This piece is comprised of cinematic ‘process plates’, shot for the purpose of being back-projected to form the view from a train carriage window. This particular footage was shot in the 1940s by renowned cinematographer Ray Cory, but is now in the public domain.
This footage brings to mind two significant technological developments in the modern period: the technology of cinema, and the expansion of the railways. Both were technological advances that were emblematic of the division of space and time during the period of modernity, and both brought about new ways of imaging landscape and new, time-based visualities. In this case, footage that is incidental to the process of film making reveals something about how experiences of landscape became structured and attention ordered by regulating technologies of modernity.
I’ve attempted to do as little as possible to the footage, and have edited it only as much as was necessary to present it in this twin-screen arrangement that allows comparison between takes. The subtle differences between different versions of the shot become exaggeratedly noticeable this way. Some of these differences were probably a result of the specific demands of the scene that this footage would eventually become the backdrop for, but others reveal the particular environmental conditions on that particular day. Separated from their original cinematic function, these clips become odd tracking shots that ask us to pay attention to a specific but peculiarly structured passage through a landscape.
Possession (II), Lanchester Gallery Projects, Coventry, UK, March 2014
Title: Process Plates
Year of production: 2014
Media: dual screen synchronised video, no sound, 6m11s loop.