The endless flow of a city, the river that carries us after death, the empires that break-up like cells: more videos for the soul
Thanks to Aeon, a selection of videos to give your doors of perception a good scrub-down.
First, and above, from Hiroshi Kondo, “Multiverse”:
A commute is often judged good or bad by how long it takes, but sometimes getting from one place to another can yield wrinkles in our experience of time. The Japanese filmmaker Hiroshi Kondo explores this phenomenon in his often breathtaking video Multiverse, layering time on itself to create a hallucinatory vision of countless scooterists flowing through Taiwan’s capital Taipei. The result is a vision of a city and its people that takes an ordered freneticism and manipulates it to create a sense of time speeding up and standing still. People are momentarily discernible as individuals before morphing into strange amalgams of humanity. As the piece progresses, the pace becomes increasingly dizzying, until finally the crowd melds into an amorphous blur of light and motion. For another surreal take on the urban world from Kondo, watch his video Eye Know (2014).
“This evocatively adapts the US spoken-word poet Anis Mojgani’s performance of ‘To Where the Trees Grow Tall’ from his book In the Pockets of Small Gods (2018). Mojgani invokes a surreal scene of confusion, mystery and casual conversations between newly deceased strangers in a piece that envisions its listeners in their coffins, ‘clanging down the river, with all the other coffins in the water of the next world’. The US filmmaker Kristian Melom pairs this performance with split-screen images of the poet navigating a cityscape and a journey down a serenely flowing river. Through Mojgani’s words and Melom’s images, death – like life – is rendered as at once mundane and deeply enigmatic.”
During the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, Great Britain, France, Portugal and Spain controlled vast territories across the globe through a combination of seapower, economic control and brute force. This video from the Portuguese visualisation designers Pedro M Cruz and Penousal Machado charts the rise and fall of these four largest maritime empires, from 1776 and the American War of Independence, right up to 2009, when the once-expansive land claims of these nations barely extended beyond the European continent. The duo illustrates the centuries-long process of decolonisation as a kind of mitosis, with newly independent nations splitting off from the colonial powers. According to Cruz, the soft, cellular bodies used for the visualisation are meant to convey the ‘volatility and dynamic nature’ of these empires over time.