Train Songs Redux

From: JEFFREY PAULL (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 29 2009 - 09:37:40 PDT

Greetings, Ted,

I'm glad you announced your work on FRAMEWORKS because I'd otherwise never have seen it
and I very much enjoy watching your movies. They also set me thinking what these movies
would look like on an iPhone, or on a really big screen. And, if a really big screen, would very dim
be any better than regular brightness?
           Years ago (40.!) I was a visual artist with what used to be called an "intermedia" group.
One number I'm still most pleased with, used only a pair of slide projectors in a very s-l-o-w
dissolve mode, and a pianist, playing live, on stage. The static images were hi-con B&W slides,
and the projectors' wide-angle lenses made the images huge, but dim.
During this 20 minute number the solo pianist was sometimes unlit, and at other times
lit by a 25 watt "spotlight" which slowly faded up, held, faded out. One was a real life-size human,
the other was immense, dim, B&W static images. Often it would be the images only,
and then the small on-stage light reminded the audience that the "sound track" was an actual human being,
present, and playing the music at that moment.
The dim images, which spilled off the screen onto the proscenium arch of the theatre,
seemed suspended in nowhere. Their constant flow of “becoming” made them seem to float in your imagination
rather than on screen. The moments of illuminated pianist questioned that illusion.

        Watching your movies' interplay of smooth sliding motions, with MAYBE a person
over there in the corner, (are they dead? Asleep? Is it a bag of laundry?), and the fragments of
muffled voices, allowed me time and space to let me wander in the landscapes of my imagination.
So I saw them as contemplative as they revealed the wandering imagination of a rider suspended in transition, getting from here
to there.

        I'll probably send you some more comments, but I'm behind with 2 other bits of writing.
Your own comments and the movies themselves make it worth my effort and time.

But for now, if you’d care to answer these questions, I'd like to understand more.
(Either off-list to me only, or on-list is OK by me.)

   - How do you choose when and what to shoot?
   - Are these the only movies you've shot, or do
      you choose to show only the "best' ones?
   - Time to go on to something else entirely or
      take this group of movies in a new direction?

Ted, maybe my asking you those questions is beyond what you want to do.. If that's so, simply by not answering, I'd understand.
In any case, you'll probably get one more email from me as I work out my thoughts to myself also.
Your movies get to me.

Last comments:
Have you tried projecting them as a tryptich?
And, since your movies are about sliding overlapping planes, might you start as a tryptich, and while they're showing, slide the 3
projector beams together getting a 3 layer movie?

Right now, they begin nicely with the static image in the station which sets us up, but the ends seem "unfinished" or unresolved.
(But maybe you don't want "resolved".)

Jeffrey Paull

On Thu 19/03/09 09:27 , Ted Sonnenschein email suppressed sent:
> 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:
> [1]
> 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 .
> Links:
> ------
> [1]

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