This is a project which
is based on some
calculations. When you were a kid, you learned to walk.
!ENCODING PROBLEM, THIS WILL BE FIXED ASAP!
You didn't really analyze your movements. For most of the boys in this world and for a small minority of girls, there will be another moment in their life when they can reflect a little more on this point ; during their military service.
This film tells you how to learn to walk (in a way), just as it teaches us how to aim. In the great capital cities of the owrld, there is almost always a square, an avenue or a structure conceived to allow military displays. These places are almost always available for tourists, who wander around them at their will 364 days of the year, but are then transformed for a day into a showcase for the military might of the great power in question.
Walk the Walk uses this obvious fact as the basis for a study of movement, technology and the visual possibilities of simple rolls of photographs taken around the World. The series takes in Athens, Beijing, Berlin, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rome and Washington. These cities are, sometime more, sometimes less obviously, the centres of present and former glory, with a mythopeic aspect to the memory or reminder of wWorld hegemony that the place represents. Sometimes it is a double-edged word, as in the case of Tiananmen Square, but that depends on who is doing the remembering.
The film mixes this history up with the history of cinema, or at least the pre-cinema which was determined to find answers to questions about movement, notably the way in which a horse gallops, most people have seen Muybridge and Marey's series of chronophotographs. This film uses disconnected photography to form a film which can be declined in a multiplicity of formats, using a Rolleiflex 6 by 6 120mm still camera, making a single film from the entire roll of twelve views.
The roll is uncut, joined at the beginning and end with a piece of tape, it can be a zoetrope or the basis of a praxinoscope, optical games from the pre cinema era. At the tim that I wes making the first series, in Beijing, I was thinking of the way in which the cinema has become trapped by its technological prowess, we no longer see (very many) fixed, composed, shots, the camera is constantly mobile, which makes the mise en scène very difficult to control, it is more a case of anticipating an approximation of the shot rather than having any tight precision. It also means that the movement within the shot is corrupted. So I wanted to return to a more ancient, or at least nineteenth century version of the illusory and this technique enabled me to photograph Tienanmen Square, one of the most photographed places on Earth, and render it almost invisible. At the same time, I was able to refer to the inability to produce a cinematic form which is the frustratng constant of Marey and Muybridge ; they could see what cinema would be, but at the same time it remained an abstraction for them.
My position, which is always difficult to estimate without looking through the viewfinder, and its relationship with the exact moment of the movement that I should be doing is questioned by the precision of the 120mm image, lost in the digitalisation process.
The way in which the position within the movement is apprehended in a linear manner reminded me of the Stochastic Travelling Salesman Problem, which had been so present in Hot Society. It had seemed to be a beautiful metaphor for the spatio-temporal displacement in a world which paradoxically marches (sic) towards globalisation and fragmentation. At first, I thought that this was a pure mathematics problem and I let myself be seduced by its charm. The fact that the ancient Greeks had the answer to a problem - and any schoolchild - that modern science had rendered uncertain seemed amusing, even if the problem in itself seemed pretty futile, a pretext to do mathematics.
After having contacted one of the people working on this problem in the United States, I realised that he, as well as all the others, was working on this problem not out of pure interest, but because it is a central problem in the launching of rockets (especially those which are not remote controlled) and therefore of prime military interest.
My naivety here reminded me of another occasion in an edit suite, during a software demonstration showing how to attach a point to a figure and retain it in the centre (or any given pixel) of the image. At one moment in the demonstration it suddenly became clear that this was not inventedto remove the shakycam effect that had unwittingly been introduced into the scene, but to maintain the direction of a missile on either a fixed or a moving point in the target finder.
This project, then, comes out of one or wo thoughts about pure science and pure research, about application and default. Every element in this research is backgrounded by an interest in the form of realpolitik implicated. It means that ther is both contradiction and phase with morality like the tongue in my cheek here and the impossibility of operating any kind of dialectic. You can abstract and fix, in two or more dimensions you can look for the pure where the impure dominates, but you can never find a fixed point in your head, because the sun has just moved you beyond your original point, and where is the Sun anyway, and I won't even go into the Galaxy, unless I am already there.
This is not available for rent at this time. It should be seen in exhibition form at some time in the near future and the dates can be obtained as they are known on this website.