Train Songs

From: Ted Sonnenschein (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Mar 19 2009 - 06:27:26 PDT

Hello there,

I mentioned and pointed towards my work earlier when we were talking about
the reconstruction of Bill Brand's subway installation but I wanted to share
a recent collection I put together and open it up to any criticism on- or
off-list. Here is a sort of write-up that I have been working on and any
thoughts or criticisms would be appreciated. I haven't had much response
from festivals and such and not that it is discouraging me from working, it
has been a bit discouraging. I guess I am just wondering what people make of
it--if anything, and if it inspires anything to share. The shots that you
will say are all recorded with sound but I have started to take it off as I
am feeling it is a bit tiring, first of all, to hear the stations being
called off and the opening and closing of doors, but also that it takes away
from the visual impact. Well, anyway, here is the link:

my millionth attempt at trying to write something up:

In January 2008 I began to film the city of Berlin as it appears through the
windows of the S-Bahn. This ongoing project is not only about the city, as
it changes over time through the lens of the camera, but also the train,
which reveals itself to be a cinematic devise, capable of producing and
presenting images for the passengers.

 The recording of these films all follow the same procedure. They begin as
the train leaves one station and ends once it arrives at the next. There are
no post-production changes or effects made to the images and the films are
only what the train itself presents within the glass. The camera, a digital
still camera operating under its movie functionality, records in what is
considered to be low-quality, a type typically found in cellular phones. The
camera allows minor adjustments to be made to either exposure or focal
length but only before the recording begins. Each shot can last a maximum of
three minutes, similar to a roll of movie film and enough time to travel to
most stations. Video, both digital and tape, is hardly considered a medium
for artistic cinematography, but it is in this category that I concentrate
concerning the framing and the selection of the exhibited takes.

 This project is a tribute to cinema and the dying medium of celluloid
motion picture film. The influences come from different eras of filmmaking.
Early cinema and the first one-shot movies take precedence. These films,
typically made with a stationary camera, were of a particular moment in
time—a train arrives into a station, workers leave the factory, etc. Also,
the impressionistic documentaries of cities made in the 1920s and 1930s
blended creative stylization with contemporary significance--two factors
that also play a role in how I am regularly working on the project. Finally,
but equally as important, the amateur medium of 8mm color home movies plays
an important role as model for the look and quality of the shots.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.