I was utterly surprised at how I was captivated for all of the 70 minutes.

First, Lian is immanently watchable. Her face is nostalgia realized. Her performance is a feat in discipline. (Try brushing your hair 10 times more slowly than you do now.)

Second, I think we all like seeing time. I’m surprised we don’t actually see more of it. And I have a feeling that “showing” time is harder than we think. For example, not all stop motion or speeding up of anything and everything looks or feels good. Like everything else, there must be a craft to doing this well so that we actually feel something when we see the slowing down or speeding up. Of course, what we shoot — the content — has a lot to do with this. But it’s also about the rhythm, no?

Third and last, I really rocked out on the soundtrack. Sometimes, I felt as though I was at a symphony performance with a visual soundtrack rather than the other way around.

I’m going to try and see if we can bring this piece to Toronto.


No comments so far.